[Comic Book Review] Marvel Comics’ X-23 (2018) #1

X-23 #1

PopCultHQ received an advance review copy of X-23 (2018) #1 from Marvel Comics. Available July 11th, 2018, the creative team for this series features writing from Mariko Tamaki, art from Juann Cabal, colors by Nolan Woodard, and lettering from VC’s Cory Petit.

Here’s PopCultHQ’s review of…

X-23 (2018) #1

Writer: Mariko Tamaki
Artist: Juann Cabal
Colorist: Nolan Woodard
Letterer: Cory Petit

Cloned from a warrior, raised as a killer, Laura Kinney has gone through hell and come out the other side a hero. After a stint as the All-New Wolverine, she returns to her roots as X-23 to make sure no one ever has to go through the horrors she did. With her sister Gabby and their pet Jonathan in tow, X-23 forges her own destiny in this new series by Mariko Tamaki (HULK, HUNT FOR WOLVERINE: CLAWS OF A KILLER) and Juann Cabal (ALL-NEW WOLVERINE, ELEKTRA).

PopCultHQ’s Comic Book Review:
X-23 #1

All characters evolve in comics. Some evolve better than others; they can become bigger than they originally were intended. It’s always awesome when a character hits stride such as that. Take X-23 for instance, when Logan was ‘killed’ off, she assumed the mantle of Wolverine in her own book, ‘All-New Wolverine.’ However with Logan having returned from the dead, Lara’s Wolverine time is at an end and today sees her new X-23 series begin. So today I look at whether or not this sliding back for the character is a positive or a negative.

Writing:

Well, writer Mariko Tamaki is pulling no punches. She’s taking Laura and Gabby and moving forward. For those who don’t know, Gabby is a younger clone-like sister Laura discovered in the first arc in her All-New Wolverine title. She’s adorable as all hell! At one point, she’s taunting the Cuckoos, “You guys look like an evil choir!” and all she can do is talk about food and eating and how she wants cake. Not just any cake, but a birthday cake at that!

The issue opens with X-23 and Honey Badger (Gabby) attacking a facility which has mutant clone data that can be used to make more of them – the X23 Project. After a fierce battle and return to the X-Mansion to speak with Beast, Laura and Gabby are greeted by the three Cuckoo sisters. Sophie and Esme were murdered way back in Grant Morrison’s X-Men story ‘Murder in the Mansion’. Also brought back to life and slain again, however their first deaths are only referenced. It is the birthday of the Cuckoos or the day they all choose to spend as their birthday. From this encounter on, Gabby is enthralled with the Cuckoos. She begins to become obsessed with birthdays.

This is where Mariko Tamaki makes the issue very interesting. Gabby’s interest in birthdays is simple, as she explains; “It’s not meaningless, it’s a special day! If you have a birthday then I could have a birthday, too! And birthday cake!” Poor girl is hung up on cake, but at the core Gabby is questioning where her and her ‘sister’ come from. It’s a story about origin and being more than what society tells you what you are.

Around all this, Laura is looking for Doctor Helen Marks who went missing. Doctor Marks also happens to be Laura’s mother, the woman who donated her own egg to the X-23 clone experiment. This is going to bring her across the Cuckoos because…wait for it…the Cuckoo Sisters have abducted her. In an attempt to clone bodies for Sophie and Esme Cuckoo, who have been cloned but their bodies are fast deteriorating. However, Mindee has misgivings about their plan and current actions.

Mindee seems to be the black sheep of the Cuckoo Sisters. She is the only one who showed Gabby any sort of love when Gabby went to fist bump the Cuckoos and was left hanging until Mindee responded with one of her own. She’s also the only Cuckoo who waved goodbye to Gabby when the three took their leave of the mansion. I hope more parallels are drawn between the two. Gabby was also the outcast of her other sisters in their first introduction in All-New Wolverine #1. Seems she is taking what has come before and is running with it. Aside from Laura being out of her Wolverine costume, this series might as well be a contination of her previous series. Something I enjoy in comics when creative teams change, no loss of pace.

Art:

Juann Cabal is one of the reasons we have that feel of continuity. Having worked on All-New Wolverine in the latter end of the series run,as well as Elektra and also the Wolverines miniseries to name a few for Marvel Comics. Juann is no stranger to the Wolveirne side of the X-Universe, having tackled so many related characters during his time on All-New Wolverine and Wolverines. His art is pretty fresh and it’s clean. His paneling and blocking may be a bit straightforward but then again with decent writing that’s all you need to tell a good story. Between the way Juann blocks out his pages and with Tamaki’s dialogue, Juann Cabal reminds me very much of Steve Ditko working on Amazing Spider-Man. If he can stay with the book, it may help the book out a bit more.

PopCultHQ’s overall assessment:

I’d like to see Lara go the distance again as she did in her All-New Wolverine book. However, it’s too early to tell. Usually with a new series, longevity is determined by the 5th or 6th issue solicitation orders from Diamond. Usually by then, Marvel and DC decide if a new series is worth pursuing. More than enough time for a comic to pick up with the reader market. The book is indeed worth your time and hard-earned coin.

PopCultHQ’s Rating:

4 out of 5 Stars

PopCultHQ Rating - 4 Stars
PopCultHQ Rating – 4 Stars

I’mma give this a 4.0! Why so high, you ask? Well, it meets all the criteria of a good comic and the good beginning of a new series. Also, Gabby just steals this show and is so adorable, like Molly Hayes-adorable from Runaways. The bottom line is this book is accessible to everyone: X-23 fans, people who read All-New Wolverine beforehand, and new people who want to get into the character with this new series. Again, another true ‘Fresh Start’ from Marvel’s Fresh Start initiative.

X-23 #1 can be purchased on ComiXology and available
at your local comic shop and online retailers on Wednesday, July 11th!

Comixology button


Be sure to follow the creative team!

Writer – Mariko Tamaki

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Artist – Juann Cabal

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Colorist – Nolan Woodard

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Letterer – Cory Petit

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Publisher – Marvel Comics

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