Y’all remember that Ultimate Spider-Man story where Logan Howlett (Wolverine) swapped bodies with Peter Parker? Well, prepare for an All New retelling of this story with X-23 and Spider-Gwen! But is this a tale worth retelling?
All New Wolverine Annual #1: Jump The Shark 2.0
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Marcio Takara
Colorist: Mat Lopes
Letterist: Cory Petit
Production: Manny Mederos
C. Artist: Cameron Stewart
Editors: Christina Harrington & Mark Paniccia
Story: Our story opens in the apartment of Laura Kinney, where Laura freaks out on Gabby (her clone) and Jonathan (Gabby’s pet wolverine), before leaping out the window. She smashes into a car below and when Gabby goes to check on her, she claims to be another person; Gwen Stacy.
On Earth-65, the Mary Janes are putting on a show when their drummer, Gwen Stacy, forgets how to play. She breaks her drum set by accident, before running away. She runs into her father, George Stacy, who notes her strange behavior. Reed Richards-65 returns and hijacks Gwen, telling her he knows she is actually Laura Kinney. Reed explains she has three hours to return her and Gwen’s bodies to normal or their minds will become untethered, before sending her to the Marvel Prime Universe.
Gabby and a Wolverine-based version of Gwen’s Spider-Ham subconscious are questioning Gwen when Laura returns. The two heroes guide each other through their powers and track down the mastermind behind the body-swap; The Red Hornet. She did it for revenge against the Logan Howlett version of Wolverine, who murdered her uncle, the original Hornet. She spent months making a device that would not kill Logan, but relocate him to another dimension. She is unaware he actually died and passed the mantle on to Laura, but agrees to help Laura fix things after Gwen impales herself on her own claws. Their bodies get swapped back to normal and the issue ends where it started, in Laura’s apartment with Gabby and Jonathan.
Thoughts: All New Wolverine by Tom Taylor is one of my favorite (current) Marvel books, right up there with Spider-Woman & Mockingbird. It is a consistently funny book and it follows the new Wolverine when she is not in the X-Men corner of Marvel Prime. Tom Taylor knows how to write entertaining new characters (Gabby is a series highlight) but he is also one of the best writers when it comes to picking up the voice of established characters. He’s done a great job with characters like Janet Van Dyne, Stephen Strange, and Squirrel Girl, and can now add Gwen Stacy to that list.
An example of this is Wolver-Hampton, who is a Wolverine infused version of her Spider-Ham subconscious. There is several good jokes that come from Wolver-Hampton that mirror the way Spider-Ham acts in Jason Latour’s Spider-Gwen series. Gwen herself is written great, but does not get to shine much outside of hilarious incidents where she maims herself in Laura’s thankfully regenerative body.
For every moment we get with Wolver-Hampton, Reed Richards-65 (who is a great returning character from the Spider-Women event), and George Stacy, we also spend one with Laura’s supporting cast. Maybe not 50/50, but Gabby gets the most screen time outside of our displaced duo. With 32 pages of story, everything is well paced and nobody steals the scene from anyone else. Even the villain is well done. Melinda McDonough has ties to a previous Marvel villain, a relatable backstory, and rather than throw down she helps Laura and Gwen out when she realizes she messed up. I hope this Red Hornet appears again.
As for our heroes themselves, this issue is an excellent showcase for their powers. Highlights include sniffing for clues, the usual misunderstanding of spider-sense, and webshooter difficulties. The book also blends together the flavors of both series effortlessly, so hopefully this will bring both more readers to both series.
The artistic team does a great job as well. Marcio Takara draws some very clean faces that portray emotion well, and he does a good job with visual gags. The real highlight is how he draws the women in different bodies. Their personalities shine through, with Laura coming off as more carefree while Gwen is hunched, ready for a fight. It is a great touch that really sells the body swap. Marcio Takara has worked previously on the series and he brings colorist Mat Lopes back with him. Lopes is great at creating dynamic backdrops for Takara’s figures. Together they create a very animated look for the book and it works well.
Also, it is great that Logan is the catalyst for this story, as Peter was merely a pawn in Wolverine’s punishment in the original story. Even from beyond the grave, Logan is causing shenanigans.
Verdict: All New Wolverine Annual #1 is a fun retelling of a classic Peter/Logan story. It is well paced and filled with fun characters. The stakes are not very high, but they do not need to be for this done-in-one story to work. If you are in the mood for a laugh or a Spider-Gwen story in the Marvel Prime, check this issue out.
- Great look into both characters
- Great blend of both series
- Well paced