Comic Book / X-23

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Thenote  best at what she does.

All I know is, while I'm wearing this, he isn't gone. And neither am I. I'm Laura Kinney. I'm X-23. And I'm Wolverine.
X-23, on taking up the Wolverine name.

Laura Kinney, AKA X-23, is a character owned by Marvel Comics, and created by Craig Kyle and his writing partner Christopher Yost. The character first appeared in two episodes of X-Men: Evolution in 2003 as an alternative to giving Logan more focus or using other Marvel heroes, X-23 quickly became an Ensemble Darkhorse and was written into the comics the following year. She made her comics debut with NYX #3 (February, 2004), featuring a similar background to her Evolution counterpart except even Darker and Edgier.

X-23 was created by the Weapon X offshoot known as the Facility,note  using a damaged sample of Wolverine's DNA. The damage was greatest on the Y chromosome, so Dr. Deborah Risman in Evolution, and the similar Dr. Sarah Kinney in the comics, eventually had the brilliant idea to create a female copy instead by duplicating the X chromosome. At last the 23rd attempt to clone Weapon X was successful, thus X-23. Sarah Kinney notes X-23 is technically a genetic twin rather than a true clone, more accurately making her Logan's sister. He later introduces her to her classmates at Xavier's this way, although they share more of a father-daughter relationship.

She grew up being trained to be an Assassin, so that the Facility could sell her talents to the highest bidder. X endured severe emotional and physical abuse in order to remove such weaknesses as emotion and self worth. Her creator, the one scientist who treated her like a child, tried to free her, but X-23 had been conditioned with a special "trigger scent" that would forcefully throw her into a Berserker Rage, forcing X to kill her. In her dying words, Dr. Kinney named her Laura.note 

After tracking down Logan she was invited to join the X-Men, and has been a mainstay in the X-Men books ever since. X-23 became a Breakout Character after her introduction, and is perhaps the most successful and popular X-Man introduced during the 2000s.

