I felt a void when Marjorie Liu’s X-23 was canceled back in 2011. Marvel then placated the masses by using Laura Kinney as a part of various ensemble books like Avengers Arena and All-New X-Men. So I couldn’t have been happier when it was announced that Tom Taylor was going to develop Laura as the new Wolverine. And with All-New Wolverine #6, Taylor has finished his first story arc titled, “The Four Sisters” with satisfying results.
Taylor’s use of the clones, at first, comes off as a recycled plot line. Laura is Logan’s clone, isn’t there a better direction to take the character than have her deal with clones of her own? By employing this thread, however, Taylor allows Laura to transcend her past and realize her heroic potential. Taylor uses Laura’s conflicted, emotionally complex personality perfectly to develop her desire to carry on the legacy by being the best at what Wolverine does–solve problems with extreme prejudice and an unbreakable moral code.
In All-New Wolverine #6, Laura and her clones, Gabby and Bellona, get revenge on the Alchemex genetics program that enslaved and abused the clones. Taylor consistently uses Laura’s past as the driving force for her mission with her cloned sisters. Where once X-23 would have solved problems with extreme violence and no remorse, Taylor begins to build a mentor aspect into her characteristics.
There are moments within the issue where Laura’s compassion for Gabby and Bellona shine. Laura guides Gabby to a crossroads when she incapacitates the head of Alchemex’s genetics program and leaves Gabby to decide how to deal with him. With Laura’s guidance, Gabby opts to threaten violence but not act upon it, which allows Laura to transform from a youth with questionable morals into a strong leader and hero.
David Lopez and David Navarrot’s art conveys the emotional conflict and action in the story well. While Gabby and Bellona are Laura’s clones, Lopez and Navorrot do any excellent job of differentiating the three women. Bellona is tall, emotionally dead, and remorseless. These characteristics are portrayed through her pale, consistently angry appearance. Gabby, on the other hand, is a younger clone, who’s personality is pliable. Lopez and Navarrot excel at creating sadness, concern, and innocence with Gabby’s facial expressions and mismatched outfit. Through their artwork, Laura even seems more confident, as she infiltrates the Alchemex bunker and obtains all the research on her clones from scared scientists. Her stature and concerned facial expression help convey her transformation into more than just a substitute for Logan.
Taylor may employ plot lines from Laura’s past, but he clearly finds a new path issue #6 for the character that will be both entertaining and impactful to the future. With Taylor as the architect of her new role as Wolverine, Laura Kinney is clearly still one of the best female characters in the Marvel Universe.