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X-23 #1

Posted: Friday, September 17, 2010
By: Robert Tacopina

Marjorie Liu
Will Conrad, John Rauch (c)
Marvel Comics
Following on the heels of last week's premiere or re-launching of Daken - Dark Wolverine comes the anticipated X-23 ongoing by Marjorie Liu and Will Conrad. Since her introduction Laura Kinney has carved her way into the hearts of fans with her no questions asked method of killing. Unlike her "father", Wolverine, she has no hesitations when it comes to sinking those adamantium claws of hers into a victim. That is what makes her such a compelling character as she picks up where the old Wolvie left off.

This introductory issue was quite a surprise thanks in part to a wonderfully thought out story by Marjorie Liu who skims on some of the longstanding elements of X-Men lore that helped to capture many of our fancies to begin with. Liu succeeds partly due to her incorporating the family aspect into the story, which sometimes seems to be forgotten by other writers who are placed onto the X-titles. We are shown a touching scene with Storm as she is talking to a photo of Nightcrawler and it tugs at the heart strings and reminds us that these heroes have for the most part grown up together and by all means are the only family each other have.

There was a great deal of character driven moments here depicting many of the denizens of Utopia letting their feelings be known from Cyclops to Hellion, and all are equally crafted on the pages. The larger scope focuses on Laura's damaged psyche and how she is looked upon as a killer even in her own self image but in reality she longs to have some sense of normalcy. This touches upon another longstanding X-Men theme of being an outcast; hated and feared for being different. The issue opens with a dream highlighting the inner struggles X deals with on a constant basis that is a result from all the lives she has taken and how she has been manipulated from the beginning of her existence. The cliffhanger ending leaves our heroine in quite a pickle and I eagerly want to see how this pans out.

The Will Conrad art was quite better than I was expecting it to be. Actually it was pretty freaking great! His models were very well done and you didn't run into the common problem of having to decipher who is who in the book. The facial expressions told a story on their own accord and hammered home the emotional aspect that Liu was hitting on for the entirety of the issue. Conrad and colorist Rauch delivered a very crisp and vibrant comic book.

I loved this first issue of the X-23 series and think that Liu has implemented numerous elements that show that the writer has a tremendous feel for the character, whom she has written before. It also proves that Ms. Liu is definitely in her element and is the go to gal for dealing with Wolveresque characters.



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