A Loss of Focus Drains the Drama from All-New Wolverine 24

by Drew Baumgartner

All-New Wolverine 24

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

There has been plenty to love about Tom Taylor’s run on All-New Wolverine, from its adventurous cameos to its wry sense of humor, but I’d have to say my favorite aspect has always been its emotional intensity. Each storyline has been distinguished by its intense personal connection to Laura, whether it was battling (or teaming up with) her clone sisters, or settling a score from her earliest days. Every one seemed to leave a meaningful impact on Laura, ending or beginning new chapters in her life. It’s a breathless feat to keep that amount of emotional weight moving for that long, which is why I’m almost willing to forgive issue 24 for being the complete antithesis of that kind of importance.

Nothing in this story seems to matter. Gabby is lost to the Brood until she isn’t. Laura was specifically sought out to save the day until she wasn’t. Science guy from the previous issue is sympathetic until it’s revealed he accidentally caused the disease/Brood kerfuffle, at which point it becomes totally acceptable for Rocket Raccoon to kill him in cold blood.

Rocket Kills

It’s that last bit that really turned me off to this issue. Normally, the decision to kill or not kill (and the moral and emotional repercussions of that decision) lies with Laura. That’s far from the only source of drama in this series, but it is an important one, investing us in the weight of Laura’s choices. Here, instead, the choice is made by another character, off-camera, and its treated with the emotional significance of eating the last slice of pizza.

Treating death so flippantly wouldn’t feel right for this series generally, which is usually much more interested in the repercussions of characters’ actions, but it’s particularly egregious here, as the kind of meaningless cherry on top of the meaningless sundae. That is, I wouldn’t be so invested in the emotional fallout of what to do with science jerk if there had been other meaning to glean elsewhere in the issue, but because everyone’s decisions seem to work out fine, with nobody suffering from them, the moral is totally muddled. Behaving recklessly is good when it works out, but bad when it doesn’t, I guess.

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

One comment on “A Loss of Focus Drains the Drama from All-New Wolverine 24

  1. I will admit, I do like the joke of Rocket simply executing the guy. It would have been a great final joke in a better done story, that built up the elements meaningfully. As a skewering of the traditional ethical conundrums that make up the book

    But yeah, this entire arc has revealed it didn’t really have a lot to it. Gabby as the Brood ended exactly as expected, in such a depressingly typical way that it is cliche. Honestly, I feel that this arc was poorly conceived, with the focus on the hordes of Brood. The Brood should have been a backdrop to a story that cared more about what was happening inside the base under siege than outside. AN army of Brood is boring. THe threat of an army of brood, though, is somethign that would have mattered much more. Especially with an evil Doctor who could be used to meaningful effect in that sort of story. I described last issue as depressingly typical, and this arc has honestly felt like a paint by numbers arc. No imagination, or real attempt to engage with the premise. Just stuff happening.

    It really felt like an arc where Tayor needed to write out the high concept first and work out what the interesting ideas are, instead of just seeing where the story takes you and going nowhere in particular. Laura in space could have had so much potential just by virtue of the oddness. It is a shame it didn’t

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