Comic Book Review: X-23 #3

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It’s a genuine story of clones and family, and I don’t think we’ve ever gotten a perspective on both to this extent in the world of X-Men.As I said last month, I wouldn’t hope for the worst to come to the Stepford Cuckoos, but it is tragic to see that there is no mutant clone out there who isn’t affected by what it means to live a hollow life. The exploration on both ends is one for the history books when we are questioning more than only what it means to be created as a weapon.

Honestly, every bit of the exploration into the mind of X-23 currently is something to appreciate. She’s asking questions she didn’t before, confronting demons about herself that keep her closed off from everyone else, and in general challenging everything about herself that would otherwise make her normal. They were all the right questions to ask when the life of Gabby is assumed to be hanging in the balance. I think anyone who has jumped onboard with this new book from All-New Wolverine would be cheering for the fact that there has never been a stronger bond between Laura and Gabby. Gabby means something to Laura in a way that I don’t think anyone has in recent years, and that was the fuel this story needed to propel her forward. To that extent, it did feel like all bets were off when it came down to the lengths Laura is willing to go to save her sister. The dialogue from Laura spoke volumes to attest to this, but even then I don’t think she would have to say much to get the mindset she was thrown into.

Before things got crazy, I did like that it didn’t take too long at all to find clarity in what the Cuckoos were planning to do with Gabby. I mean, we could probably piece some things together, but the devil is in the details. It was nothing overly complex, and straight to the point for anyone who would find themselves interested with the science of creating clones.

As for the Stepford Cuckoos, there was no overlooking the tense yet entertaining interaction between them and Gabby. It was a chilling atmosphere created by their seriousness in the face of Gabby who even in this situation couldn’t help but be herself. I want to say she was being fearless, but when she starts talking, there’s no telling exactly what she’s aiming for. With that said, it was hard to ignore what was being set up through the one Cuckoo sister who had more to say than the others. Whether it was her responses to Gabby or just the looks she gave her, you could feel like there was at least one end to this that you could predict.

With each issue, you just can’t help but love the quality of work we get out of Juann Cabal and Nolan Woodard. From the minute we jump to that page where Laura springs into action, we are reminded with the stunning pencil work from Cabal. This guy has been perfect for someone who is able to capture her animal like posture, graceful agility, and aggressive nature. Every movement came almost naturally for her and that is the kind of thing that adds to the engagement of our eyes from page to page. What really stood out this issue was the layout work and the facial expressions. The facial expressions told a story of their own when we could see that vulnerability and frustration from Laura, the sorrow and emptiness from the Stepford Cuckoos, and the contrast of expressions from Gabby who was just living in the moment. That aside, the panel and layout work was standout for the way they approached the explanation of the cloning, the display of the mind games, and much more. These scenes flowed right into one another, and worked very well with the fast pacing of this story.

Why I really wanted to make sure I had a review out for this book, is because this series couldn’t happen without amazing book put out by Tom Taylor previously. When some ungrateful comic readers refuse to acknowledge what this book and many others have to offer the rest of us, the opportunity needs to be taken to drown out that negativity. Especially when X-23 #3 is yet another exciting issue with so much at stake between Laura, Gabby, and the Stepford Cuckoos.

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Total Score
8.9