Comic Book Review: X-23 #4
With so much at stake between Laura, Gabby, and the Stepford Cuckoos, the last issue of X-23 set us up for one heck of a confrontation between these sisters. Laura said it herself,all bets are off if something happens to Gabby. I don’t think she’s shown this kind of aggression towards protecting a loved one in a good while, so this is a time to take her seriously that someone might not walk away from this if Gabby is truly lost to a betrayal by the Stepford Cuckoos.
While one would hope for a different turn-out after the events of the last issue, here we were with the inevitable result of the mind transfer. When that much you knew was going to happen regardless, it was what followed which mattered most. Again I was left satisfied by the work of this art team when changing Gabby’s appearance to match the new mind in her body. She practically took on the shade of the personality inside of her. The black she chose was a bit questionable, but you could easily have chalked that up to attempting to keep things distinguishing. I mean, that initial close-up of her face after the transfer? That was the stuff of nightmares. It’s really hard to look at Gabby and think she has it in her for that terrifying face she made, but of course this isn’t her right now either. With that said, it was what came after which changed the whole landscape for the Stepford Cuckoos. You couldn’t have prepared yourself for how much lower they were willing to go in order to maintain the power they have now, and the sister who they have now gained.
I must admit, most of these issues of X-23 #4 have been straightforward with quick pacing, yet this one tops most of them. I found myself with my head hanging when I got to a place where I was so excited, only to find out that the issue was already at its end. Do you know what that feels like? Utterly heartbreaking when there was so much anticipation for things to really get nasty. I suppose you could give this creative team credit that they grab you so quickly at the start that you just don’t know how many pages have passed till they do.
That aside, a few things still stood out. The first of course was seeing just how far Laura was willing to go to stop the transfer before it was too late. For how terrifyingly serious she has been about saving her sister, there was nothing wrong with going that extra mile to prove this through her actions in the moment. Every bit of resistance put into her attempts to stop this made the scene so captivating. The icing on top was the strong visuals from the art team where they had fun with the things that a healer can go through. The burning, the flesh, bone, every gory detail of that energy ripping through her was right in your face. For as many crazy stunts as Wolverine will pull to put his powers to the test, it’s always appreciated when artists are willing to do the same for Laura. The other thing was the big twist, which probably stung the most because it leaves you with some big questions. Form the proximity of Laura to the machine, there was something expected to develop from that, but what did was nothing you could have predicted. This twist could stick, or fall flat, but that depends on the explanation next issue.
X-23 #4 was a fast read, but it was one heck of a roller coaster for these sisters who are fighting to keep their loved one alive and kicking. I fear for Gabby, but I also fear for the Stepford Cuckoos. They aren’t united, they’re not all unkillable, and they’ve knocked on the door of the wrong monster.