Warning: SPOILERS For Hunt For Wolverine: Adamantium Agenda #4
The Marvel universe is preparing for Wolverine to return from the dead, but bombshells are already being dropped. The latest? That X-23 isn't a clone of Wolverine's at all, but a genetic daughter along with her "mother" Sarah.
The shocking change to the character's origin comes in Hunt For Wolverine: Adamantium Agenda #4 with X-23 a.k.a. Laura Kinney searching for Logan along with Iron Man, Spider-Man, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. Their hunt has them investigating Mister Sinister's genetic mad science, ending up in a massive bunker. It turns out that Sinister had been collecting and cataloging the DNA of everyone on earth (including mutants) and selling off that DNA to the highest bidder.
The team chose to destroy the database, but not before Tony Stark took a look... and discovered that Laura's origin as a clone of Wolverine's wasn't the full story at all.
After the team destroys the database and returns home, Laura calls Tony out on the fact that he's learned something, now that he's his avoiding her eyes and his heart rate rises around her. His hesitation makes sense, finally explaining that her DNA shows she is not a clone of Wolverine carried to term by Dr. Sarah Kinney, whom she considered her adopted mother. Laura has Wolverine's DNA, but it's actually entirely mixed with Sarah's.
The result, Tony explains, is that Laura is no clone, or even a "genetic twin." Laura is Wolverine's biological daughter, and Sarah is fully her biological mother.
Fans of the character may remember the appearance of Sarah Kinney in X-23: Innocence Lost, the title that fully explains Laura's backstory. Originally, it was explained that X-23 was not exactly a clone of Wolverine, but a "genetic twin." The DNA that the Weapon X project had was too damaged to clone Wolverine completely, but Sarah (the scientist working on the project), found a way to replace the damaged Y chromosome with a duplicate of the existing X. It would make a mutant who is a clone of Wolverine in every way except for gender - and Sarah wound up carrying it to term as a surrogate.
This latest reveal means that Laura's own DNA makes her more Wolverine's daughter than anything else, with Sarah Kinney just as responsible for her resulting genes. For fans who now realize Logan has a daughter, and that Laura really was raised by her mother, it's a moment that needs further appreciation - and investigation in coming issues.
In practical terms, this may end up affecting X-23's powers. As we saw in an earlier issue of All-New Wolverine, