X-23

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For the experimental aircraft, see Martin X-23 PRIME. For the Soviet missile, see Kh-23.
X-23
X23-character.jpg
Variant cover of X-23 #1 (September 2010);
Art by Gabriele Dell'Otto
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance X-Men: Evolution
"X-23"
First comic appearance NYX #3 (February 2004)
Created by Craig Kyle
In-story information
Alter ego Laura Kinney
Species Human Mutant, Clone
Team affiliations Weapon X
X-Men
New X-Men
Avengers Academy
X-Force
Thunderbolts
Notable aliases Laura X, Talon, Captain Universe, X-23, Wolverine
Abilities

X-23 (Laura Kinney) is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, most commonly in association with the X-Men. She was originally created by writer Craig Kyle for the X-Men: Evolution television series in 2003, before debuting in the NYX comic series in 2004. Since then she has headlined two six-issue miniseries written by Kyle and Christopher Yost, a one-shot and self-titled series written by Marjorie Liu, and All-New Wolverine by Tom Taylor.

X-23 is the cloned daughter of Wolverine, created to be the perfect killing machine. For years, she proved herself a capable assassin working for an organization called the Facility. A series of tragedies eventually led her to Wolverine and the X-Men. She attends school at the X-Mansion, and eventually became a member of X-Force. Like Wolverine, X-23 has a regenerative healing factor and enhanced senses, speed, and reflexes. She also has retractable adamantium-coated bone claws in her hands and feet. In 2015, the character succeeded her father in adopting the name and costume of Wolverine in the series, All-New Wolverine.

The character has appeared in adaptations, including animated film and TV series and video games. She was portrayed by Dafne Keen in the 2017 film Logan.

Publication history[edit]

X-23 first appeared in season 3, episode 11 of the X-Men: Evolution animated television series, titled "X-23". Her comic debut was in 2004 in the series NYX, where her history and past were never divulged but her abilities were showcased. In X-23, her first miniseries, her origin was fully explained. She became part of the X-Men supporting cast in Uncanny X-Men #450.

X-23 was created by Craig Kyle. He revealed that X-23 was his attempt to make a Wolverine to "connect more to the younger kids", as while X-Men: Evolution was a reinvention of the X-Men making the characters teenagers, "Wolverine was one of the old, grizzled guys". The characterization went for the opposite of Wolverine, where instead of a man "older than we know" with no memory of his past and the life that he lost, X-23 was a young girl "shackled to the murders she’s committed" whose entire life revolved around the project that made her a killer. Kyle added that the character is "Pinocchio for Marvel Comics, she's a samurai sword trying to become a real little girl".[1] He and Christopher Yost were the writers of the two episodes of X-Men: Evolution in which X-23 appears ("X-23" and "Target X"), with Yost stating that Kyle "had all the beats of her origin in his head when I came on board".[2] Kyle and Yost also scripted X-23: Innocence Lost, a six issue miniseries that details the character's origin, as well as X-23: Target X, a six issue miniseries that covers the character's experiences between her origin story and her appearance in NYX. They continued to write X-23 into their runs on New X-Men and X-Force as a member of the teams.

X-23 starred in an monthly comic book series in 2010, written by Marjorie Liu. On November 15, 2011, Marvel announced that the X-23 comic series would end at issue #21.[3]

X-23 appeared as a regular character in Avengers Academy from issue #23 (Feb 2012) through its final issue #39 (Jan 2013), and also appears in Avengers Arena, a series by Dennis Hopeless and Kev Walker.[4]

Laura joins the All-New X-Men after the team finds her in Florida being chased by anti-mutant religious zealots.[5]

After the 2015 "Secret Wars" storyline, Laura is revealed to be one of the two new Wolverines in the All-New, All-Different Marvel continuity, along with Old Man Logan.

Fictional character biography[edit]

"Innocence Lost"[edit]

Cover to X-23: Innocence Lost #2 (March 2005). Art by Billy Tan.

A top-secret program is tasked to replicate the original Weapon X experiment that bonded adamantium to the skeleton of Wolverine. The project is taken in a new direction: Dr. Martin Sutter recruits renowned mutant geneticist Dr. Sarah Kinney to develop a clone of Wolverine. Also on the team is Sutter's protege, Dr. Zander Rice, who was raised by Sutter after his father was killed by the original Weapon X.

Since the only genetic sample from Weapon X is damaged, Kinney is unable to salvage the Y chromosome. Kinney proposes the creation of a female genetic twin. Her request is denied; Rice is opposed to the idea. After 22 failed attempts at reconstituting the DNA using a duplicate X chromosome, the 23rd sample yields a viable sample to combine with an embryo. Although Kinney is allowed to proceed, Rice exacts revenge for her insubordination by forcing her to act as the surrogate mother of the specimen. For nine months, Kinney's every move is monitored. Finally, she gives birth to "X-23".[6]

After seven years, Rice subjects X-23 to radiation poisoning in order to activate her mutant gene. He extracts her claws, coats them with adamantium, and reinserts them back into her hands and feet – a procedure performed without affording the child any anesthetic. Rice creates a "trigger scent" that drives X-23 into a murderous rage when she detects it. X-23 is then trained to be a hired assassin, ordered to kill "anyone ... everyone ... for a price."[6]

Kinney's niece Megan is abducted by a serial killer; she smuggles X-23 out of the facility to rescue her. X-23 tracks the abductor to his apartment, kills him, and frees Megan. Kinney is fired when she returns and is escorted off the base. Shortly thereafter, Rice assigns X-23 to eliminate Sutter and his family. He orders her to keep it secret. X-23 reveals to Sarah that Rice is responsible for the murders. Before Kinney leaves, Rice reveals a chamber containing the incubation pods for subjects X-24 through X-50.[6]

Kinney drafts a letter to her daughter, assigning her a final mission: destroy the pods and kill Rice. X-23 succeeds and meets her mother, and they prepare to flee. However, prior to his death, Rice exposed Kinney to the trigger scent. X-23 goes into a murderous frenzy and kills her mother. As she lies dying, Kinney tells X-23 that her name is Laura and that she loves her, and hands her the letter and pictures of Charles Xavier, Wolverine, and the Xavier Institute.[6]

Target X[edit]

