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The 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, a.k.a. 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 Dark Horse 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 after several attempts at a direct clone 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 create the female clone of Weapon X was successful, thus X-23. For years, she was thought to be a clone of Logan, but it was eventually revealed Sarah used some of her own DNA to complete the damaged sample, making X-23 Logan's biological daughter.

She grew up being trained to be an assassin, so that the Facility could sell her talents to the highest bidder. X-23 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.

She made her live-action debut in Logan, the third Wolverine-focused movie in the X-Men film series, portrayed by Dafne Keen. For tropes specific to her movie incarnation, see this page.

Notable Comics Appearances

Appearances In Other Media

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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.

     X-23: Target X

The second miniseries by Christopher Yost and Craig Kyle, Target X was a 6-issue series running from March to June 2005. It served as Part 2 of her origin story, continuing the story of Laura's escape that began in Innocence Lost.

Unlike the former series, Target X brings Laura much more into contact with the larger Marvel universe. Wolverine, Daredevil, and Captain America all play significant roles; indeed her interrogation by the latter two forms a framing story for the rest of the story. It also retcons Laura's first introduction to Logan, showing her meeting him under completely different circumstances than their encounter with Claremont's Uncanny X-Men, while also skirting around her appearance in NYX.

  • An Arm and a Leg: Kimura handcuffs Laura with adamantium cuffs, intending to force her to watch while she tortures Megan to death. Laura cuts off her own hand to escape.
  • Arrow Catch: Kimura tries to shoot Megan with a crossbow in the climax of her attack on the Kinney household. Laura snatches the bolt out of the air just as it leaves the bow. More impressive: She did it from her back after Kimura had just broken her neck.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Laura pulls this off on a helicopter pilot in flight. From the ground.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Laura thought she could safely go to ground with her family. Too bad the Facility had an agent planted with them even before she turned up at their door for just such an eventuality. In the end, the only way she could protect them was to send them into hiding and go on the run again, leading to nearly two years of misery as a homeless prostitute.
  • Cassandra Truth: Because Sarah covered up her kidnapping in Innocence Lost, no one believed Megan's story about him, or of her rescuer (Laura herself). This is a substantial part of what led to her troubles with her mother and in school, as they all thought she was simply making it up. Laura assuring her it did happen helps bring her comfort, and straighten up Megan's relationship with her mother.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Megan awakens from a nightmare/flashback of her kidnapper with this trope.
  • Codename Title: Codenamed for being Sarah's 23rd attempt to create a female clone, a.k.a having the X chromosome instead of a male / Y chromosome)
  • 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.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Laura hits one at the end. 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.
  • Dysfunction Junction: This is the state of Megan and Debbie when Laura first arrives at their house. Megan is troubled and still suffering severed PTSD over the trauma of her kidnapping, Debbie is struggling to help her as best she can, and her boyfriend, Desmond, is generally apathetic.
  • 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, 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.
  • Fast-Roping: The first Facility troops to respond to Laura's escape are delivered in this method by helicopter in the woods outside the bunker.
  • Framing Device: The story is told in flashback, with the events depicted being what Laura reveals under interrogation to Captain America and Daredevil.
  • Hair-Trigger Avalanche: After being cornered by Kimura during her escape from the Facility bunker, Laura grabs a gun from Kimura's belt. Kimura mocks her by reminding her that she's indestructible. Laura simply responds, "I know," before aiming off to the side and firing to trigger an avalanche.
  • Hellish Copter: Laura shoots down a helicopter gunship pursuing her through the woods outside the Facility's capping the pilot from the ground with a perfect headshot.
  • Immediate Sequel: Partly: Target X fills in a few gaps in Laura's training and conditioning by the Facility, before picking up immediately after Sarah's death.
  • Interrogation Flashback: As noted above, Cap and Daredevil's interrogation serves as a Framing Device while most of the story are flashbacks as Laura relates their past to them.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: She was developing a good relationship with her 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.
  • It's Raining Men: The Facility attempts to cut off Laura's escape by Fast-Roping soldiers into the woods from a helicopter gunship.
  • Meaningful Rename: At one point Captain America asks Laura during her interrogation if she is X-23. She tells him no. Daredevil, who Steve brought in to act as a Living Lie Detector, ascertains she's telling the truth. It's a very subtle moment, but one which establishes Laura has decided that she truly is Laura Kinney, not X-23.
