I can’t say I’ve ever really been a fan of X-23. She was just created to cash in on Wolverine’s popularity (and she’s not alone, there are plenty of Wolverine-esqe characters in the Marvel Universe). And I’m not wild about just having someone step into the suit, that’s what DC does and I’ve written many times that I hate it. There doesn’t need to be an “all-new” Wolverine. If he’s dead, or old, then let the character die and just create new ones. From a story-telling perspective, that has been and always will be my position.
But Laura Kinney is now “Wolverine” so let’s see how this goes.Laura Kinney was created as a clone of Logan, but she escaped and under Logan’s tutelage, she became more than the base assassin she was created to be. She has been, more or less, a nicer, touchy-feely Wolverine, one that tries not to kill, is very emotional, etc. In other words, everything that I wouldn’t want to see in a Wolverine character. And over the years, as Logan got neutered into good ol’ uncle Wolvie, he had a lot of the same problems. That doesn’t give me good feelings about this book.
Now that’s not to say that X-23 isn’t a decent character, Wolverine rip-off and all, but now they have her in the costume, trying to play the part and she just doesn’t do it justice, sorry. No matter what costume she wears, no matter what powers she has, she just isn’t Wolverine so I can only review this book as though she’s an imposter in the role, which she is.
From that perspective, this isn’t a bad book. Laura discovers that Alchemax has cloned her, but her clones have neither her healing factor, nor her claws, but they cannot feel pain and they have been trained to be killers. But when those clones escape, she feels obligated to save them and take down Alchemax, all without actually killing anyone. But if there is anyone who deserves to die, it’s some of the people working for Alchemax and they spend entirely too much time worrying about killing. It gets talked about on almost every page. This isn’t Wolverine.
The story itself is kind of interesting, I guess. I mean, I had no reason whatsoever to care about any of the clones and the format of finding a new Marvel hero to team up with in almost every issue seemed a bit desperate. Come buy our book because you might see someone else you care about! And the issue where they team up with Wasp to miniaturize and go into one of the clones to wipe out nanites, only to have the clone killed literally moments after they succeed anyhow, was a complete waste of time. Sure, it was nice to see Wasp, it was sort of nice to see Doctor Strange, it would have been nice to see Angel do something other than play flying taxi service, but none of them actually mean anything to the overall story. I had no attachment to the clones at all, I never sympathized with their plight and I didn’t care if any of them lived or died. This wasn’t a particularly good story to start out the book with.
Still, it was decent enough to keep me reading through at least one more arc and maybe I’ll get won over to X-23’s side. Maybe not. I just don’t know. But sticking her in Wolverine’s costume as a means of getting readership isn’t going to be enough, the writers and artists have to earn it and while they’ve piqued my interest so far, I’m not remotely sold on the book. That’s going to take some real quality storytelling, some really well-written characters and not relying on the legacy of Logan to keep the pages turning. Only time will tell if they can manage it.