All-New Wolverine #32 Review

by Charles Martin on March 14, 2018

All-New Wolverine #32 Review
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Djibril Morissette-Phan
Colourist: Nolan Woodard
Letterer: Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics

It's time for another one-shot adventure! In this issue Amber Griffin, from the Orphans of X story, tags along on Laura's neo-Nazi-hunting expedition to Vanuatu.

The tone's a leetle different from last issue's Gabby and Jonathan and Deadpool jokefest. There's a light dose of comic relief, but the top priorities are definitely gut-stabbing and Nazi-stomping. I guess the creators felt the need to remind us that Laura earned the Wolverine mantle with more than just parental instincts. Mission very much accomplished!

In case you're not fully up to speed on the Orphans of X and/or the crucial scene in Laura's past that informs this story - her assassination of a presidential candidate back when she was a Way Too Young Assassin - this issue kicks off with a pretty excellent revisitation of that kill. Amber's experiences are presented in parallel to establish her connection to the story right out of the gate.

In the present day, Laura's tracked down the rich neo-Nazi creep who ordered the hit. Amber, who lost family in the bloodbath, insists on coming along when Laura goes after the bad guy.

The story hinges on a couple of excellent fight scenes in a tropical resort. The neo-Nazi creep has brilliantly brutal ideas about how to defend himself against Laura, but she's got some innovations of her own to throw into the showdown.

There are few things I love more than a story where clever villains are finally overcome by cleverer heroes, so I'll avoid spoiling any of the cleverness. Tom Taylor is definitely my MVP of the week when it comes to livening up a script with simple but effective plot twists.

Artist Djibril Morissette-Phan is no stranger to this title, and some of his earlier efforts underwhelmed me. Here he's definitely brought his A game, delivering formidable anatomy and detailed settings that ground this story thoroughly in realism. Colourist Nolan Woodard makes a significant contribution beyond just picking a strong tropical palette; the colours and lines work in tandem to give the visuals impressive depth and texture.

There is just one limitation to Mr. Morissette-Phan's work: He stays so realistic when modelling heads and faces that some opportunities for emotional expression are passed by. 

On the other hand, this script must have included a huge artist's challenge: "Laura enters wearing a Hawaiian shirt that makes it impossible for her to look badass but she looks badass anyway." Mr. Morissette-Phan nailed it

There's a last-page visual surprise that I think the whole creative team shares responsibility for. After a full issue of scrupulous realism, the imagery takes a left-field turn toward the ambiguous and allegorical. Giving it a moment's thought fits it neatly into the issue's theme, but after that moment of thought, it still feels a little gimmicky.

Laura tables most of the last issue's humour to do a darker, more Wolverine-y one-shot. This villain hunt includes some excellent twists and it also does low-key character exploration for Laura and especially her not-really-a-pal-yet Amber. The final page raises a weird question about storytelling tone, but everything prior to that is rock-solid jaw-clenched baddie-stabbing Wolverine goodness.

Our Score:


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Charles Martin's picture
This issue had better inspire some "Terrible Hawaiian Shirt Laura" cosplay.