All-New Wolverine Annual #1 Review
Written by Tom Taylor
Art by Marcio Takara
Colors by Mat Lopes
Letters by VC’s Cory Petit
Review by John Dubrawa
After the closing moments of the last issue of Tom Taylor’s All-New Wolverine, the timing couldn’t be better for an issue to take readers back to a time when we could all laugh and love and feel things again. The All-New Wolverine Annual is that much-needed reprieve, a bombastic one-and-done tale set in a time before heroes started punching each other over whatever it is they are punching each other over in Civil War II. Taylor approaches a familiar plot device with a kind of darkly humorous tone befit of this series as it reaches its milestone one-year anniversary, a well-deserved honor for a series that has been consistently wonderful, and continues to be so here as well.
In the vein of Laura’s recent team-up with Squirrel Girl, the All-New Wolverine Annual finds our All-New Wolverine in a cross-dimensional team-up with everybody’s favorite menace from Earth-65, Spider-Gwen. It’s a simple case of Freaky Friday as both Laura and Gwen wind up in each other’s bodies and must work together to right this hilarious wrong. From unfortunate accidents with retractable claws to incidents involving cars and accidental faceplants, the perverse joy that comes from this issue is a direct result of both Gwen and Laura being woefully ignorant of their new body’s abilities. There’s so much for Taylor to mine for comedic value that the premise almost feels confined being only one issue (albeit a larger one), especially when the end is so tidily wrapped-up as it is here. But if the worst thing to be said about a story is that there should have been more of it, then it’s doing a lot right.
Illustrating all of this joyful carnage is Marcio Takara, whose playful art style helps to keep this issue grounded in the more fun aspects of Taylor’s script. Takara’s expressive faces help to convey the constant emotional roller coaster our two heroines are on throughout the issue and that’s saying a lot given that one of them doesn’t actually have a visible mouth when in her costume. Not to mention the sidelong glances from Gabby are quite priceless. Mat Lopes’ colors do a wonder to Takara’s pencils, giving the art a ton of depth and making the characters really pop on each page. You wouldn’t know the kind of physical harm the two leads of this book are inflicting on their own bodies by just flipping through the brightly-colored pages.
Buy! Come on, Spider-Gwen and Wolverine teaming up in a book is kind of a no-brainer if you’ve been enjoying either of those two series up until this point. Tom Taylor has been killing it on All-New Wolverine since the start and what a better way to celebrate the book’s year-anniversary than with an exciting team-up? Besides, with all the drama that the book has been delving into lately, getting away for just an issue is a good palette cleanser before next month breaks all of our heart strings just like I suspect it will.