X-23 #3 / Writer: Mariko Tamaki / Artist: Juann Cabal / Colorist: Nolan Woodard / Letters: VC’s Cory Petit / Cover Artists: Mike Choi & Jesus Aburtov / Published August 29th, 2018
X-23 is on the hunt. Her clone sister, Gabby, has been kidnapped by the Stepford Cuckoos. The Cuckoos want to use Gabby and Laura as a way to bring back their dead sisters, since the normal cloning process has not worked to bring them back. X-23 #3 is all about clones, trying to save their cloned sisters.
X-23 #3 opens with what looks like Laura, or possibly one of her other clone sisters, laying on the floor and dying. It’s not immediately clear if this is a flash forward or a flashback, but it does set the tone and what exactly is at stake for Laura and her family, if she doesn’t save Gabby. The Stepford Cuckoos have kidnapped Gabby, and Laura is in pursuit (or so she thinks). Aside from the Cuckoos’ powerful psychic abilities, they are also clever planners; they were ready for Laura, and this is all part of the plan.
Laura may have lost the trail, but she is determined to save Gabby, which brings her back to one of the scientists initially responsible for the program that created Laura. This also helps explain why Laura is no longer using the name Wolverine. She took back her old name so that those who were responsible for everything she went through would know who it was that took them down. I, personally, am glad that they gave an explanation for the name change. I loved her time as Wolverine, and I think she makes a better Wolverine than Logan. However, now that the original Logan is returning to Earth-616, he will want his name back, as well. At least, the story justifies her name change.
Mariko Tamaki’s script flows well, putting a lot of action and twists into just 22 pages. The misdirect in the chase was a good surprise, showing how much thought the Cuckoos had put into planning, which makes them feel quite formidable opponent for Laura. They know that she can easily stop them physically, so they need to be a step ahead of her and keep her off balance.
Juann Cabal’s art is a very clean style, with some fantastic action and heroic moments for Laura. The crosscutting panels, revealing the Cuckoos misdirection with the van (and later explaining the cloning process), were a great use of the layout. Nolan Woodard’s colors match Cabal’s pencils, keeping X-23 #3 looking very clean, and the flow of action easy to follow. I like the change in color tone in any room where the Cuckoos are, it helps with the cross-cutting action. X-23 #3 is simply a great looking book.
And in all, X-23 #3 has a lot to enjoy. I like that the Cuckoos and Laura have so much in common, but the differences lie in how they go about it. They make a great foil for Laura. I’m hesitant even to call them villains, because they want the same thing as Laura, to make their family whole again.
VERDICT 4.5 out of 5