X-23 #6 Review

by Charles Martin on November 07, 2018

X-23 #6 Review
Writer: Mariko Tamaki
Artist: Georges Duarte
Colourist: Chris O'Halloran
Letterer: Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics

After rolling through a pretty excellent first arc, Laura and Gabby and their creative team unwind with a cute one-shot. A lead from Beast sends them into a high school where somebody's been ordering a suspicious amount of cutting-edge cloning equipment.

It's time for the adventures of student Roberta Boford, 90's pop culture fan and peanut allergy-haver! And she just might be able to call on the tough-as-nails Coach Claudia for backup if she needs it.

This story delivers two pieces of excellent news that I'm happy to share:

1) The brilliantly goofy Gabby-Laura dynamic we so loved in All-New Wolverine is still thriving.

2) You can straight up tell your creative team "I wanna put the Kinney sisters into a Ms. Marvel story" and they will roll with it in a delightfully positive way.

The plot developments that fill up the pages aren't particularly inventive. Roberta's investigation hinges on a very call-able case of mistaken identity. That's okay, though. The story as a whole has ample servings of passion and creativity; they're devoted to characterization, humour, and good design work rather than tying the plot up in a Gordian knot of over-cleverness.

I want to make it clear: Running Laura and Gabby through a Kamala Khan-style adventure is completely a good thing. Gabby's age and flair for the ridiculous make the undercover idea work brilliantly. 

The visuals are a delight and they do a diligent job of capturing a realistic high-school setting - up to the super-science fight, anyway - and strongly echoing Kamala's Coles Academic High School - the super-science just strengthens the similarities there. 

The colours are strongly informed by Ian Herring's work on Ms. Marvel. I've long maintained that Mr. Herring's palette is the secret key to that title's distinctive and beautiful aesthetic. Here we get an excellent recreation of Ms. Marvel's warm, translucent colour washes. This issue has a few tricks up its sleeves, though. Key figures get distinguished with more solid, more intense colours than their surroundings - watch for this effect in Laura's (I mean Coach Claudia's) debut.

The linework does present a few weaknesses (a few too many manic Laura faces, a shortage of motion in the big fight scene) but they're countered by some tremendous strengths. I appreciate the effort lavished on the background cast; it's another great Ms. Marvel-esque feature. The cinematic blocking is also superb. Most of the panels are thoroughly grounded in realistic spaces. They don't just show off the characters in excellent poses, they place them flawlessly in believable environments.

Though the plot of this one-shot is straightforward, it's built up with considerable charm and care. It's funny, thoroughly believable, and beautiful to look at. X-23 #6 is a palate-cleanser that makes an excellent interlude between heavier stories.

Our Score:


A Look Inside


Charles Martin's picture
This story is told well enough that the absence of Jonathan (whom the solicit promised) actually feels like a good thing. Gabby & Laura are too smart to try and infiltrate a high school with a talking wolverine.