After being arrested by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, X-23 awakens bound and gagged in the company of Captain America and Matt Murdock, who proceed to interrogate her about her past. X-23 describes how she traveled to San Francisco and tracked down Megan and Debbie (her mother's sister). Introducing herself as Sarah's daughter, she moves in with them. Although Megan experiences vivid nightmares of her abduction, her family believes these to be utter fantasies. X-23 informs Megan that the man in her nightmares was indeed real and that she killed him.[7]

Debbie's boyfriend turns out to be an agent for the Facility who has been instructed to manipulate X-23 into killing Megan and Debbie using the trigger scent. The agent fumbles the assignment and is killed by X-23. Facility agents storm the house, led by the woman who served as X-23's handler, Kimura. Kimura had treated X-23 harshly in the facility, punishing her even if the missions went according to plan.[citation needed]

X-23 manages to get Megan and Debbie to safety by handcuffing Kimura to a radiator and then triggering an explosion in the house, buying some time. After X-23 and Megan part, X-23 decides to confront the man who made her creation possible, Wolverine. X-23 tracks Wolverine to Xavier's mansion and engages him in a battle, defeating him using tactics and maneuverability. She does not kill Wolverine, instead telling him why she came. Wolverine reveals that he is aware of X-23's ordeal, having received a detailed letter from her mother. The talk is interrupted when Captain America comes to arrest Laura.[citation needed]

Despite the mayhem in her past, Matt Murdock accepts X-23's innocence. Captain America wants X-23 to atone for the murders she has committed. He ultimately frees X-23 in order to avoid S.H.I.E.L.D. exploiting her as their own weapon.[citation needed]

NYX[edit]

X-23 surfaces in New York City and is taken in by a pimp named Zebra Daddy. She works as a prostitute who caters to sadomasochistic patrons. X-23 continues to cut herself with her own claws, is mostly mute, and proves unable to free herself from the grip of Zebra Daddy. Upon meeting Kiden Nixon, a young mutant with the ability to freeze time when in danger, and Tatiana Caban, a mutant who can take on the physical attributes of whoever and whatever she comes into contact with via their blood, X-23 starts to come to her senses. Although she runs away from Zebra Daddy, he tracks her down. With the aid of her new-found friends (and the mutant named Bobby Soul), Zebra Daddy and his thugs are defeated: X-23 kills him to save the lives of her friends.[citation needed]

X-Men[edit]

Promotional art for Uncanny X-Men vol. 1 #451 (December 2004). Art by Alan Davis.

X-23 takes a job as a waitress at the mutant-themed "Wannabee's" nightclub in the Mutant Town district of New York.[8][9] She defends Jade Parisi, daughter of mob boss Don Parisi, against some thugs who berate her for having a mutant boyfriend. X-23 kills some of the thugs and helps Jade escape and go into hiding. The deaths inadvertently implicate Wolverine, prompting his teammates to investigate. X-23 attacks Wolverine on sight, but he eventually calms her down. She leads the X-Men to Parisi's daughter. After aiding the X-Men against Parisi's mutant enforcer Geech, X-23 flees the scene. This encounter is later revealed to be partially arranged between X-23 and Wolverine in order for her to encounter and ally with the X-Men without revealing her past.[10]

She later returns to help the X-Men save victims of a car accident, after which she is enrolled at the Xavier Institute and assigned a room with Rachel Summers and Kitty Pryde.[11] X-23 behaves protectively towards Wolverine, observing him on the mansion's security monitors and even attacking his teammate Bishop after he floors Wolverine during a training session.

During one of her sessions at the mansion's monitors, an anomalous energy spike prompts X-23 to investigate. She encounters Spider-Man at the source of the signal;[12][13] mistaking him for an enemy, she attacks him. The pair ultimately team up to save the young mutant Paul Patterson from an alternate reality version of Iron Man known as Iron Maniac. The arrival of Captain America and the super-spy Black Widow help turn the tide, with Spider-Man and X-23 destroying Iron Maniac's equipment using their own version of the classic Fastball Special.

X-23 secretly follows Wolverine on his investigation of strange activity in the Canadian Rockies. Ambushed by the Hauk'ka, evolved Saurians from the Savage Land, X-23 manages to escape and alert the X-Men. Traveling to the Savage Land, X-23 and the X-Men team-up with the Savage Land's lord Ka-Zar and his allies, the Savage Land Mutates, to prevent the Hauk'ka from destroying human civilization by exerting control over the weather-manipulating X-Man, Storm.

Captain Universe[edit]

X-23 is empowered by the cosmic Uni-Power to become Captain Universe. She quickly learns that A.I.M. is seeking the Uni-Power in hopes of using it against their enemies. She agrees to help the Uni-Power, and travels with a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent called the Scorpion to a secret A.I.M. hideout. There, they discover information on the Uni-Power that is being transferred to another facility. The Scorpion attempts to copy the information, but is stopped by X-23. The Scorpion is then ordered to take her into custody, but covers for her instead and allows X-23 to escape. At the close of the issue, the Uni-Power bids farewell to X-23, and parts ways with her.[14]

"Decimation"[edit]

After the events of "House of M" and "Decimation", X-23 was one of the few mutants to retain her powers. X-23, having previously left the institute off-panel, returns to the X-Mansion at Wolverine's insistence. Laura develops an attraction towards Julian Keller, aka Hellion.[citation needed] Following a bombing at the school by anti-mutant religious zealot Reverend William Stryker, X-23 confronts Stryker at his compound, and kills three of his Purifiers, rescuing her comrades.[citation needed]

When Surge receives a distress call from Forge, X-23 accompanies the New X-Men. Although the team disables the Nimrod unit, X-23 is grievously wounded and is unable to heal herself. In order to save X-23, Hellion convinces Emma Frost to unlock his telekinetic potential, increasing his powers (and thus, his speed) to a level thought impossible by an O.N.E. sentinel guard. This allows them to fly back to the mansion in time for Laura to be healed by Elixir.[citation needed]

Mercury Falling[edit]

While Laura is bonding over coffee with Cessily, the cafe is attacked by Kimura and her minions, who in turn capture Cessily. After Laura returns to the school, she and Hellion go off to locate the Facility's whereabouts. X-23 interrogates a man at gun point, and upon securing the information, shoots him in the head. Hellion informs her that killing will no longer be a part of their interrogation technique.[citation needed]