Notable Comics Appearances

Appearances In Other Media


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    Character Tropes 

The following tropes apply to X-23 as a character

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Same as Logan.
  • Abusive Parents: Depending on your definition of "parents." Zander Rice was one of the lead scientists involved with her creation and training, and the abuse he subjected Laura to was outright horrific. Sarah Kinney, her biological mother, (surrogate womb and some genetic material) was ordered by the Facility to deny her an emotional connection, so was forced to shun her when Laura reached out to her. To her credit Sarah defied those orders whenever she was able, but this still led to much of her emotional damage. Then there's her handler, Kimura, who abused Laura as badly, if not worse, than Rice. It really says something when as poor of a father as Logan can be (which he even outright admits), he's still one of the better parental figures Laura's had.
  • The Ace: Laura is miles ahead of her peers when she first comes to the school, having been trained as a Living Weapon and spent years as an assassin-for-hire. Notably, when Nimrod gauges the kids for threat assessment, he ascribes Laura the highest threat level out of the entire team.
  • Adorkable: She... has her moments, particularly in situations where her poor social skills or difficulties understanding her feelings come into play and are Played for Laughs. Such as her embarrassed grin when Angel reminds her not to use her claws during a brawl in a club, or asking what he likes about her.
  • Affirmative Action Legacy: When Laura takes up the Wolverine codename after the conclusion of Secret Wars, a woman taking up the mantle of a man.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: She's pretty, with long, dark hair, and comes off as aloof and distant.
  • Alternate Universe: Like most Marvel Universe characters, she has several:
    • Because she was originally introduced in X-Men: Evolution, her best known incarnation from the main Marvel Universe is actually the alternate.
    • League of Losers: A villain from the future uses historical data to kill all the well known heroes in the world. Only a handful of heroes who weren't in the historical records (making them "losers") survive. X-23 was one of those heroes.
    • X-Men: The End: A near future version of the character. Strangely, she not only appears to have an adamantium skeleton, but her muscle tissue appear robotic or techno-organic.
    • Artume-ruled reality: In a temporary alternate reality created by Amazon Queen Artume where women rule the world, X-23 is known as Wolverine, and is one of the main members of the Avengers.
    • Age of Apocalypse: The daughter of Logan and Mariko Yashida who goes by the name Kirika is found in Mr. Sinister's lab in a container labeled "X-23".
    • All-New Wolverine #9 reveals there was a version of X-23 raised by the Wolverine who eventually became Old Man Logan.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: Cassandra Cain/Batgirl 2000. Everything from their backgrounds (raised to be an assassin), lack of social skills, and relationships with their respective father figures/mentors are quite similar.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Although in the comics X-23 is unambiguously (and canonically) Caucasian with some occasional Depending on the Artist, in Evolution she's much darker-complected, with features that have been interpreted as anything from Latina to First Nations. Word of God states that her features were based on those of the girl who modeled for the reference shoot as a thank you.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: After taking up the Wolverine name for herself. However while she does have as vicious a temper, she's much more in control of it than Logan was. Her cooler head doesn't make her any less fierce or determined a fighter, though.
  • Arch-Enemy: Kimura, her former handler and the one who dealt her abuse from an early age. Kimura has Density Control, giving her immunity to X-23's adamantium claws since she can make her skin denser then the metal itself.
  • Armed Legs: While Logan has three claws in each hand, Laura has only two. The third claw is instead located in each of her feet, making her kicks potentially lethal. Her fighting style thus incorporates Combat Parkour in order to bring the foot claws into play. She's also known to not use them and rely more on the claws in her hands. This allows her to bring them out to get the drop on an opponent who assumes she shares Wolverine's claw arrangement (as Task Master and Black Mamba discovered to their regret).
  • Artificial Human: Laura is an engineered clone created by duplicating Logan's X chromosome due to damage to the Y making a direct clone impossible. This makes her the parthenogenetic offspring of Logan's mother.
  • The Atoner: Downplayed, but much of what Laura does is out of a desire to do be a better person after all of the horrible things the Facility made her do. She once notably asked Ghostrider to use his Penance Stare on her because she believed she deserved punishment.
  • Audible Sharpness: Her claws make the same snikt sound as Wolverine's.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Combined with Sherlock Scan below: Whenever Laura walks into a room, her brain immediately calculates the best means of killing everyone inside it.
  • Badass Adorable: Especially as a little girl. As a teenager she's a highly-skilled fighter, and one of the most lethal assassins in all of Marvel. Notably, Nimrod identifies her as a severe threat, and yet she can really work the Puppy-Dog Eyes.
  • Badass Bookworm: Not the same degree as some, but Laura is incredibly gifted intellectually and received an extensive (albeit narrow) education during her training. Her intellect (at least for a seven year-old) is described by Rice in Innocence Lost as being "off the charts." Her official power rating at Marvel places her firmly in "Genius" category.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Frequently, both in place of and in addition to Of Corsets Sexy.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Despite being a clone of the famously unattractive Logan it's clear from dialog and her character design that Laura is intended to be a very attractive young woman. And then over the course of her history, she's taken a good deal of punishment, but the only permanent mark on her body is the emblem associated with Captain Universe on the palm of her right hand. Justified, since she has a Healing Factor.
  • Beneath the Mask: Outwardly, Laura is The Stoic bordering on an outright Emotionless Girl, and many characters (even people who are ostensibly her friends) treat her like she's nothing but a cold, unfeeling killing machine. Underneath her cold facade, however, she's a confused and suicidally depressed jumble of loneliness, heartbreak, and rage. Her detached persona is there entirely because she doesn't know how to handle what she feels, and to protect others from her anger.
  • Berserk Button: A few:
    • Don't hurt Logan (as Bishop learned during a training exercise), Julian (as Lady Deathstrike learned), or pretty much anyone she likes (as Kimura learned). Attacking anyone she's actively protecting is also guaranteed to end with her using all her considerable training towards making your life miserable (as Taskmaster learned).
    • Because of her experiences as an abused prostitute she's developed into something of a Wife-Basher Basher. She first came to the X-Men's attention when she killed a few pimps and Wolverine was accidentally implicated in Uncanny X-Men. During her own solo one-shot, Laura unceremoniously beheaded another pimp she caught smacking a girl around. She killed another man after he murdered a girl she believed was a prostitute sent to try recruiting her (she wasn't, and it turned out the truth was a lot worse). See Rage Breaking Point below.
    • In Evolution, she gets very pissed if someone calls her a child or a kid, as it reminds her of the childhood she didn't have.
    • The "Trigger Scent" is a very literal but olfactory version of this. It's also a more traditional button, as she really doesn't like what it does to her.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Demonstrates this with her cousin Megan, even though Megan is established as older.
  • Blessed with Suck:
    • Her extensive training has given her Sherlock Scan and Awesomeness by Analysis that allows her to immediately size up a threat upon entering a room, planning multiple plans of attack, and choosing the best course of action. This is certainly useful when walking into a Bad-Guy Bar or other hostile situation. Less so when she's around her friends, because she can't turn it off.
    • She also has pretty much every Blessed with Suck trait as Wolverine: Her heightened senses mean she's enduring a constant barrage of sensory overload in a crowded room, and because of her Healing Factor, every time she extends her claws it tears up her skin again. Laura's not bothered as severely by the adamantium since it only covers her claws, but she does note in her solo series it still makes swimming a bit harder than it would be otherwise. Also, even though her claws are laced with adamantium, the bones of her hands and feet are not reinforced, meaning the vibration of striking something with her claws with sufficient force could conceivably shatter the bones in her hands, wrists, ankles and feet. Ouch.
    • Even though she heals much faster than Wolverine, she can be hurt in ways far worse than he can since this is because she lacks the adamantium on her bones.
    • The Trigger Scent is its own bit of this, as well: She's already a highly-trained and deadly fighter, and the Trigger Scent turns her into a virtually unstoppable ball of whirling, adamantium-bladed death that will not stop until everything in reach is dead. Unfortunately, that means everything: The trigger sends Laura into an Unstoppable Rage in which she is incapable of distinguishing friend from foe. And yes, this has led to her hurting people she cared about.
  • Body Horror: Her claws were forcibly removed from her body without any attempt at anesthesia so they could be coated in adamantium. Because only her claws have been bonded she's also been horribly mangled in the past. Including getting hit by a train.
  • Breakout Character: She was arguably the main character of New X-Men, has had a number of miniseries and now an ongoing series, and is now almost always included in Team images.
  • Broken Ace: Although miles ahead of her peers in terms of her maturity, skills, and experience, Laura is a very broken, damaged and withdrawn girl prone to bouts of severe (if not suicidal) depression. Her preparedness to sacrifice herself for others without hesitation stems from a poor sense of self-worth, and she habitually cuts herself when severely stressed or upset because she doesn't know how to deal with her feelings (such as her jealousy when she sees Surge kiss Hellion).
  • Broken Bird: Laura has endured horrible amounts of abuse and suffering in her life, and a major recurring theme is her efforts to recover from the emotional damage done to her.
  • Brutal Honesty: She's Innocently Insensitive and has difficulties with lying, even to spare others' feelings.
  • Cain and Abel:
    • The Abel to Daken's Cain.
    • Also to Raze, the time-traveling shape-shifter son of Logan and Mystique.
