Wednesday, December 30, 2015

All-New Wolverine #3: Nuff Said!

I know I sometimes make light of the difficulties hormonal, irresponsible teenagers face. No, I'm not going to apologize for it. I just want to say I know I like belaboring that point and it's worth belaboring. Teenagers, both male and female, are gangbanged by a potent combination of inexperience, hormones, and melodrama that might as well be a real-life mutation on par with anything the X-men have dealt with. And like some real teenagers, X-23 has had to mature way faster than any teenager is prepared to do in taking on the mantle of Wolverine.

For the most part, she's done a damn good job, fighting evil clones and remnants of Weapon X. And she does this without crying over how few people follow her on Twitter. She still has a long ways to go, but she's made progress. All-New Wolverine #3 continues that progress and it's up to my drunken ass to determine whether being a teenager has caught up to her yet. You're welcome.

So X-23 gets to face her first major villain as Wolverine and that first villain is Taskmaster. He's no Thanos, but he's no Howard the Duck either. The man just shot three of X-23's sisters/clones and he might as well have done it while waving his dick in her face and telling her to make a wish. Naturally, X-23 is quite pissed and decides to address Taskmaster as Wolverine would.

Yes, that means kicking his ass. Taskmaster doesn't make that easy for her. This is a guy who goes toe-to-toe with the Avengers on a regular basis and isn't afraid to wave his dick in their faces either. He's fought Wolverine before, but never as a pissed off teenage girl. So while he does present a challenge, it still feels lopsided.

Eventually, X-23 proves that she's a different kind of Wolverine. She surprises Taskmaster in a way he can't anticipate, which results in him getting a foot claw through the hand and blow to the head that would warrant another shitty Will Smith movie. But what makes this moment powerful isn't that it's over so quickly. It's that X-23 had a chance to kill his ass, but didn't. She didn't because that's what Logan would do and she's trying to live up to his legacy and not just use being a pissed off teenage girl as an excuse. It shows once again that X-23 has maturity to go along with her badassery. It's as rare and as potent a combination as it sounds.

X-23's day gets just a little bit better from there. It turns out that her sisters/clones didn't die. They had this insanely advanced life-saving system called body armor. Yeah, apparently an insane healing factor isn't necessary. Technology from the disco era works just as well. Is it bland? Yes. But is it practical and simple? Fuck yes and how often can you say that about a superhero comic?

There's still some tension among X-23 and her sisters/clones. They want to kill everybody in the room and piss on the corpses. X-23 has to convince them that this is not necessary and kind of a dick move. This doesn't stop one of them from shooting Taskmaster in the kneecaps, but let's face it. The fact this guy leaves this situation with an intact scrotum is a late Christmas miracle.

Having dealt justice to Taskmaster's kneecaps, X-23 and her sister/clones leave. But they don't just catch a bus. Fuck no, that would make too much sense. Instead, they hop an armored car and drive off down the streets of New York. Don't lie. If you had that option, you'd take that too, if only to scare the shit out of pedestrians.

There's just one problem. Being in a big fucking armored car often attracts other big fucking armored cars filled with the kind of people who like to use big fucking armored cars. Enter a car chase down the streets of New York in a couple of armored cars. It's every bit as awesome as it sounds. Pretty sure this is going to be a template for the next Fast and Furious movie.

At first it's just bullets. That's how all typical car chases starts. Then, one of X-23's clone/sisters breaks out a rocket launcher and helps thin the herd a bit. That, my friends, is how a typical car chase becomes an awesome car chase. Throw a rocket launcher into the mix and let the awesome follow. It almost takes the sting out of finding out that the creepy assholes looking to reclaim X-23's clone/sisters stuck a chip in them. Probably makes them wish they brought more than one rocket launcher.

And what happens when an rocket launcher isn't enough? No seriously, when is a rocket launcher not enough? I've always struggled to answer that question. X-23 doesn't need to answer it. With one armored car still using them as target practice, she decides she doesn't need no fucking rocket launcher. She has claws, a badass attitude, and a reckless disregard for New York City traffic. She may or may not symbolize my future wife, but she puts these skills to good use by jumping out of her armored car, landing in the other, and taking it out with her bare hands.

Can we just stop for a moment and appreciate how proud Logan would be if he saw this? If he and Lemmy Kilmister (who's recent death was a loss to whiskey lovers and metal heads everywhere) could step away from the bar for more than five minutes, he could watch this with pride. X-23 is really starting to carry herself as Wolverine. She's pissed off, reckless, and an omega level badass. This is who should be carrying on Logan's legacy and if anyone still argues otherwise, then may Lemmy haunt your dreams with pools of whiskey and exceedingly loud heavy metal.

Once the armored vehicle is wrecked and X-23 casually dusts herself off, she confronts the asshole who is trying to recapture her clone/sisters. She skips the part where she points out that a man trying to capture three teenage girls with an armored car is creepy as fuck. She just tells him to stay the fuck away or she'll do more than shoot his kneecaps. She even dares him to come after her. And if he's dumb enough to try, then I've no sympathy for his kneecaps or whatever other body part she decides to maim. Again, this is Wolverine-like attitude to the letter. I know she's still under-aged, but fuck if X-23 doesn't deserve a glass of whiskey.

So the creepy asshole who thinks it's okay to clone teenage girls and have them killed is busy contemplating how much he values his kneecaps. That still leaves X-23's sister/clones in a tough situation. The world does a shitty enough job helping war refugees. Is it really equipped to help a bunch of teenage girls who happen to be clones? On top of that they're kinda dying. And by kinda, I mean they're dying by design. In the same way every Apple device is supposed to become shitty over time, these three girls are supposed to die once they've outlived their usefulness.

It's a real shitty situation for them. X-23 understands this, having been a clone/killer herself. Some want to dedicate their lives to revenge, but I think the shitty returns of the last two Taken movies prove that this is not always a productive way to spend their time. X-23 is in a position to help them, just as Wolverine often is. And on top of being a badass, she has to convince them that mindless slaughter isn't as necessary as they think.

They decide to listen to her and accept her help. In this case, X-23's ability to help her clone/sisters requires that she get help from one of Logan's old allies. He's not the kind of ally that he would share his whiskey with, but he has been known to do things other than make Benadict Cumberbatch relevant. I'm talking, of course, about Dr. Strange. She believes he's in the best position to help her clone/sisters. Considering his last major story involved him helping Dr. Doom, I'd say his karma really needs some balancing. it awesome?

It has blood, car chases, and machine guns with armor piercing bullets. Do I really need to write a fucking thesis? Fuck yes, this issue is awesome. Tom Taylor is capturing all the critical elements that make Wolverine great and having X-23 contribute to that greatness. She's not just stabbing and growling like me at a desert buffet. There are actual dramatic undertones mixed in with badassery. That always brought out the best in Logan. It's bringing out the best in X-23. While the dramatic impact is kind of muted in All-New Wolverine #3, that's only because there was a kick-ass car chase with machine guns. In a world where everything you want requires an extra fee or a sore asshole, I'd say that's a pretty fair trade-off.

Final Score: 8 out of 10


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