Writer / Tom Taylor Art / David Lopez & David Navarrot Colour Art/ Nathan Fairbairn
Laura Kinney, a.k.a. X-23, has come a long way.
Getting her start in episode #41 of X-Men: Evolution, she then showed up in the NYX mini series followed by a few self titled minis and eventually an ongoing series a few years ago. As a full-blown clone of everyone’s favourite canuck, Logan, a.k.a. Wolverine, X-23 was cloned from a damaged Weapon X sample. They couldn’t retrieve the Y chromosome and creating a female specimen would serve their purpose just as well, if not better. X-23 has been at great character since the beginning. Yes, she may be a little redundant since she has all the same powers as Logan (healing factor, two adamantium coated bone claws in each hand and one in each foot, excellent reflexes, speed and agility), but I’ve enjoyed most of the stories she’s been featured in so far.
Laura’s life didn’t start out too well. She was cloned by a secret organization called the Facility and was trained to be an emotionless killing machine. She’s best at what she does, which is indiscriminately assassinating any target for a price. Her handlers had also programmed her to lose it when she smelled a trigger scent which worked to perfection as Laura and her mother escaped the facility. X-23’s mother didn’t survive, but in her last moments she was able to reveal that Laura was her real name and handed over a picture of Charles Xavier and Wolverine, the only lead to her “father.”
She never made it all the way to Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. Instead she wound up in San Francisco, locating her mother’s sister there. She is taken in, but the Facility had already infiltrated her family’s circle of friends in an attempt to return her to their institution. Laura dealt with that situation in Target X, which came out in 2006 and at the end of that she tracks down and defeats Wolverine in battle. She explains how and why it is that she is here, but is soon arrested by Captain America and taken into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody to answer for the trail of dead bodies she has left in her wake. Her innocence in all of this is taken into consideration thanks largely to interviews conducted by Matt Murdock, the Daredevil, and is eventually released by Captain America and went into hiding to avoid that be used as a weapon and further victimized by S.H.I.E.L.D., who haven’t always been good people.
Her life didn’t get any better. She finds herself in New York City and is taken in by a pimp known as Zebra Daddy. Quite messed up and at the hands of Zebra she becomes a prostitute, specialized in catering to sadomasochistic patrons. Coming to her sense after a time, she is able to save her friends and be rid of Zebra Daddy once and for all.
The journey was an arduous one, but X-23 did eventually become a full-fledged member of team X-Men, but it’s her time in X-Force that I remember best. After the Messiah Complex crossover event, Cyclops (who was the current, and my favourite, leader of the X-Men), recruits Laura to a secretly reformed X-Force. This team consists of X-23, Wolfsbane, Domino, Warpath, Angel/Archangel, Elixir and Wolverine (who is opposed to Laura being part of the gang.) This team is to be a black-ops version of the X-Men. Top secret missions, pre-emptive strikes and assassinations are par for the course for these guys as they are able to tackle threats to homo superiors that the X-Men can’t publicly face without further alienating mutants from the rest of society. Written by Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost, X-23’s original creators, and illustrated by Clayton Crain, this version of X-Force is brutal and bloody in the most viscerally appealing way. Totally worth checking out. The only X-Force better than that was Rick Remender’s Uncanny X-Force, but that’s another story you’ll have to look up on your own for now.
“All-New All-Different” is Marvel’s new current line up of titles at the moment. Wolverine, Logan is dead and who better than Laura Kinney, his clone daughter, to take over the family name and legacy? Not Daken (Wolverine’s other kid), that’s for sure. He’s a train wreck of a person and a wicked villain and he sure did try, though.
All-New Wolverine #1 brings Laura to Paris, France. The action starts on high as she rushes some security guards of some rich kid or something. A sniper fires several shots and she take them all protecting this guy. In his limo, he takes off just as she eats a bullet to the head.
Laura spends some time in her subconscious, speaking to Wolverine/Herself who gives some guidance and advice. “You’re the best there is at what you do, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it” is a great line, as Laura has constantly, over the years, been fighting her conditioning and programming at the hands of the Facility.
Coming back to reality, her healing factor doing it’s thing, she wakes up surrounded by the gathered crowd. She stands up and, speaking in her headset to someone, she strides towards the Eiffel Tower, knowing the sniper can’t have gotten away. All the while she’s taking off her coat to reveal the Wolverine’s old school blue and yellow costume colours. She pulls on the mask and proudly announces that she “want[s] them to see the Wolverine coming.”
Up in the tower she gets it on with a kabuki styled masked woman. Wolverine tells her she wants to help, but the sniper, knowing her target got away, calls in a drone strike on the limo and dives to her death.
Wolverine tells her teammate to be ready in three seconds and dives off the tower, barreling to the ground. Angel barely makes the catch and chides her rash decision-making. He catches up to the drone and drops Wolvie onto it to be dismantled.
Back a the base of the Eiffel, Wolvie and Angel get back to unmask the dead sniper and we find out that it’s a clone of X-23, or rather another female clone of Wolverine and there are more out there. Laura vows to put a stop to them and, if she can, save them. So intense.
(Rene LeClair is an avid comic book reader and works at Comic Hunter in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada, spreading the word to all who love comics as well. He is also a fantastic musician who currently plays with a great band called FEAR AGENT. Rene has been at his music for years, including stints with Longtimers, Four Frames, and the amazing Dead City Rebels. At the Comic Hunter (Moncton/Charlottetown) they easily have the biggest selection in the Maritimes for all your nerdy needs. They specialize in comic books w/ over 250k back issues, an immense library of graphic novels as well as a seemingly endless selection of board/card games. Whether you find yourself that side of Quebec or not, they’ll ship anywhere. Visit their website and contact them HERE.)