  • Cannot Tell a Lie: Laura is very well-known for her Brutal Honesty and being Innocently Insensitive. Because she was created as a Living Weapon covert operative and assassin, she certainly has the capability to lie in order to maintain her cover on missions, but outside of this context she consistently shows an inability to do so.
  • Canon Immigrant: Originally created for X-Men: Evolution, but found her way into the comics universe in NYX.
  • The Cape: Although willing and able to kill if she has to, Laura has increasingly leaned in this direction, resorting to lethal force only as a last resort. She also possesses a strong willingness to sacrifice herself for others, and a growing sense of idealism leaving her desperately hoping for something better to aspire to.
  • The Comically Serious: She rarely smiles, has never been shown truly laughing, and her sense of humor is very subdued, generally black, and trends towards the Deadpan Snarker (emphasis on "deadpan"). Much humor is derived at her expense as she reacts to the insanity that surrounds the X-Men with complete, stoic seriousness. She even views a potential racquetball game with the same intensity as she would wading into combat.
  • The Chosen One: She shares a connection to the Enigma Force, and has even been designated the chosen heir to its power.
  • Civvie Spandex: Although Laura has had a few more traditional costumes (a variation of Wolverine's Shi'ar "wild" suit, her New X-Men, X-Force, and All-New X-Men uniforms, and now the Wolverine costume), she's spent almost as much time in civvies as she has in an actual costume: She was introduced in a Stripperific coat, corset/tank top, miniskirt, and fishnets ensemble (justified as she was a prostitute at the time), she actually spent more time in New X-Men wearing Painted-On Pants and a sports bra than in her actual uniform, wore a similar outfit for the duration of Avengers Academy, and only wore her then-current X-Force uniform twice during the Liu series.
  • Clones Are People, Too: It tends to vary depending on her self-esteem. When she first appeared she thought very little of herself, and for a time she viewed herself as expendable in part because she was a clone. However after Character Development greatly improved her sense of self worth, she's now come to believe that clones are just as "real" as normal people. However it's quite common for people seeking to put her down to call her "clone" as an insult, and much of the torture inflicted on her by the Facility was because Rice did not differentiate her from Wolverine.
  • Cloning Blues: Zig-Zagged. Because Laura actually had to be implanted in a womb, carried to term, and raised from birth, she's a bit more realistic than the typical comic book clone and generally averts the "Am I Real?" angst most are subject to. Hellverine was able to get under her skin by telling her that as a clone she doesn't have a soul, and Blackheart once managed to distract her by telling her he can confirm whether or not she does. She even asked Ghost Rider to use his Penance Stare on her just to find out for sure.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Laura's entire life at the Facility. Training from Hell, her claws surgically removed one by one without anesthesia, punished severely even when she completes missions successfully, constant physical and emotional abuse. Target X reveals that even her conditioning to the trigger scent involved outright torture when Laura is shown being electrocuted and nearly drowned.
  • Combat Parkour: Unlike her genetic father, Wolverine, X-23's fighting style is much more acrobatic and in many of her fight scenes she can be seen using flips and handstands to bring her foot claws into play, and because her body is much less durable since only her claws are bonded with adamantium.
  • Comfort Food: Played with subtly. Laura has shown a fondness for spicy foods in her own series after being raised in the Facility with no choice but the nutritionist's bland fare for her. Played with in that she eats things she didn't get to have; eating more familiar things would probably bring back bad memories.
  • Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: As noted on the trope page, a non-film example that's played with. It's initially inverted since Laura wasn't given a real name until she was thirteen years old, when Sarah names her as she's dying. Until then she was either referred to by her Facility codename, X-23, or various insults (particularly Rice calling her "animal") to dehumanize her. It later gets played straight, as her official codename with the X-Men, Talon, is almost never used or referenced at all. Most of her friends, loved ones and teammates just call her Laura, and occasionally they'll use "X" as a sort of nickname. She's addressed much less frequently as "X-23" in-universe (usually by people such as Kimura who intentionally use it to dehumanize her), though it is the name she's usually marketed under. She doesn't begin using a codename with regularity until she takes up the Wolverine mantle.
  • Cool Big Sis: Was one to her cousin Megan, (even though the timeline in Innocence Lost suggests Megan is actually somewhat older) and now Gabby. Jubilee is one to her.
  • The Cowl: Started out as this, especially during her tenure in the New X-Men. Part of her Character Development is her transformation from this into The Cape.
  • Creepy Child: Laura's icy stoicism makes her off-putting to almost everyone she meets.
  • Cute Bruiser: Laura's ability to heal makes her very tough to kill, and she may be an even more dangerous fighter than Logan. She's also a very attractive young girl with a fondness for corsets and Stripperific outfits.
  • Dark Action Girl: Basically what the Facility turned her into. She usually dresses in dark colors, is often emotionally standoffish, and is willing to kill and torture to achieve her goals, even after joining the X-Men and attempting to turn her life around. However it's been increasingly downplayed over time, and while she's still able to kill if she has to, thanks to Character Development it's more and more her last resort. By the beginning of All-New Wolverine she's verging on outright becoming The Cape.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Hoo boy. Tortured, abused, trained from childhood to be a living weapon, treated as if she weren't even human by those who created her, forced to kill the only two people who showed her kindness and compassion during her training (one of whom was her mother), and gave up her only other family to protect them from Kimura after she finally escaped. And this isn't even getting into her time as a Street Walker. And unlike Logan for most of his history, she remembers every moment.
  • Darker and Edgier: As badly as X-23 suffered in Evolution, her better-known comics version endured even worse. To the point that when she made her bow in the comics, it was as a virtually mute and catatonic child prostitute.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Gradually evolves into this. note  In particular, she reassures Jubilee that being a vampire does not automatically make her a predatory monster.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Laura's Brutal Honesty often manifests as this. As her social skills have improved she's developed a distinctly dry sense of humor.
  • Death Seeker: Downplayed in recent years, but much more evident in her past, when she was willing to sacrifice herself for others without hesitation, and took many actions that were potentially suicidal.
  • Defusing The Tykebomb/I Am Not a Gun: She is struggling to find an identity other than "living weapon," and strongly dislikes being used in that manner. This makes the trigger scent particularly upsetting for her, because it allows someone to make her kill against her will.
  • Deliberate Injury Gambit: Being a very strategic fighter, Laura is not above taking advantage of her Healing Factor if she can turn it to her advantage.
  • Depending on the Artist:
    • She's sometimes drawn with dark skin like her original design in Evolution.
    • Although she's canonically only modestly to a bit above averagely endowed, Paco Medina and Humberto Ramos gave her a positively massive rack during New X-Men. See exhibit DD.
    • Her height also tends to vary between short to average, not helped by the fact she's often drawn shorter than Logan, whose height has also varied significantly from artist to artist. Her official height is listed as 5'1".
    • Though Laura is canonically Caucasian in the main universe, some artists draw her in a way that she almost appears Asian or even Latina.
    • Occasionally, covers will draw her slightly beefy and resemble a slightly older version of her Evolution design, only for the story to use her more common skinny goth look.
    • Although her eyes are canonically green, they've also been colored brown or blue in different books.
  • Depending on the Writer:
    • In the X-Books, Laura is established as having a Healing Factor superior to Wolverine's (see below). However, once she gets to Avengers Academy, Hank Pym warns Hazmat that "her healing factor isn't as strong as Wolverine's". The writer later admitted to the mistake on his part in the letters pages.
    • Her speech patterns are generally accepted to be more formal and laconic than her peers, and tends not to use slang. However the degree tends to vary between writers from outright Spock Speak (Liu) to more naturalistic but still proper (Kyle and Yost), with some signs that her dialogue has become much more relaxed to coincide with her Character Development (Taylor). However some writers dispense with this altogether and write her as they would any teen character (Bendis).
    • Although canonically a Genius Bruiser who carefully analyzes a situation before acting with the most effective strategy (and she can do it quickly, at that), it's not uncommon for some writers to forget the "Genius" part and just throw her right at a threat in a brute-force frontal assault.
  • The Determinator: Laura is incredibly stubborn, a trait Logan wryly notes she gets from him, and she will keep coming no matter how badly she's hurt.
  • Distaff Counterpart: To Wolverine and Daken. The writers explicitly designed her with the question in mind: "If Wolverine were the male of the species, what would the female be like?" They decided that she would be leaner so she could chase prey like a lioness and would have two claws on her hands and one on each foot so that she could climb trees and puncture the gut of any predators who managed to tackle her.
  • Due to the Dead: After Logan's death she does this twice: First by dyeing her forelocks gold and blue, his most iconic colors, as a tribute. Later, this is one of the reasons why she took up the Wolverine name herself.
  • Emotionless Girl: Through multiple traumatic events in her backstory, Laura learned to never trust or emotionally connect with anyone. This makes her an outcast among her fellow teenagers, and even most of the teachers perceive her as a heartless killer who is unable to think as a human or desire anything. But her character development (and eventual journey to find herself) ultimately subverts this trope; she gradually becomes accustomed to emotion, and bonds with other abuse victims who understand why she prefers solitude. It's further implied that one of the reasons she represses her emotions is because she does not know how to handle them or the memories of her past; when she does completely abandon her stoic exterior, we see either suicidal depression or psychotic rage. Ironically, the emotionally detached state that others scorn her for is in place for their own safety.
