The perfect killing machine is forging her way ahead to lead the next series in the vein of Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye and Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto’s Black Widow for Marvel Comics. It’s Laura Kinney aka X-23, the clone of Logan’s Wolverine, who takes center stage in a stylish and smartly written series, wrapping the final part of a five-part story arc last month and featuring a single-story issue this Wednesday. In the monthly series X-23 (the sixth X-23 solo title series), writer Mariko Tamaki creates a worthy follow-on to future X-Men stories like those found in the Old Man Logan. The series takes familiar mutant powers and mythology into surprising and exciting directions in a personal character study of young X-Women dealing with life as cloned mutants.
The story begins with a partnership forged in past series. X-23 is joined by her lab-created “sister” Gabby, aka Honey Badger, who was previously created as a clone of Laura. Gabby is the chatty younger sister of the duo, full of pep, a little less precise in her fighting skills than the more battle hardened X-23 (think Buffy Summers’ sister Dawn or Green Arrow’s former sidekick Mia). Gabby is also more inclined to try to find commonality between the Wolverine clone club and the series’ other clone family, the Stepford Cuckoos. The “Cuckoos” are the five clones of Emma Frost, who only recently have lost two of their sisters, who died in stories previous to this series. If you can put aside the cringeworthy alter ego name of the Frost clones (the Cuckoos have been around since 2001 and are a Grant Morrison creation), as realized here the characters are new and fresh, and the story is an intriguing future-world update to the Xavier School situational stories found in the pages of Wolverine and The X-Men.
Tamaki (Hunt for Wolverine, Hulk) partnered with artist Juann Cabal and colorist Nolan Woodard on the first story arc. As X-23 pursues a missing scientist at the behest of Hank “Beast” McCoy, the remaining Emma Frost clones, referred to as the Three-in-One, are plotting to return to their family of five sisters. But one of the sisters has other ideas, determined to kidnap and transform Gabby in the process. The result is a solid X-Men series mutant fans should take note of. Take a look at some pages from the series and several variant covers:
Issue #6, on comic store shelves Wednesday, features a standalone story with X-23 and Honey Badger undercover as teacher and student.
X-Men fans will want to add this series to their pull lists. Contact Elite Comics for back issues and ongoing orders or to order the forthcoming trade edition. Pre-order for the trade are also available here at Amazon. The trade edition will include the five-issue arc and the Issue #6 story, and is expected to ship in January 2019.