At a company where the “all-new” adjective is used at the drop of a hat, it’s a pleasure that not only is it appropriate for “All-New Wolverine,” but that it’s attached to a series that is working out so well. Tom Taylor, David Lopez, David Navarrot and Nathan Fairbairn’s series starring Laura Kinney (aka X-23) as the new Wolverine was not only been enjoyable right out of the gate, but continues that quality into its second issue.
Taylor’s story hinges on the idea of Laura being a slightly defective clone of the original Wolverine; if she exists, it would make sense that there are other clones bopping around in the Marvel Universe. After last issue’s cliffhanger revealing that the assassin she was tracking was a clone of her, Laura’s path this issue brings her not only to the authorities but to the rest of her clones, but of course nothing is too simple.
What makes “All-New Wolverine” #2 work so well is how Taylor tackles Laura herself. She’s not perfect, she gets duped at points, but she’s got a real strong emotional core that makes it easy to use as a hook to pull readers in. She’s likable in part because she’s trying to do the right thing, but also because of how well she reacts to others. Her reaction to the clone in her apartment is great, from sending Warren away for his own safety (without his realizing what’s going on) to the calm but inquisitive way that she talks to Gabby. Similarly, I like Laura’s reaction in the clone lair; she’s the most rational person in the room, not only with the clones but also with the authorities that she’s been trying to work with to neutralize the threat to others. You can see the struggle she’s in to try and keep everyone on both sides safe, even as she’s also not afraid to go on the attack when her back is pushed up against the wall. So far, she’s had to fight people on both sides of this conflict in order to protect others, and it’s that balance that keeps the story interesting.
Lopez and Navarrot are a good art team for “All-New Wolverine,” as their art has a real grace to it that doesn’t downplay the amount of violence that occurs. The two-page spread of the fight in the clone lair has a lot of action, and — while it’s not gory or excessively bloody — you never lose sight of the fact this is a fight where each side wants the other half dead. This is a book that just looks sharp overall; Lopez’s figures are clean and I love how the clones all look similar, while (thanks to the initial process being faulty) all of them have differences to tell them apart. Add in some graceful and smooth inks from Navarrot and bright and vivid colors from Fairbairn, and this book is sharp.
“All-New Wolverine” #2 is fun, pure and simple. X-23 was often characterized by the doom and gloom followed her, so it’s nice to see that she can still deal with heady subjects while having a bit of cheer and a spring in her step as Wolverine. The death of Wolverine may have come across as a bit gimmicky, but — with Laura as the new Wolverine — it was clearly all worth it. I’ll be back for more.