She's cuter and she has an adorable clone sister. It might sound like the premise of a shitty Disney movie, but Tom Taylor has made it work. X-23 and Gabby are adorable in their endless pursuit to survive, thrive, and maim any motherfucker that gets in their way. All-New Wolverine #8 continues that journey. It's still amazing to think something so adorable and violent could be so much fun, but like a stripper hugging a teddy bear, you just can't help but enjoy it.
Like most shitty Liam Neeson movies, it begins with a shady arms deal. Someone is selling something to someone who wants something destroyed. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that the basis of at leas 60 percent of our economy these days? It happens in the middle of the ocean in international waters, which sounds smart in the real world. In a world where SHIELD has fucking helicarriers and Maria Hill has a pussy boner for fucking up arms deals, it's about as smart as smoking a joint outside a police station.
The deal is effectively killed. Nobody is getting any fancy weapons or making friends with any Jason Stathem types. It's pretty typical stuff for SHIELD. It's the kind of shit that doesn't usually require them to call Thor, Captain America, or the Hulk. Hell, it's one of the few ways they show they're not more inept than the Bush Administration. But what's so dangerous that it requires a couple of dip-shits to think that international waters is safe in the Marvel universe?
Well, it's in some fancy Arc of the Covenant type box so it must be pretty damn destructive. SHIELD tends to bust up deals that involve equipment capable of low-yield nuclear warheads and nothing less. So why the fuck is this more terrifying than a couple of dip-shits who want to play with rocket launchers? Well, it's definitely fucking terrifying because when they open the box, the look like I do when I'm stoned and find out I'm out of hot pockets. It's that fucking horrifying.
We go from horrifying to obscenely adorable. How adorable you ask? How about a young girl and her pet wolverine, Jonathan? It's even more adorable than it sounds. That's right. Gabby, X-23's already adorable clone sister, has a pet wolverine now, thanks to Squirrel Girl. Sure, it leads to awkward encounters when they for a walk in the park, but that somehow makes it even more adorable.
Aside from being cute, there is a meaningful exchange here. X-23 is basically giving Gabby the same speech Logan gave her at one point, saying she should take time away from being a fucking meat puppet and learn to be a kid. Preferably, she should learn this without spending time as a teenage prostitute, as X-23 did. Gabby doesn't seem too happy about it. What kid willingly wants to go to school? Between that or being a meat puppet, it is a tough call.
X-23 does have an ace up her sleeve that can sway even the most stubborn kids. No, it's not a stern talking to by Captain America. It's food. Sorry Cap, but good food trumps patriotism and inspiring speeches. That's just a fact.
This wonderfully appropriate conversation that helps further develop X-23's relationship with Gabby is rudely interrupted by Maria Hill. She's not even courteous about it. She basically shows up the NSA, calling her on her phone in a way she can't block and parking the fucking Hellicarrier right out her window. So yeah, she can't exactly hang up on her. At the very least, Maria Hill is kind of enough to pay for the food X-23 orders. She's not total cunt. She just loves to make everyone think that so she can get shit done. Hillary Clinton should probably take notes.
Maria Hill brings X-23 and Gabby on board to analyze the wannabe Ark of the Covenant, which they have in a containment cell that's probably equipped to contain Hulk's jizz if need be. It gives Hill a chance to provide more context on the shady deal that they so skillfully fucked up earlier. She adds that this thing has destroyed and killed prospective buyers and SHIELD agents alike. So they need to be real fucking careful with it and treat it like a vial of Archie Manning's semen at a fertility clinic.
It's a serious situation, but that doesn't stop Gabby from being adorable. That food X-23 bought her earlier is doing its job. It happens to be Chinese food. The good kind, that is. Speaking as someone who gets high and hungry as fuck, I can attest to the value of good Chinese food. Even Maria Hill seems to understand it. Now Gabby knows it too. It's adorable, but fuck it makes me hungry.
