All-New Wolverine 23 Subverts a Familiar Setup

by Drew Baumgartner

All-New Wolverine 23

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Get away from her you bitch!

Ellen Ripley, Aliens

As action movie quips go, Ripley’s command to the Alien Queen is far from inventive, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t one of the most iconic. Indeed, on repeat viewings, the the tension of Ripley’s descent into the Alien nest is more or less subsumed by my anticipation of that scene. Indeed, once you know the showdown between Ripley and the Queen is inevitable, everything leading up to it feels like unnecessary padding. The Queen exists for the sole purpose of Ripley defeating her, so the movie is really just ticking boxes once she has Newt. In All-New Wolverine 23, Tom Taylor and Leonard Kirk reproduce that setup with uncanny accuracy, teasing us with the promise of Laura facing down the Brood Queen only to snatch that possibility away at the last second.

And actually, it gets even more surprising than that, but let’s start at the beginning. I noted last month how much this premise felt like Aliens, which is of course no accident. Taylor and Kirk want us to anticipate Laura’s showdown with the Brood Queen, so they do everything in their power to lead us to that conclusion. It’s Laura’s only goal, and she sets to it with typical ruthless efficiency.

She's the best at what she does something something.

Nothing’s going to stand in Laura’s way. Unless, of course, she’s already too late. Indeed, with our expectations set so specifically for that Ripley vs. Queen scene from Aliens, just being too late to save Gabby would be devastating enough, but Taylor and Kirk twist the knife further by turning Gabby into a Brood Queen herself. Suddenly, the clear, simple resolution we were building towards is complicated and dark. I suspect there’s still a resolution where Gabby is rescued here, but this twist caught me totally off guard, thanks entirely to Taylor and Kirk’s skillful work at getting me to lower that guard in the first place. It’s clever, savvy storytelling.

The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?

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One comment on “All-New Wolverine 23 Subverts a Familiar Setup

  1. I’m not sure the ending is as subversive as you say. If you look at things solely from the context of Aliens, you are right. But The ending reveal is one of the most typical twists around. It was exactly what I thought was going to happen, and really helped make this feel like one of the least inventive issues around. After some of the great issues Wolverine has done lately, this was so depressingly typical. Far, far too familiar

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