  • Mob War: 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.
  • Mook Horror Show: Laura subjects some Facility goons to one when they attack the Kinney household; she sends Megan and Debbie into the basement and turns on the sprinkler system to mask them from thermal goggles. She then stalks through the house picking off mooks one by one. She's only stopped when Kimura herself intervenes and breaks her neck.
  • Murder-Suicide: Laura intends to kill Logan and then herself to put a permanent end to the Weapon X project, but Logan talks her down.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • A student who harasses Megan in the hallway has a shirt which reads NYX.
    • Laura and Megan attend a Dazzler concert during their day out after getting suspended.
  • Neck Snap: Kimura snaps Laura's neck like a twig when she attacks the Kinney household in Target X, then unceremoniously dumps her body down the basement stairs to menace Megan and Debbie. Laura survives because of her Healing Factor.
  • Perp Sweating: Done by Cap while questioning Laura about her identity, and ascertaining that she is, indeed, X-23.
  • Pinned to the Wall: Kimura pins Laura to a tree with a crossbow bolt during her escape from the Facility.
  • Retcon: In Uncanny X-Men, Laura first meets Logan when her killing of some men who attacked a woman she was protecting draws the X-Men's attention. He, Nightcrawler, and Rachel track her to a restaurant, and it's implied Logan had never even heard of her before then. However Target X reveals that Sarah sent Logan a copy of her letter in case something happened to her, and that they first meet alone when she tries to kill him. New X-Men further refines the story by suggesting their encounter in Uncanny was a show for the others.
  • Rain of Blood: This is what tips Cap off that he let Johnson's killer escape: As he's consulting with a grunt on the killings he notices blood dribbling from between the rear doors of the ambulance where he just left the only "survivor" of the attack. He opens the door to reveal the inside of the ambulance covered in blood, and the two EMTs dead inside.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Megan's room is plastered with pictures she drew of her kidnapper, revealing just how deeply affected she is by the trauma. There's also a few of Laura, as well.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Skipping School: Laura and Megan in Target 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.
  • Speech Bubbles: While everyone else has the traditional white bubbles, Fade's bubbles are in a very light green to set them apart.
  • The Stakeout: Laura does this twice:
    • The first is when she observes Debbie's family before revealing herself, which she does for nearly a month.
    • She does it later with Logan, however a freak shift in the wind she couldn't account for tipped him off, and led him to lure her away from the school where he could confront her with less risk of collateral damage.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Laura cuts a gas line and blows up Megan and Debbie's house with Kimura (and possibly herself) inside it. Kimura obviously survives because of her indestructibility, while Laura uses it to help Megan and Debbie escape, masking it with a gas explosion.
  • Super Hero Origin: Target X serves as the second half of Laura's origin, depicting the immediate aftermath of her escape from the Facility, and the loss of the last of her family.
  • What Are You:
    • A part of Cap and Daredevil's interrogation of Laura hinges on this question.
    • Fade asks her this when she's set off by the trigger scent, and is able to track him even after he becomes invisible.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: While Logan is mentioned by Captain America and Daredevil throughout their interrogation of Laura, the last we actually see of him is when S.H.I.E.L.D. attacks him while trying to convince Laura to join him at the Xavier School. That he's not there raising hell with Steve over the matter is quite jarring.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Target: X reveals that this was Laura's exit strategy for her first assassination detailed in Innocence Lost. 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.

     Volume Two (One-Shot) and Three

Both written by Marjorie Liu, X-23 ran for 21 issues from November, 2010, through May 2012. This series followed Laura on a journey of self-discovery in the aftermath of Second Coming and her stint on X-Force. Confused as to her purpose when Wolverine removes her from the team so she can finally try to heal from her dark past, Laura decides there are too many voices all telling her what to be, so leaves Utopia to find her own answers.

Although not part of this series, Liu also wrote a one-shot story featuring Laura released in May, 2010 which nonetheless was closely connected thematically. It finds Laura reuniting with Kiden Nixon, and fighting the influence of the Gamesmaster, who has decided to take up residence in her head.

Both stories are generally well-regarded, and did a great deal to advance and develop Laura as a character, particularly by expanding her beyond the influence of her creators, Christopher Yost and Craig Kyle. Liu's series codified many aspects of Laura's personality for readers, and this book is often now considered the standard by which other writers are compared. This has led to some fracturing of the fanbase over what Laura should read like, (particularly Liu's Spock Speak versus more naturalistic speech patterns) as well as mixed reactions once word of Liu's Creator Breakdown came out, leading to questions of whether she allowed her personal issues to affect the final few stories of the series.

