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 episodes of X-Men: Evolution, in 2003. She was adapted to the comic medium in NYX #3 (February, 2004).A trained assassin, X-23, or Laura Kinney, was created by the Weapon X offshoot known as the Facility, or HYDRA, depending on universe, using a damaged sample of Wolverine's DNA. The damage was greatest on the Y chromosome apparently so Dr. Deborah Risman in the series and the similar Dr. Sarah Kinney in the comics eventually had the brilliant idea to create a female copy instead. At last the 23rd attempt to clone Weapon X was successful, thus X-23. However, Sarah Kinney states X-23 is technically a genetic twin rather than a true clone, making her Logan's sister. note Which is what a true clone actually is in Real Life, but not in comic books- as far as the comic is concerned the main difference is that she doesn't have Logan's 'Genetic Memory'. He later introduces her to her classmates at Xavier's this way, although they share more of a father-daughter relationship. Sarah Kinney also used some of her own genetic material to patch up gaps in the engineering, so X-23 is effectively her daughter (which may explain why Laura isn't short and hirsute).Originally created for the X-Men: Evolution cartoon as an alternative to giving Logan more focus or other Marvel Heroes, X-23 quickly became an Ensemble Darkhorse and was written into the comics, still scripted by her original creators. With a slight change in design (supposedly to make her look more like Wolverine, but in the end she looks less like Wolverine, with the only notable comparison other than power being much paler skin and darker hair (which depends on the artist anyway, while also making her much more feminine), and a switch in background that was virtually the same, only even more Darker and Edgier.While in the Evolution cartoon, it was never specifically said so, in the comics only her claws are made of Admantium, with her bones being normal. Because, instead of undergoing the same process as Wolverine, the scientists in the facility instead exposed her to massive levels of radiation to jump-start her healing factor at the age of seven, then forcibly removed her claws while she was wide awake and replaced them after being coated in Admantium. Yes, they did that.She grew up being trained to be an Assassin, so that the Facility could sell her talents to the highest bidder. She grew up being emotionally and physically abused, in order to remove such weaknesses as emotion and self worth. However, Dr. Sarah Kinney, 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, and X-23 uncontrollably killed the good scientist. In her dying words, Dr. Kinney named her Laura, as she had yet to be given a name.After tracking down Logan, she was invited to join the X-Men, after a few years on the run, and soon grew a close relationship with some of the X-Men. However, it was retconned so that she only pretended to bond to them, and just saw them as interchangeable people, with only Logan being the one she would treat like a friend, and father. That changed after House Of M, where she was placed with some other students and eventually grew close relationships with fellow students Cessily 'Mercury' Kincaid, who had also been through a lot, Julian 'Hellion' Keller, who after being severely mistreated by him eventually became best friends, to the point she developed a crush on him, and Sooraya 'Dust' Qadir, who she gains a mutual respect for.She later went on to join Avengers Academy in the 23rd issue, forming an friendship with fellow social misfit Finesse until a single utilitarian decision on Finesse's part utterly destroys it. She later is captured by the villain Arcade to participate in his later Murder World in Avengers Arena. Following the conclusion of Arena, she returned to the X-Men beginning with All-New X-Men #20.Laura will be the first of five characters whose reactions to the pending death of Wolverine will be explored in the upcoming 7-issue Legacy of Logan miniseries, and will also be teaming up with Black Widow in another story covering his death.She also made a surprise appearance in Marvel vs. Capcom 3.In 2013 she became a playable character in the Facebook game Marvel Avengers Alliance.
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.
Sarah herself is revealed in Innocence Lost to have been abused by her father. A copy of the police report for one incident indicates that her mother and sister denied the allegations, and that Sarah herself would not talk to police about what happened. This led to Sarah cutting off contact with her family entirely, and she only reluctantly allowed her niece, Megan, to send her things. In fact, she didn't even know she had a niece until the girl was several years old.
Kimura's Freudian Excuse is that her mother neglected her, her father abused her, and that she was subjected to a lot of bullying as a child. Her grandmother attempted to undo the damage, but by then it was too late and Kimura later takes it all out on Laura.
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.
Broken Ace: Emotionally, however, 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).
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.
Ageof 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".
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.
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. However it's complicated by Laura being carried to term by Sarah Kinney, so she would have received her mitochondrial DNA instead. Additionally, some sources cloud her genetic makeup even further by suggesting Sarah used her own genetic material to patch holes in the damaged samples used to create the clone.