  • Empty Shell: The Facility deprived her of emotional connections and subjected her to horrific physical and emotional abuse to strip her of her humanity, and it's been noted several times that she had so little sense of self during her captivity and days as a prostitute that she truly didn't realize the things done to her were even wrong.
  • Evil Counterpart: Daken, in a way. Both are genetic children of Logan, both tend to only use two of their claws and save the third for special attacks, both have messed up pasts. They have a mutual respect for each other, partly because they are so alike.
  • Extreme Doormat: Despite being a highly-trained assassin and deadly fighter with adamantium Wolverine Claws and a Healing Factor, it didn't stop Laura from being walked all over at different times in her early life.
  • Fastball Special: Although not as frequently as the Trope Maker himself, Laura has gotten her shot at it as well.
  • Flanderization:
    • Once her backstory was revealed, Laura was established as a highly-skilled fighter, and a very intelligent and highly educated young girl with extensive assassin and black ops training, while New X-Men expanded upon this further by revealing her to be a gifted strategist as well. Most writers now completely ignore everything after "highly-skilled fighter," and give her all the subtlety in combat of Leeroy Jenkins.
  • Genius Bruiser: Laura is depicted as very intelligent, able to formulate multiple plans for killing everyone around her and choose the most efficient and best means of doing so within seconds. She's also an incredibly skilled fighter both with weaponry and her own claws. Marvel's official power ratings actually classify her as a Genius-level intellect, and her fighting prowess is ranked at the highest possible level.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: Even more important since, unlike Logan, her lack of a full adamantium skeleton leaves her bones and organs much more exposed.
  • Goth: Laura's manner of dress often has a gothic influence, particularly during the time she spent as a prostitute during NYX.
  • Green Eyes: One of Laura's most distinguishing features are her green eyes, as part of her Strong Family Resemblance to her mother, Sarah.
  • Grew Beyond Their Programming: A biological example: Laura was created to be nothing more than a Living Weapon. The Facility didn't even recognize her as a human being, with feelings and desires of her own. Now, she's a compassionate woman who is trying her best not to kill, has built friendships, desires something noble to aspire to, and has even fallen in love.
  • Happily Adopted: By Wolverine.
  • Harmful to Minors: Practically from birth, Laura was subjected to violent imagery and outright physical and emotional abuse, including being ordered to kill a puppy when her creators decided she had too much empathy, who then threatened to torture it to death and make her watch when she failed to complete the assignment. And this is before they started sending her on assassination missions, she killed her own mother during her escape under the effects of the Trigger Scent, and became a child prostitute under an abusive and violent pimp on the streets of New York City.
  • Hates Being Touched: Rarely initiated physical contact when first introduced, even with people she liked. Justified in that most physical contact she received as a child was abusive, and such feelings are very much Truth in Television among abuse victims. It eventually becomes downplayed due to Character Development.
  • Healing Factor: The same as Wolverine's, of course, but much more efficient since she only has adamantium in her claws, and thus it's taxed far less than Logan's skeleton taxes his. Her mother speculated that Laura's ability to heal would be similarly slowed if her entire skeleton was bonded as well. The only thing that defeats it is a full-face blast from Nimrod's lasers. There are indications it can naturally fluctuate due to her emotional state. For example, the cuts she inflicts on herself when stressed or upset tend to leave visible injuries far longer than damage she sustains in combat.
    • As with Logan, several of her secondary powers are a byproduct of her healing abilities, including: Super Senses, mild Super Strength,note  and Super Reflexes, among others.
  • Hellbent For Leather: This is her typical look in civilian dress; leather pants, skirts, corsets, boots, etc.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Laura is constantly slipping in and out of these as a result of all the trauma going on in her life, and the fact she can rarely catch a break before something else bad happens to her.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Has a tendency to attempt these at the drop of a hat. It's heavily implied her preparedness to do this stems from her poor sense of self-worth and difficulties accepting herself as a real person whose life has value. However even after moving on from these issues she's still quick to put her life on the line for the sake of others.
  • Hollywood Science: The process in which X-23 was cloned is currently impossible. However, in a universe where humans can fly, shoot lasers out of their eyes and talk to gods on their cell phones, it's hardly significant.
  • Huge Girl Tiny Guy: Depending on the Artist. Her height vs. Logan's height varies a lot. Mostly due to how Logan's height changed since Hugh Jackman played him in the movie (Logan started at 5'2", spent a lot of time at 5'5", and now is sometimes drawn actually tall.) During New X-Men, Laura was half a head shorter than Logan. She is also usually depicted as shorter than her primary love interests, Hellion and Warren. She's officially listed at 5'1", so canonically would be this towards most anyone.
  • I Am Not Pretty: Laura is quite clearly a very beautiful young woman, whose looks are frequently commented upon. Laura, however, doesn't see it for herself, which stems from her abusive upbringing aimed to strip her of her humanity, resulting in very poor self-esteem and sense that her life has little value.
  • Iconic Outfit:
    • The corset, fishnets and miniskirt outfit Laura wore in Target: X may be one of her most common looks in fan art, even though she only wore that in one book (though it is similar to the outfits she wore in her debut appearance in NYX). If not this, she's drawn in her black Painted-On Pants, sports bra, and locket from New X-Men. Her X-Force uniform is perhaps her most popular actual costume.
  • Immortal Assassin: It's unclear how long someone with her type of Healing Factor can live if left to their own devices, but based on Wolverine and Sabretooth Laura could have a lifespan of centuries if not longer (Romulus is possibly thousands if not tens of thousands of years old). While she can be killed, Laura's ability to bounce back rapidly from even fatal injuries makes that incredibly difficult.
  • Implacable Man: If Laura was sent to kill you, she would. Not. Stop. until you were dead, and if you were marked with the trigger scent, nothing would save you. She will keep coming unless you can inflict enough damage to knock her out, and once she does get back up she'll just come after you again. Unfortunately, this comes back to bite the Facility themselves hard when Sarah gets fed up with their abuse and turns Laura loose against them. Once Sarah orders her to take them down, nothing could stop her from slaughtering everyone (not that she needed to be ordered to do it). Laura still retains this tenacity even after joining the X-Men.
  • Innocence Lost: Laura's origin story is even called this, and shows in brutal detail the cruelty inflicted on her by the Facility to strip away her humanity and turn her into an emotionless killing machine. They ultimately failed, but still managed to inflict quite severe damage that she still struggles to recover from.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Because of her lack of social skills Laura at times has these moments due to a combination of Brutal Honesty, Cannot Tell a Lie, and genuinely not understanding what is or is not appropriate to say.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: With Gambit. And Psylocke. And Kitty Pryde. And Jubilee. Frankly, Laura shows a general tendency to have an easier time relating to and establishing friendships with people older than her, while struggling with people her own age.
  • Jail Bait: During the events of NYX Laura was no older than 16. And she was a prostitute. Age of consent in New York City where she was living is 17. Even afterwards her style of dress trends towards the provocative, and with the Sliding Time Scale it's unlikely she's aged much since then. Being underage also doesn't stop her from going clubbing with Jubilee or Warren, even though she would likely be too young to get past the doors.
  • Junior Counterpart: To her father, Wolverine, with all the same powers. However it's mildly subverted in that Laura is much more tactical and in control of her anger than Logan ever was.
  • Killer Rabbit: Laura is physically quite unimposing, generally being depicted as a slight, pretty teenage girl. She's also one of the most deadly assassins in the entire Marvel Universe, having a body count into the hundreds, if not thousands. By the time she was thirteen. On numerous missions Laura has been shown actively taking advantage of this trope by playing up her harmless appearance (whether by disguising herself as a handicapped girl, or a Girl Scout selling cookies, etc.). Even those who have heard of her are stunned when they actually see her for the first time.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Normally Laura averts this, as she is a disciplined fighter who very carefully analyzes the situation before she acts. However once she loses control of her emotions she's prone to acting impulsively and rashly, and can rush into trouble without thinking clearly.
  • Legacy Character: Laura has taken on the mantle of Wolverine in the aftermath of his death and Secret Wars.
  • Lineage Comes from the Father: Invoked by the Facility, who created her with Logan's DNA in order to continue the Weapon X experiments. She got her looks from her mother, however.
  • Little Miss Badass: In X-Men: Evolution, Laura defeated all of the X-Men, despite being half the age of most, if not all, of them. Although this version did have her skeleton laced in adamantium and the element of surprise (and even the ones who knew they were being attacked had no idea who they were up against and had no way to fight back), it's not likely Wolverine himself could do this.
  • Loss of Identity: Her entire childhood was essentially engineered for the purpose of dehumanizing her.
  • Made of Iron: Even without her healing factor taken into consideration, Laura can take an incredible beating for someone as tiny as she is. Part of this is that her healing factor naturally makes her bones denser, meaning they're harder to break in the first place.
  • Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: Laura's creator, Dr. Sarah Kinney, was described as the foremost expert on mutant genetics and was hired by the Facility after her proposal to clone Wolverine. Sarah's interest was purely For Science!, and directly likened the idea of cloning a mutant to godhood. All this knowing full well that the child would be raised to be a Living Weapon heading in. Laura herself is frequently described as Sarah's spitting-image, and it's made quite clear Laura is intended to be a quite beautiful young woman.
