X-23 Vol. 1: The Killing Dream Review
Do clones have souls? This existential question is the driving force behind X-23 Vol. 1: The Killing Dream. Conceived and raised as a killing machine, Laura Kinney goes on a quest to find her own path through life. Conceptually sound, the actual execution of issues 1-6 of X-23 fall a bit short in almost every respect.
Much of the book is spent trying to make you feel bad for her. If the events and her internal monologue were handled better, maybe that sentiment would be easier to empathize with. However, as is, its approach to conveying that point is overly heavy-handed. Most garish of the events is the fact that the first few issues where she’s more-or-less fighting her inner demons by…fighting her inner demons. There’s a bit more mystery to it, but nonetheless is forced and not enjoyable to read. Things pick up in the latter half of the book as she’s actually placed in a real conflict, but even then the brooding tone of these issues hurts it more than it helps. I’m also not a fan of the art. In particular, X-23’s design within the pages is quite different than any of her cover interpretations, which look a lot better. The work overall looks fine for what it is, but I just don’t like it all that much.
My desire for more X-23 material has been satiated by Vol. 1: The Killing Dream, and not in a good way. It could have been better with stronger writing or art, but instead this is a middling effort at best that doesn’t do this character justice. At the very least, it sets Laura up for better things in volume 2, but I don’t have any interest in following this thread further. I know she plays a big role in later issues of All New X-Men, so I guess I’ll see her there next instead.