The Orphans of X isn’t wasting any time with getting creepy and dark, that’s for sure.
Written by Tom Taylor, All-New Wolverine 27 picks up pretty much where the last issue left off, with Daken escaping from his captures and torturers, only for Laura to quickly find him in the same neighborhood as her aunt and cousin’s house. Just as Daken turns around to find his pursuers, they’re gone. It was a perfect closer that only intensified the general feel of unease in this story arc as a whole. The comic opens up with Gabby (Laura’s young clone sister), Sarah Kinney and Megan Kinney ready to fight off whoever is coming at their door, but everyone is relieved when Laura and Daken step in. At least at first.
Gabby opens up the scene with another of her amusing lines, but Daken isn’t having any of it. He’s clearly on edge, and that leads to another twisted reveal and an intense confrontation between him and the others. Even if someone in the comicbookresources forum pretty much predicted part of what happened, it’s best not to explain it here. In addition to all the distrust going on even within Laura’s family, there’s another big story moment that promises this arc is about to get a lot more intense. Like the first issue in this story arc, there isn’t as much humour as usual for All-New Wolverine, replaced by an overall dark tone. And for a story like this, it works very well.
The art by Juann Cabal is great. It’s a smooth yet detailed look, with a great mix of wider shots and close ups that increases the intensity of certain scenes. There’s one particularly neat panel where Gabby is standing in front of everyone, and popping out one of her claws. Instead of seeing her face, you only see her wolverine jacket complete with its white eyes. Daken’s clearly had a rough day with his fatigued look, the blood on his forehead and his completely torn clothes. Facial expression do a great job at conveying emotions, like the look of fury in Laura’s eyes after Daken’s apparently rash actions, Daken’s look of determination throughout the issue, and Jonathan’s snarl when things start getting intense. The environmental detail is often impressive, like windows that slightly obscure an image, bloodstains on a couch after a fight, and pictures hung on the wall. There are also some neat Easter Eggs. I won’t spoil what they say, but read the gravestones in the cemetery – they’re funny. Nolan Woodard’s colouring is also great. It’s bright and colourful as a whole, with great use of shadows. Light reflects off of Gabby’s red goggles in a convincing way, and everything is tinted red when Laura pretty much goes berserker for a moment.
This is shaping up to be by far the most intense story arc in this series yet. It’s certainly the most emotionally intense issue so far. And with a story that’s focusing on the violent legacy of Wolverine’s family as a whole, it’s appropriate that Daken is starring in this story just as much as Laura, and that despite how different their temperaments and outlooks are, they can get along … most of the time. This series continues to be the best X-Men book on the market, as it embraces the family themes of the franchise and it strikes a great mix between dark, intense and fun. Fans of the original Wolverine should check this series out if they haven’t already, and this story arc is a good place to start. X-23 fans should be reading this, and this story arc is definitely worth picking up for Daken fans as well.
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Really good, there’s still some humour, but there’s a lot of tension, and it gets real heavy. Great stuff.