Warning: SPOILERS for X-23 #7
If fans thought the original Wolverine returning from the dead meant Marvel would be thinning the herd, they're dead wrong. Because the comics may have just introduced an entire new batch of Wolverine clones - with some Iron Man upgrades, to boot.
Logan's return also means that he's taking back his superhero moniker, leaving Wolverine's clone/biological daughter Laura Kinney to return to her original designation, X-23. And now, in Marvel's X-23 solo comic (where Laura and her clone/ward Gabby fight the villains of the world), the two discover assassins who appear to be from their same stock.
The issue begins innocently enough, with Gabby and Laura trying to figure out who is killing a list of genetic scientists. No one knows why these experts are being targeted, but they are nevertheless being taken down by highly skilled assassins. By posing as a potential victim, Laura and Gabby are able to trap the high-tech killer. At first, it seems to be an assassin in a tech-suit (Iron Man style), or perhaps an android of some kind, but Laura pulls off the mask to reveal... another clone, made from the same genetic material as both she and Gabby.
Obviously, it's a frightening moment for both Laura and Gabby, realizing the genetic program that created Gabby and her ill-fated sisters isn't as 'finished' as they thought. Not only have they continued to create weaponized clones, but may have succeeded with at least one. Of course, the bigger question becomes... is this assassin a one-off, or one of a new army of Wolverine-DNA-packing-women?
Presumably, we'll find out exactly what's going on with Logan and X-23's genetic material over the next few issues, but for now, we can assume that this latest Wolverine clone isn't going to become another regular face in the series like Gabby. At least, we hope, because what would be the point in thinning the Wolverine-family herd just to start bulking it out again instantly? It's much more likely that this is going to present a moral conundrum for Laura and Gabby, but end with the clone's eventual death (spoilers?).
The clone won't be the only death in the Wolverine world this year; Old Man Logan is dying after years in Marvel's modern universe, Wolverine's son Daken has been barbecued, and now Marvel has introduced one (and possibly multiple) new clones made with that sweet, sweet Wolvie DNA. The most compelling mystery is wondering if these clones will eventually be tied together with the adventures of the returned Wolverine himself, as he is also seeking out a genetics-focused big bad: Soteira. Could the same people be behind this new clone, too? Only time will tell.
X-23 #7 is available now from Marvel Comics.