After a run in with Old Man Logan and Captain America during the events of Civil War II Laura Kinney’s life as Wolverine is about to get a lot more complicated. How can life get harder for the young Wolverine? Well that is exactly what Tom Taylor and Nik Virella are about to do in the sequel to Wolverine’s classic storyline “Enemy of the State.” This latest story arc looks to take Laura’s life as Wolverine in a darker direction. Will Laura give into the darkness? Let’s find out with All-New Wolverine #13.
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Nik Virella
Inker: Scott Hanna
Colorist: Michael Garland
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We open up to see a destroyed Daylesville with its population going from 30 to 0. In the middle of all the wreckage and dead bodies sits a crying Laura Kinney.
Flashing back to three days earlier, Gabby brings a package to Laura that was left at their door without a return address. This alerts Laura, who tells Gabby they are moving up their vacation to tomorrow as their apartment isn’t safe anymore. Gabby wonders why Laura thinks that they aren’t safe. Laura gives a list of reasons including SHIELD’s invasion, Squirrel Girl finding them, her mind switch with Spider-Gwen and the mysterious package at their door.
Laura opens up the packaged and is shocked at what she finds inside: Trigger serum. Laura gives the package back to Gabby and tells her to get it away. Gabby once wonders what the serum is. Laura walks away while telling Gabby to start packing her things as they are leaving right away.
Later that day, Laura puts all of her and Gabby’s luggage in a car she borrowed from Angel. Gabby asks where they are going and Laura gives her vague information. Laura is vague due to believing that they aren’t being watched or listened to. Gabby suddenly remembers that they left their pelican statue behind. Laura reveals that she put the statue in the back seat and they take off for their vacation.
Not long after the two end up sitting in a major traffic jam on the highway. The noise of drivers honking their horns and yelling starts to get on Gabby’s nerves. She ends up getting into an argument with the driver next to them. Before Gabby can do anything with to the driver Laura pulls Gabby inside their car and reminds her that they are trying to keep a low profile. As they drive away the driver that Gabby argued with notices that she has a flat tire.
As the sun is setting behind them Gabby once again asks Laura where they are going. Laura finally reveals that they are heading to one of Logan’s cabins that no one knows about. Gabby thinks that they are walking into a horror movie plot.
When Gabby asks if Laura has any family Laura responds that she has an aunt and cousin that she almost killed. Gabby takes Laura’s response as Laura’s way of saying she killed them. Laura says that it’s because of the vial sent to them that they aren’t going to her family. Gabby tries to get more of the story and Laura finally decides to tell her about her past.
Laura explains how she was born in a cell and was quickly trained to be a weapon that killed by “The Facility.” In the Facility she was programed to not have compassion as an assassin. The Facility also created the Trigger Scent serum that once she caught it’s smell it would cause her to go into a killing rage. This Trigger Scent was used on her to kill many people including her sensei and mother.
Laura then goes into how she went to her aunt and cousin’s place when she came to her senses after killing her mother. Unfortunately Kimura soon found Laura at her aunt’s place and used the Trigger Scent to have Laura turn against her family. Laura explains that while she almost killed them her aunt and cousin survived. Due to this experience she ended up leaving her family behind to keep them safe.
Gabby wonders who Kimura is. Laura reveals that Kimura was her handler who made her life in the Facility hell. Laura goes on to say that Kimura is the one person she is most afraid of due to her cruel and sadistic methods as a handler.
As night falls Laura and Gabby make it to the Logan’s secret cabin. When they go inside the cabin they see how dirty Logan kept the place. As they both look through the place the power suddenly goes out. After noticing that there is nothing wrong with the fuse box Laura decides to go into town for some help while Gabby stays behind to unpack.
Laura reaches Daylesville and runs into a guy with his son. The guy informs Laura that the power is out in the entire town as well and that they can’t even use their cell phones. Laura suddenly hears something and when she looks up she spots water bombing planes flying above the town. Laura thinks that it is weird for them to be flying as there are no fires nearby and rain is heavily pouring down.
The planes suddenly release a gas of Trigger Scent. Laura tries to convince the guy and his son to evacuate the town but it becomes too late. Laura closes her eyes and apologizes to the two.