  • Aborted Arc: Because of the series' cancellation, there were several plot threads that have since been abandoned and not been revisited in other series. In particular the Hooded Woman from the Madripoor and Paris arcs, and Laura's destiny as heir to the Enigma Force.
  • 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.
  • Author Tract: After Liu revealed she was undergoing something of a Creator Breakdown towards the end of the series, many readers began to reexamine the final arcs, particularly "Misadventures in Babysitting" and question whether it had become this.
  • Asshole Victim: In issue #4 of volume 3, she meets a young girl who's forced to lure Laura into a trap. Laura, mistakenly believing the girl is a prostitute trying to recruit her for a pimp, doesn't fall for it. Instead she tries to help the girl, who flees instead. When Laura catches up she finds the girl has already been killed by her handler as punishment for the failure. She kills him in retaliation, and no tears were shed for him.
  • 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.
  • Bar Brawl: Laura and Jubilee get into one with some of Zebra Daddy's ex-thugs while at a nightclub. It doesn't go well for the gangsters.
  • 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.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Julian attempts one in issue 19 of the Liu series. Once things are sorted with the Richards kids, he grabs Laura and pulls her into a kiss, believing it's going to smooth over the problems they had up to that point and lead to a Relationship Upgrade. And then she shoots him down, and they've not spoken since.note 
  • 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 (also by Liu, and preceding the ongoing series). 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.
    • When Logan intercepts Laura before she could run away during "Touching Darkness," he assures her that it's really him and not the demon that was using him as a Meat Puppet in the first arc.
  • Collector of the Strange: The Collector himself appears in "Misadventures in Babysitting." Apparently he considered Laura's adamantium claws quite the prize.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • "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.
    • Both the one-shot and ongoing reference NYX, with Kiden and her gang appearing in the former, while Laura runs afoul of former members of Zebra Daddy's gang in the latter.
  • Covers Always Lie: Issue 19's cover has Laura and Hellion entwined in a passionate embrace and leaning in for a Big Damn Kiss. While the issue does feature them sharing a kiss, it's a Forceful Kiss instigated by Julian, and rather than returning his affection she summarily ends their frielationship.
  • 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:
    • 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.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • 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.
  • Enemy Mine: After Colcord double-crosses Daken, Daken decides to turn Laura loose, and they work together to shut down his Madripoor operation.
  • Enemy Without: In the final issue of the Liu series, Laura is made to fight her own personified inner darkness by an Indian shaman.
  • Emotion Bomb: The Hooded Woman during "Touching Darkness" is experimenting with the trigger scent, and seeks to develop a version that will work on anyone. She tests in in Paris, and manages to send both Laura, and a large part of the populace into a violent rage.
  • Epiphanic Prison: Hellverine puts Laura through one during "The Killing Dream." It's unclear whether the prison is Hell or her own mind.
  • "Everybody Helps Out" Denouement: At the end of one issue of her titular series, X-23 and her telekinetic friend clean up the rubble left behind by a dragon attack. Both are relieved when they finish before the parents she's babysitting for return.
  • Exposed to the Elements: Laura strips down naked while running with the wolf pack in the final issue of the Liu series, even thought it's snowing, and there's already a good couple inches on the ground.
  • Fanservice:
    • 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 fetish for many readers.
    • Laura spends much of the last issue of the Liu series nude as part of a Vision Quest.
  • 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.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Laura and her Enemy Without in the final issue duke it out starkers in the middle of a snowfall as part of her Vision Quest.
  • 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.
  • Girl's 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. Laura runs across one of Zebra Daddy's former thugs, and learns that the remains of his gang is still trafficking women. She takes it upon herself to free the girls.
  • 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.
  • Human Weapon: Colcord's workshop in Madripoor is dedicated to churning these out.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Logan and Jubilee do this with Laura during "Touching Darkness," while she's under the effects of the trigger scent. It mostly relies on them absorbing the punishment she can dish out until they're able to reach her.
  • Journey to Find Oneself: The overarching plot of the ongoing 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: Daken stirs one up in Madripoor as part of his plot to gain control of the island from Tyger Tiger, pitting several lesser bosses against one another in a fight to the death.
  • 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.
  • Noble Wolf: Laura encounters a wolf pack in the final issue of the Liu series. After running with them for a time they lead her to the pack leader, a great white wolf that transforms into an Indian shaman, and kicks off a battle with Laura's Enemy Without.
  • No-Dialogue Episode: The entire last issue of the Liu series is told strictly visually, with no dialogue by Laura.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Cyclops gets 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.