X-23 and Hellion infiltrate the Facility and after an encounter with Kimura, the two soon find Cessily in liquid form, barely able to compose herself. They are attacked by Predator X, who has absorbed Cessily's liquid mercury skin. X-23 and Hellion decide to fall back, but are pursued by the Predators. The group is once again ambushed, only to be rescued by the Astonishing X-Men and New X-Men. The two teams turn the tables on the attackers, and defeat the remaining facility troops. During the shuffle, the remaining Predator escapes.[citation needed]

Sometime later, Emma Frost finds Kimura trying to assassinate X-23, and confronts her, erasing the one happy moment in Kimura's life from her memory, and psychically suggesting that Kimura's assignment now is to hunt down the remaining members of the Facility and kill them.[citation needed]

"Messiah Complex"[edit]

During the 2007 - 2008 "Messiah Complex" storyline, Cyclops, assembles a new incarnation X-Force team that includes Laura, Wolverine, Wolfsbane, Caliban, Warpath, and Hepzibah. During the team's confrontation with Lady Deathstrike X-23 nearly kills Deathstrike in revenge for Deathstrike's attack upon Hellion. X-23 also saves Wolverine's life by killing Scrambler just before he scrambled Wolverine's healing factor.[citation needed]

Following "Messiah Complex", Cyclop forms a black ops incarnation of X-Force to deal with threats preemptively. He drafts X-23 for this team, though this puts him into conflict with Wolverine, whom he did not consult on this decision prior. Wolverine asks X-23 to reconsider this, warning her of the life she is giving up should she continue on this path, but X-23 ultimately decides to take her place on this team. Her conflict with Wolverine recurs over his observation that she is reckless with the lives of others.[citation needed]

Messiah War[edit]

In the 2009 storyline "Messiah War", the X-Men to San Francisco, where they are accepted as heroes by the mayor, having rejected the Fifty State Initiative. X-23 is finally reunited with Kiden Nixon, who herself makes her first appearance outside the NYX series.[15] This future version of Kiden is revealed to be a disruptor of time travel technology, which threatens to trap X-Force, Cable and Hope in this era. While X-23 agonizes over whether to kill Kiden Domino fatally shoots Kiden herself. In a subsequent storyline, X-23 goes back in time to save Boom Boom when Domino and Proudstar are neutralized.[16] During the course of this mission, X-23's left arm is severed from her body.[17] She is rescued by the X-Force, leading into the 2009 - 2010 "Necrosha" storyline,[18] which sees X-23 reunited with her friends from the NYX series.[19]

"Second Coming"[edit]

X-23 is shown to be part of Cyclops' "Alpha Roster" in the course of the "Second Coming" story arc. Laura, along with the most of X-Force, accompany Cable and Cypher to the future in an attempt to shut down the Nimrod invasion. Following Cypher successfully over-riding the programming, Laura attempts to return through the temporal portal, only to sustain horrific injuries. The portal prevents any organic matter traveling through it. This leads Cable to sacrifice himself, allowing his techno-organic virus to overwhelm him, forcing the portal open and making it possible for the team to return to Utopia.[volume & issue needed]

In the fallout of "Second Coming", Wolverine cuts X-23 from the team, explaining to her that after a lifetime of following orders from others, she needs to learn to make her own choices and follow her own path.[volume & issue needed] X-23 subsequently tracks former Weapon X scientist Detlef Metzger, intending to capture him before he can perform experiments using a vial of Wolverine's blood. Instead, Metzger is kidnapped by a group of US soldiers, while X-23 notices that Daken has been watching her.[20]

Solo adventures (X-23 vol. 3)[edit]

The Killing Dream[edit]

X-23 begins having apocalyptic nightmares involving a demonic Wolverine asking her to be his "right hand in hell." Due to this, she sleeps outside as not to cause any alarm among her roommates. A rift has arisen between her and her former teammates, who are now wary of her due to her having been a part of X-Force. The only ones who side with her are Dust and Hellion. She pleasantly surprises Hellion when she tells him she has missed him, and the two share a brief moment. However, Surge's antagonizing of Laura forces Cyclops to intervene. He then tells her to visit a halfway house in San Francisco for former mutants who are trying to live normal lives. As she steps into the building, she suddenly experiences a vision similar to her dreams with the building on fire and her surrounded by dismembered corpses.[21]

A flashback opening the second chapter of "The Killing Dream" shows Wolverine and X-23 at a theme park. While they are preparing for the roller coaster to launch, Wolverine states he is adopting her as his daughter. When brought back to the present, the fire was implied to be started by the devil possessing Wolverine. He meets X-23 in the hospital and seemingly "kills" Hellion before diving into her mind. He tries to convince her to join him as his queen in Hell.[22] X-23 finds her inner "light" and banishes him from her mind. She awakes to find that there is blood everywhere but she and Hellion are fine. She also notices a symbol on her hand (Marjorie Liu promises that the symbol will be a long mystery).[23] The X-Men are perplexed about her situation and want her to stay so that they can "fix" her, but Gambit convinces them otherwise. X-23 silently visits Hellion's room (unaware that he knows she was there) before she leaves Utopia.[23]

"Songs Of The Orphan Child"[edit]

X-23 begins her journey towards self-discovery. X-23, flanked by Gambit, encountered a young girl named Alice and witness her being murdered. However, they encounter Alice the next day, very much alive and well. Encouraging them to follow her to a peculiar desert laboratory, Alice introduces them to her employer/owner/adoptive mother: Claudine (Miss Sinister). Revealing herself openly to X-23, Claudine explains that Alice is also a clone, fourth of a series of five created by Essex as another experiment alongside several other children that live in the complex. She then expands upon her own origins, stating that the process of becoming what she is left her with vague, but invasive memories of Essex's life and that as a malignant presence within her mind. He is slowly killing her as a means of self-resurrection. He even manages to manifest briefly before being re-absorbed back into her. Claudine then incapacitates Gambit and straps X-23 to a peculiar chair, stating her aim to switch their bodies - thus inheriting Laura's healing factor. She has wanted the healing factor since her stabbing, and hopes it will free her of Essex. The plan backfires when Essex in fact controls Laura's body and uses her to mortally wound Claudine again. Laura manages to overcome Essex's presence in her mind, expelling it through force of will. Laura, Alice and Gambit manage to escape the laboratory as it collapses and arrange for the children to be given new homes before setting off on their journey again. In the wreckage left behind, Claudine is still barely alive, and is being watched over by the fifth Alice Clone - the new host of Essex.[24]