  • Matricide: She was forced to kill her mother with the trigger scent just as they were about to escape together.
  • Mook Horror Show: You know the monster that might go down with enough firepower, but will gut the poor slob closing in for a coup de grace and/or track down those who leave it for dead? This is her, just add assassin skills to the mix.
  • Morality Pet: Acts as one for Wolverine. Gambit as well in her self titled series, and he also sometimes acts as one to her. Hellion can be considered hers during their time with the New X-Men. She's become one for Daken, too, as Laura is one of the only people he has demonstrated genuine affection and respect for.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Her most common civvies include corsets, Dangerously Short Skirts, Zettai Ryouiki, Stocking Filler, Bare Your Midriff, and Painted-On Pants. Even her uniforms have traditionally been more revealing, such as her X-Force outfit.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The trigger scent sends Laura into a blind, murderous rage in which she will kill anyone marked with it, Friend or Foe, and no matter how much she cares about them. She's been consistently shown to be very sensitive about its effects on her.
  • My Greatest Failure: Laura is deeply haunted by and remorseful over all of the deaths she caused, and once even asked Ghost Rider to use his Penance Stare on her because she believed she deserved punishment for all of her killings.
    • Killing her mother in a trigger scent-fueled rage is perhaps the single biggest one. To the point that when Logan finally manages to bring her to the Xavier school, Emma Frost tries to drive her away by taunting her with a psychic ghost of her mother's dead body blaming Laura for her death. It's enough to drive the normally stoic Laura to tears.
  • Natural Weapon: As with Logan, Laura's claws are bone beneath the adamantium.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Initially averted, and ultimately invoked. Laura is the prototype, and once she is successfully created essentially is also the plans since the Facility can (and does, as is discovered near the end) of Innocence Lost use her genetic material to create additional clones (which would also serve as a backup). The entirety of the last act is Sarah setting X loose with specific orders to destroy her unborn "sisters," and all equipment and research associated with the project to prevent the Facility from recreating her. A big reason the Facility has made several attempts to recover her is so they can use her as a template for more assassins.
  • No Social Skills: Because Laura was deprived of normal human social interaction, her social skills are generally rather lacking. She's blunt, and struggles with social niceties.
  • Not So Different:
    • With Vampire Jubilee. Jubilee and Laura realize they have much in common, with X-23 having to struggle with finding herself and the trigger scent and Jubilee struggling to control her newfound blood lust. They get along really well though.
    • She has this with Daken as well: Technically brother and sister, both raised by some very, very bad people, but while Daken embraces what Romulus made him, Laura desperately wants to be something more than just a weapon and killer. Nonetheless, their similarities give them a fair bit of mutual respect towards one another.
    • Also with Kimura, of all people. Both suffered severe physical and emotional abuse in their past that's largely shaped and defined who they are now. Both also only had one or two people in their lives when they were young who showed them love and kindness, and attempted to repair the damage that was done. The difference is that Kimura became an Ax-Crazy psychopath who uses the abuse and bullying she was subjected to as an excuse to do it to others herself, while Laura is making an ongoing effort to heal.
    • And again with Siphon. She talks down both Daken and Blade from killing him because she can empathize with what it is to be tortured and turned into a weapon, and to constantly be fighting against her conditioning to kill. As a result she genuinely desires to try and help him.
  • Not So Stoic: Laura as a rule keeps her emotions tightly controlled, and it's a significant character trait she has difficulties expressing, or even understanding, what she's feeling. She endures the years of physical and emotional abuse inflicted on her by Zander Rice and Kimura in complete silence, even when her creator/mother, Sarah, tries to get her to talk about it. At least until she's forced to kill Sarah by the Trigger Scent during their escape from the Facility, at which point for a couple pages Laura becomes a lonely, broken girl desperately crying over her mother's body to come back to her. She also breaks down in tears once again when she's forced to cut off ties with her cousin and aunt to protect them form Kimura. The only other times she generally lets her guard down is when someone she cares about is in danger. In which case it's a very, very bad idea to be on the receiving end.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: If she's not in a midriff-baring tank top, chances are she's wearing one of these.
  • One-Man Army: Laura is a highly-trained assassin and skilled fighter. When her mother turned her loose on the Facility, she was slaughtering their soldiers by the dozens.
  • Opposite-Sex Clone: Of Wolverine.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • Laura is typically calm, collected, and withdrawn. Even though she inherited Logan's temper, she's much more in control of it, typically keeps her head in a fight, and kills with a cold, efficient detachment. If she's ever visibly angry, you've likely just done something incredibly stupid, and you should be running. Fast.
    • On the less frightening end of the spectrum, when she breaks down emotionally she breaks down, and it's a sign of just how bad things are when Laura loses control of her emotional state. This has been downplayed as Character Development led to her expressing her feelings more freely, but her becoming unusually emotional is still a sure sign of a Heroic B.S.O.D. in progress.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Practically Laura's entire life has revolved around this. While she did kill innocents under the Facility, they also hired her out to killed some pretty bad people, as well. And of course when Sarah turns her loose on the Facility itself it becomes this. It's also generally her role on a team; much like Logan, she's the one willing to kill if she has to. Up to Eleven when she's on X-Force, an entire team built on this principle.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: Not exactly the strongest physically, but is quite deadly for someone whose actually shorter than Logan. Marvel: Avengers Alliance even classes her as a Bruiser. To put that into perspective, this is the same category as Colossus, Juggernaut, Hercules and Thor.
  • The Power of Love: Despite everything the Facility did to break her and forge her into an emotionless killing machine, it was Sarah Kinney's love for her as a daughter, defying orders to not treat her as a child whenever she could by reading to her and offering an emotional connection that preserved her humanity and helped her break free of the Facility's control.
  • Professional Killer: This is what X-23 was raised to be. Not wanting to let that define her life, she's since changed her approach to be more in line with X-family ideals, but her complete ruthlessness makes her at times a more efficient killer than even Wolverine.
  • Psychic Block Defense: Laura has displayed a degree of resistance to powerful telepathy. It took Emma Frost a great deal of effort to bypass Laura's mental defenses in order to learn her true nature (though afterwards Emma was able to taunt her with a mental ghost of Laura's slain mother). Logan has also displayed a similar resistance in the past, but it's unclear if this is a result of their Healing Factor, training, or a result of tampering by Weapon X/The Facility.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Laura can work them very well, particularly helped by her being The Woobie. See Exhibit A.
  • The Quiet One: She tends towards being less inclined to speak, either at all or at least at length, than other characters.
  • Race Lift:
    • In her original appearance in X-Men: Evolution, X-23 is Ambiguously Brown, with features that have been interpreted as anything from Latina to First Nations, with Word of God stating she was modeled on the girl who was ethnic who posed for the reference shoot as a thank you. In the book, she's canonically Caucasian (which, considering she's a clone of Logan, makes sense that she would share his ethnicity). This extends to most other versions of Laura in both the comics and other media, which are also Caucasian.
    • In the Age of Apocalypse universe, X-23 is half-Japanese due to having Mariko Yashida as her mother. She also has the given name of Kirika, rather than Laura.
  • Rape as Backstory: Subtly done: Laura was no older than fifteen in NYX, during which time she was a prostitute under a sadistic and violent pimp. As she was legally unable to provide consent to most, if not all, of her Johns,note  and the fact that she was essentially forced into sexual slavery by her circumstances and Zebra Daddy's violent control over her (who it's implied also had sex with her), Laura was a victim of statutory (and possible actual) rape.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: She's most commonly drawn with fair skin and black hair, and it's frequently noted that Laura is a very attractive young woman.
  • Reality Ensues: X-23 is pretty much what you'd actually get out of a raised-from-birth Living Weapon Tyke Bomb who endure years of Training from Hell. She was virtually destroyed emotionally by the years of abuse and torture she received at the Facility, leaving her a PTSD-ridden wreck prone to falling into Heroic BSODs at the drop of a hat. Because she was deprived of the affection, emotional support, and socialization a child requires for normal development she's often lost in social interactions, easily confused by her emotions, and frequently experiences bouts of severe and possibly suicidal depression. At least one analysis of her character suggests she suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder, and a significant portion of her development in the books has been spent on repairing the damage that was done to her.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: It means she's affected by trigger scent and you might want to do more than just "take warning." Varies Depending on the Artist to either being bloodshot, or outright glowing.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Blue to Logan's Red; Laura is The Stoic, laconic, and generally keeps her emotions tightly controlled. Logan, by contrast, is far more passionate and quick to anger. She's also generally accepted as much more intellectual and given to careful strategy even when angered, whereas Logan is typically depicted as The Berserker. However see Rage Breaking Point under series tropes below.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: Her sense of smell is even better than Logan's, and she's demonstrably been able to locate individuals in a crowded city hours after they were last there. In one case it even allowed her to completely reconstruct a crime scene including the movements of dozens of individuals by scent alone. Combine that with her extensive espionage and intelligence training. So when she threatens some mooks by telling them once she has their scent there is nowhere they can hide from her, she's not bluffing.