Babysitting Episode: One arc of the solo 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....
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.
Badly Battered Babysitter: She has to babysit the Richards kids at one point. 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.
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.note Somewhat justified in that, as noted above, part of her genetics come from Hot Scientist Sarah Kinney. 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). Also, 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. Also, the "Trigger Scent" is a very literal but olfactory version of this.
In New X-Men, Laura is away from the school tracking Jay when Stryker launches his attack at the school. The O*N*E* Sentinels are quickly disabled by Stryker's tech, and the adults don't fare very well (Cannonball and Emma, who seem to be the only appreciable presence, are both wounded), and aside from Dust, the kids only put up a token resistance at best. Then Laura arrives and annihilates the Purifiers virtually single-handed.
Later on in All-New X-Men, Xavier, Jr. has the entirety of the NXS at his mercy. Then Laura, who had previously been gutted and left for dead by Raze, arrives on the scene. Teen!Jean cloaks her from Xavier's telepathy, allowing Laura to take him by surprise and disrupt his control over everyone — including the New Brotherhood, whom he had been controlling telepathically all along.
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.
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.
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 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. A major bit of character development for her in her solo series was deciding against confessing to the child of one of her assassination targets that she was the killer, to spare him the pain.
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. It's a major bit of Character Development in her solo series when she lies to the child of one of her victims to spare him the pain of revisiting the loss of his parents.
Canon Immigrant: Originally created for X-Men: Evolution, but found her way into the comics universe in NYX.
Celibate Hero: Although she did spend time as a prostitute during NYX, Laura is otherwise this throughout most of her history. She develops a mutual attraction with Hellion, but due to her traumatic childhood note (and Hellion's...temperament), Laura struggles with personal relationships, which leads to her keeping him at a distance despite how they both feel. Their one kiss was unwelcome on Laura's end, and she ultimately breaks things off with him for good by the end of her solo series, and hasn't entered into another relationship in any of her appearances since. The cover of issue 20 of All New X-Men hinted she would hook up with Teen Cyclops, but according to the cover of Issue 30◊ and solicits for Issue 31, however, she has "taken an odd interest" in Teen Angel instead.
She was once Captain Universe's vessel. More recently, a mark associated with Captain Universe appeared on her hand, suggesting a more permanent association.
In the Chaos Theory arc of her ongoing series, the Enigma Force tells her that she's the future heir to its power.
Clones Are People Too: Laura has a completely different personality from Wolverine's. However, because of her Dark and Troubled Past, it was a while before she even realized she had a personality. It's also played with quite substantially, as the lead scientist on the project which created her did not differentiate her from Wolverine, and much of the torture and abuse she suffered as a child was the result of him exacting Revenge by Proxy, while the Facility as a whole tends not to view her as a human being with her own wants and desires. Additionally, even after joining the X-Men Laura was at times subjected to bullying over her nature, with Hellion in particular using "clone" as a slur (though they did eventually come to accept her). Perhaps even worse was Hellverine's attempts to seduce her into his service by implying that as a clone she doesn't have a soul, which sufficiently rattles Laura that she asks Claudine Renko about it while the latter is the process of trying to steal her body, and later making the same inquiry with the demon Blackheart.
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. At least until The Killing Dream, when a demon possessing Wolverine's body tries to convince her to join him by telling her that as a clone, she doesn't have a soul. Although she's able to defeat the demon, throughout the rest of her solo series, it's clear Laura was deeply rattled by the idea to the point that she even asks Miss Sinister whether clones have souls as the latter attempted to steal her body. Later, Blackheart distracts her by telling her he can confirm whether or not she has a soul. Laura can't help but listen. Blackheart calls her a silly girl, pointing out that she's trapped in Hell at the moment, and you need a soul to go to Hell in the first place.
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.
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.
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.
It's also unclear where NYX fits into Laura's background, yet these events have clearly not been Ret Goned since she's mentioned her time as a prostitute and friendship with Kiden Nixon in more recent stories.
Contract on the Hitman: X-23 ran into this after arriving at the Xavier school. Kimura was dispatched in an attempt to assassinate her, and had Laura all lined up in her scope and was ready to pull the trigger. Unfortunately, she forgot to account for the school's resident telepaths. Emma Frost knew exactly where she was, and went completely Mama Bear on her, Mind Raping her by not only removing her only happy memory, but reprogramming her to go after the ones who ordered the hit in the first place.