"Collision"[edit]

During the "Collision" storyline, X-23 and Gambit travel to Madripoor in pursuit of Malcolm Colcord, a man that wants to revive the Weapon X program that created Wolverine. They pursue Daken in the belief that he can lead them to Colcord, and later enlist the help of the crime boss Tyger Tiger to concoct a plan to rid Madripoor of both Colcord and Daken, but after a fight between X-23 and Daken reaches a stalemate, she resolves that she does not need Daken's help, and is later is taken captive.[25] Daken helps to free her because, he says, he knew Colcord would want X-23 once he knew Colcord was rebuilding the Weapon X program, but allowed Colcord to capture her to see what he could learn.[26] The two are badly burned by a bomb detonated by Colcord, before X-23 and Gambit depart for Paris.[27]

In Paris , X-23 and Gambit pursue the person in possession of the "trigger scent" that sends X-23 into a berserk rage, and the DNA of her and Daken. When Gambit discovers that X-23 still causes bodily harm to herself, he contacts Wolverine, who counsels X-23 about filling her heart with better memories. Gambit questions Wolverine about why he never treated X-23 with the same compassion as Jubilee. Wolverine admits that he did not make the right decisions with X-23, a problem he intends to rectify it for both young women.[volume & issue needed]

X-23 and Jubilee subsequently bond over their common experiences. Following her transformation into a vampire,[28] Jubliee has come to feel that the people she once considered friends are now afraid of her, a pain with which X-23 sympathizes, because she was born and raised to be a killer, and found transitioning to civility difficult. During the storyline, Jubilee assists Wolverine and Gambit in their attempts to calm X-23 during her beserker rages.[29]

"Chaos Theory"[edit]

While having a dream of a mysterious symbol, Laura wakes up in a cab with Gambit in New York. The two later meet with Cecilia Reyes, as Gambit was bleeding from his groin, and X-23 left him in Cecilia's care while she went to search Alex Cimini for information. After finding him in a lab in the University Physics Department, she leaves. Unknown to her, a bright light appeares in the lab Alex was in. While walking on the street, Laura sees the same symbol from her dream in the sky and on a man. An earthquake follows and the building near her collapses. As Laura was helping an elderly woman come down from a building, Spider-Man appears and helps bring them down. Laura and Spider-Man later see the symbol appearing in the sky at the same time, and they both realize that they have been dreaming of the same symbol. After the two help save civilians from the collapsed building, Laura and Spider-Man are approached by Reed Richards, Susan Storm and Ben Grimm.[30] The Future Foundation then bring Laura back to the Baxter Building to run some tests and discover that she is emitting the same energy signatures that were responsible for the earthquake. Later, a device shows Reed and Valeria that Laura, Spider-Man and Sue were all emitting the same energy signature. Spider-Man realises that the energy emitting from them is involved with the Uni-Power that changes beings into Captain Universe. While discussing this, Valeria activates the device and Laura, Spider-Man and Sue are transported to an alien world. There they are confronted by monstrous warriors.[31] The creatures are revealed to be the Whirldemons, creatures imprisoned by Prince Wayfinder, who eventually became the Enigma Force. During her confrontation with the Whirldemon King, Laura learns that the emblem on her hand is a mark associated with the Enigma force. She bonds with the entity a second time to repair the seal preventing the demons from escaping into the world again.[32]

"Misadventures In Babysitting"[edit]

X-23 babysits Reed and Susan's children Franklin and Valeria. She is trying to decide what direction to take in her life.[33] Valeria and Franklin Richards play with a temporal window, that unleashes a dragon. Hellion appears as all of them are transported to a space junkyard.[34] Hellion finally kisses X-23 only to be rejected by her saying that she no longer has feelings for him. Jubilee appears to tell her to come back to Utopia so that she can make a decision as to what side of the "schism" she wants to be on.[35]

X-23: Girls Night Out[edit]

X-23 is asked by Wolverine to join him. She replies by asking if there is any other choice.[36] While she thinks about what choice she will make, X-23 goes for a walk with Jubilee and asks her why she chose Cyclops' side. Jubilee tells her she chose to stay with Cyclops because, as a vampire, she can hear the heartbeat of everyone around her, and it makes her hungry and wants to eat them. X-23 tells her that she will not hurt them but Jubilee tells her that the urge is there and that she needs to fight as much she needs blood. She cannot be with Wolverine because she is afraid to violate his new philosophy: if you are a kid you do not fight, and he sees her as a kid. Jubilee tells X-23 that Logan sees her the same way, they both agree that it sucks. X-23's phone rings as the others need an answer, but they ignore it and Jubilee tells X-23 to go and have some fun and dance. X-23 explains that she cannot dance, but Jubilee tells her it does not matter because she is hot. X-23 tells her she is not hot. However, as they go, someone follows them. While Jubilee was dancing, X-23 becomes distracted by looking at someone and recognized him as the person who took over Zebra Daddy's operation. She and Jubilee attack him and his men and take the girl who was with him since she knew where the other girls were and how to free them. As they think about what to do with the girls, because they cannot just call the police, the Black Widow and some S.H.I.E.L.D. agents appear and take the girls to help them. Natasha offers X-23 to come to the Avengers Academy and she accepts. The next day she tells Logan what happened, and Wolverine tells her he is going to miss her and he is sorry he could not do better by her. She tells him she is going to miss him too, then she takes a motorcycle and drives to the Academy.[37]

Avengers Academy[edit]

Following the 2011 "Fear Itself" storyline, X-23 appears as one of the students at the new Avengers Academy.[38] The Academy sees she does not need any combat training after she fought Tigra. After she introduced herself to the other students, she explained to Mettle the difference between killing an innocent and killing to protect an innocent, telling him that he is not a psycho killer, and that they can talk more about it another time. This makes Hazmat feel jealous.[39] Finesse became friends with X-23 due to their lack of emotion.[40] Finesse also stood by X-23 when she opposed the X-Men locking their students on the Academy grounds during Avengers vs. X-Men.[41] However, their friendship took a turn for the worse when Jeremy Briggs tried to release a superhuman cure. After Briggs took out X-23 and tried to acid burn her, Finesse grabs X-23's arms and fatally stabs Briggs in the radial and femoral arteries, making him bleed to death.[42] X-23 first thought she killed him, but when she finds out it was Finesse, she was furious. X-23 agrees to keep Finesse's secret, but declares they are no longer friends, upsetting Finesse.[43]

