ALL NEW WOLVERINE #1 [Review]

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ALL NEW WOLVERINE #1/ Written by TOM TAYLOR/ Art by DAVID LOPEZ & DAVID NAVARROT/ Color Art by NATHAN FAIRBAIRN/ Letters by VC’S CORY PETIT/ Production Design by MANNY MEDEROS/ Published by MARVEL COMICS

Once upon a time there was a little girl. She was not born so much as she was created, literally grown in a lab as a replacement for a man who had been meant to be the ultimate weapon. His name had been James Howlett before he was taken and transformed into Weapon X, but upon freeing himself he took the name Logan and became known as The Wolverine. By contrast, she was not given a name beyond her designation: X-23.

In time, the girl was freed and she found a name for herself – Laura Kinney. She also found a mentor (if not quite a father) in the man she was cloned from. And she found a new place for herself among others like them – mutants – using her powers to try and help others while building a normal life for herself when she wasn’t saving the world.

Now, the man known as Logan is dead. And the mantle of The Wolverine lies unused. But the principles that he died upholding still survive. And the world still needs someone to be the best at doing what isn’t very nice. And no one is better equipped to continue Logan’s legacy than Laura Kinney.

That is why Laura has changed her costume and her codename. And that is why she is in Paris, trying to stop an assassination attempt. More, she is trying to get close to this particular assassin, who seems to have a special interest in her, for some reason.

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All New Wolverine is quick to jump into the fray and the pace doesn’t let up for a moment. There are many intense sequences that would rival the most thrilling of summer blockbusters. Fans of high-action comics will no doubt be pleased by this issue.

I should note I’ve never been much of a Wolverine fan. And I know next to nothing about X-23. But I have been a Tom Taylor fan for a while now and I have yet to regret picking up any comic he has written. That streak continues with All New Wolverine.

The script’s only real weakness is that we don’t get much sense of Laura as a character. Ironically this is because her main conflict is that – as a clone – she is trying to forge her own identity while honoring the name of her mentor. We do get a few details about Laura’s life outside of heroism – including the fact that she’s apparently dating Angel (Warren Worthington The Third, not the vampire guy) – but there isn’t a lot for readers to latch on and sympathize with apart from her lack of identity. Despite this, Taylor does make Laura into a likable protagonist and even manages to sneak in a little bit of Logan via a flashback.

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The artwork proves a worthy match to Taylor’s script. David Lopez and David Navarrot do a fine job of illustrating the action. And the colors by Nathan Fairbairn are well chosen, with different palettes being used to depict the streets of Paris on a rainy night and the meadow where Laura dreams/remembers herself and Logan as she lies recovering from a sniper bullet to the brain.

All New Wolverine is a worthy continuation of the legacy started by Roy Thomas, Len Wein and Chris Claremont. I didn’t know much about the woman who was X-23 going into this book and I still don’t, really. Yet the final pages of this issue contain a hook that should offer Laura Kinney ample chance to discover who she is and prove that she is more than just a clone in future issues.

Rating 5

About Matt Morrison

Matt "Starman" Morrison is The Grand Exalted High Macha of Raspur - a non-existent but real-sounding country. He has been writing about comics since before the word "blogging" was coined. He enjoys acting, role-playing, movie-riffing and sarcasm. You can follow his adventures on Twitter, @GeekyGeekyWays.

2 comments on “ALL NEW WOLVERINE #1 [Review]

  1. Great review, though it ought to be pointed out that while X WAS created in a lab, she was still carried to term the old-fashioned way (the geneticist who created her, Sarah Kinney, was forced to act as the surrogate).

    I highly suggest checking out X-23: Innocence Lost and X-23: Target X. Both are incredible books, and Innocence Lost is a unique spin on the superhero origin story in that it’s actually more Sarah’s story than it is Laura’s. Those are two of the essentials for getting a sense of who she is. The others are:

    NYX: No Way Home (Quesada) — Her comics debut, and pretty much shows Laura at her lowest. The artist did a GREAT job of showing how broken she is by this point. Her very first scene is her just staring blankly out a window. Innocence Lost and Target: X are effectively the backstory that explains WHY she’s so far gone in this book.

    New X-Men (Kyle and Yost) — This is where she permanently becomes part of the X-Men. Claremont had her first in Uncanny (her second appearance after NYX), but did very little with her or really establish much in the way of personality. New X-Men helps establish a lot of her early friendships, which sadly haven’t been brought up of late (to the frustration of her fans. That, and the NXM kids are the last crop of teen characters readers actually CARE about. The ones that came afterwards under Aaron and Bendis have just been so bleh).

    X-Force (Kyle and Yost) — X-Force spins out of the Messiah Complex crossover that helped close out New X-Men. It has tie-ins with three other crossover: Messiah War, Necrosha, and Second Coming (Laura plays roles in all three, including a very heartbreaking scene that leads to her first solo).

    X-23 (Liu) — Laura’s first solo series picks up right after the end of Second Coming. I’d also suggest including the one-shot by Liu, which loosely ties into the first arc, while also referencing NYX. A very important series as it’s Laura’s first attempts to figure out who and what she’s going to be, which All-New Wolverine builds on.

    She’s had a number of other series appearances, including Avengers Academy and Arena, All-New X-Men, the Logan Legacy, and Wolverines, but most aren’t particularly important. She was very poorly utilized in Academy, Hopeless generally did a good job with her in Arena, and most fans despised Bendis’s handling of her in All-New (it’s mainly important for establishing the Angel relationship, which unfortunately reads like Bendis just pulled it out of his ass). Wolverines was generally solid, but not very important. It DID hint at Laura taking up the cowl, though. And issue #13 was HILARIOUS (starring Deadpool. Trying to be Wolverine HIMSELF in a brilliant bit of meta commentary on legacy characters).

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