X-23's Misadventures in Babysitting continues in this issue. Part 2 to be precise.
This issue is written by Marjorie Liu with art by Sana Takeda, and I must say it's quite a delight to read. I think so far my only complaint about this 3 part story is that the issues end when I wish they never would.
This issue in particular reflects how understanding and patient X-23 is towards Julian. His actions that would normally tire the average girl out and push them away, Laura just takes in stride with understanding he's still coping with his own issues and clinginess. She takes the time to express her own thoughts, and clearly state what her choice is in the Schism aftermath. That choice being a neither side choice. Julian further pushes the point and letting his jealousy rear his head about Gambit too.
Overall this issue reflects entirely what a great X-23 story can be. We're given subtle nuances to her training and how she takes in her surroundings, her calm demeanor in handling situations or stressful people, and touching moments where sometimes old feelings of love can take over. Even with the rampant scifi and cosmic level story-telling we're left with an issue that's easy to relate to for both boys and girls(a tangent I'm going to have to avoid, sorry folks!). It dives deep into the complications of what boys act like when unhinged by insecurities, and it reflects a kind X-23 who understands more about how people act and their whys than we've previously seen hinted at in her other comic appearances. Like much of the run, the comic continually nods her past appearances. In this instance doing so in a more forward less symbolic type fashion when Julian makes reference to the Academy X days of their adventures. It's done in a manner rather fluidly, but also harkens back to a kind of role reversal from previously where Julian seemed to be the one in control and taking lead to keep X-23 in check from killing. Now X-23 has to do the same for him instead even though his actions are annoying her, and in many ways pushing her away, the feelings they share are hard to forget. Julian is both infuriating, and yet where her heart is even if she's not happy wiht his actions. Stuff that reflects real life quite well, but sadly things like that never end well, no matter how understanding the other person can be. It's just a ticking time bomb waiting to go off as foreshadowed in the previous issue's opening.
Overall, this issue is just a magnificent piece, and I look forward to the next. It continually makes me wonder why this comic is being canceled when weeks like this approach and it being the biggest highlight to read from all the comics on shelves.
If you want an amazing story to read, these past two issues and the next should be on your must buy pile. On the surface it's a fun action and comedic romp in babysitting and under the surface it's a commentary on relationships, emotions, how hard it is to speak when your feelings are in the way, and what it's like for those who are used to being alone when they get those feelings.
This comic itself makes me wish they'd grant Marjorie Liu a second chance on this title to stick around or a relaunch with the Sana Takeda artwork presented here. I have nothing against Noto, but the soft artwork with the emotional nature of the topic truly shines as a must read. Noto's darker sides of the art with the stories are interesting and have provided much to the comic, and whether it's just because of the story of the issues or the subject matter, the Sana Takeda side packs more of the down to earth punch that I really enjoy about the comic. They both work in unison to create a fantastic intelligent read, but as I said, I tend to favor the soft glow of the Takeda side of the issues.