  • Self-Harm: She habitually cuts herself on the wrists and forearms with her claws, and is first shown to engage in this behavior as a reaction to being forced to kill her sensei as a test of the trigger scent. Laura can fall under all of the reasons for cutting noted on the trope page and one issue of her solo series suggests she may even be inflicting fatal injuries on herself: an employee at a hotel where she was staying with Gambit reported to his manager that it appeared as if someone attempted to commit suicide in a bathroom she just left. Her Healing Factor prevents her from dying from her wounds, however, and completely heals the resulting scars. As with many tropes relating to her Dark and Troubled Past this has faded as her Characterization Marches On.
  • Sex Goddess: During her time as a hooker she was said to be "the best at what she does", and commanded a much higher price than the other girls her pimp controlled. She was also his personal favorite.
  • She-Fu: Laura's fighting style is highly acrobatic, using flips, handstands and cartwheels to bring her foot claws into play and to avoid being struck. Justified because her body is much less durable than Logan's since only her claws are laced with adamantium. Even though she does heal faster, she's much more prone to being knocked out of a fight by broken bones or dislocated (or severed) limbs.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Laura has been dealing with symptoms of PTSD almost all her life after the things that the Facility did to her, her time as a prostitute, and the many other hardships, tragedies, and battles she's been forced to endure, and her slow recovery has been a substantial part of her character development. Even then, she's continued to fight severe, possibly even suicidal, depression.
  • Sherlock Scan: Whenever Laura walks into a room, her brain immediately begins to analyze the situation and everyone in it, performing threat analysis, formulating multiple attack plans, and calculating the best method with which to kill everyone in the room. Her thoughts in Avengers Arena reveal that she can't turn it off, so she even does this to her friends.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Laura is depicted as quite intelligent and certainly highly-educated. One issue of her solo series reveals she plays chess when Storm offers to teach her and Laura counters that she's never lost a match. She does quit their game after only a few moves, but only because Hellverine arrives, causing her to flee.
  • Spock Speak: Most fans consider Laura to have a very rigid, measured way of talking. However this voice was primarily used when written under Liu, while other writers, including Kyle and Yost, tended to be more casual. Her voice under Bendis went much more towards the opposite extreme, veering near to the standard "Bendis Voice."
  • Stopped Caring: Much of her training went towards invoking this trope teaching her not to act like an emotional or independent being.
  • Straight Man: Laura is pretty much this to everyone, as her sense of humor is very subtle, often black, and runs towards Deadpan Snarker (emphasis on the "deadpan"). It's especially pronounced whenever she comes into contact with wackier characters like Deadpool and Squirrel Girl.
  • Street Walker: She spent an unknown amount of time as one sometime between losing Megan and Debbie, and joining the X-Men. It was detailed in her first appearance in NYX but has been discussed or referenced several times since then.
  • Strong Family Resemblance:
    • Pretty much any time Sarah Kinney appears Laura is drawn as her spitting image. She also looks a lot like her aunt Deborah, who also shares a Strong Family Resemblance with Sarah.
  • Superhero Packing Heat: Although not a power per se, as a former assassin Laura is highly trained and skilled in the use of firearms, and has no compunctions against using them if necessary.
  • Super Reflexes: Laura's reaction times are heightened as a secondary effect of her healing factor. She's been shown dodging and Parrying Bullets.
  • Super Senses: Better than even Wolverine's. Since their enhanced senses are a byproduct of their Healing Factor, this may be because Laura's is more powerful.
  • Super Strength: Another byproduct of her healing factor is that Laura's muscles, connective tissue, and bones are denser than those of a normal human. As a result she's stronger than one would expect such a short, slight girl to be.
  • Technical Pacifist: Has steadily been evolving into this over the course of her life. While even from early on she hated killing, when she first joined the X-Men she was utterly ruthless and unflinching with her use of lethal force. Usually to the horror of her friends and teammates. However over time she's become increasingly reluctant to cut loose, until by the time she takes on the Wolverine name she makes every effort to avoid killing.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: When first introduced she was ready to kill at need, and could be even more ruthless and efficient than even Logan. However she has gradually moved in this direction. By the time she took up the Wolverine name she has sworn off killing.
  • Torture Technician: One of the skills she's been highly trained on, in her solo series Malcolm Colcord's fingernails finds this out the hard way.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Very subtly done. While Laura doesn't have one particular favorite food, she favors anything that's spicy. See Comfort Food above.
  • Training from Hell: Her back story in Innocence Lost and Target: X.
  • Tranquil Fury: In most cases, Laura is chillingly cold, calm and efficient while gutting you, and that's terrifying enough. If she ever actually loses her cool, she's either under the effects of the trigger scent or you've just done something to really, really piss her off. In both cases you should run. Fast.
  • Trauma Conga Line: From the moment she was born Laura has bounced from one hardship to the next: Torture, abuse, being forced to attack and kill those she cares about, losing her only surviving family to protect them. Laura has suffered an endless series of chain-yanking, with no sign of it letting up any time soon.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Dialogue in the books makes it clear that Laura is a very attractive young woman. Troubled? Just look at all the tropes focusing on how screwed up she still is because of her abusive upbringing.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Laura's first assassination was at age 9. She was immediately put to work by the Facility afterwards, and by 16 she's an accomplished enough killer to worry Captain America. Justified since she was bred and raised from birth specifically to be a Living Weapon, but her utter ruthlessness and cold detachment makes her an even better killer than Wolverine. It's mildly subverted in that she doesn't want to be a weapon, but it nonetheless comes completely naturally to her.
  • Tyke Bomb: Literally conceived as such.
  • The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Jubilee has described her as "hot" and Teen Warren, who she's currently dating, has stated that she's prettier than Jean Grey. The fact she's the famously unattractive Logan's Opposite-Sex Clone makes the trope even more noticeable.
  • Unstoppable Rage: The trigger scent causes this. Normally she's very composed otherwise, but if pushed too far she will snap. At which point whoever is responsible better run. Fast.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Laura wasn't born an emotionless killing machine. The Facility consciously destroyed her innocence. Much of Laura's life after escaping the is spent trying to repair the damage that was done to her.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Hellion. Laura and Jubilee started out like this before becoming Heterosexual Life-Partners.
  • Waking Up Elsewhere: Slight variant: The rage induced by the trigger scent causes Laura to black out, during which time she has no knowledge or conscious control over what she's doing.
    Laura: The ones who made me, they made a chemical...a scent...when I smell it, everything goes black and when I wake up, everyone's dead.
  • Waif-Fu: Laura's fighting style tends to be very acrobatic, justified because she's rather small and lightly-built, and unlike Wolverine, lacks adamantium coating her entire skeleton, so is much more prone to being disabled by broken or severed limbs.
  • Weak, but Skilled: She relies primarily on Waif-Fu in combat since she's unable to sustain damage, and is very highly trained in hand-to-hand combat, firearms, interrogation techniques, infiltration, languages, and other skills she might have needed as an assassin.
  • Wife-Basher Basher: Laura pulls a variation of this with prostitutes as a result of her experiences under Zebra Daddy's control. On several occasions afterwards she's been shown reacting very violently to seeing other girls abused as she was.
  • Wolverine Claws: Inherited from her father, though hers are in a slightly different arrangement with two in each hand (between the index and middle finger, and pinky and ring finger) and one in each foot (between the big and long toes). Like Logan's they're coated in adamantium. Zander Rice cut them out of her one by one while she was conscious to perform the procedure.
  • The Worf Effect: Not as frequently as Logan, but occasionally Laura will be used to deliver a big Oh Crap! to her teammates.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Pretty much her entire life. Her mother finally decides to take a stand and rescue her from the Facility? Turns out she's contaminated by the trigger scent and Laura kills her in an Unstoppable Rage just as it seems they're about to escape. Welcomed into her aunt's home, where she strikes up a close friendship with her cousin, Megan, and begins to feel that she's part of a family? Turns out her aunt's boyfriend was an agent planted by the Facility who calls in Kimura, forcing Laura to send her last remaining family into hiding to keep them safe. Logan talks her down from a Murder-Suicide and offers her a home at the Xavier school where she can get help coping with all the hell she's been through? S.H.I.E.L.D. attacks her and Captain America puts her under arrest. And now that it finally seems as if she's beginning to put her life together and heal, she gets shanghaied by Arcade to fight other troubled teenage heroes to the death for his amusement. The poor girl just can't catch a break.
    • On a meta level for her fans, the revelation that she would appear in Amazing X-Men under her creators, Yost and Kyle, was falsely reported and no actual plans are in place for them to be writing her again in the immediate future.
  • You Are Number 6:
    • Laura's Facility designation, X-23. She's almost never called this by her friends and teammates, who at most just use "X" as a nickname, but otherwise call her Laura even in the field when they use their own codenames (she doesn't even use her official codename, Talon). By contrast, Kimura always refers to her as X-23, which is done deliberately to dehumanize and belittle her.
    • X-23 was the only name she was ever given in her two appearances in Evolution.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: As seen here, X-23 at times adopts this, and it's in fact one of her iconic outfits.

