So far Enemy of the State II has successfully pushed the greater narrative Tom Taylor has crafted for Laura Kinney forward in a positive direction. Seeing how Laura’s past as the killer X-23 is coming back to haunt her and those around her has been fun to see play out so far. The last issue of All-New Wolverine provided the story with an interesting new wildcard introduced to the game as Gambit tried to stop Laura from returning to her old self. Will Gambit help his old friend find herself? Or is Laura’s time as Wolverine coming to an end? Let’s find out with All-New Wolverine #17.
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Djibril Morissette-Phan
Colorist: Michael Garland
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: In a medical facility Laura Kinney wakes up to see Angel, Gambit and Gabby surrounding her hospital bed. Laura wonders why they are there. Gabby says they’re there because they care for her.
Laura asks about how many people she killed. Angel reveals that she didn’t kill anyone as the Tyger Tiger she thought she killed was a Life Model Decoy (LMD) and her security guards just got electrocuted. Gambit mentions that he and Gabby stopped Laura from killing the real Tyger Tiger.
Lauren then asks where they are. Angel says they are in one of Tyger Tiger’s private safe houses in Madripoor so she could heal. Laura then asks how they found her. Angel reveals Gabby called them for help.
Gabby takes out a vial of Trigger Scent. Laura freaks out but Angel says they think Laura already can control herself under Trigger Scent’s influence since she didn’t kill the guards.
Jean Grey enters the room as Gabby called her to help Laura get over Trigger Scent’s influence on her. Jean explains she will be conducting intense mental mind-retraining with Laura to heal all of the damage Kimura did to her mind.
Gambit says he and Angel will go outside to guard the safe house they are in. Laura isn’t sure about all this but Angel reminds her that she is Wolverine and she can overcome this. He flies off to join Gambit with guard duty.
Gabby says it’s time to conduct the retraining. Laura says she does not want to kill a rabbit. Gabby hands the rabbit to Jean as she reveals that she will be the only one in the room with Laura when they use the Trigger Scent.
Laura isn’t sure about all of this as Jean locks the two in the medical room. Gabby says she will be fine as with her healing factor. Gabby tells Laura “I love you” and puts some of the Trigger Scent serum on her hand. Laura suddenly goes into a blinding rage and lunges at Gabby.
As Gabby does her best to defend herself Jean enters Laura’s mind. Inside her mind Jean finds Sarah Kinney reading a Pinocchio to a young Laura.
Outside the safe house Gambit and Angel spot SHIELD jets flying to their location. Angel flies to them to tell them what is going on.
In one of the SHIELD jets Nick Fury tells his pilot not to shoot Angel. As soon as Angel enters the jet Nick gets behind him and tells him to stand down and explain what he is doing there.
As Angel powers his wings down Tyger Tiger appears, who reveals she told SHIELD where the X-Men are holding Laura. Tyger Tiger explains that she is trying to build working relationships with the international community for Madripoor and telling SHIELD Laura’s location helps with that.
Angel starts talking about what they are doing but before he can finish an airship appears and fires several missiles at the SHIELD jets. The missiles destroy one of the SHIELD jets. Angel gets Nick and the pilot out of there and another agent dives out with Tyger Tiger before their SHIELD jet explodes.
Back inside Laura’s mind Jean tells the young Laura she understands why they are in this memory of Sarah Kinney. The young Laura says they can’t leave the room because the door is locked. Jean says she understands that the reason the door won’t open is because it’s the memory that Laura feels the most safe in. Jean goes on to say that Laura can leave and regain control of herself.
Laura begins to age up to her X-23 form and stabs Jean’s astral form while telling her to go away. Jean tells Laura that she is more than X-23 now. She goes on to say that Laura wasn’t built but born into this world and is now a hero as Wolverine.
Laura gets back to her senses and when she gets back to the real world Laura sees that she stabbed Gabby.
Outside the safe house Nick, Tyger Tiger, Angel and some SHIELD agents get into the safe house with Gambit as another missile hits the exterior. Everyone goes to where Jean and Gabby where holding the retraining session with Laura.
