You know what they say about vacations. Once you go on one, it's hard to get back into the swing of things again. So true. Completely my bad for putting this off longer than I should have. This issue especially. It was utterly amazing. I was expecting something great, but this, this is just beyond anything I could have ever expected!
So let's get started already.
X-23 and Emma Frost
"Let me mess with your head so I can give you years of therapy in 5 minutes." Uh yeah, like anyone would accept that from Emma. Like Laura would ever let Emma in her head after what she did back while Laura was at the Xavier Academy. This moment I would have liked to see played up more towards what Emma did before, but I can see why it fell to the wayside as sometimes those events can easily be forgotten even if they scar. This is the fight I've been dying to see for ages though. Ever since that issue happened actually. It'll be interesting to see how the school deals with Emma, and how much of the school grounds will survive.
X-23's Past with Pets
The issue picked up on the Marjorie Liu puppy addition to Laura's origin. A fantastic addition as the hesitancy that moment in her life displayed is probably what led to the facility creating triggerscent to begin with. It also shows a Laura that's never considered non-living things as living. An idea that quickly falls aside as the issue progresses and the more she hears from others. Which is a very interesting point as she wasn't there for the duration of Jocasta being on campus, and has no direct ties as yet to any other synthetic lifeforms in the Marvel Universe. The speech used against her probably helped, as it was right on the mark. The sentinel may have flaws, but it's trying to become more than it was created to be. Something that parallels perfectly with X-23 herself. It also reflects a sympathetic X-23, and a Laura that can't abide screams of pain from the good guys, even if one is a former robot built solely for genocide. It was a very interesting moment to see that shift in perspective. Something that could have deeper roots yet still with how Emma had acted.
X-23 As a Leader
Laura's still taking the lead, which is fine by me. It makes sense though with her history and experience. She has a natural talent for situational awareness that works wonders out in the field as displayed last issue, and I'm sure we'll see again come next issue.
This issue's new artwork sells a different point I never expected to see covered ever. The artwork conveys a familiarity among the students. You don't really notice the difference unless you compare it to previous issues. In comparison, while the artwork on previous issues was good, it conveyed a sense of alienness or newness to everyone. This is something quite fitting as the new class is still getting to know each other and become friendly with each other. This issue though kind of sells the point that the previous battle in issue 31 was a bonding moment. So the artwork in this issue conveys a more familiarity or naturalness to the cast. Something I'm sure everyone has experienced whether it's a new school, new friends or a new job. The more time you spend at it, and the more you get accustomed to it, the more familiar things become. The more like home it feels. That's what the artwork here feels like it conveys.
Overall, this issue was simply spectacular. I can't wait to read the next. Gage and crew just keep impressing with every issue after issue in this ongoing that keeps reaching new heights of awe, life lessons, and interesting philosophical debates. It's starting to make the pain of not having an X-23 ongoing go away as it steps up to fill the void little by little with what it presents at a decent pace with artwork that also feels deep and well planned out for every minor change we may see. A trait from the ongoing that yielded high praise from me as well, and shows great depth to the entire creative roster on this book.
I know I definitely missed a few key points this go round, but if you haven't picked up the issue yourself, go do it! This issue is well worth the read. Alongside the other X-title tie-ins into AvX, it really helps establish and punctuate the Might makes Right argument the Phoenix 5 are using to impose their will on the planet.