    Series Tropes 

The following tropes apply to X-23's solo ongoings and miniseries

For X-23: Innocence Lost see the page here.
For All-New Wolverine see the page here.

  • Animesque:
    • Issues of the Liu series drawn by Sana Takeda have a distinctly anime influence.
    • The covers for the first three issues of the same series are also heavily influenced by anime and manga.
  • Babysitting Episode: One arc of the Liu series focused on Laura taking care of Franklin and Valeria Richards for an evening. Given that the younger of the two inherited her father's brains and retained a three-year old's capacity for mischief....
  • Badly Battered Babysitter: Laura is hired to babysit the Richards kids during her first series. Even though the kids summoned a huge dragon and got kidnapped by an intergalactic pack rat, she managed to rescue and get them in their PJs before Reed and Susan got home.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: "The Killing Dream" arc of her first solo series largely consists of one of these: Hellverine torments Laura, as he desires her to lead his armies (and may just desire her period). He agrees to give her a chance to prove him wrong about being a mindless killer, with both her own soul and Hellion's in the balance.
  • Boom, Headshot: Target X: Laura pulls this off on a helicopter pilot in flight. From the ground.
  • Call Back:
    • When Hellverine is poking around Laura's mind during "The Killing Dream" arc of the Liu series, he runs across Gamesmaster, who has been inhabiting her consciousness since her one-shot. Gamesmaster tried to drive him out but was defeated, and Hellverine presents him to Laura as a gift.
    • At the end of the first arc of the Liu series, Laura is left with a small mark on the palm of her hand implied to be connected to the Enigma Force. It comes up twice more in the series: The first time in the very next arc when Ms. Sinister questions why she has it despite her Healing Factor, and much more importantly during "Chaos Theory," when it's recognized by the Whirldemon King, and marks her as heir to the Enigma Force's power.
    • "Songs of the Orphan Child" has two significant ones:
      • Ms. Sinister is losing control of her body to Sinister due to an injury she received from Daken during his solo series.
      • Also, Sinister himself. His taking control of Claudine's body is the result of a Crazy-Prepared attempt to return from death after he was killed by Mystique during Messiah Complex.
  • Continuity Snarl:
    • A minor one between Innocence Lost and Target X with Laura's age. Based on the timeline given in the former, Laura was nine years old at the time she's sent on her field test to assassinate candidate Johnson, while in the latter Laura's age is stated to be eleven. In fact, Target X tends to make her two years older during events referenced in both books in general.
    • Target: X also causes confusion over where NYX fits into Laura's background in relation to Uncanny X-Men.
  • Covers Always Lie:
    • X-23: Target X #5 shows Kimura triumphantly holding two of X-23's claws, having apparently just ripped them out of her hand. The closest thing to this in the actual story is X-23 cutting off her own hand (and promptly reattaching it) to escape Kimura.
  • Crossover:
    • "The Killing Dream" ties into the Wolverine in Hell storyline, specifically the period Hellverine is on Utopia. Curiously enough, Laura is the only member of the X-Men who notices something isn't right with Logan.
    • "Collision" plays out in both of Liu's series at the time: X-23, and Daken: Dark Wolverine.
    • "Chaos Theory" is a near-miss variety with NYX: No Way Home. Gambit and Laura arrive at Cecilia Reyes's apartment not long after Kiden and her gang had been staying there.
  • Demonic Possession: Twice in her first solo series:
    • Hellverine hitches a ride on Laura's body during "The Killing Dream" as part of his gambit to seduce her to his side.
    • The Whirldemons in "Chaos Theory" possess Valeria Richards during their attempt to break free of their prison. Laura offers herself up in exchange, eventually enabling her to defeat them with the help of the Enigma Force.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Laura hits one at the end of Target: X. After all the torture and dehumanization the Facility put her through, being forced to kill her mother by the Trigger Scent just as they were about to escape, having to give up all that remained of her family and the normal life she was starting to build to protect them when her Axe Crazy former handler came looking for her, and possibly spending an unspecified time on the streets as a prostitute under a sadistic and abusive pimp (it's unclear where exactly this series falls in her history), Laura finally reaches her breaking point, and seeks out Wolverine believing that all she has left is to kill him and herself. Logan manages to talk her down, but it's implied she has an ongoing battle with severe, if not suicidal, depression, and much of her character arc focuses on putting the pieces back together after all that was done to her.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • The events of Target X finally push Laura to her breaking point. After escaping Kimura and severing contact with her only remaining family, she seeks out Logan with the intent of killing him and then herself to put a permanent end to the Weapon X project. She's so broken by everything that's happened to her by this point, that the only release she sees now is death. Logan manages to talk her down, but there's hints in later stories that Laura may still be prone to bouts of severe and possibly even suicidal depression.
    • Laura takes a dive off skyscraper during her one-shot while trying to drive Gamesmaster out of her head. She survives thanks to her Healing Factor.
    • Although always depicted as a cutter, Laura cuts her wrists so severely during one issue of the Liu series that a waiter at the restaurant she and Gambit were patronizing at the time alerted his supervisor that it looked as if someone attempted to commit suicide in one of the bathrooms after she finished. Again, she survives due to her mutation.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Whirldemons during the "Chaos Theory" arc. Hellverine in "The Killing Dream" also counts, since he's a demon wearing Logan's body as a meat puppet.
  • Epiphanic Prison: Hellverine puts Laura through one during "The Killing Dream." It's unclear whether the prison is Hell or her own mind.
  • Fanservice:
    • X wears a school-girl style outfit featuring a very short pleated skirt and a tight white shirt in one of the flashbacks to her missions in Target: X, that leads to several aversions of Magic Skirt during the subsequent fight scene. To say nothing of the corset, miniskirt, and thigh-highs she raids from her cousin's closet.
    • During the Liu series there's the infamous Panty Shot during the "Collision" crossover, and the panels of Ms. Sinister strutting around in a corset, cowboy hat, and booty shorts. The panel during "Touching Darkness" where Laura tries to tempt Jubilee into drinking her blood also provides a healthy dose of Fetish Fuel for many readers.
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: Hellverine's dimension straddles a line between this and Mordor.
  • Forceful Kiss: Laura was on the receiving end from her (sort of) boyfriend Hellion in X-23 #19. She rejected him afterwards and ended their relationship.
  • Gay Paree: "Touching Darkness" finds Laura in Paris with Gambit, Jubilee, and Logan. The foursome wind up investigating an attempt to weaponize the trigger scent to a point where it affects anyone exposed to it, not just those specially conditioned as Laura was. In between, Laura goes shopping at expensive Parisian boutiques with Jubilee (Gambit and Logan foot the bill), and she and Jubilee both base jump sans parachute off the Eiffel Tower for kicks.
  • Girls' Night Out Episode: After breaking up with Hellion during the Liu series, Jubilee takes her out clubbing, though Laura doesn't exactly get into it. It ends with Laura on a bloody rampage liberating girls being sold into the sex industry after she runs across one of Zebra Daddy's former thugs, and learns that the remains of his gang is still trafficking women.
  • Groin Attack: While on a night out with Jubilee during her solo, Laura runs across one of Zebra Daddy's former minions at a club and the man recognizes her. He flippantly comments about how Daddy gave his boys discounts with the prostitutes, but he never got a chance to have Laura. Laura tells him he'll never have her, or any other woman, again, and then proceeds to ensure it's true.
  • Inspector Javert: Captain America turns into this in X-23: Target X. He feels personally responsible for all the killings Laura has carried out because she slipped his grasp after her field test by masquerading as a wounded survivor. He reveals he's been tracking her down ever since (approximately six years) and is obsessed with bringing her to justice. He's driven to the point where he completely ignores Daredevil's attempts to warn him that S.H.I.E.L.D. won't care really about justice but instead will use her as a weapon the same was she was used by the Facility. Before he can actually turn her over, however, he recognizes the truth of this and that Laura was as much a victim as the people she killed, and lets her go.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: She was developing a good relationship with her aunt and cousin during Target: X, so getting as far away from them as she could was the best thing she could think of doing for them. Of course, it didn't help that Kimura was chasing her and had already tried to kill them.
  • Journey to Find Oneself: The overarching plot of her first solo serie consists of this as Laura goes "walkabout" in the aftermath of her stint on X-Force, in large part triggered by questions over whether she has a soul after an encounter with Hellverine. She leaves Utopia because she feels there are too many voices trying to tell her who she is, and wishes to find her own answers. It's relatively brief, and ends with Laura deciding to attend Avengers Academy after an invitation from Black Widow. During this time, Laura makes substantial progress in at least coming to terms with herself, even if much of her emotional damage remains.
