The Orphans of X Part 5
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Juann Cabal
Colors: Nolan Woodard
Cover: Elizabeth Torque
Published: January 17, 2018
The Orphans of X have raised some interesting questions for Laura concerning her role as a hero, and the legacy of Wolverine. Broadly speaking they are a group of villains, but they are also not wrong. They are people who have suffered because of the Weapon X program and want some sort of revenge/closure for themselves regarding the people they lost. Comics are always more interesting when the villain isn’t some generic evil for evil’s own sake type that prevents the reader from connecting with them, and throughout this arc the orphans have been set up well and their motivations made clear. But then this issue kind of goes away from that in favor a bit more shooting and punching. The first page shows a man and woman looking at the cold body of Old Man Logan who still has a Murumasa bullet lodged in his head. The woman (Amber) grabs the man’s (Henry Sutter) mask off and its clear they are in a romantic relationship. Back in Japan Murumasa is completing the process of gathering pieces of Laura, Daken, and Gabby’s soul in order to make armor that will protect them from the Murumasa bullets. This process was the first time that Gabby ever felt pain, which is only stated and not given the sort of reflection it deserves (that’s kind of a big moment). Once she has recovered from the soul extraction process Laura visits Murumasa while he is working on forging the armor. He remarks that Daken’s soul was very heavy, Gabby’s was very light, and that her’s was about average, which means that she has come a long way. Now this might (and probably is) some comic book hand waving, but it is still an interesting idea. Laura has undergone significant change since this series began, and has held the idea of atonement constantly in front of her. She has struggled to find ways to be hero that don’t require her to whip the claws out. But perhaps part of her change is also allowing herself to be forgiven for what she done and know she is trying to do better. Maybe Daken struggles to accept the forgiveness that has been offered for his past actions and hasn’t been able to unburden himself of the guilt that undoubtedly weighs on all products of the Weapon X program. There isn’t much time for Laura to process what Murumasa said as The Hand, directed by the Orphans of X, arrive to take them down. Laura, Gabby, and Daken hold them off for a while but eventually are cornered and the masked Orphan of X leader comes forward to incapacitate them.
Murumasa had finished the invulnerable armor and right before the orphans shoot Daken, Laura steps in front in an all blue and oddly designed suit. We’ll get back to the suit in a moment, but she manages to push the Hand and the orphans out of the building. Now things get a little convoluted here, so… here it goes. As the hand are pushed out of the house Daken cuts himself and inserts a phone inside himself (think that scene from The Dark Knight) so that he can be tracked. He then gives himself up to The Hand right before Gorgon, The Hand’s leader, arrives and stops the conflict. He does not approve of how his group was used for to push the agenda of one lieutenant and puts a stop to the fighting. Daken is taken away by a group of orphans who left right before Gorgon arrived, but Gorgon offers use of his plane to Laura and Gabby so they might track the phone inside of Daken. He is traced to Brooklyn where they infiltrate a warehouse and find his cold body. The issue ends with Laura saying that she will have to perform brain surgery to remove the Murumasa bullet. Remember that these bullets don’t kill the persons with a healing factor, but they prevent any contacted tissue from healing itself. So if Laura can cut out the bullet and affected tissue from Daken, Sabretooth, Lady Deathstrike, and Old Man Logan, they can all be presumably brought back. Its unclear if this will affect their memories, but in the case of Daken and going back to Murumasa’s discussion about the weight of his soul, perhaps as his brain heals itself the memories or guilt will not come back. That is potentially and interesting idea, if also an extremely convenient one. The average person can’t cut the their guilt or shame out of themselves but must learn how to forgive themselves and move on. The biggest problem with this issue is that the interesting ideas that were present at the beginning of this arc were not present, and instead of keeping the orphans as relatable people instead they were allied with undead ninjas. The reveal that Henry Sutter is behind everything is interesting because he’s another person from Laura’s dark past seeking revenge, but also someone that she truly hurt by killing both of his parents. It’s unknown what kind of villain Henry is (is he more cackling or man motivated by loss and grief), but hopefully she can, and Tom Taylor can, find a way to resolve this without more violence.
There was some very good art in this issue and some very questionable choices. The main one being the design of Laura’s blue armor. The body was just your generic form fitting suit, but much more objectifying than her normal suit, with some small and uninteresting details. The face plate was also really unappealing with a half moon/crescent shape and weirds layers that flare out to the points of the crescent. Laura doesn’t wear it for very long, but it was just odd looking and was no where near as cool as her normal black and grey suit. But there were also some standout pieces of art. The scene when Murumasa is harvesting their souls is good, and then the final image of the issue when Laura mentions brain surgery looks very good, with Daken reflecting off her extended claws. The art in this issue wasn’t up to the level of the previous issue and was mostly forgettable, which can’t be said about what Juann Cabal has done thus far, and hopefully isn’t the case for the final issue of this arc.
(Subjective) Score out of 10: 6