Cool Big Sis: Was one to her cousin Megan, (even though the timeline in Innocence Lost suggests Megan is actually somewhat older) and Jubilee is one to her.
Cool Down Hug: On the receiving end of one from Teen!Scott in All-New X-Men #20 when she's in the middle of a minor Freak Out over what the Purifiers did to her after escaping Murderworld. Laura immediately tells him she's not a hugger. Especially when there's an audience (referring to the watching Kitty, and time-displaced younger Jean Grey and Hank McCoy. In the following issue, she initiates one when Tyke finds her after Stryker, Jr. reveals to Laura that footage of her trigger scent-induced rages on Murderworld had been released to the internet by Arcade, and essentially everyone in the world has now seen what she is.
Cool Old Guy: What she considers Gambit, even though he's no more than 15 years her senior.
X-23: Target X #5: The cover 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.
X-Force #18 (2009): The cover shows X-23 in a tank undergoing the process of her skeleton being laced with adamantium. Never happens.
X-Force #20 (2009): The cover shows the team (minus X-23 herself) being attacked by half a dozen X-23 clones. Not only are those clones non-existent, the team has minimal interaction with the original X-23 during the story, which is focused mainly on her.
All-New X-Men #20: On the cover, Laura is shown jumping into the time-displaced teenage Cyclops's arms to deliver a passionate kiss. Not only does the kiss never happen in the book, while the younger Scott does express an interest in her, Laura does not reciprocate.
Creepy Child: How Kiden Nixon, and frankly the rest of the group she falls in with, see her in NYX. Pretty much all of them use this exact description.
Since neither Zebra Daddy nor any of the other prostitutes he pimps for knows Laura's name, when one of her johns commits suicide and one of the girls reports it believing Laura murdered him, the only way she's able to identify her is as "Y'know, the creepy one."
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.
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.
Dark Is Not Evil: Gradually evolves into this. note Her personified soul— which may be the Enigma Force — takes the form of a humanoid sliver of night, and stars are a common motif for her. In particular, she reassures Jubilee that being a vampire does not automatically make her a predatory monster.
Death Seeker: Her constant cutting of her wrists as well as her agreement to take part in X-Force seems to confirm this. Made pretty obvious when she asks Jubilee to kill her if she succumbs to the trigger scent after tempting Jubilee with her blood 'just to see if she would kill her.
Her attack on Nimrod, which would have killed her if not for Hellion's unexpected intervention, also implies this.
Decoy Protagonist: Ironically, her origin book, Innocence Lost, is actually more about Sarah Kinney than it is Laura herself. Roughly the first half is focused mainly on Sarah's attempts to create a viable clone with hints of her own family issues, and while we're certainly shown in brutal detail how badly Laura was abused by Rice and Sutter, the focus is primarily on Sarah's reaction and growing disillusionment, and ultimate decision to free Laura from their control and destroy the project.
In her fight with Lady Deathstrike, Laura deliberately allowed the latter to severely injure her, as a means of getting close enough to cause critical damage to Deathstrike's cybernetic components.
During World War Hulk, Laura became one of the only people to actually slow down Hulk by deliberately allowing him to grab her, bringing her close enough to catch him by surprise with her foot claws and put put out his eyes. When Wolverine tried the same trick later, it was only because Hulk let him.
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.
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.
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.
Laura was the dog, and she delivers an epicNo-Holds-Barred Beatdown to Zander Rice as payback for the abuse he inflicted on her.
And she does it again to Zebra Daddy, her physically and emotionally abusive pimp, after he guns her down in the climax of NYX, not realizing she has a Healing Factor.
Driven to Suicide: The events of Target X finally pushes 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.
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 actually quite heartwarming. 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: In her one-shot comic, Laura says that she was effectively this during the time she spent as a prostitute. Earlier, the Facility actively attempted to make her this, by depriving her of emotional connections and subjecting her to horrific physical and emotional abuse to strip her of her humanity, and her thoughts during the crossover with Daken reveal that she had so little sense of self during her captivity that she truly didn't realize the things they did to her were even wrong. Sarah Kinney even believed they succeeded until Laura revealed Rice sent her to kill Martin Sutter and his family and that she chose to spare their son, proving that however severe the damage, she still held on to part of her humanity.