Avengers Arena[edit]

After Avengers vs. X-Men and the conclusion of Avengers Academy, X-23 was part of the students abducted by Arcade in Avengers Arena. Arcade turns them loose for 30 days in Murderworld to fight for survival. In a flash forward, it is shown that on the penultimate day, she attacks Hazmat and is badly burned, but the results are unknown as the flash forward then ends.[44] The Academy students set up camp and face off against the Runaways when Chase is framed,[45] but X-23 is soon separated from Reptil and Hazmat when Arcade covers the group in trigger scent and Reptil evacuates Hazmat. X-23 then finds Justin and helps him strip down his Sentinel.[46] When Apex kills Justin and takes his Sentinel, X-23 goes to track them and get them back. After nearly being killed by Apex,[47] Arcade unleashes trigger scent on all of Murderworld to send X-23 in a berserker rage, at which point she injures Hazmat, as seen in the flash forward.[48] Cullen turns into a giant monster and fights X-23, defeating her and powering her down from her rage.[49] After that, X-23 continues to injure Hazmat until Anachronism steps in, angry over Nara's death and holding X-23 responsible, attacking X-23 and inadvertently saving Hazmat.[50] By this point, most of X-23's body is badly burned with radiation, and she is still in this state when the competition ends and Nico, Chase, Cammi, Deathlocket, and Anachronism call Hank Pym, Abigail Brand, Maria Hill, Captain Britain, and Wolverine to pick up the kids. X-23 is loaded onto a SHIELD helicopter and is taken away to parts unknown, ending her affiliation with the Avengers Academy.[51]

All-New X-Men[edit]

Unlike the other Arena survivors, X-23 did not join the group in infiltrating the Masters of Evil. After the events of Avengers Arena, X-23 is found by Kitty Pryde and the time-displaced original X-Men.[52] She is amnesiac and being hunted by the Purifiers.

After being found by Kitty, Laura was taken to their base to recover. When Laura wakes up, with her memories now returning, at the former Weapon X facility she immediately tries to escape. Teen Cyclops goes to talk to her, while he's gone Teen Jean mentions to the team that Teen Cyclops "fancies" Laura. As Laura makes it outside she's met by Teen Cyclops, who was waiting for her. Teen Cyclops tries to calm her down but Laura only ceases hostility after getting Teen Cyclops scent and figuring out that Teen Cyclops is who he says he is.[volume & issue needed]

The two talk, with X-23 telling him that she doesn't want to talk about her past or what happened to her. Suddenly Teen Cyclops awkwardly hugs her, when she was distracted and looking sad, because he thought she needed a hug. Laura tells him that she doesn't do hugs, especially not with an audience as Kitty, Teen Jean, and Teen Beast were watching them. Teen Jean expressed a very conflicted look upon her face due to the hug and having read part of Laura's mind, thus she knows what happened in Avengers Arena. Laura thanks them for helping her and suggests they take the fight to the Purifiers, but in order for her to track them down, they'll have to return her to where they found her.[volume & issue needed]

Upon finding the Purifier base they immediately set out to attack them. However, the fight doesn't go well and the entire team is knocked unconscious by Stryker Jr. when Teen Jean learns too late that Stryker Jr. has powers of his own.[53] X-23 is also with the All-New X-Men when Teen Jean is abducted by the Shi'ar and the X-Men team up with the Guardians of the Galaxy to save her.[54] Later, she is attacked by Raze,[55] who disguises himself as her to infiltrate Cyclops's base.[56] She subsequently begins to date the younger Angel, and meets Jimmy Hudson—the son of the Wolverine of the Ultimate Marvel universe—when the team are transferred into the Ultimate Universe by accident. She and the All-New X-Men team up again with the Guardians of the Galaxy in search of The Black Vortex, during which Angel submits himself too the Vortex and almost dies, but instead is granted golden light wings. She asks him why he endangered himself, and he tells her that he wanted to change himself so he won't turn into Archangel and that he can stay himself forever since he is in love with her.[volume & issue needed]

All-New Wolverine[edit]

X-23 as Wolverine on a variant cover of All-New Wolverine #1. Art by David López.

In June 2015, it was announced that following that year's "Secret Wars" storyline, X-23 would take on the Wolverine mantle, as the main character in the series All-New Wolverine, by writer Tom Taylor and artist David López, and wearing a costume resembling Wolverine's.[57] The series opens approximately eight months after "Secret Wars", and reveals that her healing factor is working normally again after having been drained by Siphon in the Nexus of All Realities.[58][59]

Powers and abilities[edit]

X-23 is a female clone created from Wolverine's genetic material. Consequently, her mutant powers are similar to his. Like Wolverine, X-23's primary mutant ability is an accelerated healing factor that allows her to regenerate damaged or destroyed tissues with far greater speed, efficiency, and finality than an ordinary human. Injuries such as gunshot wounds, slashes, and puncture wounds completely heal within a matter of seconds. She has also been shown to be able to reattach limbs; for example, she reattached her hand in seconds after she severed it to escape the restraints placed on her by Kimura.[60] The effects of her accelerated healing powers extend to her body's immune system, rendering her immune to disease and infection. She is also immune to most drugs and toxins, although she can be affected by certain drugs if given sufficient dosage. Given the regenerative nature of her cells, she is immortal.[volume & issue needed]

X-23's mutant healing factor heightened her physical senses, speed, agility, reflexes/reactions, coordination, balance, and endurance to superhuman levels. Like Wolverine, X-23 possesses retractable claws sheathed within her forearms. She releases the claws through the tissue of her knuckles, leaving small wounds which are healed by her healing factor. Unlike Wolverine, however, X-23 has only two claws per hand which are her primary weapons of offence. She also possesses a single, retractable claw housed within each foot which she tends to use for defence. These claws are actually made of bone and were forcefully extracted by Zander Rice, sharpened, coated with adamantium, and reinserted into her body. Also unlike Wolverine, X-23 escaped before the procedure to fuse her entire skeleton with adamantium could be performed.[60] Since the claws are laced with adamantium, they are virtually unbreakable and are capable of cutting almost any substance. The known exceptions are adamantium itself, Kimura's skin, and vibranium.[volume & issue needed]

