All-New Wolverine #2
Written by: Tom Taylor
Art by: David Lopez, David Navarrot, and Nathan Fairbairn
My one tenant for dramatically improving a Wolverine book is to get rid of Wolverine. Yes I’m biased because I hate the character but I lived through the Wolverine boom of the 2000s when that particular Canuck stuck his pointy claws in every team under the sun. The bastard showed up on the Fantastic Four! And at no point did anybody ask him what he brought to the team that a giant rock monster was lacking. So now we have “All-New Wolverine” and Logan is nowhere to be seen, instead replaced with Laura and all I can say is thank God I don’t have to deal with Wolverine—I’m sorry, it seems Old Man Logan inexplicably is a character in the universe. Oh well, I was close.
In “All-New Wolverine” #2, Laura is in the midst of investigating an assassination attempt on a high ranking executive from Alchemax Genetics and the first thing she asks is why are there a half dozen clones of her with budding careers in assassination? A question they glaze over while asking for her to deal with the situation. And immediately she betrays the company and decides not to kill her clones which left me wondering: What were they expecting? They secretly cloned her and were only forced to tell her when she threw one off the Eiffel Tower. “Did you find one of those elicit clones we have of you? Look at me, all red in the face. Be a dear though and murder the rest of them will you? By the way, they’re made to be murderers just like you which shouldn’t bring up any painful parallels for you to wrestle with as you cut them to ribbons.”
If Laura is supposed to take up the reigns of Logan and start where he left off then congratulations are in order because she went less than a week before someone used her for a murder experiment without her permission. The only problem is that they’re so clearly evil they might as well be kicking puppies while they give burn victims wedgies. This is another problem Laura inherited from Wolverine. See both of them are giant, walking knives which means eventually somebody is going to get stabbed and if that’s the case there can’t be any question that they deserved it. Though they do tackle this problem head on with a flashback where Laura decides not to kill somebody who deserved it. And this is where we head into troubled waters because now Laura is inheriting Wolverine’s narrative flaws as well.
I hate Wolverine. Let me qualify that, I hate 99% of Wolverine. Better? See initially Wolverine was a berserker, a wild force of nature on par with the Hulk. He may start out in control during a fight but things can quickly escalate as he fills with rage. Then he gets stab happy and a lot of people usually die. And then afterwards he is filled with self-loathing. That was a winning formula because it allowed this character to be powerful without removing consequences. His limitations weighed heavy on him. Sure later they made him a samurai, a master of every martial art, a billionaire, and Hugh Jackman and the character suffered for it. Now Laura is stepping into the same spot but she has full control of her faculties.
Perhaps I’m painting a dire picture. The book is good, in fact I would put it high up on the list of great books of the Marvel relaunch. I just have these small doubts that pick away at the foundation of the narrative. Like how Angel is Laura’s boyfriend. It’s not that I don’t like their relationship, they are super adorable. But the fact of the matter is—When the Fuck are the X-men going back to their own timeline? This bullshit makes me rage vomit like I ate four day old steroid sushi. The thing is though that the book and the plot line are strong enough that these little niggles can be overlooked… for now.
The thing that’s often focused on in a legacy character is how they are different from their predecessors; Laura being in more control than Logan and Invincible being less of a murderer than Omni-Man. But sometimes what’s more interesting is how similar the two characters can be. Right after Omni-Man fled Earth and left Mark on his own, he was so quick to distance himself from his father and yet Mark was just as violent as Nolan, his battles just as bloody and lethal. Mark kept questioning his father’s motives, how he could turn his back on his family and his planet but Mark is so similar to Nolan. When they beat the Viltrumites and they fled to Earth, hiding amongst the populace, Mark would not let Allen disperse the virus that would kill them because of the slight chance it would kill humanity. He was willing to accept the Viltrumites would rise again to threaten the universe if it meant his home planet could remain safe for now. And I think there’s a lot more room to explore how similar Laura is to Logan, figure out exactly why she gets to carry the mantle.