Extreme Doormat: As a result, 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:
While undergoing torture and experimentation by Malcolm Colcord's goons during her crossover with Daken, Laura muses that because she had been so beaten down, she genuinely didn't realize the way the Facility treated her was even wrong. This includes horrific amounts of physical and emotional abuse she was more than equipped to fight back against or escape.
Somehow she later fell under the control of Zebra Daddy, a violently abusive pimp who managed to force her into a life of prostitution and gain complete control over her. Even though she could tear him to shreds in seconds (and ultimately did once she got fed up with him) if she wanted.
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.
Hmm... a young, royally screwed up, super-powered, dark haired, teen girl who utilizes Waif-Fu? Applies equally to X-23 or River Tam.
Hanna is more or less what a real world version of X-23 would look like.
Face-Heel Turn: In a recent event for Marvel Avengers Alliance, Laura is captured by Apocalypse and turned into one of his Horsemen, War. At the end of the module, she and the other horsemen—Iceman (Death), Rogue (Famine) and Beast (Pestilence)—are defeated and rescued, to be restored to normal by S.H.I.E.L.D.
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. This is most egregious in Avengers Arena, where the writers give lipservice to her training and Awesomeness by Analysis, and still have her decide the best strategy for taking down Apex (who is controlling a Sentinel) is a direct frontal assault.
Even the trigger scent has been subject to this. Initially, the conditioning the Facility subjected Laura to resulted in her rages focusing specifically on whatever was marked by the scent. By the time her solo series and Avengers Arena rolled around, the scent was now sending her after everything in sight.
Forceful Kiss: Laura was on the receiving end from her (sort of) boyfriend Hellion in X-23 #19. She didn't enjoy it.
Generation Xerox: Just like her daddy, she had a reciprocated but incredibly complicated love for a powerful psychic mutant.
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.
Although canonically green, her eye color is still subject to Depending on the Artist: In her first appearance in New X-Men her eyes are brown, and the artists on All-New X-Men tend to color them blue.
Laura threatens one of these against Hellion when he's bullying her, extending her claws inches away from his crotch.
When she 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.
During a Fear Itself storyline, she gives Amadeus Cho a kick to the groin after he places her and several other young heroes in danger. He thanks her for not using her claws.
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, and 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. Is there any wonder she's so screwed up?
Her cousin Megan was victim to this as well, getting a front row seat as Laura tore her mother's boyfriend (actually a Facility agent) to shreds and slaughtered a hit-team sent to recover her. And then Kimura showed up and tortured her to punish Laura for escaping.
Hates Being Touched: Rarely ever initiates physical contact, even with people she likes. When Gambit puts his hand on her shoulder while she's having a Heroic BSOD, she instinctively lashes out with her claws. 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's a significant sign of character development when she seeks out O5 Cyclops for a hug after Stryker, Jr.'s revelation Arcade released the Murderworld footage to the world, threatening to send her into anotherHeroic BSOD.
Healing Factor: Hers is even more powerful than Wolverine's, since she only has adamantium in her claws rather than her whole skeleton, and Logan's is slowed by constantly having to fight adamantium poisoning. 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 that her ability to heal can naturally fluctuate due to both her emotional state and youth. 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.
Hellbent For Leather: Her first appearance was decked out in a full black combat suit, and this is her typical look, usually ditching the jacket for sports bra and tights. When offered to pick out clothes she was enthusiastic for a leather corset, skirt, belt and boots.
Heroic BSOD: Laura is constantly slipping in and out of these. When first introduced in NYX she's virtually mute, and in her first few panels she seems as if she's barely aware of what's going on around her. Then we learn in Innocence Lost and Target: X just whatput her into that state. In fact, in the latter book she's broken so completely she's gone outright Death Seeker, intending to kill Logan and herself. She goes into another in the third arc of her solo series when she accidentally attacks Gambit, and spends the rest of the day and well into the night curled up in bed staring at her claws with Gambit sitting vigil over her. By the time she turns up in All-New X-Men she's in yet another one, due to the 1-2 punch of what happened to her on Murderworld and shortly after being captured and tortured by the Purifiers, leaving her wandering the streets of Miami in an amnesiac state.
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.
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.
