(Please note: some of the content / images of what I’m about to link to and discuss may prove upsetting).
Language is an amazing thing. I’ve read books which can slice you open; knives ripping inside your head to let the emotion spill out. And it blows my mind each and every time I read a word that can punch straight through my defenses and leave me weeping, my fingers tight-clutching the page and unable to let go.
I’ve not had that experience very much with comic books.Language describes emotion. A picture can describe emotion. But the combination of the two, when done poorly, can totally neuter an emotional reaction. It’s hard to have a reaction that is “yours” when the Artist, the Inker, The Writer, the Publisher, the X, the Y, the Z have all had it before you.
But then there’s sometimes a comic which changes your perception and blows your mind. The history of X23, Laura Kinney, is on Wikipedia in greater depth than I’m ever going to be able to achieve so I encourage you to have a quick look over it before continuing.
This is a messed up kid, that much is clear. She’s lived a life worse than anybody could envisage and she’s lived it a thousand times already. And now she works under the tutelage of Wolverine, perhaps the one man who could possibly understand a breath of what she’s gone through and what she continues to go through today.
I’ve never ever witnessed a comic where the artwork is so beautifully and so brilliantly heartbreaking. The pages bleed; a red, raw tempest of awful memories torn and fragmented and whirling around her head. The writing is sharp, stilted, pained, and so tight it makes me furious with envy. It’s mindblowing to read and perhaps one of the best representations of a troubled adolescent I’ve ever read.
X23 #1 (available for free online from the Marvel Digital Comics thingimajig). It’s not an easy read but it’s most definitely worth it. I can’t get it out of my head.