This issue marks the end of her run as an ongoing comic. Sadly it's only 22 pages. Within those 22 pages though it manages to say a lot without a single spoken word.
Going into this issue from the preview, I didn't know what to expect. The preview had me curious with the usage of a wolf pack and symbolism reflecting how X-23 herself is a lone wolf. There's a phrase pertaining to that about how a wolf is only as strong as the pack, but the pack is only as strong as the wolf. This plays up to an atmosphere of the choices she needed to make about where she belongs.
It's an issue that was quite well handled in how it was delivered. We have X-23 traveling to clear her head, helping a man make it home by giving him a ride, and the entire time there is a barrage of interesting camera angles and hidden symbolism of soaring like an eagle or hawk besides the aforementioned wolves. All around it evokes a sense of freedom while still making choices to help those who need it.
All this culminates into a form of spirit quest that makes her face her dark side head on. While her first instinct is to fight it, the answer becomes clear during the struggle allowing her to come to terms with it. She copes with it, accepting it but moving on as well.
It's all portrayed very primal and back to nature, but not in a chest beating alpha male way. It's handled in a more aboriginal or native american type fashion. It's a very inward reflection of self. A kind of fresh slate created from baring it all and finally coming to terms with one's self or one's past. A story that punctuates Laura's growth. It gives us a Laura Kinney who is naked to the world both literally and figuratively, but not in a sexually charged manner. The artwork by Phil Noto walks a fine line of that, and is beautifully interwoven in how the story is told to avoid that kind of focus and yet still yield an amazing and touching story so full of symbolism from even panel angle choices. I'm sure I've overlooked more details too. An issue that may be considered a quick read from not having a single spoken word, but every journey back through it yields something new. It's an issue you can repeatedly go through and let sink in, but still has undiscovered truths within. Quite simply, it's beautiful in an unprecedented and rare manner that few comics from the big two usually dare to attempt in this modern age.
All around I greatly enjoyed this issue. It makes me sad to see the comic run come to an end, but as endings go it is quite a fitting send off. Questions still remain, but that's for the future. This issue is one I'd recommend any and everyone (of appropriate age) to check out who has a familiarity with X-23. It's an issue of no words but says everything about why this comic should stay and how Marvel will not feel the same without it. Be sure to pick up your own copy today. It's more than worth the price.
Okay, a few more page throughs and I noticed an undertone that's hard to tell if it's intentional or not. It seems like a symbolic gesture or mildly suggestive of Marvel silencing X-23's comic by canceling it prematurely. That's probably something best saved for another day though as explaining would encompass too many topics about how fame works that are best left unsaid in this recap.