So how could X-23 possibly get more awesome after all this? Well, throw Old Man Logan and dragons into the mix and the odds are pretty fucking good. Hell, they're right up there with the Cleveland Browns not winning the Super Bowl this year. This is what X-23 is facing in All-New Wolverine #9. I've no reason to believe it won't be bloody, violent, and obscenely adorable.
The violent part is pretty much a given, thanks to Fing Fang Foom. I know X-23 is used to fighting thugs who work for Weapon X rip-offs, like she did in the first arc, but this helps mix things up nicely. Logan always found time to mix it up with a few monsters every now and then. However, I don't think he ever fought a dragon that attacked because someone stashed a concentrated pheromone that makes dragons angry/horny. Or maybe he did. The guy lived so long this might have been how he celebrated his 100th birthday for all I know. X-23, however, doesn't have that experience. She's new to fighting angry/horny dragons.
Naturally, an angry/horny dragon attracts the attention from the many heroes who call New York home. In this case, it's Iron Man and Captain Marvel. They're among the few heroes who are better equipped than most to kick a giant dragon's ass. However, Maria Hill informs them that they can't be as eager as usual because X-23 decided to do something insanely badass.
Since surmising that Old Man Logan somehow got himself eaten by Fing Fang Foom, she decides to rescue him by getting eaten herself. What kind of crazy teenage girl trying to replace Wolverine does that? The awesome kind, that's what. Wolverine is the kind of hero who has the balls to venture into horrible domains to get the job done and not care whether he comes out smelling like a Detroit sewage treatment plant. X-23 carries that legacy well. She just does it with awesome tits.
The trip down is as pleasant as you might expect. David Lopez doesn't get overly graphic, but he doesn't water the process down like a Magic Schoolbus re-run. It's not meant to be pleasant. It's meant to make everyone recall the worst smell they've ever experienced. For me, I had horrific flashbacks of a sandwich I left in a suitcase all summer. I still doubt even that is as bad as this, but X-23 never stops to gag. She's not one of those teenage girls who cries every time someone spits up gum on the sidewalk. She's in the belly of a fucking dragon and still being badass. Teenage girls, take note.
Especially you, Hope fucking Summers!
It doesn't take long for her to find Old Man Logan. It's not like there are a lot of places to hide in a dragon's stomach. The problem is he's an old fart who has been sitting in stomach acid for way too long. That means he's not exactly equipped to save himself. That's where X-23 comes in, as only she can.
It's pretty gruesome. Old Man Logan has had half his body dissolved. His younger self probably shakes that off in a heartbeat, but like I said, he's an old fart and X-23 is a fit young teenage girl who is more pissed off than most. He's in good hands is what I'm saying.
It's not the most dramatic scene in that this is the first real encounter between X-23 and Old Man Logan. We knew it was coming. Marvel teased the shit out of it since the relaunch. It just can't be all that dramatic when it's taking place in the belly of a fucking dragon. So in that sense, I have to give it a pass.
So X-23 has to claw out of Fing Fang Foom's stomach with a wounded, half-dissolved Old Man Logan holding onto her back. That alone is pretty badass, but keep in mind she's doing this while Fing Fang Foom is angry/horny because of the pheromones. He's angry/horny enough to down the helicarrier and unlike previous downed helicarriers, this one might get fucked. It forces Iron Man and Captain Marvel to temper the impact, but are they powerful enough to stop a horny dragon from fucking the helicarrier after it's down? I don't know and I don't think anyone sober wants to find out.
Now that she's lost another helicarrier, Maria Hill isn't all that eager to wait for X-23 and Old Man Logan to make Fing Fang Foom barf or shit them out. She's probably sick of losing helicarriers so she wants Iron Man and Captain Marvel to kick his ass and understandably so. Then, Gabby decides to get into the action and almost immediately, the crisis becomes cuter.
She manages to swipe a jet pack, which I guess are just lying around everywhere in a helicarrier. She gets to encounter Iron Man and Captain Marvel, thoroughly geeking out as any young girl would in her position. Armed with her cuteness that only Riley Curry could hope to match, she convinces Iron Man and Captain Marvel to wait just long enough for X-23 to Old Man Logan. Thus, the power of cuteness saves the day once again.
It works. Honestly, did anyone truly doubt Gabby's cuteness? X-23 manages to climb out of Fing Fang Foom's mouth with Old Man Logan (most of him, anyways) on her back. She's able to hand Old Man Logan off to Gabby. That's one problem solved. There's still an angry/horny dragon to deal with. X-23, knowing the job is not done, decides to do something else that's insanely badass, but after diving into a dragon's digestive tract, there's not much she can do to top herself, right?
Well, maybe for most teenage girls and non-Inhuman characters, that would be true. This is X-23. She's the new fucking Wolverine. She's going to find a way to be insanely badass and she's going to impress the fuck out of anyone who dares doubt her. So if you have any doubts, now would be a good time to kick them in the balls.
Done kicking yet? Good because X-23 does somehow find a way to be more badass. She does this by taking a bath in dragon pheromones, grabbing yet another jet pack that happens to be lying around, and flying off with Iron Man and Captain Marvel to lure Fing Fang Foom away. Is it as bloody and disgusting as diving into a dragon's stomach? Does it make perfect tactical sense while requiring Galactus-sized balls? Fuck yes. Iron Man even finds a way to inject a dirty joke into the mix because why not? It's not like a clone of Logan has heard, seen, smelled worse.
At this point, anyone who still has any doubts that X-23 is worthy of being Wolverine needs to stop chugging paint thinner on a dare. X-23 does Logan's legacy proud in the best possible way. She saves someone close to her, carries out ball-bustingly badass heroics, and looks damn good while doing it. Sure, she isn't attracting any redheads, but she's being the best at what Wolverine does and she deserves that fucking title every bit as much as Hugh Jackman.
The plan works. Fing Fang Foom leaves New York, taking his anger and horniness with him. X-23 even has to get naked at one point to ditch her clothes. So now I have this mental image of X-23 flying around naked in a jet pack. For that, I say thank you Tom Taylor! My life is a little richer with that mental image in my head.
X-23 returns to her apartment with a new set of clothes, courtesy of Captain Marvel. She also finally gets a chance to confront Old Man Logan outside the bowels of a dragon. It's a powerful and overdue meeting, one that offers just a hint of the drama to come. It's the kind of drama that I can't help but be excited about. Hopefully, the mental images of X-23 naked in a jet pack will tide me over.
So...is it awesome?
It gave me the mental picture of X-23 flying naked with a jet-pack. It's just one of those amazing mental images you didn't know you wanted to jerk off to, but you can now never imagine jerking off any other way. We knew it was coming and no, I'm not talking about my penis this time. X-23 and Old Man Logan were going to meet. It was going to cause some major confusion and fucked up emotions. Tom Taylor just had to throw a giant dragon in Fing Fang Foom to the mix and you know what? We're all better because of it.
It's not enough that X-23 and Old Man Logan's paths should cross and bring all sorts of fucked up melodrama with it. It should also be fun and entertaining. That's exactly what All-New Wolverine #9 is from start to finish. There are jet packs, dragons, and implied nudity. If you can't have fun with that, then donate your brain to science because something is fucked up with it. All-New Wolverine #9 has every kind of fun while finally setting up this inevitable meeting between X-23 and Old Man Logan. That's as productive a day for an X-men comic as you'll find that doesn't involve banging Emma Frost.
Final Score: 9 out of 10