With my new job, I really only have time for one full comic review a week, and that’s when I’m not working evenings. It’s going to be hard to pick which one to review at times. This is one of those weeks. Do I want to review Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which I don’t write as many full reviews for as I would like? It’s also a fairly complex comic that can’t be done justice in one paragraph. Do I write a review for Detective Comics, of which this is a character focused issue in the aftermath of Clayface’s death? Or do I review a comic that’s just fun? This time round, I’ll pick the fun one.
All-New Wolverine 31, written by Tom Taylor, could take place pretty much any time after the Immune arc that ended with issue 24. It starts off with Jonathan the Unstoppable (Gabby’s Wolverine pet) destroying a bird statue in his restlessness. Although Gabby’s a bit reluctant with taking Jonathan for a walk, Laura pulls out the universal translator that the Guardians of the Galaxy gave them. Sure enough, Jonathan wants a walk … and to taste more bird statues.
This issue focuses primarily on Gabby and Jonathan. During their walk, they track down the very lab that experimented on Jonathan before Squirrel Girl rescued him (before All-New Wolverine 7). Not sure if Laura will allow her and Jonathan to attack, Gabby calls Deadpool for help. The rest of this issue is just fun. It kind of feels like a Deadpool comic, which Gabby fits perfectly into. Gabby and Deadpool’s friendship is adorable in its own twisted way, while Jonathan is … less fond of the merc with a mouth. It’s a weird story where they fight zombie squirrls, Gabby uses chloroform for the first time, forgetting one somewhat important step. And of course you’ve got just the right level of Deadpool’s 4th wall breaking and giving Gabby lessons that most parents wouldn’t want their kids learning. Laura doesn’t really protest though.
The art by Marco Failla matches the comic’s tone perfectly. It’s a slightly cartoony look, but with mostly realistic body proportions. The somewhat exaggerated facial expressions perfectly convey emotions, like Gabby’s varying levels of sarcasm, annoyance and excitement, and Deadpool’s general body language. Jonathan’s body language is great as well, varying between rambunctious, standing off and looking calm at the end of the comic. There’s some good visual storytelling, like Deadpool setting up flammable barrels in the background while Laura watches the lead scientist get eaten by zombie wolverines (off panel). Perhaps the best visual moment is a gag at the half-way point that I won’t spoil, but there are a bunch of panels in a row with the same background, while Deadpool, Gabby and Jonathan are moving around between panels. As usual, Nolan Woodard’s colouring is brilliant. The comic is bright and colourful, matching the tone perfectly.
This is a bit of a weird comic, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. And after the fairly dark and dramatic Orphans of X story, it’s good to get an issue that’s just plain fun. Is it the best issue of All-New Wolverine? No, and it’s not trying to be either. It’s just a comic about Gabby, Deadpool and a universal translator wearing wolverine taking on mad scientists and zombie squirrels. If that sounds like a good time, then you’ll most likely enjoy this issue.