  • Male Gaze: During the infamous Panty Shot in "Collision," the panel is centered directly on Laura's butt when she exposes the top of her thong.
  • Mob War: In Target: X, the Facility is hired by The Kingpin to put an end to one between himself and Fade, a mutant gangster attempting to muscle in on his territory. X assassinates Fade in his own office, and later takes out his wife and child, as well.
  • Mordor: During the "Killing Dream" arc of her first solo, Hellverine draws Laura into a Battle in the Center of the Mind in a realm somewhere between this and Fire and Brimstone Hell, presented in her nightmares and in "reality" as a blasted, desiccated wasteland.
  • Not So Different: Cyclops and S.H.I.E.L.D. get this with the Facility in her first solo series. Emma Frost lampshades that including Laura in X-Force, the X-Men's black ops hit squad, is just asking her to do the same thing the Facility forced her to do. Captain America arrests her with the intent of turning her in to S.H.I.E.L.D. in the belief Laura deserves punishment for the killings she performed, however Matt Murdock immediately tries to warn him that S.H.I.E.L.D. wouldn't be at all interested in seeing justice done and would instead turn her into their weapon and elite killer.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: A giant purple alien dragon much like Lockheed but much bigger flies off with Val and Franklin Richards during "Misadventures in Babysitting," forcing Laura and Hellion to chase after it to get them back.
  • Panty Shot: Variation: One frame during the "Collision" crossover has Laura tucking a folded up document she and Daken recover from Malcolm Colcord into her pants. Not inside a pocket, inside her pants. She flashes a whale tail in that panel, when she pulls the waistband of her costume away from her hip. It may have been even less blatantly Fanservice had she just been Going Commando. It doesn't help that the panel is centered right on her butt.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Although she shares Logan's temper, only once has Laura ever been pushed so far that she entered a true berserker rage: During "Girls' Night Out" she encountered one of her ex-pimp's goons in a club, and learned the remnants of the gang have taken control of his sex trafficking operations. It was set off by the thug flippantly remarking about never getting to "have" Laura during her time as one of Zebra Daddy's hookers. Even Black Widow was shocked by the sheer bloody violence of her rampage to take down the gang for good, and immediately called her out on how unlike her it was.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Daken and Laura take turns delivering this to each other during their rampage through Colcord's base. Daken tries to call her out on her empathy for others, believing that her skills as a killer make her better than everyone around her, and that her heart only forces her to hold back. Laura flatly tells him that she doesn't fight because she has something to prove, but for something bigger than herself. She then turns this around on him, asking why he holds back by not taking the risk of allowing himself to actually care for anyone. Daken doesn't really have an answer.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue: "Girls' Night Out" in the Liu series ends as this. When Laura runs across one of her ex-pimp's former goons and learns the gang was still in operation, she utterly loses it (not exactly helped when the guy taunted her about her past). She then drags Jubilee along on a violent and bloody rampage to rescue the girls and shut the gang down for good.
  • Send in the Clones:
    • The culmination of Rice's plans in Innocence Lost is to create an army of X-23's (designated X-24 through X-50) he can sell off to the highest bidder. When Sarah unleashes Laura on the Facility, destroying her unborn "sisters" is part of her final mission objectives.
    • Laura gets entangled in a plot by Ms. Sinister during her solo series. Seeing as cloning is pretty much Sinister's hat, it goes without saying that clones play quite a big part in the plot:
      • Claudine herself is fighting a Clone by Conversion process, as virus ravaging her body is slowly turning her into a clone of Sinister as part of a Crazy-Prepared gambit to return from death. She wants Laura's body to escape this fate.
      • All of Claudine's "children" are clones created by Sinister in one of his labs. One, Alice, figures heavily into the plot. One of whom becomes the new host for Sinister himself after Laura critically wounds Claudine.
  • Sex Slave: Laura and Jubilee break up a sex trafficking ring during "Girls' Night Out," saving many girls and women from this fate. It's Personal for Laura because she was a former prostitute herself, and the gang they attack was made up of members of her pimp's organization. Black Widow later remarks about it afterwards that Laura's mindless rampage is very much not her usual style.
  • Shark Pool: Gambit gets tossed into one in Madripoor. Laura dives in to get him out, even though she has trouble swimming.
  • Shoot the Dog: "The Killing Dream" reveals she was forced to do this literally by the Facility as part of her Break the Cutie Training from Hell. When they decided Laura still had too much empathy for others, she was given a puppy with orders to kill it within a set amount of time and was then left alone to carry it out. She played with it instead, and when her handlers returned to find the puppy still alive threatened to torture it as punishment for Laura failing to follow orders, before relenting and offering her "another chance."
  • Shout-Out:
  • Skipping School: Laura and Megan inTarget X. Technically they get suspended, but rather than heading home like they're supposed to, they steal the principal's car and take it on a joyride across San Francisco.
  • The Soulless: In The Killing Dream, Hellverine tells her that as a clone, (and because of all the death she's caused) she has no soul, and drags her into a Battle in the Center of the Mind to give her a chance to prove him wrong. Laura encounters her inner self (later implied to actually be a part of the Enigma Force that remained with her after her previous contact with the entity), who reveals that she wasn't born an emotionless killing machine, but that it took the conscious effort of the project to break her. This revelation gives Laura the power to defeat the demon. However, she remains in doubt over how much of his taunting was the truth afterwards. When Miss Sinister later attempts to steal her body, Laura questions her about having a soul, but Sinister is unable to answer and admits it's something she's given little thought. When she got trapped in Hell, a different demon, Blackheart, calls her a silly girl for pondering whether or not she has a soul by reminding her that she's in Hell, and people can't go to Hell without a soul.
  • Threatening Shark: You can't have a Shark Pool without one.
  • Trouser Space: During "Collision," Laura tucks some documents into the waistband of her pants. Despite the fact they're painted on, there's not an unsightly bulge in sight.
  • Trojan Prisoner: In order to get close to the albino gangster Fade, whose powers allow him to become invisible to the naked eye and even technological tracking devices, Laura masquerades as Kingpin's "niece," Samantha. Fisk then feeds information to Fade via a mole in his organization leading the gangster to kidnap her, bringing her right where she needs to be to pick up the trigger scent-laced letter her target was slipped as part of the plan.
  • Wham Episode: X-23 #6 features the return of Mr. Sinister, following his death at the end of Messiah Complex three years earlier.
  • Wolverine Publicity: Played straight and at the same time played with in All-New Wolverine where various superheroes and villains, specifically Taskmaster, Doctor Strange, The Wasp, and Squirrel Girl make appearances. Yes, other characters are now appearing in a Wolverine book to help establish the book.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Target: X reveals that this was Laura's exit strategy for her first assassination. After slaughtering a political candidate, his entire family, and dozens of security, staff, press, functionaries, and other guests, Laura escapes by pretending to be the lone survivor of her own rampage. It's so convincing she even fools Captain America and slips his grasp just before he discovers the ruse.
    • For that matter, her entry was a variation of this: She masqueraded as a physically disabled child wearing leg braces and needing crutches to walk, made a scene in the lobby when a security guard tried to deny her request to meet her target, and played on her "disability" in order to gain access to him and carry out the attack.
  • Wretched Hive: Madripoor, in all its gritty glory, is the main setting of Collision. Under Tyger Tiger it actually wasn't that bad, as she largely had the gangs under her control, and put an end to the drug and human trafficking that made up the worst of the city's criminal elements in the past. Unfortunately by the time Laura and Gambit arrive, Daken has muscled in as Tyger's Man Behind the Man, and Malcolm Colcord is kidnapping innocent people off the streets for his experiments.
  • Yo Yo Plot Point: Every single character arc of her's revolves around learning to be more than a weapon. This comic sums it up pretty well.
    • Subverted at the end of her solo series, she accepts that part of her is a weapon, but she won't let that beat her.
    • See also Trauma Conga Line. It seems like just as she starts to become more or less stable, some fresh new trauma hits her and sends her back to square one.

Alternative Title(s): X- 23

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/ComicBook/X23