This past year, after the Death of Wolverine event, Laura Kinney/X-23, far too briefly, took on the mantle of Wolverine. I’ve read most of that series, and thought, with Logan’s return, I might as well give my thoughts on this series.
The series has something of a rough start. The first three major trades of the comic – before I started reading it in floppies, tend to fit into two categories. The first and third trades are, ultimately, wrapping up a bunch of remaining problems for Laura from her backstory – the corporation that created her in the first place and the “Trigger Scent” that sends her into a berserker rage. The second takes the plot that the first and third trades are handling and takes a hard detour for the Civil War II event, which basically manages to encapsulate the fundamental nature of that conflict and lays a clear case for why the “Anti-Precrime side” is in the right in fewer issues than even the core story of the series took to play out.
The remainder of the series gets into some interesting stories, with a focus less on the existing baggage from X-23, and more with the implications of Laura taking on the name of Wolverine and the baggage that comes with. This, in particular, comes to a head with the “Orphans of X” storyline, where a group of people made up of the families of those killed by Logan and his bloodline band together to everyone in Logan’s bloodline since Logan himself is dead.
It’s an interesting storyline and does a good job of getting into both the innocent people that Laura and Logan had killed, along with the fact that Laura’s stepbrother Daken does have a lot of innocent blood on his hands. If I have one complaint with that storyline, it never really gets into the implications that some of the groups that show up here are groups like The Hand – where it is literally impossible to not kill them – any attempt to take them alive leads them to commit suicide. Even Spider-Man, in his dealings with The Hand, has to face the fact that he simply cannot take them alive, if you defeat them, they will die, by their own hand if not by the heroes. Never mind the fact that Logan has also certainly killed more than a few members of Hydra and Nazis (remember – all members of Hydra are Nazis, but not all Nazis were in Hydra) – which should have given some of the members of the Orphans of X some pause.
Remember – if you ask someone you’re currently fighting alongside if they’re currently a Nazi, and their response is to click their heels and say “Jawohl” then you should really reconsider who you’re teaming up with.
Likewise, while I like how the story ended – with Laura realizing that the way to break the cycle is to talk to the Orphans of X and work with them to correct (to borrow a phrase from The Avengers) the red in her ledger, I’d would have also liked a narrative asterisk there that the Hand and Hydra were exceptions and anyone with loyalties with them would get a head start before she tipped off SHIELD.
I’d say the bummer with this story though is with the exception of a couple of stories, I never really got the impression that Laura was rubbing elbows with the larger superhero community – beyond the X-Men – in a way that Wolverine had. We’re getting some of that with other books – Domino teaming up with Shang Chi in her book, for example, but nothing quite the same here. I’m not expecting or requesting Deadpool level crossovers, but when you’re writing a character who is taking on the mantle of the guy who supplanted Spidey for “Most crossover appearances per month” (before Deadpool got super popular), and I really wish that she had more opportunities to rub elbows with other major characters, to show that she was operating in a larger world than just the X-Books, but sadly that wasn’t quite the case
That said, this series is also responsible for introducing the characters of Gabby/Honey Badger, and Johnathan T. Wolverine, and they are the best. Seriously, Gabby is one of the best supporting characters of all time, and I’m ecstatic that she’s continued on and is appearing in X-Men Red.
All-New Wolverine is currently available at Amazon.com, in trade paperback releases (link is to volume one), and through Comixology/Kindle releases (link is to the page for the whole series). Buying anything through those links helps support the site.
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