Takes it again in All-New X-Men #26. Despite her enhanced senses, Laura completely fails to recognize that the Teen!Scott she runs across in Canada is actually Raze, the shape-shifter future son of Logan and Mystique. This despite it being established that shape-shifters like Mystique can't alter their scent. It ends up getting her stabbed in the gut by Raze, who then takes her place as part of the Future!Brotherhood's plan to infiltrate and attack Cyclops's base in #27.
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 and sports bra.
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.
Journey to Find Oneself: The overarching plot of her solo series 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.
Junior Counterpart: To her father, Wolverine. She's got all the same powers, but is a lot more prone to charging in than he is, due to being raised as a weapon since birth, and because she is just younger.
I Just Want to Be Normal: She would like to be, but doesn't really know how. During her time with the New X-Men, she was about as close as possible for any X-Man to be. She was actually going to school with other kids her own age for a short time.
Heavily foreshadowed in her origin story when her mother would read her Pinocchio.
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, such as honestly telling Surge about Prodigy having his heart ripped out in Limbo (he got better, and it's implied Nori went to her when the others were evasive precisely because of this). Or after reuniting with Dust (a Muslim who practices hijab) during Avengers Academy, she tells her she "smells healthy," after which Sooraya admonishes her that it's impolite to tell someone how they smell. Laura, of course, saw no problem with it since it was the only way she had to "see" her in public, and for her part Sooraya admits to having missed her.
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.
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.
It's Not You, It's My Enemies: She was developing a good relationship with her maternal aunt and cousin, 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.
Kick the Dog: She is the dog. Any sympathy we might have for toddler Zander Rice after Wolverine kills his father is pretty effectively squashed twenty or so years later the moment he shoves Laura into a radiation chamber to forcibly activate her Healing Factor.
Kick the Son of a Bitch: Rice's ordering Laura to kill Sutter was certainly meant to be a sign of the flying leap he took off the slippery slope, but when you consider his Jerk AssCorrupt Corporate Executive behavior, and his allowing and enabling (if not supporting) the horrific amount of abuse and torture heaped on her, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone that didn't think he really deserved it when Laura killed him.
Late-Arrival Spoiler: When NYX was originally released, Laura was unknown in the comics and had thus far only appeared in two episodes of X-Men: Evolution, making it a legitimate surprise when she is revealed as the identity of the prostitute who appears in issue #3. Now, that NYX was her comics debut is about the only thing anyone actually remembers about the series. The trade paperback collection even plasters her quite prominently right on the cover, even though Kiden Nixon is the main character and the number of times Laura actually has lines can be counted on one hand (though she does ultimately drive the plot in the second half of the story).
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.
Cannonball even states to Logan, "Not even you could take us all out." She does, and later pulls a Batman Gambit to be captured by HYDRA before making everyone think she died destroying them.
Loss of Identity: Her entire childhood was essentially engineered for the purpose of dehumanizing her. It took several years of forced prostitution before she even realized that she had opinions or consciously wanted to express them.
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. Despite the ethics of the project, Sarah's interest was purely For Science!, directly likening the idea of cloning a mutant, when mainstream science had only just cracked cloning sheep and cats, 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 (explained by some writers as Sarah using her own DNA to stabilize the sample taken from Wolverine), and it's made quite clear Laura is intended to be a quite beautiful young woman.
Meaningful Name: Her name derives from 'laurel tree', which is a symbol of victory.
Mix And Match Girl: Some stories have attempted to justify Laura's resemblance to Sarah Kinney as being the result of Kinney using her own DNA to stabilize the damaged DNA sample from Wolverine, since the two would otherwise be unrelated despite Sarah carrying her to term.
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.
More Deadly Than The Male: Being the Opposite-Sex Clone of Wolverine makes this even more noticeable, considering Logan's already one of the top Bad Asses in the MU. While Laura's height in relation to Wolverine varies, she's consistently depicted as a slender (or at her heaviest athletic) teenage girl. She's also faster than him (not weighed down by 100lbs of adamantium), heals more quickly (her Healing Factor is not impacted by a full adamantium skeleton like Logan's), was raised from birth to be a living weapon, has extensive espionage and black ops training, was a professional assassin with the body count into the hundreds before she was thirteen, and every time she walks into a room she's already figured out several dozen ways to kill everyone inside it. And she's one of the top martial artists in the 616 'verse and may be an even better fighter than Logan. And that's not even getting into comparing her to her other teammates.
