Writer: Mariko Tamaki
Artist: Juann Cabal
Colorist: Nolan Woodard
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Review by Greg Brothers
When Marvel last went through and rolled out a new initiative, Logan was still dead. In order to get Wolverine back into the line up of books, his clone daughter Laura took up the mantle. Throughout the series Laura fought evil groups who were cloning, human trafficking, and several other unsavory things. With the return of Logan to the land of the living, Laura needed a new codename, so she has taken back her old mantle of X-23.
As X-23 #1 starts, Laura and her sister Gabby are fighting a group of mercenaries who are trying to steal DNA. Laura has realized that groups will stop at nothing to continue to use her and Logan’s DNA to clone an army of assassins. Her and Gabby are going to work together to make sure that they do not get away with it. No matter who they are.
From the first panel, Tamaki is able to establish Laura’s voice. The panels with scenes from her past serve as an entry point for readers that know little about the character. While the first third of X-23 #1 is all action, Tamaki’s dialogue focuses our attention on Laura and Gabby. While the mission of these two is serious, Tamaki shows that she understands both characters. Laura is stoic and protective, while Gabby provides the comic relief in her words and actions. The appearance of a trio of clones establishes a future conflict that is worthy of Laura.
The first thing to mention about the art is Laura’s latest look. It is unique enough that it establishes that this is a new phase in Laura’s life. The uniform does have several nods to her past however, reminding the reader that Laura has been around for quite some time now. The linework is sharp and detailed. The inks clearly define the characters. The coloring is bright and engaging during the fight scenes, with a seamless transition to muted colors later when the story calls for it.
Verdict: Buy it.
X-23 #1 is a great jumping on point for new readers, while providing a new and fulfilling direction for returning readers. The new focus on Laura and Gabby’s lives makes sense based on previous adventures. The dialogue is engaging and funny. The art pops off the page, plus one of the panels has a WHAM! reference. That right there is worth the price of admission.