This past year, when Marvel comics brought back Logan, someone else had already taken on the mantle of Wolverine – Laura Kinney, formerly known as X-23, complete with having her own book branded as All-New Wolverine. Marvel editorial decided that rather than letting Laura keep the code name (as they’ve done with the multiple Hawkeyes), Laura would renounce the code-name, and her book would re-launch and re-brand. Unfortunately, it causes this book to be something of a step back from All-New Wolverine in multiple respects.
With X-23, while the implication of the book is that Laura is taking back her old code-name and returning the Wolverine name to Logan to have her own identity. The problem is that – really, there’s no time spent on this choice. Logan doesn’t make an appearance in this book, nor in the end of All-New Wolverine.
Similarly, while Laura, as Wolverine, had larger connections to the outside Marvel Universe, as X-23 those are gone. Previously she had teamed up with Nick Fury, Captain America, and Carol Danvers. Here the only outside characters she encounters are other X-Men, and even then primarily Beast. She’s gone from being part of a larger world to being much more cut off.
That said, the writing is otherwise on point – the interplay between Laura and Gabby is strong, with Honey Badger still being one of the strongest new additions to the X-Line, and hopefully Gabby will stick around when Johnathan Hickman takes over the X-Line.
If I have a complaint, it’s that the book is a little too short – I appreciate the book being permitted to continue through the start of Age of X-Man, so they can tie up lingering plot threads. However, it’s still a case where this book is diminished by the re-launch.
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