X-23 #7 Review

by Charles Martin on December 12, 2018

X-23 #7 Review
Writer: Mariko Tamaki
Penciller: Diego Olortegui
Inker: Walden Wong
Colourist: Chris O'Halloran
Letterer: Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics

New arc! New antagonists! New mysteries! New tone! Somebody's killing scientists with a distinct "Weapon X" feel to their work, and the Kinneys are on the case!

Laura narrates throughout. Her voice is consistent, brusque, informative, and thoroughly hers. She and her sister are serving today as the Xavier Institute's special NYPD liaisons for weird mutant-y crimes. Three murdered scientists with a common interest in cloning qualify as "weird" and "mutant-y."

We see the Kinneys' first counter-attack; they identify the fourth target and beat the killer to the punch. The subsequent fight is, in all ways, a thing of absolute beauty. We're also treated to an aftermath that raises extremely tempting questions and kicks us straight toward more action.

This issue glories in the sort of painstaking art that the Kinneys and this story deserve. The combat has a visceral impact thanks to perfect posing and blocking. Every panel is soaking in sumptuous detail. The costumes, in particular, look gorgeous: They flawlessly blend distinctiveness and realism.

Laura's narration mostly serves to enhance the main detective story. For a few scenes, it diverges from the art, still delivering Laura's insights. In the panels, though, we get to see Gabby being Gabby. It's a brilliant counterpoint to Laura's constant "taking care of business" focus.

Here, too, the art works little wonders. Gabby is visually distinctive and unmistakably a child without ever clashing with the overall artistic tone of "high-octane action/mystery." 

This is also where the colouring comes to the front. While the palette uses powerful washes to amplify the focused action scenes, more subtle and differentiated colours appear during the divergent narration section. They become effective tools for traffic control. They help the reader parse the scene structure and understand what's flashback and what's contemporary.

The one place where I have reservations - minor ones - is with the overall plot. I think I can say, without being too spoilery, that this arc's subject matter so far resembles the start of All-New Wolverine very closely.

Two things give me great hope, though: The first arcs of All-New Wolverine were fantastic, and it's a virtual certainty that this story will develop its own complexities as it goes on.

This issue's script is also rock solid about the Kinneys' characters in a wholly encouraging way. As with the art, the dialogue believably emphasizes Gabby's youth. It does this by poking humorous holes in her understanding of cultural norms. Yes, she's a genetically-engineered killer, but she's also a kid who doesn't know where the term "K.O." comes from.

Spectacular art and a script with a clear, hard-boiled tone make X-23 #7 an absolute delight. Hopefully, the story will move into fresher territory as it unfolds, but the skill with which it's told is already impeccable. Don't miss out on this!

Our Score:


A Look Inside


Charles Martin's picture
On my hard-boiled-o-meter, this skyrockets past Spillane, up into Hammet, and it's even edging on the sacred Chandler zone. While still being another hilarious Kinney Sisters romp. Danged impressive!