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Review: X-23 #1

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.

Writer Mariko Tamaki is an amazing talent. She’s released some modern classic graphic novels and luckily, the “big two” publishers took notice having her take the reigns of two of their properties where Tamaki delivered two impressive stories. Now, she’ll work her magic with Laura Kinney, aka X-23.

In X-23 #1, Tamaki has a focus, and that’s Laura’s history as a clone. In charting her future, we’ll explore her past. And Tamaki is doing that in an interesting way, by bring in the Cuckoo sisters, another set of clones. Within the mutant community, there’s also a lot of clones, something that’s been touched upon, but not really addressed front and center. This series seems to be doing that by exploring what one misses when they’re a clone. It starts with an unknown birthday and goes from there.

Though the comic begins with a fantastic action sequence, it’s the heart that Tamaki focuses on. Laura and Gabby interact and speak their thoughts so that you’re feeling for them. It’s as much about the depth of the characters as it is how far one can sink their claws. Action is one thing, but if you don’t care for the characters, it doesn’t work and Tamaki has proven she knows how to mix both in every issue.

Helping Tamaki is Juann Cabal‘s art with color from Nolan Woodard, and lettering from Cory Petit. The art is fantastic with a style that’s hard to describe. The opening feels like an action film in the use of panels. It feels like the opening from a movie. The characters have tons of personality and their body language delivers as much of their feelings and thinking as what they say. That’s especially true for Gabby who feels like she’s bouncing up and down in excitement on the page.

I’ve enjoyed X-23’s adventures over the years but she’s never been a character I’ve cared about. Tamaki in one issue has me beginning to care about her. There’s a focus on character as well as the action and together it creates a comic that’s a wonderful read and fantastic debut.

Story: Mariko Tamaki Art: Juann Cabal
Color: Nolan Woodard Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review