As the guy and his son run away the gas shrouds the town. Laura suddenly begins going into her murderous rage state. End of issue.
The Good: Many sequels to comic book stories have taught us go in with a sense of trepidation. Marvel’s Civil War II is just the latest example of that as it is a series that has not drawn praise by fans or critics. So for Tom Taylor and his “Enemy of the State II” storyline he had a major uphill battle to win over Wolverine fans. Luckily Taylor is more than up to the task if All-New Wolverine #13 is an example of how Enemy of the State II will go.
As much work as Taylor does to give us an idea as to why this latest arc of All-New Wolverine is called “Enemy of the State” he makes sure it is developed to be a Laura Kinney story. This has been an important aspect to the issue as Laura and the readers have gotten used to her new role as Marvel’s Wolverine. There isn’t a moment in All-New Wolverine #13 that Taylor reminds readers of Logan, outside of the use of his secret cabin. Taylor makes sure to keep the focus on Laura and her world.
One thing that established this as a Laura Kinney story is the fact we don’t see her in the Wolverine costume at all. This may seem as a minor thing to notice but it is actually very important as Taylor establishes Kimura or whoever is using Trigger Scent is directly after Laura and not Wolverine. By never seeing Laura in her Wolverine costume we are able to get a better sense of how she is being directly targeted.
Bringing in Laura’s time being under the careful care of The Facility adds showing us as readers how this is a personal attack on our lead character. And by bringing Laura’s past as X-23 back into the fold Taylor is able to make the reader not think about this as a sequel to one of Logan’s classic tales. Instead we get to see how Laura is still carrying the weight of her past even as she has taken over the Wolverine mantle.
The presence of Trigger Scent also works as a way to give details of Laura’s backstory for new readers not familiar with it. Even though Gabby is a clone of Laura she does not know everything about her. For Laura to retell Gabby what happened to her in The Facility helps to remind readers of how torturous her upbringing was. It’s a very different look at Laura in this series as Taylor has worked hard to establish how she is trying to be a positive force in the Marvel Universe as Wolverine.
This look into Laura’s past also quickly reestablished Kimura as a dangerous threat to the life she has created with Gabby and Wolverine. Even though it is not confirmed that Kimura is the one who sent Trigger Scent to Laura’s apartment it was heavily hinted at. And by seeing how cruelly Kimura treated Laura back at the Facility Taylor is able to establish this dark shadow that will loom over the Enemy of the State II story arc.
As much good work as Taylor does to establish “Enemy of the State II” as Laura’s own story there are elements from Logan’s version that make me excited play out her. Because with already seeing how the Trigger Scent already caused Laura to annihilate the population of an entire town instantly puts a large target on her. Seeing how the issue opens and closes it instantly reminded me of how Taylor has established Laura as Wolverine as part of the bigger Marvel Universe. Not only has she built in relationships with the X-Men but we have also seen her interacting with members of SHIELD and Captain America. With these established relationship I’m excited to see how Taylor uses them to create a bigger challenge for Wolverine.
With All-New Wolverine #13 being heavily focused on developing Laura’s character Nik Virella does a good job at delivering on the emotions. Though I could’ve used for a darker tone in the coloring for the flashback scenes Virella did make you fear for Laura when Kimura was punishing her even after successful assassinations. I also liked the clean artwork Virella showed off as it help with some of the lighter moments such as the banter between Laura and Gabby.
The Bad: There wasn’t anything bad about this issue. It established what it needed to but for fans of action this may not be the issue for you as Taylor had this first part of Enemy of the State II be character focus. If you are looking for action heavy comics I recommend sticking around as this issue establishes that you are going to get plenty of that moving forward
Overall: All-New Wolverine #13 firmly establishes “Enemy of the State II” as a personal story arc for Laura Kinney. Tom Taylor did an excellent developing the story around who Laura is in the present and was in the past. By doing this it makes “Enemy of the State II” not feel like it is a sequel. Instead it will be a story arc that will stand on the strength of its main character. If you haven’t read All-New Wolverine yet than I highly recommend jumping in with this new arc as it is one Marvel’s must-read comic books.