Ms. Fanservice: You wouldn't think so, until you look at the way she dresses.
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 affects on her, and is deeply traumatized when Rice uses it to force her to kill her sensei (after which Laura is shown to begin cutting herself with her claws) and mother. Most recently, the revelation by Stryker, Jr. that Arcade posted footage of Murderworld, particularly her trigger scent-fueled rages, to the internet put her crashing hard into a Heroic BSOD upon learning the whole world has seen her in that state.
My Greatest Failure: Laura continues to be haunted with guilt and remorse over killing her mother in a trigger scent-fueled rage during her escape from the Facility, 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. The illusion is shattered when the "Sarah" calls her "X-23," but it's still enough to drive the normally stoic Laura to tears.
Mysterious Waif: Plays this role in her comics debut, NYX. Though she doesn't appear until halfway through the series she ultimately drives the plot, as the remainder of the book focuses on Kiden's group dealing with her pimp's (who conveniently also gunned down Kiden's father in front of her when she was a child) efforts to recover her. Nothing at all is revealed about her background prior to becoming a Street Walker, she goes unnamed within the story, and all we learn about her is that she is a weird girl with a Healing Factor and Wolverine Claws. May also count as Deus ex Machina.
Natural Weapon: As with Logan, Laura's claws are bone beneath the adamantium. In fact, Laura has had her claws since birth, and the nubs can be seen poking out of her hands immediately after Rice performs her delivery in Innocence Lost. When Kimura later cuts off her arm in X-Force while torturing her, Laura makes a point of recovering the claws so they can be re-implanted in place of the natural bone claws she will have when her arm grows back.
No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Delivers a brutal one to Zander Rice at the end of Innocence Lost. Yes, she could have easily killed him with her claws, but after disabling his gun, she put them away to beat the crap out of him in return for everything he's done. Her mother just gave her a mission to kill him. Laura pummeling him for about nine minutesnote Based on Laura's mission timer. Her fight with Rice begins at about 11:00 on the clock, and ends at about 01:00 straight? Payback.
No Name Given: In her very first book appearance, NYX, Laura goes completely unnamed within the story. Invoked in-universe, as well: She's not given her "real" name, Laura, until Sarah names her in the last pages of Innocence Lost #6. This means she doesn't receive a name other than her Facility designation until she's thirteen years old.
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) 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.
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.
Cyclops and S.H.I.E.L.D. get this with the Facility. 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.
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 Girl 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.
Overshadowed by Awesome: In the crossover with Guardians of the Galaxy during the "Trial of Jean Grey". Laura ends up with nothing to do because everything she could do to help out ends up getting done by either Gamora or Angela. Particularly sneaking aboard the ship which the team later uses to infiltrate the Shi'ar homeworld for their attempt to rescue Jean Grey, which is right in line with her assassin/black ops training and skill set (whereas Angela just makes a bloody mess securing it). Her tracking abilities end up going to waste because the team is attacked by Gladiator the moment they set foot on the surface, and Jean has already escaped and comes to them. Adding insult to injury, Quill even makes a remark about not realizing she had even tagged along in the first place.
Although she certainly has innocent blood on her hands from her time as an assassin, and her services were contracted by some very bad people (including the Kingpin, Doctor Doom, and Red Skull), many of Laura's targets were themselves bad people, including dictators, drug czars, gangsters and the serial killer who abducted her cousin.
Crossing over with Kick the Son of a Bitch, her killing of Martin Sutter. While Sutter himself may not have had a direct hand in abusing and torturing her, he certainly enabled Rice to do so. Regardless of his motives, Rice sending her to kill him still resulted in a good bit of Karmic Justice.
When her mother finally got fed up with the abuse Laura was subject to, this was the result of sending her to destroy the Facility.
After escaping and joining the X-Men, this was often Laura's role on the team. Much like Wolverine, if there was an enemy who needed to be killed or tortured, Laura was almost certainly going to be the one to get her hands dirty. Taken a step further when Cyclops recruited her for X-Force, an entire team (including her father) built around the premise of paying evil unto evil.
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.
Please Wake Up / Please Don't Leave Me: At the end of Innocence Lost, X23 kills her mother in a chemically-induced berserker rage, just as they destroy and escape the Facility that bred her. As Sarah Kinney dies and tells Laura that she loves her, for a moment she stops being a weapon and is just a little girl again, hopelessly begging, "please don't leave me," even after it's clear that Sarah has already died from her wounds.
