ALL-NEW WOLVERINE #12
Written by Tom Taylor
Art by Ig Guara, Walden Wong, and Michael Garland
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: September 21, 2016
One of the highlights of comics in 2016 has been Laura Kinney and her younger clone whom she’s taken in like a sister, Gabby. They’ve survived everything from killer invasive nanorobots to a master assassin. Unfortunately, Marvel’s current Civil War II event puts their story on pause and inserts two characters who occupy a hefty chunk of this issue: Old Man Logan (an alternate timeline Wolverine) and Captain America (Steve Rogers).
The issue starts just after Logan, triggered by a surprise attack from Captain America, goes into a feral rage and apparently kills Gabby. As readers, we’ve emotionally invested in Laura and Gabby’s bond for many issues, and any act against Gabby is unforgivable. The ensuing fight between Laura and Logan is brief and doesn’t surprise us with any of Laura’s usual ingenuity. Overall, Logan’s presence and this confrontation feel hollow. In his feral state, he only grunts, and acts more like a beast than a human. It’s hard for us to feel a lot of connection with his character.
What feels even more out of place, though, is Laura’s extended monologue at Captain America. The motive is good — Captain America needs to know that profiling people and accosting them before they’ve committed a crime is not ok — but the impression is too much text is being crammed into one issue.
Ig Guara, Walden Wong, and Michael Garland’s art looks great on every panel. Guara uses a variety of viewing angles to tell the story. When Laura clutches Gabby’s lifeless body, we see an overhead view, closer shots showing Laura’s grief, and a close-up where Laura’s anger is on full display. Wong’s precise lines and hashes expertly define Laura and Gabby’s facial features. I like Garland’s color choices, such as the purple ambience behind Maria Hill, and the alternating red sky and teal water in an action scene between Captain America and Logan.
I was really looking forward to this issue, especially after the excellent All-New Wolverine Annual. While we see snippets of development to Laura’s character, such as Gabby’s essentialness to Laura’s life and Logan’s protectiveness of Laura, I wonder what a Civil War story for Laura could have been like without Old Man Logan. So far in All-New Wolverine, Laura has had very little interaction with other Marvel heroes. There are other characters central to Civil War whom Laura could have met — Carol Danvers, Jessica Drew, Kamala Khan — or even characters from Laura’s past, like Jubilee or Gambit. This issue felt more like it served Old Man Logan’s broader story than Laura’s.
Despite the disappointing elements here, this series earns our attention because of its core two characters. If you aren’t already reading All-New Wolverine, be prepared for Laura and Gabby to be your new favorite characters. Every interaction between them is a delight.
The Verdict: 6.0/10