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.
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.
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.