Cyx-23 has also been thrown about for the shipteasing between Laura and Teen!Scott in All-New X-Men.
And now Larren for the Laura/Teen!Warren tease in the same series.
Power Creep, Power Seep: The nature of the trigger scent has become subject to this. As a child, Laura was conditioned (read: tortured) into entering a berserk rage whenever she smelled a particular scent, which would make her black out and tear apart whatever was marked with it. It served two purposes: Not only did it allow her creators a measure of control over her in the event she attempted to refuse to kill a target, but her berserk state also made her an even more deadly fighter. Usually it was reserved for high-value targets or otherwise special (such as the gangster Fade). By the time of Avengers Arena, the scent is now driving her into a state in which she'll kill everything around her, whether they're specifically marked or not.
The Power of Friendship: This is how she overcame the trigger scent in X-23# 12, something she's never been able to do on her own.
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.
The Quiet One: In her origin book, Innocence Lost, she has a few lines of dialogue in Japanese with her sensei, but otherwise doesn't speak until the very end of the book. This may be an artifact of Laura being a Decoy Protagonist, as the book is arguably about her mother. Target: X seems to support this interpretation, as she speaks a lot more during the Facility flashbacks in this book, and is fairly talkative (if showing signs of her emotional damage) with Megan and Debbie. However she's virtually mute by the time of NYX (possibly because of the severe emotional trauma of the prior two books, especially the latter), and the number of pages (if not panels) where she has dialogue can be counted on one hand. She starts to get better once she joins the X-Men, but still tends towards being less inclined to speak, or at least at length, than other characters.
Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: She's most commonly drawn with fair skin and black hair (particularly during her solo series). When Miss Sinister/Claudine Renko decides to steal her body because of its Healing Factor, she expresses satisfaction that she'll also be getting a very attractive new body as an added bonus. Later on, while masquerading as a waitress to get close to an agent of Malcolm Colcord, one of the other employees at the diner comments on how hot the "new girl" is.
Red Eyes, Take Warning: It means she's affected by trigger scent and you might want to do more than just "take warning." During her most recent episode in Paris, her eyes were actually glowing.
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.
Self-Made Orphan: Not by her choice. She ended up killing her mother due to the Trigger Scent put on her.
It was revealed in a recent flashback that Wolverine officially adopted her as his daughter.
Sex Goddess: During her time as a hooker, she was said to be "the best at what she does".
She-Fu: Laura's fighting style is fairly consistently depicted as highly acrobatic, using large numbers of flips, handstands and cartwheels to bring her foot claws into play and to avoid being struck. Since only her claws are laced with adamantium, her body is much less durable than Logan's, and 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. As revealed by All-New X-Men and Word of God, Murderworld (and Stryker, Jr.'s revelation that footage of her in a trigger scent-fueled rage has been posted to the internet, revealing to the whole world what she is) was the point at which everything has finally built up beyond her ability to cope with it and pushed her over the edge.
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.
Shoot the Dog: Forced to do this literally by the Facility as part of her Break the CutieTraining 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: During her time as a prostitute as seen in NYX, Laura was called the best at what she does. This is part of Wolverine's catch phrase, though he uses it in a slightly different context.
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.
The Sociopath: Zander Rice can be this depending on your interpretation. Considering the fact that he remorselessly subjected a young girl to horrific experiments, and had Martin Sutter; his adoptive father who practically raised him half his life, killed, even after giving the latter a heartfelt remark that he didn't want to lose him, it is quite likely that Rice simply used the death of his real father to justify his actions.
The Soulless: In The Killing Dream, a demon attempting to recruit Laura to his service 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.
Spanner in the Works: Laura was this for Stryker's machinations in preparing to attack the school in New X-Men: Childhood's End Vol. 2. Using knowledge of the future provided by Nimrod, Stryker learned that Wallflower and Dust would both be key to defeating him, so made arrangements to have both killed prior to the attack. He succeeded with Laurie, but suspicious of Jay's invitation for Dust to meet him the night of the attack, Laura took her place and was gunned down instead when the invitation turned into an ambush. In the end, Sooraya played only a limited role in the defense of the school and it was Laura's arrival (which Stryker, and possibly even Nimrod, hadn't anticipated) as reinforcements during the attack and her slaughter of the Purifiers which led to Stryker's defeat.
