WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for X-23 #1, by Mariko Tamaki, Juann Cabal, Nolan Woodward and Cory Petit, on sale now.
When Laura Kinney took over the mantle of Wolverine in 2014, she soon found herself with a youthful sidekick named Gabby. As a clone of Laura, Gabby is essentially her younger sister, and the young mutant quickly became a shining spot in the All-New Wolverine book. In fact, she may very well be the best mutant that Marvel’s ever introduced.
In addition to being a co-lead of that book, Gabby, aka Honey Badger, got boosted to an actual X-Men team, and has somehow managed to charm Deadpool, Laura’s and her half-brother Daken and the adult Jean Grey. Gabby even got to casually touch Namor, of all people!
The debut issue of X-23 by Mariko Tamaki, Juann Cabal, Nolan Woodward and Cory Petit continues Gabby’s hot streak. After the two sisters recover genetic mutant data, they bring the information back to Beast at the Xavier Institute. Before they leave for their next assignment, they come across the surviving Stepford Cuckoo Celeste, Mindee and Phoebe. It turns out that this is the day of their birth — whatever that means, since they’re clones of Emma Frost — and they’ve bought cake to celebrate.
In the Cuckoos, Gabby sees a trio of kindred souls. No, she doesn’t realize the other two sisters (Sophie and Esme) are still alive, albeit on the verge of death, but Gabby does know the pain the remaining Cuckoos feel, having lost most of her sisters several years back. Being the kid that she is, Gabby can’t but help and ask for a fist bump of clone solidarity.
And because Gabby is Gabby, she gets that fist bump from Mindee. The Cuckoos are weird, but no one can resist Gabby.
Gabby’s innate likability has been noted in the past, but in X-23, it appears it will truly become a genuine plot point. From what Marvel has revealed, future issues will see the Cuckoos kidnap her for their own purposes, purposes that no doubt relate to curing Esme and Sophie. The actual answer, when it arrives, may end up explaining just what it is about her in general that makes her so likable. Whatever the reason is, it’s no doubt going to lead to more fun — and more complications — for the breakout character.
The Wolverine family has a history of connecting with near everyone in the Marvel Universe, so in that respect, it’s not too surprising that Gabby has been able to make nice with so many characters. Even taking her youth out of the equation, she really is just a character in the vein of Ms. Marvel or Spider-Man, someone who is such a good person, it’s really, really difficult to dislike. The original Wolverine is slowly but surely making his return to the world, and that means that some of the clawed characters running around may have to step back into the shadows. Here’s hoping Gabby gets to remain in the spotlight, if for no other reason than to see Logan’s reaction acquiring a new daughter.
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