But there's another reason why Maria Hill specifically called X-23 and not someone who can cash in a couple favors with Thor, Captain Marvel, or the Hulk. Apparently, Hill had someone helping her with this shit storm. And that someone was Old Man Logan.
Yes, this is finally happening. It's been brewing like imported whiskey for months now, the eventual meeting between X-23, the new Wolverine, and Old Man Logan, the cantankerous old Wolverine from another timeline. I'm sure I'm not the only one who gets a boner contemplating the eventual meeting between these two. Hell, I might not be the only one who gets a boner watching Deadpool while stoned. But this is finally happening. It has taken a while and it has been building, but it's so close you want to cop a feel.
That's not to say X-23 is quite as enthusiastic about it. She immediately rejects the notion that Old Man Logan is anywhere near the Logan she once knew. He's a stranger to her and that's true to some extent. It's also true that X-23 is a fucking teenager whose ability to handle her emotions are questionable at best. So yeah, get some popcorn and some weed for this.
As X-23 is processing this, Maria Hill's people finally make an overdue yet important revelation. The contents of that fancy Ark of the Covenant box might not melt anyone's faces, but it will make more than a few people shit themselves. It looks like the kind of green goop that my old calculus teacher used to style her hair. Actually, it's pheromones. Specifically, they're pheromones for Fing Fang Foom.
Naturally, this draws out Fing Fang Foom like William Shatner at a Star Trek convention. He's either enraged or horny as fuck because he immediately attacks the Helicarrier and in the middle of the Hudson Bay no less. So yeah, this is why the idea of it being sold as a weapon is so fucking terrifying to SHIELD. A pissed off/horny dragon is every bit as dangerous as a nuclear warhead.
The action gets pretty intense pretty quickly, which has become wonderfully typical of All-New Wolverine. X-23 goes into Wolverine mode, protecting Gabby generally not shitting herself at the sight of a pissed off/horny dragon, as most ordinary people are inclined to do. Maria Hill goes into Maria Hill mode, realizing that dragon pheromones are one of those things that should be buried in the same hole as the last Indiana Jones movie. It still doesn't stop Gabby from making a dirty joke because she's a fucking kid.
Can we all just agree at this point that Gabby is fucking adorable? She's officially the opposite of Hope fucking Summers.
But it's not just enough to protect Gabby and let her make dirty jokes. X-23 decides to raise the stakes even more when she surmises where Old Man Logan is and why she can't exactly delay their meeting for much longer. Apparently, Old Man Logan is in one of the last places anyone with or without a healing factor wants to be. No, I'm not talking about the unlucky fucks who have to clean up after the Hulk. Fing Fang Foom fucking ate him.
Admit it, you're not even remotely surprised. Hell, it's easy to imagine this not even being the first time a version of Wolverine got swallowed by a dragon. And now X-23 has to get herself eaten in order to save him. In terms of two Wolverines from two different worlds meeting, this is as fucked up as it is fitting.
So...is it awesome?
This issue has a cute teenage girl, X-23, a dragon, and a pet wolverine. On top of that, it lays the foundation for X-23's first meeting with Old Man Logan. All-New Wolverine #8 literally has everything it needs to be awesome without including Emma Frost's tits. It's cute thanks to Gabby. It's exciting thanks to the big fucking dragon that shows up. It's dramatic thanks to X-23 trying to help her clone sister avoid the fate she suffered. It even has an adorable animal side-kick in Jonathan the Wolverine. I legitimately don't know how anyone can read this and not enjoy something about it.
This is the current state of X-23 as the All-New Wolverine. She's badass with plenty of drama. She also has an adorable young side-kick with an adorable pet. She also fights dragons every now and then. So to those Wolverine fans still sad that Hugh Jackman is retiring next year, fear not! All-New Wolverine #8 ensures the bar for awesome is still as high as it should be. It just has an adorable pet wolverine now on top of it. Did Logan ever manage anything that awesome? I rest my case.
Final Score: 9 out of 10