By Tom Taylor, Marcio Takara and Jordan Boyd
It’s no secret that Marvel is making it a point to be more diverse these days and any stroll through the comic aisle will allow you to see this. Sam Wilson is Captain America, She-Hulk is leading an all-woman Avengers team called A-Force, and X-23 has taken over the mantle of Wolverine in All-New Wolverine. None of this is bad news, not by any stretch, and it’s actually made for some fresh new stories, but keeping things from going stale has been something that has plagued many series before these new titles; Marvel generally doesn’t assign C-list talent to books they are trying to push though. Time will tell on how these titles fare in the long run, but for now, things are good.
Tom Taylor has been doing a fine job on All-New Wolverine, but if there is one gripe with the title it’s that X-23 is a little too light. This is not he same character that killed her “mother” or the one who killed foe after foe. This issue has X-23 teaming up with Squirrel Girl to find a missing Squirrel. Taylor uses a flashback with Logan to set up X-23 trying to be a little friendlier. Tom Taylor does make this a fun issue, and it’s entertaining seeing an unlikely team up, but it’s hard not to notice the drastic change in characterization. Taylor writes X-23 a lot lighter here, as the old one wouldn’t even entertain going on an outing like this. His characterization of Squirrel Girl does add a lighter tone to this issue and makes X-23 branch like she is not used to; this is evident in a panel where she takes a selfie. We also get a little more building of the relationship between X-23 and Gabby. Taylor shows us some of the parallels between the two in a well placed flashback panel, and it’s hard not to feel for Gabby, who’s now in the shoes Laura was in not too long ago.
The pencils are handled by Marcio Takara with colors by Jordan Boyd. This is a really well drawn issue, and the opening flashback is done wonderfully. Jordan Boyd uses some light colors in these panels that work very effectively for establishing and reinforcing the tone. Takara does a good job of showing emotion on X-23’s face as she tells Gabby she will not be joining them on her mission. It can be a bit difficult to show X-23 with any emotion, but Takara does well this issue. We also get a pretty entertaining full-page of Squirrel Girl bringing the gift of a live wolverine as a girt, which is funny to see. There are a couple of panels that lack some detail, which is not really a biggie, but it is noticeable. As a whole, the art was very good this issue and has improved as the series has progressed.
All-New Wolverine has been a fun read of late. Tom Taylor must be finding his stride with these characters, because things are starting to click. The pencils and colors are about as good as we’ve seen them on this title. If this kind of consistency keeps up, this will be one of Marvel’s better titles.