The best thing about "All-New Wolverine" so far has been the relationship between Laura and her young, naÃ¯ve clone Gabby. It's a little unsurprising, then, that the best parts of "All-New Wolverine" #9 revolve around Gabby's glee as Fin Fang Foom's attack commences. What is surprising, though, is how limp the rest of the comic ends up.
The previous issue of "All-New Wolverine" closed with the revelation that Old Man Logan's disappearance was due to his being swallowed by Fin Fang Foom, and that Laura was going to head inside the behemoth to try and fish him out before he was digested. In terms of cliffhangers, it's a reasonable one and sounds like a fun setup for Laura having to make her way through Fin Fang Foom. Unfortunately, this is a story by-the-numbers, and -- with one exception -- there's nothing that stands out here.
Laura goes in and rescues Logan with little-to-no trouble whatsoever. Other heroes show up and attack Fin Fang Foom before learning that Laura and Logan are inside the monster. Eventually, they leave and Laura leads Fin Fang Foom far away -- and that's it. There isn't any sort of witty dialogue or out-of-the-ordinary plot twists that liven up a slightly dull and danger-free story. You never feel like anyone's really in trouble, and even moments that could have added a touch of horror -- part of Logan's legs having been eaten away by Fin Fang Foom's stomach acids -- are presented in an almost blase manner. The one exception to that is whenever Gabby takes center stage. Taylor writes her excitement for little moments (like getting to use a jetpack) as adorably cute, and -- while she doesn't really contribute that much to the plot -- she livens up the page whenever she's present. It's another reason to be glad she's a part of the cast of the book now.
Takara's art is good here; moments like Gabby zipping through the air come across as elegant and natural, and Fin Fang Foom is somewhat menacing without looking truly ridiculous, like we've seen in other appearances. We get some good reaction shots here, like Maria and Fitz's responses when the Helicarrier is first struck by Foom. I just wish he had something a little more interesting to draw; the good art elevates the overall experience a bit, but not so much as to make the issue above average.
"All-New Wolverine" #9 ultimately seems to have one purpose, and that's to put Laura and this future Logan in the same room together. It's clearly part of the setup for the next storyline, and hopefully there will be a bit more pep to those issues. In the end, though, it's too bad that the journey to get these characters together wasn't a little more exciting.