X-23 is learning this the hard way, which also happens to be the awesome way. Tom Taylor doesn't just have X-23 developing those skills in All-New Wolverine. He shows her thriving, as only someone worthy of the Wolverine title can. He didn't go easy on her either. This series began with her confronting a team of evil clones. Well, in All-New Wolverine #10 he has her confronting an AU version of Wolverine. It's basically the Wolverine equivalent of a mid-term and unlike those of us who flunked calculus, I'd say X-23 is more than prepared for this latest test.
There's just one minor complication that might affect her grade and no, it's not because some asshole from English class slipped laxatives into her coffee. This fateful meeting between X-23 and Old Man Logan happens to be taking place during Civil War II, an event where everyone is learning the hard way that the future will fuck you over in way too many ways, not all of which involve Thanos.
Ulysses, the Inhuman at the center of it all, loves to have visions of terrifying futures that involve a naked Hulk. Other than revealing disturbing shit about his porno stash, one of those visions involves an enraged Old Man Logan and a terrified X-23. If Ulysses' past visions are any indication, it has nothing to do with Old Man Logan having to buy tampons for X-23. This is a guy who lives under constant fear of slaughtering his loved ones like he did in his dystopian future. Now, he's meeting with someone who tends to attract slaughter the same way NBA players attract Kardashians. It may be an overdue encounter, but it's like putting matches and gasoline in the same room.
At the very least, Old Man Logan's first encounter with X-23 doesn't start with any bloodshed or violence. Instead, it starts with an adorable girl and her pet wolverine. No, that's not dirty joke about female anatomy. She's a kid, remember? She also happens to have a pet wolverine named Jonathan. It's even more adorable than it sounds.
It feels like a moment right out of a Disney movie, a grumpy old man waking up to an adorable girl and her adorable pet. It's like Up if it were directed by Quintin Tarantino. The script must have been written by EL James because Old Man Logan is tied up when he awakens. Granted, this is usually not a good idea for any version of Wolverine, but he did just spend some time in the stomach of Fing Fang Foom so he's bound to be a little grumpy. When there's a cute kid and a cute animal in the house, I honestly can't blame X-23 for restraining him. Pretty sure my old college roommates would do the same to me if we ever ran out of coffee and whiskey on a Monday morning.
Once Old Man Logan accepts that someone didn't inject a bucket of LSD into his veins while he was out, X-23 finally enters. It's a meeting we've all been waiting for. Sure, they crossed paths in the last issue, but that was in the stomach of a dragon and that shit only ended with X-23 flying around naked in a jet pack. Not exactly a good way to build a connection between someone and their dystopian AU counterpart.
It's not all that dramatic at first and honestly, it's hard to make it dramatic. When your first meeting happened in the stomach of a fucking dragon, that kind of kills the drama. It's hard to be in a very loving, understanding mood after that shit. At the very least, X-23 explains to Old Man Logan why they have a pet wolverine, an adorable girl, and a tied up old man. Not saying it's a good explanation. Just saying it's not devoid of logic.
It's awkward. It's tense. It's a fucked up situation and there's no whiskey available to make it easier. So what can break the ice? What can make this meeting between X-23 and a dystopian AU version of the man she saw as her father less awkward?
Tom Taylor has a plan. Granted, it's kind of a fucked up plan, but in a hilariously logical sort of way. Just as X-23 unties Old Man Logan, a couple of burglars drop in. That's right. A couple of burglars break into X-23's apartment, in broad fucking daylight, at a time when there's a little girl, a pet wolverine, and a pissed off Logan from a shitty future at home. Either these burglars are the dumbest burglars outside a Home Alone movie or the unluckiest.
Needless to say, X-23 and Old Man Logan find this fucking hilarious. They actually start laughing. Yes, Old Man Logan actually laughs and it's not nearly as creepy as it sounds. Even coming from a fucked up dystopian world doesn't make this any less hilarious. It's a great way to break the ice, lighten the mood, and vent frustrations after having spent an afternoon in Fing Fang Foom's intestinal track. Yeah, it sucks for the burglars, but never in history has a crime been so therapeutic.
It only stops being funny when the burglars, still not knowing just how fucked they are, decide to fuck themselves even more. One of them, who would probably wave his dick in Mephisto's face on a five dollar bet, decides to shoot Jonathan the wolverine. I'm not an animal lover and I think PETA folks are fucking crazy, but even I found this horrifying. These motherfuckers just shot Jonathan, an adorably deranged animal, in a comic book from a subsidiary of Disney. That alone makes them deserving of no less than 50 stab wounds.