Spock Speak: Laura has a very rigid, measured way of talking; among other things, she doesn't use slang words and only uses contractions when very agitated.
Street Walker: Laura in the largely forgotten NYX series, although she's a "specialist" who uses her claws to cut masochistic clients. This isn't mentioned often in her recent history, coming up in her 2010 one-shot and a couple issues of her solo series.
Stopped Caring: Much of her training went towards invoking this trope- teaching her not to act like an emotional or independent being.
Hers are better, or better trained. She could smell a man was lying about killing Wolfsbane when Logan couldn't (not that he believed her). Since their enhanced senses are a byproduct of their Healing Factor, this may be because Laura's is more powerful.
There Are No Therapists: Laura's a very emotionally damaged young girl, yet no one seems to consider she might be in need of professional counseling.
"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.
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. Also put to good use in her hooker days.
Trauma-Induced Amnesia: Sometime between being rescued by Logan and S.H.I.E.L.D. from Murderworld, and resurfacing being pursued by Purifiers in All-New X-Men #19, Laura has temporarily lost all memory of who she is, or that she's even a mutant. She comes out of it after being rescued from the latter by Kitty and the O5, and recovering in Cyclops's base.
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.
Unlimited Wardrobe: It seems as though she has so many short tank tops and skinny jeans that sometimes she doesn't even need a uniform. The way her foot claws work means she must have a ton of shoes stashed somewhere too.
Used to Be a Sweet Kid: The entire plot of The Killing Dream, the first arc of her solo series, revolves around an apparition that may be the Enigma Force showing Laura that she wasn't born an emotionless killing machine, but that the Facility consciously destroyed her innocence to help her throw off the demon attempting to recruit her to his service. That she's inherently a good person despite the evil she's done is critical in helping her do so. Innocence Lost actually shows what was done to her, as well as small glimpses of the sweet and innocent child she was before the Facility tried to break her. Much of Laura's life after escaping the facility is spent trying to repair the damage that was done to her.
However the dates and timelines of her miniseries appearances do support an age of 13 when she escapes the Facility, 14-15 during her time with Megan and Debbie, roughly 15-16 during NYX, and about 17 by the time she joins the main X-books.
X-23: You were dead the second you touched Julian Keller.
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 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.
What Is This Thing You Call Love?: Laura was brought up as an assassin and only her mother and sensei showed her any compassion or kindness during her childhood. But nobody ever told her about boys. As a result, she has no clue what's going on when she finds herself attracted to Hellion.
She does, however, understand sexuality due to her time as a prostitute. Additionally, Laura shows signs of loving her aunt and cousin when she stays with them, and her reaction to her mother's death also suggests that she did love her as well. It may then be less a case of Laura not knowing what love is, but that her only prior experiences with it have either been very unhealthy (during her time as a prostitute) or closely associated with pain and loss (her mother, cousin and aunt).
Will They or Won't They?: With Hellion, since both are initially unable to deal with their growing attraction to each other.
At least as of the end of her solo series, they won't.
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.
She really fits the trope now, showing up in multiple books (Her own ongoing, Avengers Academy and Venom).
The Worf Effect: Arguably the most dangerous of the teens kidnapped by Arcade in Avengers Arena, and would seem to be the best-equipped to survive his Murder World: Laura has extensive combat training and years of experience as an assassin; the same heightened senses, speed and reflexes as Wolverine; none of the teens (except perhaps Mettle) can resist her adamantium-laced claws; she is highly adept at tracking prey and incredibly stealthy; her Healing Factor allows her to recover very quickly from injuries that would seriously limit the others' ability to survive, if not kill them outright; and her conditioning by the Facility has her brain constantly and automatically analyzing her surroundings and planning how best to kill everyone around her. So of course she very quickly gets her ass handed to her the first time she confronts Apex after grabbing the Idiot Ball heading into the fight.
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.
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 Laura's upcoming appearance 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.
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.
You Are Number Six: 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). When Emma Frost tried to drive Laura away from the school with a projection of her slain mother, the "ghost" calling her X-23 tipped off Laura to what was really happening, as Sarah would never have called her by that designation. By contrast, Kimura always refers to her as X-23, which is done deliberately to dehumanize and belittle her.
Younger than They Look: Surprisingly averted for someone with a clone background. She was never artificially aged and instead had a normal growth pattern.