By Tom Taylor, David Lopez, David Navarrot and Nathan Fairbairn
X-23 is one of those rare characters, kind of like Harley Quinn, that originated from a television show and worked her way into the pages of a comic book. She made her debut in an episode of X-Men: Evolution, which was written by the dynamic duo of Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost. She began to gain popularity in the pages of NYX where she was essentially a prostitute. The character has had a huge transformation since her day as a hooker for hire and is now actually a fan favorite. Today she takes over for an iconic X-Man in All-New Wolverine #1. If that’s not stardom knocking on your door, I don’t know what is.
Tom Taylor is new to writing X-23, but that doesn’t mean he is not capable. His characterization of her is fine this issue as we get to see her being very selfless and trying to help those in need. She is working with an accomplice as well, so it’s nice to see some continuity from All-New X-Men involved here. The main problem with this book is that it’s not very exciting. There wasn’t any “wow” factor with the story; it’s just kind of okay. We get a supposed shocking reveal at the end, but it doesn’t generate a ton of excitement. There are some decent things that happened, like X-23 revealing herself in her costume for the first time, but this issue is very forgettable. There is also the cheesiness of Logan telling X-23 that she’s the best there is at what she does. That’s a line used for Logan and it just comes off a bit lame here. Tom Taylor should be allotted a little bit of time with this series before we make any harsh judgments, but this first issue isn’t very impressive.
The pencils this issue are handled by David Lopez and David Navarrot with colors by Nathan Fairbairn. The David’s do an all right job here, but the art doesn’t seem to fit the character. X-23 is generally dark, and is drawn that way. In NYX or X-Force the art matched the tone for her, but this comic seems a little lighter than we usually see. One terrible thing in this issue is the look of Angel. His costume is atrocious and there are things over his ears that make his head look ridiculously big. It’s not clear who is to blame for that since it is Marvel’s costume, but it looks rough in every panel. There are some good pages though; X-23 revealing herself in her new uniform is cool. There is a panel where she takes a bullet to the head, which is very nice to look at, but overall, the pencils are a little disappointing. The colors by Nathan Fairbairn come off too light for a book like this. Change can be a good thing, but it just doesn’t fit the character.
This was an underwhelming first issue. X-23 was portrayed fine, but the story wasn’t exciting enough. As stated above, Tom Taylor should have a grace period to get things together, but this wasn’t the best introductory issue. The art was all right but seemed off for such a dark title. Overall, if you’re a fan of the character you’re going to pick this up, but if you’re on the fence, it may not be a great investment.