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Jun 24

All-New Wolverine #19-21 – “Immune”

Posted on Saturday, June 24, 2017 by Paul in x-axis

Well, they can’t all be winners.  I really like All-New Wolverine.  It’s consistently one of the best X-books.  But “Immune” is a three-parter devoted to setting up a contrived set-piece finale, and it’s a bit of a dud, to be honest with you.

So here’s the idea.  An alien spaceship crashes on Roosevelt Island in New York – population 11,000 or so, according to Wikipedia.  There’s a dying alien child inside who asks for Laura Kinney before dying.  By a happy coincidence (well, presumably the kid was aiming for her), Laura and Gabby happen to be in the area doing something unrelated. Specifically, it’s a child-trafficking subplot that takes up a lot of chapter one but has no real purpose beyond keeping Laura away from the main story until it’s ready for her.

Anyhow, the alien kid turns out to be contagious, so people around her start keeling over and getting sick.  That leads to Wolverine trying to calm things down on the island, with the help of SHIELD and guest star Ironheart.  Ironheart seems to be mainly here as an expository sounding board, selected largely because she happens to have a sealed suit of armour, and so she doesn’t need to worry too much about getting infected.  And Wolverine doesn’t have to worry too much either, what with the whole healing factor.

Chapter two has some running around as Monica Rappaccini tries to steal the alien on behalf of an AIM splinter group, but her main role is really to deliver the big insight: for entirely arbitrary but plot-convenient reasons, Laura’s healing factor attracts the virus from people around her, thus curing them.  Because that’s definitely how viruses work.

So, all that set-up leads us to establish that Laura’s healing factor can cure people around her, and although she gets a bit sick, her healing factor will fight it off.  And you can probably guess where this is all heading – it’s to have Laura walking through the streets of Roosevelt Island risking her own life in order to cure everyone else before they succumb to the virus.  Messiah territory.

For some reason, even though the story starts off emphasising that the alien was looking for Laura, there’s a logic leap to throw in everyone else with a similar healing factor as well – not only Gabby, but Old Man Logan, Deadpool, and Daken.

Oh, and you might recall that we last saw Daken at the end of Wolverines – you know, that weird thing Charles Soule was doing before Secret Wars.  And at the end of that story, he’d lost his healing powers, and on top of that, he’d lost an arm.  The story does actually acknowledge that, but the explanation is basically “he got better”.  I can’t particularly blame the creators here; Wolverines was mad as a sack of crack-fuelled otters, and a decision was clearly taken a long time ago to ignore it and hope nobody cared enough to press for a resolution to the cliffhangers.  After all, Laura herself Just Got Better.  But it’s a particularly egregious example of not bothering to resolve a story that people paid quite a lot of money to follow, and don’t think we don’t notice, Marvel.

Since they haven’t been in the story before, this feels kind of forced, besides which, it dilutes the impact of what Laura’s doing.  On top of which, they all fall by the wayside to leave Laura as the last one standing anyway.

This is an idea for a scene – and not all that good an idea for a scene – padded out to three issues with set-up and busy-work to keep the characters occupied.  It’s not really about anything in particular; at most, it’s trying to make a point that Laura can be heroic in non-violent ways too.  Which, yes, but it’s basically a variation on a stock Wolverine trope: relying on his/her healing powers to endure pain and suffering to help others.  So it’s not really saying anything beyond the familiar parameters at all.

Within all those limits, it’s all competently done. The dialogue is fine, the storytelling is clear, the pacing is decent.  But none of that can really disguise the fact that it’s a weak idea.

Bring on the comments

  1. Brendan says:

    At this point Daken has had more rectons than Jean Grey has ressurections. Well, maybe not. But a lot for a character which has only been around for a decade-ish.

  2. Suzene says:

    “But it’s a particularly egregious example of not bothering to resolve a story that people paid quite a lot of money to follow, and don’t think we don’t notice, Marvel.”

    But Paul! Didn’t you know? “Continuity is a tool, not a rule!” Why are you trying to stifle the writers, Paul?

    Blech. If Marvel wants to look at some actual reasons why long-time fans are moving off to greener pastures, the assumptions that 1) said fans have so little attention span that they don’t notice nonsense like this and 2) even if they do, they’re so invested in Marvel’s characters that they’ll keep buying out of habit, regardless of price, quality, and insult to reader intelligence might be good places to start.

  3. Shawn says:

    I would posit that the “bring in all the other healing factor people” was worth it for the scene where Deadpool and Gabby compare scars and become friends.

    Seriously, that scene alone made the story for me.

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