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Mar 20

All-New Wolverine #32 – “The Orphans”

Posted on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 by Paul in x-axis

“Orphans of X” seemed to end by setting up a new status quo for All-New Wolverine, with Laura helping the Orphans of X to take revenge on the assorted baddies who hired her back when she was a brainwashed child.  But with writer Tom Taylor leaving the book after the next arc, which seems to be a time travel thing, this issue looks like a nod to what that direction would have been.  Maybe not; we’ll see where the next creative team are going.  (Though rebranding the book as X-23 again seems an unfortunate backwards step.)

The Orphan of the Month is Amber, whose father was killed when little Laura was sent to kill a presidential candidate.  He wasn’t the politician, he was a guard on his first day in the new job.  Since the Orphans have access to the Facility’s files, Laura identifies the baddy – and this is sketchy stuff, by the way, because we’ve only got an issue.  Chad Newman was a lobbyist for the far right, and he wanted the politician killed because he “was concerned about possible corruption and was determined to weed it out”.

So we’re not in subtle territory here. But then again we probably shouldn’t be.  Anyone hiring the Facility to murder political rivals is likely to be pretty uncontroversially bad, and even if you did want to do stories about clients who had some sort of point, the first outing for the new set-up probably wouldn’t be the time or place.  Mind you, sanctifying candidate Johnson does feel a bit over the top, even in this context.

So Chad Newman is now hiding out in Vanuatu, and Laura and grown-up Amber go after him.  There’s a token set-up of trying to lay low which lasts about four panels, before Newman’s guards show up and kidnap Amber, so that Laura has to go after her.  And it’s… pretty weak stuff, to be honest.  Even given that this is not the time for subtlety, Newman is thoroughly cliched.  He’s the sort of bad guy who takes advantage of the fact that Laura won’t let the bystanders get hurt, and then says “Ha!  It’s true.  You’ve become weak, X-23.”

The core of this story, I think, is meant to lie in the fact that Newman doesn’t even remember who Amber’s father was, dismisses her as an irrelevance, and then gets zapped and beaten because he underestimated the little person.  Which is fine, but when you boil it down to the bare bones in a one-issue story, it feels overfamiliar.  The tension that you might expect between Laura and Amber working together is kind of nodded to but has no room to develop, and the bad guy is a stock figure.  Fair enough that he’s a monster, but he’s not an especially compelling monster.

Artist Djibgril Morrissette-Phan makes the most of it regardless; the parallel flashbacks are well handled, the visual of Laura in a Hawaiian shirt comes across well.  There’s a lot of good acting work going on here to flesh out the characters, and Amber in particular feels a lot more developed visually than she would have done from the dialogue alone.

But beyond that it’s bit of a meh issue, which doesn’t find enough of a hook to raise itself beyond the generic.  Perhaps it’s been over condensed to get it down to an issue, but by the standards of this title, it’s disappointing.

Bring on the comments

  1. jpw says:

    X-23 is definitely a step back, especially with so many other options available. She-Wolverine, perhaps? Wolverwoman? Ms. Wolverine? Vulvarine? Lady Wolverine?

  2. Brian says:

    Where I the guy rebranding Laura, I’d have her somehow take over for Fang, who’s appeared in her book(s) multiple times since Logan died and co e to have the sort of respect for her and her abilities that he’s had for her “father.” As a character, her development apart from Logan has been in become less of a beserker and a better real team player, so having her take over as an Imperial Guardsman would be an interesting development both for her and for the X-books (and the Fang costume has a long history with the Wolverine characters). Plus, between Kid Guardian and Cannonball (whose wife is the current Smasher), an X-Man as Fang could readily be connected to both teams.

    In all, it would differentiate her from Logan and all him to reclaim his title while effectively giving her a name/title that he’d be unable to earn but within their shared history.

  3. Voord 99 says:

    Well, Michigander is available.

    Actually, now I want a male character from Grand Rapids with goose powers called the Michi-Gander.

  4. Brian says:

    Michi-Gander would be the ideal next new candidate for the Great Lakes Avengers!

  5. Moo says:

    Skunk Bear. Case closed.

  6. The original Matt says:

    Vulvarine. Oh dear god I’m dying.

  7. Pasquale says:

    Vulvarine! Dead.

  8. Brian says:


  9. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    On a slightly more serious note, Kyle&Yost (and Claremont after them in ‘X-Men: The End’ if I recall correctly) pointed towards ‘Talon’ being Laura’s future codename.

