Like this week’s X-Men Gold 1, All-New Wolverine is part of the X-Men’s RessurXion movement. Unlike X-Men Gold, Laura Kinney is keeping the same writer, she’s just wearing a new suit and taking the series in a new direction. This is one of two X-Men titles that are continuing on, and the only one keeping its writer, which means Tom Taylor is clearly doing something right.
Most of All-New Wolverine is evenly split into two sequences that directly interact with each other. The first is Laura and Gabby working together against a bunch of human traffickers. This ties directly into a major plot point from the previous arc, and they’re both wearing their new suits. It’s an intense action scene, showing Laura being more relentless than usual at this point in her life, but then again she particularly hates human trafficking. I won’t spoil exactly how she deals with their leader, but it’s a brilliantly brutal punishment. There are also some great classic lines from Gabby, like her strange battle cry and her frustration when Captain Marvel cuts their conversation short at the worst possible moment. Gabby’s line about Logan seems to be a little controversial online, but I don’t see a problem with it. It’s being said by someone who never knew Logan personally and has a tendency to talk down to people who she sees as ignorant or unintelligent, like any child who’s a bit too smart for her own good and is proud of that.
The other scene focuses on the Immune story arc, with Iron Heart as the main perspective character. I won’t talk too much about the story, even if it’s been discussed in interviews, but some sort of alien virus lands on Roosevelt Island. There’s a lot of mystery to this story, and a sense of urgency in more than one way. The comic ends with Laura dropping onto the quarantined island from above, knowing that her time is limited before the island is scorched to prevent the virus from spreading any further.
I really only have one complaint about this comic, and it’s not something to do with the quality in any way. This is meant to be a 3-issue story arc and that’s fine. The complaint is that the previous issue ended with a long-awaited reunion between Laura and her aunt and cousin, who we haven’t seen since the Target X miniseries 10 years ago. Unfortunately because of this short story arc, and then Generations coming up next, we don’t get to see any of that reunion. Again, I won’t blame this comic or Tom Taylor for this at all – it might be more of a Marvel thing, pushing the Generations thing out with a deadline. It also backs up my thoughts that the Enemy of the State II story arc would have benefited with either an extra issue or at least an extra-sized final issue.
Anyway, the art by Leonard Kirk is great. It’s a very clean, smooth look, but with good use of detail where it counts. The opening page ties the two stories together immediately, with the ship burning in the atmosphere above New York City, where one of the guards on the ship look on until he’s grabbed from the shadows by … I think Gabby. The close-up on their red eye masks on the second page is a great teaser for their new outfits. Speaking of their outfits, Laura’s new black suit is a great mix of Wolverine’s classic look with a touch of Laura’s X-Force Uniform on her shoulders and legs. Gabby’s look is a strangely effective mix of intimidating, cute and tacky. In other words, it’s so very much Gabby.
The action scene on the boat is appropriately brutal, especially the splash page of the guards shooting at the sisters, while Laura slices off one gunman’s hand with her foot claw without even looking. There’s an appropriate amount of blood splashing around and marking Laura’s outfit. Bullets clearly bouncing off their bulletproof suits is a nice touch. The most detailed panels in the comic involve the crash site, with buildings and plants in the backgrounds, smoke and flames in the crater and people surrounding the alien ship with their phones. There’s a nice touch of Iron Heart’s head showing up on one cellphone screen in the foreground, with its owner looking at the picture, while Iron Heart is examining the crash. Facial expressions do a great job at conveying emotion, whether it’s Laura’s anger clearly showing on her mouth alone, or the stunned look when the human trafficker realizes who’s listening to his confession. The colouring by Michael Garland is also great. There’s fantastic use of shadows in the opening action scene (when they exist that is), while the crash site is much more colourful. The bright light of the flaming ship glowing on New York’s buildings at night is a very nice touch.
I know this is a longer review than normal for a solo book, but there is a lot to talk about here with the two split storylines that work well together and the new suits. In any case, this is a great comic, continuing All-New Wolverine’s run as the best X-Men title on the market (at least until more of the new books begin). Laura and Gabby’s interactions are entertaining as always, both of them throwing out a couple amusing moments. I also should say that this comic does a better job at selling me on Iron Heart than the Civil War II event did. As much as it would be nice to see more of the reunion that began at the end of ANW 18, that in no way effects the quality of this comic at all. This series remains an easy recommendation to Wolverine fans who are curious about his daughter figure. As the first issue in a new story arc, this is a great jumping on point for those who enjoyed X-23 in Logan and want to check out her comics. As for long-time X-23 fans, you’re making a mistake if you haven’t at least given this series a chance yet.