By Mariko Tamaki, Juan Cabal and Nolan Woodard
Laura Kinney, or X-23, is an interesting character. She went from being a child prostitute in the under the radar series NYX, to becoming one of marvels biggest young characters. The transition itself took some time, but she eventually worked her way up to being Wolverine, complete with yellow costume and mask. With the return of Logan, and him taking up his mantle as Wolverine, Laura goes back to being X-23. Tom Taylor wrote the All-New Wolverine series that many fans loved – now it’s Mariko Tamaki’s turn to show she can do just as good of a job, with a different title.
Mariko Tamaki starts off this issue with a flashback of Laura’s time in Weapon X. This is a good move on her part. With a new number 1 issue, it’s always good to give a little background in case there are new readers who aren’t aware of the character. Tamaki makes one thing clear in the first few pages; the bond between Laura and Gabby is still strong. We see Laura get worried about her little sister, even though Gabby, or Honey Badger, can definitely take care of herself.
Tamaki also allows this issue to be bloody, which it should be. Stabbing people with claws is never a clean affair. The plot really starts to pick up once the stepford sisters get involved. Tamaki shows us that Laura has become a better detective. She notices when things are off, and there is definitely something off with the stepford cuckoos. As the issue unwinds, Tamaki treats us to a very good first book. We’re interested to see where things go from here and it will be nice to have Laura and Gabby team up to investigate the stepford sisters.
The pencils this issue are handled by Juan Cabal with colors by Nolan Woodard. To put the pencils in terms of the lowest common denominator, the art here is pretty. Cabal excels in many aspects of this issue, but his facial expressions are great. A panel as Gabby looks on, with her mouth open, as a green villain is coming toward her ready to punch is spot on. The action sequences are well done, too. As Laura attempts to take down the previously mentioned green villain, she slides and lets her foot blades slice his Achilles tendons. The panel looks great and it’s just a cool move.
The colors by Nolan Woodard really compliment the art here. The flashback sequence on the first page of the book has a vintage look to it, but it also seems to have a feel to it, almost a texture. As we move into the current day colors, Woorard’s work looks very similar to the great Laura Martin. His colors are smooth and vibrant. A small panel of the Xavier institute looks wonderful as the sky is clear and blue and the shading is just right. An all around excellent effort from the art team on this issue.
X-23 is a book for anyone and everyone. Mariko Tamaki turned in a great and funny script that really captures the youth of Laura and Gabby. The pencils and colors made the issue an even better read because they leap out of the book and grab your attention. This is a very promising start to a new series for a great character.