Written by: Tom Taylor
Art by: Leonard Kirk, Cory Hamscher, & Michael Garland
I should probably start this review with the disclaimer that I haven’t read All-New Wolverine since around issue #3 of this run. It’s not that it was bad, but I read so many comics and have so much on my plate that it just sort of fell to the wayside. I’ve been meaning to catch up for a while, but a friend of mine who works at a comic shop mentioned that this would be a good jumping on point. I figured I’d just jump back on and worry about the issues I missed at some later point in time.
Fortunately, it mostly worked out. I don’t really know who this villain is, and my familiarity with Laura’s sidekick, Gabby, is passing at best. Still, the character stuff works and there’s some strong dialogue here. I like the rapport Laura and Gabby seem to have, even if I’m unsure of the genesis of it.
The biggest strength of their dynamic is that it gives Taylor an avenue to be a little self-aware, and poke fun at superhero comics. It’s not an all out treatise on them like, say Black Hammer, but acknowledging the goofy nature of the genre is always a plus in my book. The issue is just fun to read, and in large part it’s thanks to the banter.
Unfortunately, the duo don’t get as much page time as I would like. This doesn’t really feel like a book about Laura – instead, it feels like a team book. A solid amount of the page space is actually devoted to Ironheart. This isn’t a bad thing, in fact the Riri/Tony dialogue makes me regret failing to keep up with their book. Because that also seems fun!
That said, not all of the writing works. The exposition bubbles explaining what’s happening are 100% redundant. They add a little bit of drama to the book, but overall they detract from the mostly solid dialogue. I say “mostly” because not all of it works. There are a couple scenes that see Laura explaining things that don’t need explanations.
While those scenes aren’t damning enough to completely take me out of the book, they’re definitely clunky enough to break the flow. But this is a jumping on point, so that could just be Taylor trying to catch up new readers. It may not be a trend here, though only time will tell.
Visually, I was kind of underwhelmed. Leonard Kirk’s pencils aren’t bad, per se, they just felt a little bland. It could just be that I’m reading so many books with truly outstanding or experimental visuals that the more traditional superhero aesthetic just doesn’t cut it. I’ll admit that that may be unfairly reductive, but unfortunately it can’t be helped.
After reading this issue, I’m kind of game for more of this book. I’m not convinced that I really love it, but it’s good enough to warrant checking out a few more times. Even if it’s not some great masterpiece, I really enjoyed the time I spent reading this issue.