Eric Bradach's The Comixalaxy

All New Wolverine #10
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: IG Guara
Colors: John Rauch
Letters: Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel
Release Date: 07/20/2016

The X-Men franchise is one of the most beloved Marvel franchises in their vast gallery. For years, if you read Marvel comics it was either you read X-Men comics or everything else. It has one of the richest and most complex histories in the comic book landscape. Unfortunately, over the last decade the "Merry Mutants" haven't been major players in the greater Marvel Universe events, save for "Avengers vs. X-Men". Many have speculated that this is due to the case that Marvel Studios doesn't hold the movie rights to them. Which are currently being held by 20th Century Fox, all in a fairly complex lease itself.

It has caused many X-Men fans like myself to become frustrated over the movies dictating the creative drive of the comics. Why should the comics have to mirror the movies? We all know that 99% of those who see Avengers: Age of Ultron have never will read a comic book, nor will they ever step foot in a comic book store. Those extraordinary few movie goers who do decide to go seek out their local comic shop won't be drawn away if the comics aren't exactly like the movies. If they truly enjoy the genre, they'll find something they like. I don't want this to turn into an editorial on this issue, so lets just delve right into this comic.

With the three team centered X-Men series stuck in the tiresome "Apocalypse Wars" story, X-Fans have been looking elsewhere to get their mutant fix. And a strong candidate for the best ongoing X-Book is Tom Taylor's All-New Wolverine. Taylor has delved more into X-23(Laura Kinney) as a character in his short stint than most writers ever have, and this issue continues that trend.

After taking on the legacy and title of the man she was cloned from, Laura discovered that the people who created her have been trying to recreate her. After helping her three clones take revenge on those who've wronged them, some unfortunate losses, Laura took on a protegé, her clone Gabby. It's been really cool to see her come into her own as a mentor for Gabby. Seeing Laura care for someone and wanting to be a better inspiration than what she had, it makes for great character growth. The moments between the two are genuine and you get a sense of older/younger sister relationship from their interactions.

After a fun team up adventure with Captain Marvel and Iron Man in the previous issue, Laura and Gabby found themselves caring for the time and reality displaced Old Man Logan. Seeing Laura assert herself from her mentor's doppelgänger is beyond pleasing. It's another instance where Taylor allows her to grow and develop into something more than Wolverine 2.0.

The addition of Logan to the mix also provides an element of mystery. In a private conversation with Gabby, Logan reveals that their may be some secrets that she is withholding from Laura. And the final pages even add more to the head scratching when Logan's motivations come into question.

As enjoyable as this issue is with the character interactions, it's upsetting that this series has to digress from the character development for Laura to tie into the Civil War II story. Tom Taylor is still creating some solid character moments within, but it'll be stronger to see them fleshed out in her own story. Rather then tying itself to an event that has gone way downhill. It's another problem with the comic book industry and Marvel in particular that I won't go into here.

While the writing in this series has been on the upside, one of the less inspiring elements has been the artwork. David Lopez was tagged with the first story arc but as of late, the series has seen a revolving door of different artist. With issue #10 beginning a new story, Ig Guara has given his take on the character. While it's still not anything spectacular, it's still an upgrade. Guara's style is able to capture balance with the light-hearted charming moments, especially with Gabby and her pet Wolverine, Jonathan. As well as visualizing the bad-ass fight scenes for these characters, all three of them look fearsome.

Final Verdict

It's sad to see one of the few ongoing X-Men books that's actually good, digress its way towards meaningless Civil War II event. Fortunately though, Tom Taylor has provided a fairly enjoyable read with some solid character moments and strong mysteries to intrigue readers. Guara's artwork conveys a nice balance of tone throughout and hopefully he'll be brought back for future stories.

Score: 3.5 out of 5

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