Enemy of the State II had a strong start right out of the gate with All-New Wolverine #13. Tom Taylor and Nik Virella properly set the stage for Laura Kinney to be seen as a villain in the eyes of the public. And by grounding Enemy of the State II with Laura’s past as X-23 before she even met Logan or became Wolverine was a great use of her history. Now that the stage is all set for Enemy of the State II I am excited to see where Taylor and Virella go with the story. Let’s not waste any more time and find that out right now with All-New Wolverine #14.
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Nik Virella
Inker: Scott Hanna
Colorists: Michael Garland and Jesus Aburtov
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Just outside of Daylesville, Nick Fury leads a team of SHIELD agents to find out why the town went dark not too long ago. As Nick and the agents reach the city they find Laura Kinney sitting with her claws out in the middle of dozens of dead bodies.
Nick orders Laura to get on the ground and when she doesn’t do so immediately Agent Bennett hits Laura in the face. Nick gets his agents in line so that they can arrest Laura properly.
Not long later, as Nick prepares to take Laura away in the SHIELD jet Laura mentions that someone made her kill those people with help from some planes. Nick has SHIELD look into nearby planes. They detect three water bombers nearby heading out to sea. Nick orders pilots to go after them and to have command over the operation.
As the pilots close in on the water bombers Nick tells his team to not fire on them. Instead he wants the pilots to force the water bombers back onto land. Before they can do that the pilots detects something on their scanner.
Suddenly a massive warplane appears in the sky with the water bombers going inside them. Before Nick can abort the mission the airship fires missiles at the SHIELD pilots, destroying their jets instantly.
Nick loses communication and asks Laura what exactly is going on. Laura says she is not sure. SHIELD command contacts Nick to let him know that the warplane is turning around and that it is flying a Madripoor flag on its tail wing.
Agent Bennet reminds Nick that they can’t do anything since Madripoor is a sovereign nation. Nick says he already knows that. Laura tells Nick that they can’t let the warplane go. Agent Bennet punches Laura and tells her to shut up.
After sitting down silently for a few seconds Laura destroys the cuff around her hands. She then proceeds to knock down Agent Bennet with a swift kick to the chin. Laura grabs Agent Bennet’s gun just as the other SHIELD agents surround her. Laura uses the gun to create a hull breach that she can jump out of.
As Laura jumps out of the SHIELD plane Nick shoots her several times. These shots cause Laura to lose control on her dive out of the plane and slam hard onto the ground below.
In the morning just outside of Daylesville, Laura finally makes it back to Logan’s old cabin. Gabby wonders what happened to Laura last night. Laura only gives a vague answer that someone is looking for her and rushes to pack up.
Gabby slows Laura down to get an actual answer. Laura reveals that she killed everyone living in Daylesville. Gabby doesn’t believe it but Laura continues on to say that planes dropped a Trigger Scent gas to make her do it.
Laura says she is going to go to Madripoor to find answers on what is happening alone. Gabby says she won’t be left behind and is going with Laura. Laura says Gabby can’t go but Gabby reminds her that she is her clone and won’t just sit back. Laura relents and brings Gabby along.
The two take a boat down a river to avoid the main roads and end up inside a coffee shop with Wi-Fi. There Laura reveals that they can’t contact anyone that SHIELD knows they have some connection to including Angel and the X-Men. Instead Laura uses a secret contact that can take them to Madripoor.
Sometime later Laura and Gabby end up at the San Francisco docks. Gabby jokes that they are going to become pirates after seeing what she thinks are pirate boats. Laura tells Gabby that they are not boarding a typical pirate boat.
On the ship Laura and Gabby meet Captain Ash, who was once Laura’s target to kill during her time as X-23. Gabby thinks that it’s weird that Captain Ash is still willing to help Laura. Captain Ash says she sees things differently now. Gabby jokes about her depth perception which earns a smile from Captain Ash.
As the boat takes off Captain Ash mentions that SHIELD was all over the docks earlier which made her nervous given her boats cargo. Gabby wonders what Captain Ash is transporting. Captain Ash tells Gabby not to ask too many questions unless she wants to be thrown overboard.
Inside a tower in Madripoor a mysterious woman asks Bellona (a clone of X-23 like Gabby) if she is ready to face her sister. Bellona says she is ready. End of issue.
The Good: After a strong start All-New Wolverine #14 slows things down to focus more on how Laura becomes the enemy of the state, as the name of this storyline suggest. By doing so Tom Taylor gives Nick Fury and SHIELD a reason why they will be going after Laura and how it all leads us to Madripoor. At the same time we get a surprising return of a character close to Laura that harkens back to the first story arc of this series.
Undoubtedly what Tom Taylor excels at is nailing down Laura Kinney’s voice. He is not afraid of letting Laura’s emotions come through her dialogue. At the same time Laura does not allow her emotions get the best of her. Instead we see how Laura is still able to take things in and adapt to make a plan so that SHIELD can’t track her down.
Gabby being brought along to Madripoor keeps this story from completely falling down the darkness rabbit hole, like her predecessor. She is also a great balance for Laura, who was going down that road following the confrontation with SHIELD. Now with Gabby along we see how Laura is now able to have someone that can be a voice of reason. Given that we see how Bellona, another one of Laura’s clone, will be directly involved in this story seeing how Gabby works into the larger story is a good mystery think about in the back of what is going with Laura.
I’ll be honest in admitting that I completely forgot about Bellona and her connection with Kimura until we saw her at the end of the issue. It’s a great move to continue how the first story arc of All-New Wolverine ended. This move shows that Taylor has had a bigger picture in mind when he started this series. I’m excited to see how Bellona’s time with Kimura has changed her. Is she now a cold hearted killer at the level of Laura when she was X-23 under Kimura’s rule? We should find out soon and that discovery should lead to a bloody good fight.
With this being a sequel to Enemy of the State it would not be a complete story without SHIELD’s story. The way Taylor brings them into the story makes sense to how things have been going. With Laura previous SHIELD relationship being turned rocky following her confrontation during Civil War it’s not too surprising. And while I am not too familiar with Nick Fury Jr. it was good to see he brought some rational to the situation, especially with how Agent Bennet reacted to Laura’s actions. It’ll be very interesting to see how SHIELD gets further involved in the story since Madripoor is a place that they aren’t allowed to conduct operations in.
Nik Virella continues to deliver consistent artwork that enhances the story Taylor is telling. With there being very little action going on Virella is able to get across how Laura is feeling at various points in this issue. I especially liked how Virella drew Laura in the beginning of the issue. The impact of killing everyone in Daylesville clearly weighed heavily on Laura’s heart.
The Bad: Nothing
Overall: All-New Wolverine #14 is a solid second chapter to Enemy of the State II. Tom Taylor pushes Laura Kinney’s latest adventure forward as she now heads to Madripoor with Gabby to learn who has been sending her Trigger Scent. Taylor was also able to bring in additional players to the table as we see SHIELD and Bellona, one of Laura’s clones, get involved in the larger story. Nik Virella does a good job enhancing Taylor’s story with how she conveys the various emotions Wolverine and other characters have throughout the issue. This all combines to create further excitement for what is going to happen next in Enemy of the State II.