PopCultHQ received an advance review copy of X-23 (2018) #2 from Marvel Comics. Available July 25th, 2018, the creative team for this series features writing from Mariko Tamaki, art from Juann Cabal, colors by Nolan Woodard, and lettering from VC’s Cory Petit.
Here’s PopCultHQ’s review of…
X-23 (2018) #2
Cloned from a warrior, raised as a killer, Laura Kinney has gone through hell and come out the other side a hero. After a stint as the All-New Wolverine, she returns to her roots as X-23 to make sure no one ever has to go through the horrors she did. With her sister Gabby and their pet Jonathan in tow, X-23 forges her own destiny in this new series by Mariko Tamaki (HULK, HUNT FOR WOLVERINE: CLAWS OF A KILLER) and Juann Cabal (ALL-NEW WOLVERINE, ELEKTRA).
PopCultHQ’s Comic Book Review:
So once again I’m writing a follow up. Since I spoke about X-23 #1 two weeks ago, I felt the book was so good I had to read issue 2 and write about it.
Again, Mariko Tamaki hadn’t won me over with her Hulk/Savage She-Hulk but this X-23 series is excellent! I won’t lie, I’m rather enjoying Gabby and her quest for pancakes and a birthday. Nothing is funnier than when Lara is investigating the dissaperance of a scientist and Gabby texts her a bunch of birthday emojis.
What Mariko is writing is a horror story. Of what actual notion, I’m not sure. Last issue was about the question of self-discovery. While that narrative is still there, something more sinister lies beneath the surface. You have the Stepford Cuckoos who have done something inhuman, something unnatural by using Doctor Marks to clone the two dead Cuckoos, only to discover that the one who was on death’s door again dies in the middle of the night. Now the Five-in-One have become Four-in-One.
Laura’s investigation takes her to a gentics lab named Gene Genie. There she searches through Doctor Marks’ office only to discover her fitbit tracker. Which leads Laura to the church where the Cuckoos have been keeping Doctor Marks and the other two clones of Sophie and Esme. Gabby follows Laura, interested in where her “sister” is going. There is a fight, which is incredibly interesting. It’s Laura vs. all the guilt and angst of the Cuckoos made phyical. It’s not physical, it’s entirely surreal but the art doesn’t do it justice. When Laura comes too, she learns Gabby has been taken more than likely by the Cuckoos.
Gabby doesn’t have as much ‘screen’ time as she did last issue but her small tidbits are still hilarious and downright adroable. She has really become the heart and soul of Laura. Almost as if Laura may see her as the innocence which she had lost and is doing her best to make sure Gabby stays young and a child while being a mutant and an X-Man.
Again we see that the one cuckoo Sister, Mindee, is again having second thoughts about everything. As the Cuckoos mourn their once again fallen sister Sophie (who has died once more), they begin to pack up their belongings at the mansion and leave, knowing that what they do has no going back.
Sometimes I loathe speaking ill of artists. I don’t do art so I don’t have much room to comment. But what I hate is showing dislike for an artist I like. Juann Cabal did excellent work on issue 1 and his issue 2 is just as good, but I feel the physical battle between Laura and the Cuckoos could have been conveyed in a better way. Perhaps what Mariko Tamaki wrote was simply too cerebral for art to do it justice? Other than that, once again the issue’s art aesthetics look excellent!
PopCultHQ’s overall assessment:
So far this story, ‘Two Birthdays and Three Funerals,’ has been about moving forward and not looking back. That’s what the Cuckoos are doing and that’s what Laura is doing, which is why she doesn’t dwell on her birthday (unlike Gabby). In all of this, there is a muted kinship shared between Gabby and Mindee. One that I hope is explored further in-depth in the series.
I could see a lot of what Mariko Tamaki was trying to convey in Hulk/Savage She-Hulk but failed to articulate or convey to the reader. Here on X-23, she has no problem, which sometimes a writer simply has to find a character who calls to them or they just fall into place writing.
4 out of 5 Stars
Again, such a high rating, I must be in a good mood this week! Seriously though, the book has been that good! So good, in fact, I have my wife reading it. She was never a huge X-23 fan but she fell in love with Laura in All-New Wolverine. To hear that even though the title had changed names back to the dismal absurd X-23 title and name of the character, that all the character development made during All-New Wolverine was not wasted nor forgotten by the new team of Mariko Tamaki and Juann Cabal.
Another book you should be fitting into your pull list and dropping your hard-earned coin on!
X-23 #2 can be purchased on ComiXology and available
at your local comic shop and online retailers on Wednesday, July 25th!
Be sure to follow the creative team!
Writer – Mariko Tamaki
Letterer – Cory Petit
Publisher – Marvel Comics