  • Or Was It a Dream?: The final issue of the Liu series opens with Laura sleeping naked and surrounded by wolves. When she awakens again, she's fully clothed and alone. Later in the issue she's crashing at a trailer park after giving one of the locals a lift when she's awakened by the howling of wolves outside. Laura follows them, and comes across the same pack of all-black wolves from her dream. She chases after them, eventually stripping naked, which ultimately leads to a battle with her Enemy Without. At its conclusion she snaps out of the vision and finds herself naked in the snow, while the trailer park residents are out looking for her. Whether the incident with the wolves actually happened, or was all just in her mind, is left ambiguous.
  • 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.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: The book intends the reader to side with Laura over Hellion during their final fight in "Misadventures In Babysitting." While Julian certainly did lose his temper with her and say some hurtful things, however the book ignores the fact that Laura also treated Julian very badly throughout the arc; She brushed him off when he just tried to talk to her about his Heroic BSoD at the beginning of the arc, stonewalled him when he just needed her friendship while trying to cope, and generally treated him like The Load while trying to rescue the Richards kids from the Collector.
  • "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.
    • Julian lays one on Laura in issue 19, after she rejects him. Angry over the way she has brushed him off for the entire "Misadventures in Babysitting" story, he finally loses his temper and accuses her of really not having feelings after all. Laura responds that she does, she just doesn't feel anything for him.
  • Rescue Romance: Although they never get past Will They or Won't They?, Laura's infatuation with Hellion begins after he saves her life during the fight against Nimrod.
  • Retail Therapy: Jubilee attempts this on Laura in Paris, taking her shopping at very high-end fashion boutiques in hopes of getting her to lighten up. It largely fails, as Laura is a bit bemused by the experience, and isn't particularly fond of the bright, fashionable dresses Jubes picks out for her.
  • Retcon: As noted above, the Liu series retconned Laura's sparing of Henry Sutter. Prior to this series, Laura was established to have never failed to complete an assignment. However in "Chaos Theory" Laura goes to confront a child whose parents she murdered, and was supposed to kill him as well. Rather than Henry Sutter, however, Liu instead introduces another individual entirely, as well as establishing that there were even more cases where she refused to carry out her orders.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue: During "Girls' Night Out" Laura encounters one of Zebra Daddy's old friends, who took over a chunk of his empire following his death in NYX. After inflicting a Groin Attack when they guy gets mouthy about Laura's past, she drags Jubilee along on a rescue mission to liberate the trafficked girls. We don't actually see much of the fight, aside from Laura taking a Menacing Stroll among a few crumpled bodies, but it's highly unlikely the gang gave up their merchandise quietly...
  • Ruthless Modern Pirates: Laura and Gambit run afoul of a band while on their way to Madripoor, with Gambit getting dumped into a Shark Pool for their trouble.
  • Send in the Clones: 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.
  • Shark Pool: Gambit gets tossed into one in Madripoor. Laura dives in to get him out, even though she has trouble swimming.
  • Sheathe Your Sword: How Laura defeats her Enemy Without in the final issue of the Liu series; rather than giving in to her killer instincts when she begins to lose their fight, she sheathes her claws and reconciles with her darker side.
  • 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:
    • The Hooded Woman quotes Hunter S. Thompson during the "Touching Darkness" arc of the Liu series to cryptically hint that the two are somehow connected.
      "As you were, I was. As I am, you will be."
    • One story arc is called "Misadventures In Babysitting."
  • Stuff Blowing Up:
    • Hellverine blows up a homeless shelter as part of his gambit to seduce Laura into serving him during "The Killing Dream."
    • Claudine's lab gets blown up by Laura and Gambit after critically damaging some equipment.
    • Laura and Daken blow up Colcord's lab in Madripoor to put an end to his experiments.
  • Small-Town Tyrant: Claudine Renko is in control of the local police around the town where her operation is set up, and uses them to bring Laura and Gambit to her.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The "Chaos Theory" arc of the Liu ongoing opens with Laura seeking out the son of one of her victims, a boy she was ordered to kill with the others but chose to spare...and who was not Henry Sutter.
  • 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.
  • Vision Quest: The final issue of Liu's series has elements of this, with Laura finding herself running with wolves, and fighting her own inner darkness.
  • Wham Episode: X-23 #6 features the return of Mr. Sinister, following his death at the end of Messiah Complex three years earlier.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The rest of the New X-Men (mainly Surge) gang up on Laura over her participation in X-Force in issue 1 of the Liu series. Hellion and Dust are the only ones who defend her.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Laura and Julian's tense frielationship comes to a head during "Misadventures in Babysitting." They don't, though Laura admits to Gambit she does still care for Julian.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Hellverine pulls one in the Liu series when Laura attacks him in the hospital knowing that he's not actually Logan. By chance, Hellion comes to visit her right after she skewers him, and Hellverine immediately plays it up to convince Julian that Laura isn't in her right mind.
  • 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.

