This was a good solid superhero and character focused read. Ever since I've been a fan of Tom Taylor, for the last year or two, I've heard good things about this run so was very excited to dive into the hardcover collecting it. This feels like a perfect demonstration of why I like the omnibus line so much. Sometimes they can be so slim you don't feel like you're getting your money's worth, sometimes people can find them too bulky to actually read, and other times you have to buy multiple volumes to get the full run.
But this was none of those, just 35 straight issues, plus an annual and a oneshot, all in one volume. It's a nice book as well, like I said not too bulky or difficult to read, just a solid all in one hardcover.
Now, the disadvantage of reading it all in one volume is that there isn't one main artist for the run. It makes all the more special when there's a distinct writer/artist pairing on a classic run, but here there's several of them and most of them are just okay. Whilst there is one arc where one artist does the whole thing, often there are artist or even just colorist changes within arcs, which I know isn't uncommon or unreasonable, but just something I wanted to mention. Especially since reading it in such a short time frame in this format makes those changes more prevalent.
But overall, there's a lot to like about this run. I liked how it explored Laura as a character, moving her beyond just the letter and number that previously described her, making her more than that. It was great to finally read the introduction of Gabby, especially since I read the first volume of New Mutants by Ayala/Reis right after this. Her dynamic with Laura, the wider Wolverine family, and just the wider Marvel Universe was just amazing to see, lots of fun. I feel like there's a nice balance of stories in here.
This run was previously collected in six trade paperbacks, all of which are effectively collected into this omnibus. To help organise my thoughts on the run in general, I'm going to briefly talk about each one individually.
Vol. 1: The Four Sisters - A solid first volume to introduce the idea of "The Four Sisters", Gabby being one of them. As well as some ideas and plot threads that will be returned to a bit later after an obligatory event tie-in (more on that in a moment). I liked the incorporation of some other characters into the storyline, and without spoiling the concept of the arc, the idea of legacy, of Laura filling in the shoes of Logan after his death (at the time), of coming after him and asking the question then what comes after her. On the whole the art could have better, it was just okay which meant it took me a bit to get into the story, but in general I liked it.
Vol. 2: Civil War II - This feels particularly interesting to talk about given the Nightwing Fear State issues that have just wrapped up. Honestly that's two for two from what I've seen on Tom Taylor being able to handle an event tieing into his run without making it seem too off track or cumbersome. Here they feel much more consequential than those Nightwing issues, and are actually interesting by how the idea of the event is used and made unique for the Wolverines and this story. Especially with a particular someone brought into the fold just for this arc, the dynamics between characters were a lot of fun to read. One of the better arcs artistically as well.
The Squirrel Girl issue and the annual (which apparently isn't actually collected in any of the trades for this run, only Spider-Gwen's trades) were nice enjoyable stories that acted as a breather between arcs, I enjoyed them.
Vol. 3: Enemy of the State II -The halfway point of the run, and what I thought was a nice culmination of everything so far. Towards the end it manages to feel epic and grand in scale, like the third act to a superhero movie, but at the same time feeling so intimate, so personal. So reflective of Laura's trauma, what Kimura did to her, making her into the weapon that she was. It was a very refreshing read coming off of Civil War II, after all the drama of that storyline a new start for Laura and Gabby. I loved how it starts with almost a horror movie kind of vibe, with dark dreary weather to match. I would say this is probably the most important and consequential storyline in the whole run.
Vol. 4: Immune - When I said there's a nice balance of stories, this is what I meant. The previous volume felt like a nice change from the second volume, and in turn this especially feels like a refreshing change from Vol 3. The second half of this run is kicked off in style, Wolverine has a new suit, Gabby has her own superhero suit, with some stylish new trade dress on the issues themselves to match. Not that the trade dress shows up on the covers collected in the omnibus, but just looking at the trade covers. The first 3 volumes were very much focused on Laura's past. With this, it feels more about her future. Her and Gabby, taken their rightful place in the Marvel universe as superheroes, trying to solve this mystery in a time where every second is life or death. Then off to space with the Guardians of the Galaxy as the answers behind that are revealed. Such a fun read. Just some classic superhero storytelling.
Vol. 5: Orphans of X - Then from that, back to something more personal. I loved the idea of this, and it was just executed so well. With art by Juann Cabal and coloring by Nolan Woodard I think it had my favourite art of the whole run. The Wolverine family having to come together, I loved the way the story developed over the arc, and the Orphans of X were a simple but effective and intriguing concept for the arc.
The way it ended might not have been the traditional ending you might have thought of, but it was perfect in how it fit with Laura's journey over the run and how it culminated here. This was another fun story, but with that more personal and serious feel that I mentioned.
Vol. 6: Old Woman Laura - When I said Volume 4 looks more towards her future, I was of course speaking figuratively. As the name suggests though, this one literally looks towards her future. First of all though, the Gabby/Deadpool issue that kicks off the trade version of this arc, so brilliant. Provides some nice closure surrounding the character of Jonathan the Actual Wolverine, so entertaining, heartwarming, with a somewhat serious concept. The dynamic between Gabby and Deadpool is so perfect, I loved how Tom Taylor balanced the comedic moments in amongst issues of his run and that issue was one of the prime examples of that. One of my favourite pages ever is in there. Another issue wrapping up some loose ends, and then it's to the future for one last ride. Not much to say about that, nice artwork, I always love seeing futuristic or alternate versions of characters and that was a classic futuristic superhero storyline. One of my favourites of the run I really enjoyed it.
So that's what I meant by there's a nice balance of stories in here. Some new characters are introduced, long time characters come in, event tie-ins, some more classic superhero stories others more intimate and personal to Laura herself. There's some very serious moments where you can feel the emotion of her character, others which are just such a joy to read in how they make you laugh out loud, sometimes it's just as simple as Laura introducing Gabby to her home. Powerful to wholesome to comedic to epic, there's just so much to like about this run, and one I absolutely recommend you check out if you can.
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