The previous two issues introduced an alien virus that landed on Roosevelt Island in New York. It’s a virus that spreads quickly, attacks organs indiscriminately, and kills within 24 hours of exposure. It also seems to be attracted to people with healing factors, to the point where Laura’s touch can cure the infected. That’s where this issue picks up.
Written by Tom Taylor, All-New Wolverine 21 There are so many different ways that this comic works. Fairly early in this issue, it’s shown through panicking civilians that Laura’s healing can only take so much, and that if she tries to fight the virus too quickly, it’ll kill her and anyone she hasn’t healed yet. She’s historically felt awkward with physical contact in general, so for most of this issue she reverts back to her old, perfect English, no-nonsense speaking patterns. Also early on in this comic, Doctor Strange teleports in Old Man Logan, Daken and Deadpool to help out.
These three characters each add something different to this comic. Daken hasn’t shown up since the pre-Secret Wars era, and Laura seems to be the only person he’s ever shown any real affection towards. Their reunion is a great moment, with Daken’s words suggesting that he’s there for her and not for the people of the island. Nice touch. Later on, when the others start losing their healing strength, Laura and Old Man Logan patch things up a bit after their hostile parting during the Civil War II tie-in. Deadpool on the other hand adds some much needed humour in an otherwise dramatically heavy comic. It’s fantastic that through their scars and their unique outlooks on life, he and Gabby become almost instant friends.
There’s still a good action scene in the comic, with a bunch of infected and deranged civilians holding up in a building, shooting anyone who tries to approach. Deadpool’s line about beating them up to save them is awesome. Gabby tearing up as she’s trying to cure a couple dead people is a tragic moment that highlights how serious the situation really is. Iron Heart commenting on how incredible it is to watch a bunch of trained killers heal people mirrors how a lot of the civilians would likely feel. And the end of the comic, Laura willingly risks her life to save as many people as possible in the last couple blocks of the city, highlighting how selfless she is. The ending teaser is pretty intense.
Leonardo Kirk’s art is great. There’s a wide variety of civilians in this comic showing a wide range of emotions as they’re being healed. Different people have different levels of sores and brown spots on their skin, with varying levels of fatigue on their faces. For most of this comic, Laura doesn’t show much emotion, as if touching people is reverting her to her detached self, but there’s determination in her eyes. Deadpool’s body language is often hilarious. Gabby’s distressful look when she’s trying to heal dead people sells the drama. The action scene flows well, making good use of debris flying around and the various “Wolverines” grabbing people in ways that they might normally stab them. In the previous issue, I complained that sometimes Laura looked older than she should. While she does at times in this issue too, this time it’s justified by the virus starting to overwhelm her, to the point where she looks like she’s about to die near the end. Michael Garland’s colouring is also great. Again there’s a wide variety of people in the backgrounds with different coloured clothes and skin, and it’s always clear who’s still sick and who’s cured based on their spots. There’s also good use of shading and glowing energy from Iron Heart’s suit.
There is a lot to like about this issue. The guest appearances are not only perfectly suited for the situation, but they lead to several vital moments for Laura’s character. This is possibly the most dramatic issue of All-New Wolverine yet, but with enough humour and fun to keep it entertaining as well. In a week where most of the comics I read were great, this is by far the best. This series is consistently the best X-Men title on the market, especially since it feels like Laura and Gabby are family. Adding in Old Man Logan and Daken enhances the family drama of this particular issue even further. X-23 fans should be reading this series. Fans of the original Wolverine should at least check it out, and considering Old Man Logan shows up here, this is a good place to start. This particular issue is also a fun Deadpool comic of sorts.