    Volume Four

Written by Mariko Tamaki, a second volume of X-23 replaced All-New Wolverine as part of Marvel's Fresh Start relaunch. It launched in July, 2018, and sees Laura return to her roots to prevent anyone else from suffering as she had.

  • Air-Vent Passageway: The X-Assassin uses one to gain access to its target in issue 7
  • Arc Welding: Issue #8 ties All-New Wolverine into Innocence Lost by revealing Director Chandler was part of the original X-23 project, and in fact was involved in the development of the Trigger Scent. This also provides an explanation for how Alchemax gained access to Laura's genetic material to create the Sisters.
  • Birthday Episode: Issue 1 is set on Laura's birthday. Downplayed in that she doesn't tell anyone, even Gabby, because she thinks birthdays are meaningless. The two later get into an argument when Gabby announces she wants a birthday after the Cuckoos reveal that they have chosen the same day as a birthday for themselves.
  • Breather Episode: Issue 6 is a comedic one-shot story set between two much more serious arcs.
  • Car Cushion: Laura throws one of the mooks she and Gabby are base-jumping after into a car on the street in issue 1.
  • Car Fu: One of the goons Laura and Gabby fight in the opening scene of issue one picks up and smashes Gabby with a cement truck.
  • Clothing Damage: Laura's suit takes a beating over the course of the X-Assassin arc. By the end of issue 10 it's thoroughly shredded, and the only thing keeping the tattered bits from just falling off her entirely is the ratings system.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The Muramasa Shield for the "Orphans of X" arc of All-New Wolverine hangs on the wall of Laura's and Gabby's apartment in issues 1 and 5.
    • Laura has a carton of Twenty-Five With Chicken in her fridge.
    • Robert Chandler resurfaces in issue 8, and it's revealed he replaced his knees with animatronic prosthetics after Laura slashed them out in All-New Wolverine #6.
    • Several frames from Laura's first encounter with Gabby in All-New Wolverine #2 are used in issue 12.
  • Continuity Snarl: Several issues of this series have directly stated that Alchemax Genetics was responsible for Laura's creation, as well. While Chandler was retconned to have been part of the project, Alchemax itself has always been an independent entity from the Facility.
  • Consulting a Convicted Killer: While Laura was never a convicted killer, the trope is nonetheless in play in issue 7. The NYPD brings her on as a consultant in a serial murder case because of her expertise. She quickly puts her skills into play to identify the next victim, and puts herself and Gabby in a position to catch the killer.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Laura's cover as a gym coach in issue 6 would make Ms. Balbricker proud.
  • Easter Egg: Par for the course with Cabal's artwork, who sprinkles jokes and references throughout the first arc.
  • Fanservice: Laura's new costume is much more revealing than her Wolverine suit, baring her midriff, and incorporating a low scoop top that only avoids Impossibly-Low Neckline because of the translucent mesh sleeves.
  • Fastball Special: Gabby and the X-Assassin perform one in issue 10.
  • Funny Background Event: Par for the course in Cabal's artwork:
    • Issue 1 has bystanders taking selfies in front of the smashed car after the above-mentioned Car Cushion.
    • Issue 2: While the Cuckoos are hurrying to flee the school before their attack on Laura and Gabby, one of the background students is a cow. In an X-Men uniform. X-Cow continues to appear in the background (or sometimes foreground) of other panels at the school throughout the arc.
  • Grand Theft Me: The crux of the Cuckoos' plan in the first arc: implant Esme's consciousness in Gabby's body. Esme wants to use Cerebro to do this on a global scale.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The X-Assassin shows Gabby how to shut down all of its duplicates, and sacrifices itself to take out Chandler.
  • Modified Clone: Two story arcs center around attempts to duplicate Laura:
    • First, Robert Chandler returns creating the X-Assassins, genetic clones modified with the deliberate destruction of their Healing Factor, and further made into Cyborgs. These clones were designed to be disposable, allowing them to be terminated upon completion of a mission to prevent them from developing the same free will and sense of humanity that ultimately led to Laura's own escape.
