All-New Wolverine #23 Review: Tonal Issues And Contrivance Make For A Weak Issue

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All-New Wolverine #23 Review: Tonal Issues And Contrivance Make For A Weak Issue

With Gabby captured by the Brood, Wolverine is flailing to get her back. However, Drax the Destroyer and the Guardians of the Galaxy know even she could not win this confrontation. They regroup and reassess the situation with a team of scientists led by Fang of the Shi'ar Imperial Guard.

They learn of the disease that the alien child came to Earth with, what they were doing with it, and how the Brood have become carriers of the disease. Laura then comes up with a plan to save Gabby and fight off the Brood, and it involves she, Star-Lord, and Gamora infiltrating the hive the Brood have established on this moon! Can they overcome these terrifying odds and save Gabby before she is made into a Brood Queen?

The best Wolverine stories, both about Logan and Laura, have often managed to stick close to the ground and focused on the psyche of their protagonist. Now, that's not a hard and fast rule, as I don't think it wise to limit the types and scopes of stories that can be told. However, I've found this idea to be true of many stories about the Wolverine.

In All-New Wolverine #23, we have Laura teamed up with the Guardians of the Galaxy on a distant moon, dealing with problems not really their own and fighting off a hoard of Brood. That's pretty disconnected from the personal life of Wolverine and Gabby, and it's not a grounded story in the least.

Unfortunately, going against that trend of grounded and character-focused storytelling does not serve All-New Wolverine #23 well.

The comic is often pretty fun, and the pacing is fast throughout most of the comic. However, this tale of Brood invasions and space viruses just don't seem that relevant to Laura Kinney, even with the infection spreading to Earth in the last story arc.

I gave the last issue some credit even though it set this up, but that was only because I was willing to wait and see what the payoff would be. In All-New Wolverine #23, that payoff isn't especially satisfying.

Seeing Wolverine's devotion and love for Gabby is nice, but that was never really in question. Having her being personally threatened by the Brood is an attempt at making the story emotionally relevant, but the contrivance of this setup subtracts from that somewhat.

That being said, it's still great to see Wolverine cut lose some on the Brood. Her "no killing" rule is suspended given the circumstances.

All-New Wolverine #23 Review: Tonal Issues And Contrivance Make For A Weak Issue

Linking this to Fang of the Shi'ar is a bit pointless. He's essentially there to have a Wolverine-reminiscent character present for the events.

The Guardians are funny, especially the ever-violent and gung-ho Rocket Raccoon. Rocket is particularly entertaining in this issue, but the lack of somberness is a bit of a detriment in this comic about hyper-lethal viruses, Brood takeovers, Jonathan the Wolverine being critically injured, and Gabby possibly being turned into a Brood Queen.

Spoilers: to make matters worse, Gabby is turned into a Brood Queen by the end of the comic, and the book couldn't help but make one last one-liner before the end, with Star-Lord asking Wolverine if he can finally use his guns now that their infiltration mission was blown. That seems a bit douchey to say, given that Wolverine just watched her sister turn into a giant horrific bug monster.

Leonard Kirk's artwork is still very good, as he has become quite adept at drawing Laura Kinney and her adventures. Characters are very expressive, the figures look great, and the Brood are aptly vicious in their appearance. The color work appeals more to the environment and plot than the overall tone, with color artists Michael Garland and Erick Arciniega using more dark blues, reds, and greens to paint the world than anything lighter. It all comes together nicely and helps the comic from dipping too far in overall quality.

All-New Wolverine #23 isn't a particularly bad comic, but it is fairly mediocre. The tonal issues of horrific events clashing against the endless one-liners don't make for the most compelling or together story. The tale itself isn't made all that compelling given how far removed from Earth and Wolverine it is. Amping up the tension by having Gabby taken and transformed does little to remedy this. Give this a read if you love Wolverine and/or the Guardians of the Galaxy, but it's not likely to appeal to anyone else.

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About Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.