Naturally, X-23 and Old Man Logan are pissed. They can handle being in the stomach of a dragon, but shoot an innocent animal who happens to be the pet of an adorable girl and the gloves are off, motherfucker. It's not a fair fight to say the least. Hell, one of the burglars gets his face fucked up by Gabby, the adorable little girl who just saw her adorable pet get shot. Anytime an adorable little girl kicks a certain level of ass, it's a beautiful thing. Fox and Disney lawyers alike would even agree with that. It ensures that this is a quick, fairly smooth fight, but it still feels pretty damn epic in light of what happens to Jonathan the wolverine.
Not gonna lie, my heart skipped a beat at the thought of this being Jonathan's demise. At least he gets a more heroic death than Cyclops ever got.
Much to my relief, and that of everyone traumatized by Bambi as a kid, Jonathan is fine. The burglars still get their asses kicked in the most satisfying way possible that doesn't involve a fishing hook. It marks the first true team-up between X-23 and Old Man Logan that didn't involve them both getting stuck in a dragon's stomach. Given the stakes and the adorable animal involved, I'd say it's a success.
The fact that Jonathan the wolverine survives makes it a complete success. It leads to a truly heartwarming moment between Gabby and her adorable pet wolverine. Sure, she's a clone of a clone of a living weapon, but there's no denying the cuteness of this moment. Disney may have an agenda against the X-men these days, but that doesn't mean they can't appreciate this style of cuteness.
While Gabby tends to her pet wolverine, as only an adorable clone of a killer clone can, X-23 and Old Man Logan finally sit down to have a conversation. They just fucked up some dumb-ass burglars and spent time in a dragon's stomach. They have no excuses for shit being awkward at this point.
The conversation is somewhat inane at first, mainly because of X-23's lack of hard liquor in her apartment. She's still a fucking teenager last I checked and she does make it a point to let him know. However, Old Man Logan does manage to have a meaningful exchange without the aid of hard liquor. Yeah, I'm just as impressed.
In that exchange, he reveals that he knew X-23 was living here. She was even part of his life in his fucked up dystopian universe. However, that's exactly the reason why he avoided her. By his logic, he's throwing a flaming bag of dog shit at karma by getting involved with her. He claims she's one of the few things he got right in his world. Given that he comes from a world where he kills everyone else while the villains take a shit on their graves, that's quite a statement that has quite a few implications.
Some of those implications involve Gabby. This is where shit gets tense again because X-23 makes clear that she's not getting Gabby caught up in any more shit storms. She already has a pet wolverine and grew up in a mini-Weapon X lab. She's been through enough and deserves a chance at a normal life, albeit as normal as any life can be with a pet wolverine. It's the first real moment of tension that doesn't involve an innocent animal getting shot.
That moment once again gets interrupted, this time by something a lot less hilarious than a couple of dipshit burglars who think robbing X-23's apartment is a good idea. This time, it's SHIELD, who are slightly more capable than a couple of burglars. Given that they're partially responsible for them ending up in Fing Fang Foom's stomach, I imagine neither of them is eager to cross paths with Maria Hill, SHIELD, or anyone claiming to work for the government for the next several decades. I imagine Maria Hill isn't too fond of the idea either. She has to know on some levels that sending government agents armed with guns to subdue any version of Wolverine, clone or otherwise, is not going to end well.
In Maria Hill's defense, something that's hard to say these days, she has a damn good reason for attacking Old Man Logan again. Remember that vision Ulysses had earlier? Well, according to the fine print, Old Man Logan is going to kill Gabby. Given that these same visions have been uncomfortably accurate at predicting other shit storms, it puts X-23 in a very difficult position. It also puts Old Man Logan in the exact position he's been trying to avoid since Secret Wars. It's the worst kind of drama for them, but combining this with a cute girl and a pet wolverine, and the end result is wonderfully satisfying.
So...is it awesome?
Other than the trauma of Jonathan the Wolverine getting shot, I say there's a fuckton of awesome that is wholly consistent with the quality that Tom Taylor has established with All-New Wolverine. This is an encounter we all knew was coming, X-23 meeting up with Old Man Logan. It had to be dramatic. It had to carry some emotion. Taylor understood that and he delivers in All-New Wolverine #10, complete with an adorable girl and her pet Wolverine. He once again proves that Disney is right. Adding adorable animals to anything makes it more endearing. Not saying Jonathan the Wolverine will be the star of a Pixar movie anytime soon. I'm just saying that when any animal becomes lovable and endearing, Disney takes notice and so do I.
Final Score: 9 out of 10