Welcome, dear readers, to X-Men: Bland Design, the weekly multi-part recap column that strives to answer the question: "What if Ed Piskor had no art skills, a juvenile sense of humor, and less classic material to work with?"
Each week, we aim to recap what happened in all of the X-books that come out that week, praise the things we like about them, and complain about the things we don't. This week, there are seven X-Books in stores, which will make a dent in your wallet. But are these comics worth taking out a second mortgage to read?
Let's look at All-New Wolverine #32 and find out…
ALL-NEW WOLVERINE #32
TOM TAYLOR (W)
Djibril Morissette (A)
Cover by DAVID LOPEZ
NEW MUTANTS VARIANT COVER
BY MIKE DEODATO
THE ORPHANS OF X RETURN!
• The last time we saw the Orphans of X, they were hunting Laura and other Wolverines for revenge.
• And now they've returned. But for what purpose? And will WOLVERINE be able to survive this encounter with her deadliest enemy yet?
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99
We've been dreading it for months, and it's finally come true: All-New Wolverine is ending. It will be replaced by X-23, a new book with the same cast but a new name. But it's not time to mourn yet. There's still more adventures to go, starting with this new story, which picks up from the aftermath of the Orphans of X story, which we covered in past editions of this column.
At the end of that story, which saw the family members of all the people killed by Wolverines over the years (it's what they do best) trying to take their revenge on Laura and her Wolverine friends, Laura vowed to help them by hunting down the people who created Wolverines like her and turned them into assassins. Sounds like a good deal.
We start with a flashback, to Washington DC, where a father is waking up his child, a little girl named Amber. Also in flashback, at the facility where X-23 was created, a young Laura is being woken up by her masters, led by the sadistic Zander Rice. The scene cuts back and forth between Amber and Laura, showing how different their lives are. Amber's is happy, and Laura's is not, obviously.
We see Amber's first day in a new school, and we see Laura gut a politician. While the carnage unfolds in Laura's location, Amber is called out of class. Amber's father was there on the scene of Laura's murder spree. He meets the fate of most people who cross paths with a Wolverine…
Back in the present, the grown-up Laura visits Amber at her home. She tells her she's found the person they're looking for. That's Chad Newman, a neo-Nazi lobbyist who Laura believes paid Zander Rice to have her assassinate candidate Johnson way back when, resulting in Amber's father's death. He now resides at a resort in Vanautu, which does not have an extradition treaty with the U.S. Kaura has her own ideas on how to extradite him though.
Amber wants to come with Laura, and she says she's trained and can handle it. Laura hopes Amber won't kill him, but she won't stop her. Laura thinks its better to publicly try Nazis instead. Amber says she'll do her best.
Later, at the resort, the ladies don Hawaiian shirts. Amber remarks on Laura's heavy luggage, which will come into play later. Laura goes to sure up their exit, while Amber heads for a drink in the bar. She's immediately approached by two thugs in black suits. She smashes her drink in one's face and hits the other with a chair, but eventually one of them manages to pull a gun and force her to come with him.
Laura arrives at the bar to find Amber gone. The bartender isn't talking, so Laura uses her claws to convince him. She locates Amber, being held by Newman and his goons. Newman is ready for her. He orders the guards to shoot through the floor, toward a dining room full of innocent people, rather than at Laura. He calls her weak for caring about innocent lives. She disagrees.
Newman thinks Laura has hunted him down for her own revenge, but Amber explains it's for her sake. Newman has never heard of her father, the secret service agent who was killed during the assassination. He grabs Amber by her shirt, but her shirt is on that Doctor Doom @#$%, and it electrocutes Newman. Laura beats up the guards and tells Amber it's time to leave. She sends Amber to get the luggage, and they leave with Newman stuffed inside Laura's suitcase. She tosses him into the back of a boat and they make their escape.
On the way home, Laura thanks Amber for understanding that she was as much a victim of being X-23 as anyone else. Amber breaks out Nazi-stomping boots which she wants to stomp Newman with. We do our best not to make a Seinfeld reference. Amber wants to share the Nazi-stomping experience with Laura, since Newman destroyed both their childhoods. She gives Laura one of the boots, and they have a boot party.
Fun and satisfying, like always with this book. Like last issue, this was a one-and-done story, as it seems that the creative team wanted to address a few more things before heading into the book's final storyline, Old Woman Laura, which will skip to the future and allow writer Tom Taylor to write an ending for his excellent run on All-New Wolverine. Artist Juann Cabal will remain on the title with new writer Mariko Tamaki as it gets rebooted.