In addition to her own innate powers and skills, X-23 has twice been the host of the Enigma Force, providing her with many special abilities particular to the entity. She is the first mutant to be chosen by the entity as its host, as well as being one of a handful of individuals to do so more than once. At the end of their second encounter, the Enigma Force named X-23 as the heir to its power.[32] This permanent association was first indicated by a mark appearing on the palm of her right hand at the conclusion of the "Killing Dream" arc of her solo series.[23]

Special skills[edit]

Born and raised in captivity, X-23 has been trained to become a living weapon. She is highly trained in the use of long range weapons and explosives and is a formidable hand-to-hand combatant, with intensive training in numerous armed and unarmed martial arts techniques. She has also been subjected to conditioning in which a specific "trigger scent" has been used to send her into a berserker rage, killing anything in sight; Emma Frost is unsure if this will ever be fully suppressed. She is also highly educated and so far has displayed fluency in French and Japanese, while Zander Rice once described her intellect as being "off the charts".

Personality[edit]

X-23 is very taciturn, rarely uttering more than one sentence or two at a time. Because she grew up in a controlled environment, she speaks using perfect grammar, rarely using slang. She also engages in self-injury, cutting herself with her own claws; this is something she has done since a very young age.[6][61][62] X-23 is a highly trained and skilled combatant; she is able to kill dozens of heavily armed opponents during a single encounter.[volume & issue needed]

X-23's mother, Dr. Sarah Kinney, did her best to ensure the child retained some semblance of humanity. X-23 rarely spoke, or expressed much interest in her mother who was forced to reject any emotional advance the girl might make, such as laying her head in her mother's lap, because of the Facility. Despite the upbringing X-23 received, she has always shown signs of humanity. In one particular mission when X-23 was assigned to assassinate Martin Sutter and his family, she killed Sutter and his wife without hesitation, but she spared their young son, Henry.[6]

X-23 seemed to have taken up a better disposition since joining the New X-Men.[63] She became a student at the Xavier Institute, found friends in Dust and Mercury, and developed apparent romantic feelings towards Hellion. Being a central part of a team helped her adjust to the world. However, she still retains the cold, no-nonsense attitude evident in the "Mercury Falling" storyline which, along with the "Children of X-Men" storyline, depict Laura as having trouble comprehending and expressing the many new emotions she has been experiencing for the very first time.

When Blackheart forces her to face her fears embodied in a single, perfect "adversary", her fears take the form of "X-666", a stereotypical cheerleader with murderous intentions. X-666 then explained how she was meant to be the thing lacking to Laura to be truly human: while every human is "nuanced", possessing a dark side and an inner self rarely shown to others, Laura's upbringing left her utterly bidimensional, driven and apparently lacking any other personality trait beyond the ones she's already showing, unable to grow further as person.[64]

Relationships[edit]

Wolverine[edit]

Being cloned from Wolverine's DNA, Logan is the closest thing Laura has to a father. The pair talk and interact with each other in ways that are consistent with a father-daughter relationship (even though in New X-Men, Logan introduced her to the students as his sister). Logan acts protective towards Laura and seems to have her well-being at heart, such as when he openly voiced his disapproval of Cyclops putting her on X-Force; he, however, did not force her to leave, though he told Gambit that he thinks he should have. When the pair first meet, Logan offers to help her start over at the Xavier Institute and says that he knows better than anyone what she is going through. In the X-23 solo series Logan makes plans to adopt Laura as his daughter. Despite some bumps here and there the two have a strong familial relationship with one another. After Logan's death, Laura officially adopts his code-name of 'Wolverine' to honor his memory.

Sarah Kinney[edit]

Sarah was the first one to show X-23 any sort of affection in spite of her orders from the Facility to not treat her like a child. Sarah would frequently read her Pinocchio as a child and showed concern when she noticed the cuts Laura inflicted on herself. It took Laura sparing the life of Henry Sutter for Sarah to realize that she was just as guilty of using Laura as the rest of the Facility was. Deciding to make things right, Sarah hatched a plan to escape with Laura, destroy the Facility's work, and start over with her. However, thanks to Zander Rice lacing the trigger scent on her, Sarah was killed by Laura. With her dying breaths, Sarah tells X-23 her name is Laura. Sarah's final thoughts were left in a letter to Laura detailing her guilt, that she was Laura's mother, and the realization that she had come to love her. Sarah's death remains to this day the life that Laura regrets taking the most.

Megan Kinney[edit]

Laura's cousin on her mother's side. After escaping from the Facility Laura moved in with Sarah's sister Debbie and her daughter Megan. For a time the two connected and Megan even admitted to Laura being her best friend. However, when Facility agents came to take Laura back, Laura helped them escape and make new identities so that they could hide. Laura and Megan then went their separate ways and have not heard from each other since, though Megan remains one of the people closest to Laura's heart. In the 18th issue of All-new Wolverine, after killing Kimura by drowning her, Laura finds Megan's hideout and says they (Megan and Debbie) don't have to hide anymore.

Kiden Nixon[edit]

A homeless mutant from New York City. Laura and Kiden met each other when Laura was a prostitute under the pimp Zebra Daddy. Kiden helped Laura to escape from her life as a prostitute and quickly befriended her though at this point Laura had difficulty speaking. Laura recounts in the X-23 One Shot, that Kiden and her friends did not know or care that she was a weapon. To them, Laura was their friend and part of their gang. Laura parts ways with them at the end of the one shot, returning with Wolverine. They leave on good terms, and Kiden says that Laura will always have a place with them.

Hellion[edit]

The first boy that Laura formed a crush on. At first Hellion was hostile towards her, but during the Mercury Rising arc the two grew closer. Mercury managed to pick up on Laura's feelings towards him though she did not get Laura to admit to it. Over time Hellion/Julian began to feel the same way, though their relationship never managed to get much further. When Julian lost his hands during Second Coming, Laura stayed by him, watching him recover. After the Misadventures in Babysitting arc Laura ended things between her and Julian saying that she no longer felt the same way towards him. Laura and Hellion's relationship can be seen as reminiscent of the relationship between Wolverine and Jean Grey.

