Monday, September 5, 2016

All-New Wolverine Annual #1 Review - Marvel Monday

Freaky Vice Versa Again

Written by: Tom Taylor
Art by: Marcio Takara, Mat Lopes and Cory Petit
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: August 31, 2016

All-New Wolverine was a book that interested me even before we did our Marvel Monday thing, but
for a bunch of reasons (time, laziness...), I never got around to reading, let alone reviewing it.  So, when Branden decided he had too many books (which is true), I gladly said I would review this one.  I went back and caught up on the series and was pretty damn impressed.  Tom Taylor is one of my favorite writers, so it's no surprise that I was intrigued right away by the story, but it's the characters that have me hooked.  It also doesn't hurt that the art has been consistently great throughout the series as well.  So, does Spider-Gwen joining in on this Annual story make it even more fun and exciting?  Let's find out...

The issue starts off with such an adorable scene that I couldn't help but have a huge smile on my face.  Gabby is giving Jonathan a mask which as she puts it, "It's not just adorable. It's practical."  By the way, if you don't already know, Gabby is the younger clone of Laura (the All-New Wolverine) and Jonathan is an actual in the actual animal!  If you ask me, the disguise is still 100% adorable.

While I could easily read an entire issue of just Gabby and Jonathan, things heat up when a flash of light happens and a confused Laura appears, yells, and jumps out the window.  Then the craziest thing happens...Laura tries to shoot a web.  You know, doing the old Spider-man, web slinging hand motion. Strange things are afoot at the Circle K!  Things become a little clearer (do they?) when Gabby runs to a crunched up Laura (who landed on a car ala the beginning of Lethal Weapon) who tells her that she isn't Laura at all...she's Gwen Stacy!

That's when we switch on over to Gwen's Universe and it's easy to figure out that Laura has Freaky Fridayed into Gwen's body.  It's a series of errors as she messes up a Mary Janes' gig, doesn't recognize her father and then blows out his car window.

The fun continues when Reed Richards shows up and knowing what is going on, tells "Gwen" to come with him.  That's where we get the full picture...Gwen and Laura need to fix this whole interdimensional body switching thing in three hours or they both will be in big trouble.  Back to the Future fading from the picture kind of trouble, but even worse!

I love stories like this and things get even better when Gwen starts seeing Spider-Ham!  It's just a little comical aside and leads to the big scene of Laura in Gwen's body arriving in her own Universe to come face-to-face with Gwen who is in her body.  Tom Taylor doesn't waste time with the confusion that really should produce, but instead gets to the problem at hand...fixing this whole crazy situation.

We do get some funny bits where each of the gals have to explain the other's power sets which leads them across the street to find the device that caused this chaos...right after Laura accidently destroys it!  All is not lost, however, because Gwen picks up the bad guys scent and the chase continues.

They end up at the lair of the big bad, but after some pretty cool and hilarious action, we find out that all of this was a bit of mistaken identity, mixed with obsession, mixed with microwave food.  It's not all as goofy as it sounds as we get a backstory for the villain which is pretty sad and makes what she (yes, it's a she) did more understandable.

To show that she's not all bad, she fixes the whole body switching misunderstanding and then just when it looked like she would actually become part of Team Wolverine (which I really want), she zaps Laura and... Listen, I can't spoil everything!

This is exactly what I love out of Annuals.  Tom Taylor gives fans a fun, little one-shot that may not tie into anything going on in either of Gwen's or Laura's books, but is just a blast to read.  I had a huge smile on my face the entire time reading it and recommend it to just about anyone who needs their mood lifted a bit during this Civil War II fiasco.  It's just a fun, new reader friendly romp and makes me wish this team-up could continue.

Marcio Takara's art was excellent and helps sell the fun all by itself.  His character work is great here from Jonathan the Wolverine right down to Spider-Ham...or is it "Wolver-Hampton"?  Kudos go to the entire art team for such a great looking issue!

Bits and Pieces:

Tom Taylor uses this Annual to give fans a fun, body switching story and if you are a sucker for that like myself, you will love it.  Everything here, from the characters to the art, pushes the wacky story forward and when it ended, I wanted so much more.  Please have this happen some more!


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