    Since then DC had a book under that title, which might decrease the chances of it ever happening. To be honest it doesn’t sound too catchy, but at this point even Talon would be better than going back to X-23.

  10. Moo says:

    Laura is based on a wolverine. Wolverines don’t have talons. If Laura’s claws were hooked and she could clutch her prey with them, then “Talon” would be appropriate.

    Speaking of claws, if we’re going to call a character whose visual cue is claws (claws on her hands, claws on her feet) “Fang”, then we may as well call Cyclops “Eardrum”.

  11. Loz says:

    What is it with X-Women and code names? Seeing as Jean Grey’s codename has pretty much been ‘Jean Grey’ since the start of X-Factor, Rachel Summers doesn’t seem to have stuck with anything since she left Excalibur and I don’t think anyone’s tried to call Emma Frost the White Queen to her face since Morrison dragged her into the New X-Men why do the Marvel people think turning Wolverine back into X-23 is a good idea? A good chunk of Taylor’s run on the title has been about Laura moving on from her past. If Marvel 2017/2018 is all about saying Marvel 2015/2016 was wrong and you can’t have multiple characters using the same name then find her something better than X-23. Or maybe the next stage of Marvel Legacy is making everyone go back to their crappy old names?

  12. Voord 99 says:

    Agreed. This is a peculiarly inappropriate move for this particular character.

    One can justify giving her her own new codename, but not going back to “X-23” (which wasn’t a “superhero codename” in ways that are really, really important to Laura as a character).

    As I’ve suggested before, this is one of the few cases where I think one reallly could have gotten away with leaving the name on the legacy character and having the original not take it back. Because “Logan” has become almost as iconic as Wolverine, and I think everyone will know who a comic called “Logan” is about. Obviously, the forces driving having Logan reclaim the name Wolverine are still there, but this is an unusual case where they’re weaker than they would usually be.

    (Yes, you have to get rid of Old Man Logan. But, come on, that’s going to happen anyway,)

  13. Moo says:

    She doesn’t even need a code name. She only needs recognizable branding. Look at, for example, Lara Croft. It’s not like she runs around calling herself “Tomb Raider”. But comic book publishers seem to have it sledgehammered into their minds that “name of solo series must be name of character”. Why? Just let her be Laura Kinney and call her book something else. “Ferocity” or something.

  14. Person of Con says:

    @Loz:”why do the Marvel people think turning Wolverine back into X-23 is a good idea?”

    I’d say they don’t. At least, they don’t think it’s a good idea for Laura. But they don’t care about Laura–they care about the branding for the original Wolverine, which is too bad, since I think his most interesting stories were a long time ago.

  15. Brian says:

    As folks have noted, the issue of naming isn’t about what’s best for the character, it’s the recognition that these are commercial properties with copyright and trademark requirements. Laura became Wolverine so that Marvel could sell a Wolverine title in the years that Logan was dead, and she’s reverting to X-23 so they can defend their X-23 trademark. Look at how many random Captains Marvel they’ve had over the years after Mar-vell died (and how many short-lived or relaunched series they’ve had) to defend against the trademark they got from the then-rested “Shazam” character decades ago; the company’s learned the lesson about how to not let key trademarks and copyrights be in any doubt (e.g. Bruce Banner dies, Jennifer Walters immediately stars in a Hulk book).

  16. Zoomy says:

    I know trademarks are important to Marvel, but is there really anyone else going to jump in and try to steal “X-23”? Obviously, “Captain Marvel” would be gone in a split-second if Marvel ever let it lapse, and maybe so would their famous heroes, but X-23?

  17. Moo says:

    Yeah, I seriously doubt the X-23 title is about protecting a trademark. Also, you’d have to be pretty stupid to come after one of Marvel’s trademarks today. Disney will effing destroy you.

  18. Brian says:

    So, my “Not Brand-Ecch-23” title won’t fly?

  19. mark coale says:

    Is it possible the book might be called X23 but Laura herself will not be called that?

  20. Moo says:

    “La Femme Snikta”

  21. Moo says:

    “8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenaged Clone”

  22. wwk5d says:

    Or they could just call it Astonishing Wolverine or Uncanny Wolverine 😉

  23. Mo Walker says:

    Was the title Wolverines not available? 🙂

  24. jpw says:

    Wolverine and the Wolverines for volume 1. When that gets canned au issue 12, relaunch with Uncanny Wolverine and the Wolverines.

  25. Voord 99 says:

    Astonishing Wolverine and the All-New Wolverines.

  26. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Why go to all that trouble? Wolverine Blue, Wolverine Gold and Wolverine Red.

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