Gambit[edit]

Gambit traveled with Laura during the X-23 solo series. The two became friends and looked out for one another as Gambit helped her to cope with the changes in her life as well as giving her helpful life advice. He affectionately referred to her as "Petite" and even managed to get her to calm down from a trigger scent-induced rage. Gambit scolded Logan for not protecting Laura the way he protected Jubilee, to which Logan admitted to his failings as Laura's father. Gambit also went on to remark that Laura, while damaged, was far from being broken, contrary to everyone's perceptions of her. If Laura was truly broken she would not be trying to change. Logan later on thanked Gambit for succeeding with Laura where he failed. When Laura left to join to the Avengers Academy, she and Gambit shared a goodbye hug and he told her wherever she went she was not alone.

Jubilee[edit]

During the Touching Darkness arc of the X-23 series, Gambit had Wolverine come by to help Laura. Logan had brought Jubilee with him and Laura attacked her on sight due to her being a vampire. Though after getting some space between the two girls things managed to calm down. Laura had some jealousy towards Jubilee from the X-23 one shot as Logan treated her more like a daughter than he did her. Laura tried to bait Jubilee into killing her by slicing her neck open and counting on her bloodlust, though Jubilee managed to stop herself after witnessing one of Laura's memories. After talking things out, the two realized how much alike they were and became friends.

Daken[edit]

Logan/Wolverine's son and the closest thing Laura has to a brother. Daken is to X-23 what Sabretooth is to Wolverine, her opposite. Even though Laura admits that she and Daken are related by blood, the two are not family. Laura had fought with Daken when the Dark Avengers under Norman Osborn invaded Utopia. They did not truly meet until Laura and Gambit came to Madripoor looking to track down Malcolm Colcord. At first Daken does not believe that she is a clone of his father, until Laura reveals her claws. Daken berates her for coming to Madripoor and remarks that they are nothing alike. The two square off until Daken decides to offer his assistance, which Laura rejects. When Daken confronts Colcord about his plans to restart Weapon X, he reveals his subterfuge at leading X-23 and Gambit to Colcord, though this turns out be a ruse as well, as he incapacitates Gambit and helps Colcord capture Laura. Daken learns about Laura's past from Colcord and assists in her escape from her cell. He remarks that Laura is a construct, to which Laura retorts that he is just like her: Just like the Facility made Laura into a weapon, so did Romulus do to Daken, to which he responds that he owns his own fate. The two then enter a brief mutual alliance to destroy Colcord's new project. Before they part ways, Daken asks Laura why she does not seek power when she could easily have it. Laura remarks that what she has to prove has nothing to do with power, and then asks Daken why he seeks more power when he already has it. Daken remarks that power is all he has. Laura's encounter with Daken makes her realize that she owns her fate and can do with it what she wants. Daken does not seem to have the same hate towards Laura that he does with Logan, and by the time of later series such as Wolverines, he even begins to demonstrate affection towards her.

Angel[edit]

Prior to the Secret Wars storyline, Laura began a relationship with the time-displaced teenaged Warren Worthington III, which persisted after she took on the Wolverine codename. However, Warren clashed with her several times about her increasing recklessness. Following a brutal beating she received from Blob, he decided to end the relationship to make a point about the unnecessary risks she was taking. The two, however, reconciled after having come to understand each other's feelings.[65]

Psylocke[edit]

Laura and Psylocke became quite friendly with each other on their first meeting in Uncanny X-Men #456, shortly after Psylocke came back to life. Both girls seemed to share an enjoyment in fighting. In one instance, Laura was knocked out while Psylocke continued, upon awakening Laura saw all the enemies had disappeared and when she asked Psylocke what happened, Betsy joked that she ate them, to which Laura replied it was cool. Another shared moment was when Betsy and Laura discussed her coming back to life, which Laura didn't see as unique since she herself had died repeatedly when she was experimented on to test her healing factor, but she always "got better".[66] When Psylocke asked how that made her feel, Laura smiled and said she killed them, and they didn't get better. Betsy then smiled and wrapped her arm around Laura's shoulder, saying she had some very definite possibilities. There have also been images of Laura imitating Betsy, including braiding her hair and mimicking her poses.[67]

Other versions[edit]

X-Men: The End[edit]

In the future presented in the X-Men: The End series of books, X-23 is an adult, and a prominent member of the X-Men and the X-Treme Sanctions Executive (XSE) X-23, M, and Iceman are sent to Hong Kong to locate and capture the renegade XSE member, Sage. However, Sage uses her considerable espionage skills to ambush X-23, attaching a mysterious collar to her neck that temporarily overwhelms X-23. Sage removes the collar and attempts to flee just as Iceman arrives and freezes her in ice, allowing the group to safely take her into custody.

X-23, Marvel Girl, M, and Wolverine are sent by Cyclops to locate the whereabouts of Mister Sinister, Gambit, and the missing Summers and LeBeau children. The group finds Sinister's hidden base but are immediately immobilized by an attack from the Ladies Mastermind. The team members live out fantasy existences until Wolverine breaks them free of the mind control. Charging deeper into the base, the group fights against Sinister's Marauders to save the children. Later, X-23 and the X-Men travel to Shi'ar space, and a massive battle ensues. She is one of the very few X-Men who survive and is seen attending to Kitty Pryde's speech at the end of the story (see X-Men: The End). Strangely, she not only appears to have an adamantium skeleton, but her muscle tissue appear robotic or techno-organic.

In this reality, it is shown that she is in love with Fantomex, and it is revealed during an illusion caused by the Ladies Mastermind that her dream is for them to be married as a normal suburban couple with a daughter.[68]

"Age of Apocalypse"[edit]

A version of X-23 is revealed to exist in the alternate timeline of 2005 miniseries X-Men: Age of Apocalypse, who goes by the name Kirika.[69] She was found in one of Mister Sinister's labs after it was liberated by Magneto. At the end of the miniseries, it was revealed that she was the daughter of Weapon X (Wolverine) and Mariko Yashida.[70] Unlike her Earth-616 counterpart, she has three claws on her hands, having been grafted on by Magneto at her request.[71] She is killed during the events of "The Dark Angel Saga" by the now-crazed AoA version of Wolverine, as her team and X-Force from Earth-616 try to free Gateway.[72]

Marvel Team-Up: League of Losers[edit]

