All-New X-Men #12 Writer: Dennis Hopeless Artist: Mark Bagley Colorist: Nolan Woodard Letterer: Cory Petit Publisher: Marvel
After the meaningless Apocalypse Wars crossover where a completely missed opportunity to develop Evan, Kid Apocalypse, All-New X-Men gets back to what the opening arc promised us. Focusing on the relationships between this team of young mutants, developing the characters, allowing them to grow, and having fun. In the spirit of the New X-Men Academy X and Wolverine and the X-Men series. Writer Dennis Hopeless tries to turn the attention back to building the team dynamic, putting Laura Kinney(X-23/Wolverine) and her relationship with Warren Worthington(Angel) in the spotlight. However, this book demonstrates how when a character whose in two different series simultaneously can cause inconsistencies.
While the All-New Wolverine series, written by Tom Taylor, has allowed Laura to grow into her own character, becoming more than just the clone of Logan. This book instead has her unsure of herself, less confident, and continuing to try to replace her late mentor. When one is reading these two different portrayals of the character, it becomes difficult to comprehend and one can start to favor one over the other. Causing debate amongst readers and more importantly, creators, as to how the character should be identified.
If there wasn’t a solo book of Laura, this would have been a more enjoyable issue. Watching her and Warren struggle to build a relationship is interesting and at times compelling. You have one being a psychologically tortured trained killing machine, trying to live up to the legacy of the man she was cloned from. While the other is a time-displaced, privileged guy from the 60’s who resembles an angel. It makes for an engaging dynamic and using Angel’s ties to the Black Vortex as a way for him and Laura to reconnect and find common ground amongst each other is a nice addition. But the “opposites attract” theme could be taken advantaged of to a higher degree and it’ll be nice to see it explored deeper.
One dynamic that does shine in this issue is in the opening, between Laura and Scott Summers(Cyclops). The two of them have developed a genuine friendship and comes off naturally, it doesn’t feel forced. It started during the Brian Michael Bendis run and Hopeless has continued that. Hopefully though it stays that way and doesn’t build to anything romantic.
Another highlight of this issue is the energetic style of Mark Bagley. The premise of Laura seeking cathartic violence then being given the opportunity from Scott allows Bagley to visualize some lively action pieces. The movement is truly captured from panel to panel and seeing the joy and excitement on Laura’s face as she’s approaching a fight is nothing short of wonderful. Nolan Woodard’s colors are filled with an abundance of joy as well. The bright colorful palette really make this comic come to life and it’s much better suited for this story, rather than the tiresome Apocalypse Wars.
All-New X-Men unfortunately got sidetracked with the editorially mandated crossover. Here, Hopeless is allowed some breathing room to flesh out his characters but regrettably, the portrayal of Laura, who’s the issue’s focal point, is too inconsistent with her solo series. The rest of the book makes for an enjoyable read, however with the looming Marvel NOW imprint in the horizon, this book is going to be cancelled. It’ll be interesting to see how Hopeless plans to end this and fingers are crossed it doesn’t disappoint.
Score 3.5 out of 5
Review by Eric Bradach
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