    • In the final arc, Laura and Gabby discover that further cloning experiments has lead to the creation of X-23 turkeys.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Issue 1:
      • Paintings hanging on the walls of the Xavier School reference several classic X-Men comics covers, including the famous cover to X-Men #101, featuring the Jean Grey rising from the ocean as Phoenix.
      • Doubling with Shout-Out, Sophie's favorite actor was "Tyler Kirch," in reference to actor Taylor Kitsch. Kitsch was the first actor to play Gambit in the X-Men Film Series, appearing in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
      • Gabby has pictures hanging on her bedroom wall which reference covers to issues of All-New Wolverine.
    • Issue 2: Laura finds the box for Dr. Mark's fitness tracking gear in her office. It's labeled "Fit Fat Foom."note 
    • Issue 5: A 6-pack of beer in Laura's fridge is labeled that it belongs to Logan, and that he'll "Be Back Soon."
  • Noodle Incident: Gabby mentions in issue 3 that she feels like she's inside a washing machine again.
  • Offscreen Breakup: Although not explicitly stateded, Laura's interactions with Warren in the first arc strongly suggests that by the time the series starts their relationship is over.
  • Outside Ride: Issue 3 opens with Laura car surfing in an attempt to rescue Gabby from the Cuckoos.
  • Retcon: Although Innocence Lost implies it was Rice himself who developed the Trigger Scent, issue 8 of this series establishes that Robert Chandler was its designer.
  • Sequel Series: To All-New Wolverine, as it features the same supporting cast, and builds on its developments. Issue 1 begins with Laura hunting down people who've been performing genetic experimentation on mutants as a follow-up to the events of "Orphans of X," while issue 8 reveals that Robert Chandler is behind the X-Assassin.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Issue 1: Sophie Cuckoo's favorite actor was "Tyler Kirch."note 
    • Issue 2: Gabby suggests she and Laura should follow the Cuckoos' example by celebrating their birthday on the same day as Evan Rachel Wood.
    • Issue 4: The opening of The Brady Bunch is referenced at the beginning of the issue.
    • Issue 6: The title of the issue, and Gabby's code-name for the mission, is Operation Kindergarten Clone. Laura chastises her over the name, while Gabby continues making references to the movie by referencing Arnold's famous delivery of "It's not a tumor!"
  • Shown Their Work: When designing Laura's new suit for this volume, artist Mike Choi surveyed a number of women of Laura's age (late teens and early twenties) to determine what they would actually wear as superheroes. The end result is heavily inspired by Lululemon-style athletic wear.
  • Status Quo Is God: Laura has given up the Wolverine name and cowl, and is back to calling herself X-23. The Cuckoos have also given up their individual looks and are all back to being identical blondes. And the full Five-in-One returns when it's reveal that Esme and Sophie have been resurrected via cloned bodies.
  • We Have Reserves: Chandler's view of the X-Assassin project: They're designed to be disposable assassins that can be destroyed once their mission is completed. He sends a veritable army of them against Laura, and though she destroys quite a few of them even she can't contend with their sheer numbers.
  • Wham Shot:
    • Issue 1: Esme and Sophie Cuckoo are alive.
    • Issue 7: The X-Assassin is unmasked, revealing it to be a Cyborg clone of Laura.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Clone identity makes up a substantial part of the book's metaplot, with Laura musing on her humanity, and past as a Human Weapon. It goes even further with the X-Assassin, who is a Cyborg clone presumably with any trace of Laura's humanity removed.
  • Wolverine Wannabe: A given being she's Wolverine's Opposite-Sex Clone, who eventually served as a Legacy Character to her father. She has more extreme versions of Wolverine's powers, possessing two blades from the wrists and one from each of her feet, while her Healing Factor operates even faster since it's not slowed by an adamantium skeleton.