“All-New Wolverine” #1 is a good Wolverine comic; it’s full of explosions and slashing and punching, the kind of stuff you want when you say to yourself, “Hey, I want to read a Wolverine comic.” Tom Taylor, who’s made a name for himself with mad violent stories like DC’s “Injustice: Gods Among Us,” knows how to ratchet up tension and deliver a high caliber action sequence, which is what you get in the first issue. It’s a set piece that throws readers right into the middle of the action and catches them up as they go. David Lopez delivers more of his open, expressive art here, filling the issue with awesome choreography and rad character acting. He’s aided by David Navarrot, who adds a rougher texture to Lopez’s crisp linework, and together they build big action splash pages and a great (if unfortunately timed) fight on the Eiffel Tower. It’s a fresh take on the legacy of “Wolverine” that fans will enjoy, even if they find themselves comparing Laura closely to Logan.
Taylor knows this concept is an uphill fight, so he has Laura come out swinging. He lets her try and fail and get up and try again in an attempt to stop an assassination that becomes a lot more personal than she bargained for. She’s not going to be Logan, no matter how hard she tries, and — in those moments — fans get a chance to experience what it’s like to try to live up to an impossible legacy, which a really relatable point of view. By the end of his life, Wolverine had become almost Kryptonian in his ability to do and survive practically anything. No one will ever be able to do that again, and Taylor smartly shows everyone what happens when a person tries to be Wolverine: they get blown up or shot by a sniper. These are two of the ways Taylor messes with the lead character and, if his previous work is any indication, this is a man who knows how to get under the skin of the characters he writes. The inciting incident is a good lead into the first major arc of the series, which shares some storytelling themes with “Orphan Black” and still serves up the kind of story a “Wolverine” reader expects, as part of the lead character’s past comes back to haunt them with violence.
Angel is a good addition to the cast as Wolverine’s love interest/sidekick. They have good chemistry and Taylor does a good job writing a pair of teenagers who are falling in love and learning more about each other at the same time. Their exchanges are entertaining, especially the head pat scene.
Lopez and Navarrot give readers all of these through a European-influenced lens, which finds a sexy balance between soft and gritty. Lopez’s Laura has high cheekbones, long hair and lithe, acrobatic maneuvering throughout the issue. The Eiffel Tower leap is awesomely staged, and the art team pushes the action in the reader’s face, giving Laura plenty of opportunities to impress with her strengths. The characters all emote well on his pages; watch for Angel’s reactions to Wolverine’s injuries, or the sorrow in Laura’s eyes, and tell me you don’t — for a second — suspend your disbelief and believe these are real people. Lopez knows how to bring emotion to life and that will be crucial for a series about a woman whose job is swinging knives and mean people.
“All-New Wolverine” is a worthy successor to the franchise. It blends the familiar and the fresh with style and keeps fans engaged the entire issue. Congratulations, Laura; you’re earning the codename “Wolverine.”