All-New Wolverine #30
Story: Tom Taylor
Art: Juann Cabal
Colors: Nolan Woodard
All-New Wolverine #30 is a surprising conclusion to the Orphans of X arc. Laura and Gabby have tracked down the Orphans HQ (thanks to Draken). They are ready to bring back Draken, Logan, Sabretooth, and Lady Deathstrike from the dead to help them take down the Orphans of X, but new information makes Laura change up her attack strategy.
*** WARNING!!! SPOILERS AHEAD!!!***
In this issue, the thing that sticks out the most for me, is the art. Juann Cabal’s artwork paired with Nolan Woodard colors does an incredible job of setting the tone of this issue and effectively tells the story even without the script. For the most part, the colors Woodard uses throughout the issue are are fairly muted. This helps to make his use of more vibrant colors pop off the page (like when Laura “Captain America’d”) and sets a tension throughout the issue that makes the ending that much more powerful. When it comes to the more vibrant colors that Woodard uses, it is limited to reds, oranges, and blues, but the way they are used helps you see and feel more. The oranges and red are used beautifully to help add an aggressive tension that allows you to almost feel the dread Laura’s going through (while remembering Sutter), or put yourself in the chaos of the Orphans crashing through the floor above. It’s all about the balance between peace and chaos, and we get a great sense of peace with the more tranquil blue of Laura’s armor (or Logan’s eyes) as she walks alone to the Orphans.
One of the things I love about Cabal’s artwork is his ability to bring a lot of personality and emotion to the characters. Gabby is a great example of this early on in the issue. Even though they just cut Murumasa bullets out of their family to bring them back to life, Gabby is more filled with the excitement to get them back then she is with what’s left to come. She goes from being annoyed by Draken’s less-than-great plan to turn himself into a meat bag GPS, to cracking jokes about Lady Deathstrike’s name. Cabal also does a great job playing with different shades of fear. This whole arc can be summed up by that word; fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of being powerless, and a new fear of death. Laura has her mask on through most of the issue, but as she starts remembering the name Sutter, you can see her wide eyes through the red lenses of the mask. It’s just a tight shot of her eyes with the words Sutter over and over behind her, and the reflection of Henry Sutter’s father reflection in the lens, but you can feel the “the worst day of my life is here to haunt me again” fear. Then later we see no fear in Laura’s face as she walks armorless toward Henry Sutter, only empathy. The fear is all Henry’s. A fear woven with hate and anger can be felt as he continues to shoot Laura.
As I said, a few panels really stuck out and made me take a second to stop and soak them up. To me, one of the most beautiful panels in the book is of Laura standing in her armor while bullets rain down on her. The black backdrop make this the blue stand out extremely well. It should be a stressful moment, but you feel some peace from it as we see the souls of Draken, Gabby, Laura, and Logan stand guard to protect Laura. She stands there with one open fist and one closed to show that she understands why they are shooting but is also ready to make sure no more lives are lost. The other part of this issue that sticks out is the whole exchange between Laura and Sutter. Laura has removed her armor and mask, and now stand in just the rest of her Wolverine costume. This exchange is one of the most powerful moment I’ve seen in comics in a while. We see a version of Laura and Henry as their ages when Laura came to kill all the Sutters, then a vision of an older Henry who is filled with so much pain, and then back to present day. Also in this exchange, Woodard does a great job of showing the life slowly leaving Laura’s body as more and more bullets pour into her. Her skin starts to grey to the point where you almost can’t tell where her uniform ends and her skin begins, as her eyes slowly disappear into the black. This is the stuff I love to see in comics!
The conclusion Tom Taylor gives us is very different from what I expected. After everything that has happened (I mean they brought her dead mother back and Laura got to watch her die… again), I expected Laura to bring everyone back and for this to end up being a bloody issue, but what we got is so much better. Laura realizes that the Orphans of X are not some terrorist organization at all (I mean they are, but way more depressing); they are a support group that has been pushed past their breaking point and are tired of being powerless in a world of gods. You can sense the work that Taylor has put in to explore these characters and how they interact with the world around them. How far would you have to push someone before they pick up a gun to protect themselves? How would a little girl, who feels no pain and is naive to the world, react to cutting into her extended family and getting ready to go to war? How far will someone go to redeem the atrocities of their past? How much does fear control our actions, and what does that fear turn us into?
Taylor also balances the heavy with the light very well. The dynamic of all 6 Weapon Xers is that balance in a nutshell. Sabretooth and Lady Deathstrike just want blood, Draken and Laura just want it all to end, Gabby is is the heart of this crew and is used very well to add some levity, and Old Man Logan is the strong silent father of the group.
All-New Wolverine #30 is a surprising, yet satisfying, end to what may have been one of my favorite arcs of this series. The artwork shines brightest in this issue, but Taylor also dives deeper into Laura’s psyche and helps her put some demons to bed (we hope), while exploring just how powerful fear can be. I can’t wait for this trade to hit shelves! Speaking of can’t wait, Deadpool is on the cover for All-New Wolverine #31 which means the ultimate Team of Joy that is Gabby and Deadpool are going to be back together! Can’t wait to see what Wade thinks of the new code name, and I think after an arc that was a little on the heavier side, we can use some laughs!