X-23 features in an arc of Robert Kirkman's Marvel Team-Up (vol. 3), featuring a group of C-list heroes dubbed "The League of Losers". A group of heroes including X-23, Darkhawk, Dagger, Araña, Gravity, Sleepwalker, Speedball, and Terror (although Araña dies along the way) go to the future to prevent the villain Chronok from stealing Reed Richards' time machine; Chronok came to the present after already having killed all of Marvel's major heroes.[73] It is revealed Chronok is from the same time period as Kirkman's Mutant 2099; the group stays with him and his mentor Reed Richards to wait for Chronok, and during this time X-23 sparks a relationship with Gravity. They defeat Chronok, but at the end of the story, Richards reveals they cannot go back to their present, due to time travel and alternate timelines. The group decides to stay in the future, satisfied with the impact they made, however unnoticed. Mutant 2099 suggests reforming the Avengers or the "Fantastic Nine". Due to the Marvel Universe's method for resolving time travel paradoxes, this story occurred in an alternate universe.[74]

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

Promo shot for the "X-23" episode of X-Men: Evolution
  • X-23 first appears in X-Men: Evolution episode 41, "X-23". She is voiced by Andrea Libman in "X23" and by Britt Irvin in "Target X".
  • X-23 appears in the Season 1 episode "Stolen Lives" of Wolverine and the X-Men, in which she is depicted as mute, and haboring a desire to fight Wolverine. She later appears in Episodes 25-26 in the future as one of four cloneds who assist Wolverine and Professor X against the Sentinels. Wolverine apparently found them frozen in a Weapon X facility. She is voiced by Tara Strong.
  • X-23 is briefly mentioned in The Super Hero Squad Show episode "Double Negation at the World's End!". She later made a non-speaking appearance in the episode "Too Many Wolverines!".

Film[edit]

Main article: X-Men (film series)
  • Laura / X-23 makes her first on-screen appearance portrayed by Dafne Keen in the tenth entry of the franchise, Logan, directed by James Mangold.[75] In February 2017, producer Simon Kinberg stated that the post-credits scene of X-Men: Apocalypse, in which Essex Corporation acquires Logan / Wolverine's blood, correlates with how Transigen eventually acquires his DNA and begins creating clones for use as weapons.[76]
  • Mangold has stated that he would like to see X-23 appear in future X-Men films, and that he would like to be involved in one way or another, should that happen. Kinberg has also stated that the studio's plans for future movies do, in fact, include X-23.[77]
  • In the direct-to-video animated film Hulk vs. Wolverine, X-23 appears as an infant in a cameo appearance among hundreds of clones in the Weapon X research facility.

Video games[edit]

  • X-23 appears in the Game Boy Advance version of X-Men: The Official Game as a boss. She appears in the Alkali Lake facility and runs into the X-Men in the same room in which Wolverine and Lady Deathstrike dueled in the feature film X2. This version of X-23 has no memory of her past and is there trying to remember who she is. She mistakes the X-Men's intentions of trying to help as trying to kidnap her. After she is defeated, Wolverine declares that X-23 will be fine on her own, and they part ways friendly. It is unknown if this version of X-23 has just her claws imbued with adamantium, or changed to have her entire skeleton laced, similar to Lady Deathstrike.
  • X-23 appears in Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds[78] and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 as a playable character. Tara Strong reprises her role as the voiceover for her character in these games.[79][80]
  • X-23 appears as an unlockable character in Marvel: Avengers Alliance.
  • Several X-23 cards are featured in Marvel: War of Heroes, a trading card RPG for mobile devices. The "X-23" and "[Cloned Eliminator] X-23" cards incorrectly place her in the villain faction, but the newer "[Weapon] X-23" correctly classifies her as a super hero.
  • X-23 makes a minor appearance in the artwork of Wolverine's table in Marvel Pinball.
  • X-23 appears in Marvel Heroes,[81] voiced by Tara Strong.[82]
  • X-23 is a playable character in Marvel Contest of Champions in her "All-New Wolverine" costume.[83]

Collected editions[edit]

Title Material collected Pages Publication Date ISBN
NYX: Wannabe NYX #1-7 208 July 2011 Paperback: 978-0785157403
NYX: The Complete Collection NYX #1-7 & NYX: NO WAY HOME #1-6 392 July 2016 Paperback: 978-0785195986
NYX X-23: Innocence Lost NYX #1-7 and X-23 Vol. 1, #1-6 352 November 2005 Paperback: 978-0785118251
Mighty Marvel: Women of Marvel X-23 and the unrelated Firestar, Lady Deadpool, Namora, Valkyrie, Rescue, Sif, Spitfire, Galacta, Women of Marvel #1-2 352 February 2011 Paperback: 978-0785149538
X-23: Innocence Lost X-23 Vol. 1 #1-6 144 April 2006 Paperback: 978-0785115021
X-23: Target X X-23: Target X #1-6 160 August 2007 Paperback: 978-0785119715
X-23 Vol. 1: The Killing Dream X-23 vol. 2 #1-6 and material from All-New Wolverine Saga 152 November 2011 Paperback: 978-0785147084
Daken/X-23: Collision Daken: Dark Wolverine #5-9, X-23 (Vol. 2) #7-9 And Material From Wolverine: Road To Hell. 200 February 2012 Paperback: 978-0785147084
X-23 Vol. 2: Chaos Theory X-23 vol. 2 #10-16 152 July 25, 2012 Paperback: 978-0785147985
X-23 Vol. 3: Don't Look Back X-23 vol. 2 #17-21 112 December 2012 Paperback: 978-0785152828

All-New, All-Different

Title Material collected Pages Publication Date ISBN
All-New Wolverine, Vol. 1: The Four Sisters All-New Wolverine (vol. 1) #1–6 144 May 24, 2016 Paperback: 978-0785196525

Complete Collections

Title Material collected Pages Publication Date ISBN
X-23: The Complete Collection Vol. 1 X-23 (2005) 1-6, X-23: Target X 1-6, Captain Universe/X-23 # 1, X-23 1, X-23 (2010) 1-3 456 August 2016 Paperback: 978-1302901165
X-23: The Complete Collection Vol. 2 X-23 (2010) 4-21, Daken: Dark Wolverine 8-9; Material From Wolverine: The Road To Hell #1, All-New Wolverine Saga #1 472 December 2016 Paperback: 978-1302901172

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External links[edit]