Marvel Comics’ entire X-line is getting cancelled to clean the slate for Jonathan Hickman’s upcoming takeover, and next week sees the final issue of X-23, a charming comic that did great work building on what Tom Taylor set up in his All-New Wolverine series. Writer Mariko Tamaki came onto the title exhibiting a deep understanding of the relationship between clone sisters Laura and Gabby Kinney, and she’s taken them on a journey that has tested their loyalty by ripping open old wounds. Tamaki has a talent for creating relationships between women that are rich with conflict but also steeped in affection, and she recognizes that the tightest bonds are the ones that can handle the most tension. (See her excellent new First Second graphic novel, Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me, for a non-superhero display of this skill.) X-23 gave Tamaki a rich relationship to explore in Laura and Gabby, and it resulted in her strongest work yet for Marvel Comics.
This exclusive preview of X-23 #12 shows Laura struggling to cope with her and Gabby’s recent split over what to do about their other killer clones. The tone at the start of this excerpt is quiet and entirely domestic, reinforcing the comfortable home life that Laura and Gabby have created and the void that exists in Gabby’s absence. Penciler Diego Olortegui, inker Walden Wong, and colorist Chris O’Halloran, and letterer Cory Petit enrich Tamaki’s script with crisp, dynamic visuals, and this preview highlights how well the art team transitions from introspective character moments to in-your-face action sequences. When the script jumps to Gabby and Jonathan fighting armored goons on the top of a moving train, the angles become more dramatic and the colors more vibrant. Olortegui has significantly stepped up his game on this series, and he brings impressive speed and power to the moments when these sisters cut loose. This team crafted a very compelling story about sisterhood in these pages, and at only 12 issues, it will be an easy run for readers to digest in the future.