Welcome to X-Men: Bland Design, the weekly column that answers the question: “What if Ed Piskor had no art skills, a juvenile sense of humor, and less classic material to work with?” This week there are five X-Books on the stands, which will cost you a total of $21 to buy and, thanks to modern decompression techniques, take roughly ten minutes to read. If that seems like a waste of time and money, you can keep your money by reading our recaps for free. We make no promises about the use of your time, however.
This week we’ve got Phoenix Resurrection #5, All-New Wolverine #30, Despicable Deadpool #293, Old Man Logan #34, and Jean Grey #11. Let’s check out All-New Wolverine…
All-New Wolverine #30
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Juann Cabal
Colorist: Nolan Woodard
Letterer: Cory Petit
In the previous issue of All-New Wolverine, Daken allowed himself to be killed by the Orphans of X, but only after cutting his body open and sticking a cell phone inside, which seems kind of extreme when he could have just put it up his butt like a normal person trying to smuggle something. That left All-New Wolverine and Honey Badger, who will henceforth be referred to as Laura and Gabby, to infiltrate the Orphans of X compound, revive the other dead Wolverines by cutting new wounds around the wounds made by deadly Muramasa bullets so that they can heal.
The latest issue opens with Old Man Logan waking up to find Laura, Gabby, Daken, Sabertooth, and Lady Deathstrike. Readers are treated to some beefcake:
X-pository dialogue recaps how Daken infiltrated the compound with his hidden phone, as Laura explains that they’re not going to kill the Orphans of X because the Orphans of X are only reacting to what the Wolverines did to their loved ones (what they do best: killed them). Gabby has a great line: “No death today, your name is just Lady Strike. Okay?” That’s an inappropriate use of a comma though, Cory. It should be “No death today. Your name is just Lady Strike. Okay?” Maybe, at best, a semicolon. Just putting it out there.
The first step of Laura’s plan is to extract information, so the Wolverines find five off-duty Orphans of X, cut the beams out from under the floor so they fall through, and beat the crap out of them, leaving one conscious to question. During the fight, Laura tosses the Muramasa Shield at one of the Orphans, earning another great line from Gabby…
After some interrogation, the Wolverines learn that the Orphans aren’t so much an organized hate group as a support group set up to deal with losing loved ones to claw-stabbing. When they saw Laura on the news being hailed as a hero for what happened at Roosevelt Island back in earlier issues of All-New Wolverine, they became radicalized. Laura learns that their leader is Henry Sutter, the child of Martin Sutter, a Weapon X dude behind the project that created Laura. Laura was sent to kill him and his family back when she was being used as a weapon, but she stopped short of murdering Henry. Apparently, he’s still pissed about his mom and dad, though.
Laura has a plan. She’s going to talk to them and try to get them to see that Wolverines are just regular people like anyone else and they can’t help it if they occasionally fly into berserker rages and stab people to death with their claws. Really, everyone is a victim here. She looks through their private correspondence for blackmail material, dons the Muramasa armor, gets rid of Sabertooth and Lady Deathstrike because they don’t fit her narrative as well, and prepares to face the Oprhans.
The other Wolverines hide and pull the fire alarm, and the Orphans of X attack, shooting a crapload of Muramasa bullets at Gabby. Didn’t they melt down one sword to make all of these? How do they have so many?
After the gunfire stops, Laura begins removing the armor while explaining that she was raised in a lab and forced to kill, and that the real enemies are the 1%ers who funded it. Right on, Laura! Screw capitalism!
Vulnerable to damage now, Laura seems to be winning the Orphans over, but Henry Sutter isn’t having it. Laura reveals that Henry’s father created Laura and sent her to kill others, including Henry’s friend and fellow Orphan, Amber’s, father. Furthermore, she argues that Henry must have known all of this because earlier in the storyline, he grew a clone of Laura’s mother, which means he must have had access to both his father’s files and Laura’s mother’s body.
Spiraling, Henry shoots Laura several times, but she doesn’t give into her anger and just takes it. She then reveals that the other Wolverines — Logan, Gabby, and Daken — are in the crowd and none of them have done what they do best and slaughtered the Orphans. Maybe there’s hope for peace after all?
Henry drops the gun, and Laura offers to work with the Orphans, tracking down the rich jerks who funded projects to make Wolverines and making them pay for their crimes. After a vote, the Orphans agreed to work with her, though Henry hasn’t come around. The Orphans return Laura’s mom’s body, and everyone has a happy ending by attending her funeral.
Talking out problems isn’t necessarily what one might expect from a Wolverine comic (one expects stabbing), but All-New Wolverine has never been about what’s expected. It has, however, been consistently good for 30 issues. It will be interesting to see, over the next few months, whether it sticks around, or whether writer Tom Taylor sticks around, with the original Wolverine returning and Taylor writing a core X-Book that includes this book’s cast.