I decided to pick up this X-23 one-shot, by writer Marjorie Liu and pencilers Filipe Andrade and Nuno Alves, for a couple of different reasons. First of all, I enjoyed the X-23: Target X mini from a few years ago and find the character to be quite intriguing in a Dark Angel kind of way. Secondly, I was interested in checking out Marjorie Liu's work, especially considering that she will be writing the upcoming Black Widow ongoing which will debut next month. So what did I think of this issue? Hit the jump and find out.
Written by Marjorie Liu
Art by Filipe Andrade and Nuno Alves
With X-23, Liu takes title character Laura Kinney back to her NYX roots (her comics debut was in the 2003 NYX #4 after being created for the X-Men: Evolution animated series). This is familiar territory for the writer who's got the mini-series NYX: No Way Home on her resume.
As a whole, this one-shot reads much more like a character study than the usual superhero fare, and as such it works pretty well. Along with the background description offered on the title page, this issue should make for a pretty comprehensive first introduction to the character for anyone who's not familiar with X-23. Will people come back for more after reading it though? They might, but the book has its share of problems.
The plot revolves around Laura being the story more than actually driving it, and a big part of what's wrong with this issue is that she doesn't take it very far. While the build up is nice enough, the resolution of the story feels anti-climactic and not much like a resolution at all, and Liu walks much too easily into the trap of simply revisiting Laura's agonizing past while showing us little more than an abused and tormented victim. There has to be more to the character than that, and without the more multi-faceted treatment I was expecting, it all feels a bit cliché. There are few surprises and too much dwelling on the past.
The other characters in the story, ranging from Laura's old NYX gang to Wolverine and her new inner demon - whose identity is revealed at the end - serve mostly as tools to show the reader various aspects of the title character and her history. This would have worked well if it weren't for some of the problems I've mentioned already.
The art isn't stellar in any way, but it's competent enough and the scenes which show us Laura's inner world in a sketchy psychedelic red are quite nice to look at. Other panels look a little odd and askew, but not to the point of being bothersome in any way. Most panels are on the dark side, however, and add to the distinct emo feel of the book.
Verdict - Check It. This issue just barely managed to get a Check It rating. It does have its merits, particularly for people who may be fans of NYX, and the issue isn't actually bad so much as just less than I expected. With a more conclusive ending and a few surprise twists and reveals, the entire story would have fared better.