Four issues into “X-23,” I feel like the prologue is out of the way and we’re starting to finally see things rolling. Laura (aka X-23) has left the X-Men’s Utopia base and headed out into the rest of the world, and slowly the new pieces and concepts are getting added in. Overall, I’m pleased with the pace that Marjorie Liu’s taken.
While the first three issues were in a different setting, it feels like they did a lot to setup the new path for “X-23,” bringing out Laura’s alienation from the rest of the X-Men and giving us a strong reason for her to leave the safety of the X-Men’s headquarters behind. I’m also finding myself enjoying more and more the relationship between Laura and Gambit, both loners in their own rights who’ve in the past gotten co-opted into various X-Men teams. It looks a little strange on the surface, but their interactions feel natural and logical, more than just picking an unused X-Men member out of a hat to see how they’d fit.
Will Conard and Marco Checcetto provide the art, and it’s nice, a strange mixture of Chris Sprouse’s chiseled angles and Tom Raney’s softer features, depending on the character and the situation. It’s the early images of Alice that remind me of Raney, with her bruised and battered face not seeming to have a solid edge left. It’s when she shows up again later in the issue that the bruises are gone and we get those hard lines defining her face; it’s an interesting but effective switch.
I’m not entirely sure about the new villain showing up this month, but considering nothing beyond her initial appearance seems to have happened with the character, I’m willing to wait and see what Liu does with her. Considering Liu turned the “Wolverine” title’s “a demon is possessing Wolverine” story and made it into something that could’ve just as easily tricked me into thinking it was Liu’s idea all along, I have faith that this character can end up working well here. For now, I’m along for the ride. Considering this is a character I was never interested in before, Liu’s doing a whole lot of good already.