by Drew Baumgartner
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
I think it’s fair to say that All New-Wolverine is more concerned with the idea of legacy than most comics. Laura is donning the mantle of her mentor, and the first arc of this series found her reconciling with her literal clones. Indeed, I might argue that it’s one of the greatest strengths of this series, as writer Tom Taylor has mined Laura’s history for ever more emotionally devastating gut-punches. So when issue 25 features a “Legacy” banner across the cover, it’s almost a promise of legacy-squared, somehow centralizing the idea of legacy even more than the series normally does. Those are daunting expectations, but Taylor and artist Juann Cabal more then live up to them, forcing Laura to relive some of her most traumatic memories.
Early in the issue, Taylor gives Laura a kind of Proustian flashback as she recognizes the familiar smell of the facility that created her. In this moment, Cabal and colorist Nolan Woodard cleverly introduce a kind of orange wash to represent Laura’s memories.
This is clever for a lot of reasons — I’m particularly enamored of Cabal’s choice to get us into this moment with a zoom in and out on Laura’s eye — but the most important is that it sets up the flashbacks that crop up later in the issue.
As Laura returns to the facility, these images are projected onto every surface, forcing her to walk through her most traumatic memories.
It’s both chilling and heartbreaking. Moreover, it marks the first time I’ve really liked her new costume — the contrast between her bright orange memories and her own greytone existence makes them feel all the more vivid and oppressive. These images couldn’t be further from who she is now, yet they’re also ever-present.
Bringing these hard memories to the surface perfectly sets the tone for the surprise ending, which I’ll avoid spoiling, mostly because I don’t know exactly what it will mean for Laura (as is often the case with big splash page cliffhangers). But I do know what it means for this series: we’re digging back into Laura’s past, and mining it for all of the emotion that made me fall in love with this series in the first place. It’s everything I want a Legacy issue of All-New Wolverine to be.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?