A genetic clone of the original Wolverine, Laura Kinney was literally born to be the star of Marvel Comics' "All-New Wolverine" -- but that doesn't make her destiny an easy one to fulfill. At a very young age, Laura's creators began torturing her, training her as an assassin. As a result, she's fought for most of her life to be more than the weapon her creators intended her to be. It's been a painful and personal struggle, but she became a hero. Thus, when her biological "father" died, she decided to honor his legacy as the new Wolverine, even beginning to build a somewhat normal life by becoming the caretaker of Gabby, her younger clone sister.
This October, the ghosts of Laura's past come roaring back with the goal of tearing down the life she's built for herself. Writer Tom Taylor and artist Nik Virella kick off a new storyline in "All-New Wolverine" #13 titled "Enemy of the State II." But what is its connection to the original Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. tale, and who, exactly, are the forces the new Wolverine is hunting -- and being hunted by -- in the arc?
CBR News: What's your sense of the core conflicts of the original tale, and how will this sequel compare?
Tom Taylor: It's a spiritual successor [to the original]. At the heart of it, the first "Enemy of the State" was about a Wolverine who has lost control, who is being used to commit atrocities by dark forces. This sequel is similar. It begins with Laura being used to commit a terrible crime, which will see the State hunting her. She will be doing all she can to track down who used her, while also evading those who want to bring her in.
How long have you been building towards this story? Was the appearance by Laura's arch-nemesis, Kimura, at the end of your initial arc sort of the first hint that this was coming?
We've been planning this a very long time. I actually pitched something close to this for our first arc before we decided to go in another direction with The Four Sisters. As for Kimura's appearance, yes, she will definitely be back soon. She is a character who has tortured Laura from childhood. She is her Sabretooth. Their confrontation has been a long time coming.
We hope to tie up a lot of loose ends from Laura's past in this arc. This one is a great jumping on point for new readers, but it's also definitely one for longtime fans of her as X-23 with nods to "Innocence Lost" and "Target-X."
In terms of tone, how does this story compare to the "All-New Wolverine" stories that have preceded it? The last few issues have been pretty fun superhero adventure stories. Will that continue?
There will still be some fun -- I can't really write without humor. I get too bored. But the tone is certainly shifting, here. Laura has committed to not taking a life, and the start of this story immediately throws that out the window. Laura is going to go through a lot in this story, but we hope that she can come through stronger without, you know, losing control and killing those closest to her.
Essentially, Wolverine is used, loses control, and kills a whole lot of innocent people. She is in a lot of trouble. She won't know who she's up against to begin with, nor who has used her in this way, but Nick Fury and a crack team of S.H.I.E.L.D. hunters will be coming after her for her crimes.
The stakes couldn't be higher. If Laura is captured before she learns who set this tragedy in motion, she could be locked away forever. Truthfully, she probably believes she should be locked away after what she's done.
As for the scale, Laura is going to travel across the world, being chased by an elite team and chasing answers. But finding those answers could lead to even more danger for Laura. In trying to take back control, she could be lost forever. She could be forced to be the assassin she was created to be. She could be the Wolverine no more.
What does "Enemy of the State II" mean for Laura's clone sister, Gabby? How big a role will she play?
She'll have a very big role -- if she survives "Civil War II." But I can't guarantee she will. Dun. Dun. Dunnn.
The original "Enemy of the State" pitted Wolverine against not just S.H.I.E.L.D., but many of the Marvel Universe's superheroes. Having established Laura's relationships with a multitude of Marvel characters, will we see some of those relationships tested in "Enemy of the State II?" Will this be an arc full of guest stars?
Not as many guest appearance as the original, no. There will be some, but this is a story about Laura and her past catching up with her.
You've worked with a number of great collaborators on "All-New Wolverine" and with "Enemy of the State II" you begin a collaboration with another fantastic artist, Nik Virella, who recently worked on "Hyperion."
Nik is fantastic. She brings a grittiness that is perfect for this story but alsogives her characters a wonderful, complex range of emotions. She's the perfect artist to put Laura through the trials coming her way. Also, you can't spell "snikt" without Nik, so we've decided this one was meant to be.