When Jean opens the door everyone is shocked to see Laura has regained control with Gabby and the rabbit by her side. Laura tells Nick that she is free and it is safe to come in now. End of issue.
The Good: All-New Wolverine #17 acts as the calm before the storm for Enemy of the State II. Taking a step back to focus on Laura Kinney overcoming all of Kimura’s training provided our Wolverine some solid character development. As smart as this move was it proved to be a double edge sword as there was a certain aspect to the Enemy of the State II story that was missing in this issue.
Bringing the X-Men into the storyline was a smart move by Tom Taylor. The use of Angel, Gambit and Jean Grey showed readers that while this is a Wolverine story it does have consequences for the X-Men. By involving these three characters Taylor is able to further expand the story to possibly have a bigger fallout than Wolverine simply coming into conflict with SHIELD.
Their involvement also brought to light how close Laura has become with her X-Men teammates. Unlike Logan, who keeps to himself no matter the situation, Laura does allow her emotions to show to those around her. Seeing Laura become emotional when telling the X-Men to leave or when she tried to stop Gabby from using Trigger Scent showed this side of her character well. This all factored in nicely for later scenes when Jean told Laura that she is human and should let that stop living her life as Wolverine.
Taylor was also able to use All-New Wolverine #17 as an example of how close Laura has gotten with Gabby. This issue drives home the fact that over the course of this series Gabby and Laura have truly become each other’s family. Everything with the two locked up after Gabby activated the Trigger Scent showed how far she has come as being the rock in Laura’s life, especially towards the end when Laura came to accept her past.
All-New Wolverine #17 also did a good job in furthering the importance of Tyger Tiger and SHIELD’s involvement in Enemy of the State II. The political drama behind the war between Kimura and Tyger Tiger has added to the intrigue of how Laura had to overcome Trigger Scent to move the story forward. Taylor added an extra layer by establishing how in Tyger Tiger’s pursuit to make Madripoor part of what is going on globally. This fact made Tyger Tiger revealing where Laura and the others were an understandable political move given Nick Fury and SHIELD’s level of power in the Marvel Universe.
While Djibril Morissette-Phan art style does not match that Nik Virella’s style completely he is able to capture all the emotional beats of this issue. Being light on action that was very important as Morissette needed to help show what Laura was feeling when Jean was inside her mind. This is where Morissette’s artwork excelled at and he was able to deliver a sense of relief when we saw Laura with Gabby and the rabbit in the closing moments of this issue.
The Bad: The big miss of All-New Wolverine #17 was how Kimura was a non-factor the entire issue. As the big bad of Enemy of the State II we have not seen a lot of Kimura outside her scenes with Laura. If we are to fully buy into the threat that Kimura poses than this issue should’ve been a perfect opportunity to see what she is up to. And given how Gabby and the X-Men disrupted her plans it would’ve added to her own character development if we saw that she has other things in motion other than blowing things up.
This lack of development on Kimura’s side of the story also impacted the overall war she has going on with Tyger Tiger. As this is a plot element that was only recently introduced Taylor should’ve given us more details on the conflict between the two warring sides of Madripoor. So far we haven’t been given a good sense of how deep the rivalry between Kimura and Tyger Tiger goes. This all leads their war to feel like a street fight rather than a large scale event that can shape the direction Madripoor goes politically.
Overall: All-New Wolverine #17 slows things down to resolve Laura Kinney’s acceptance with her past and overcome the hold Trigger Scent has on her. In doing so Tom Taylor is able to take the time to further develop the relationships Laura has with Gabby and the X-Men. Unfortunately that character development for Laura did not help move the overarching conflict with Kimura, whose presence was almost non-existent in this issue. The lack of Kimura severely impacted this chapter of Enemy of the State II. Hopefully with all of Laura’s struggles with Trigger Scent out of the way Enemy of the State II can kick it into the next gear as we get closer to its conclusion.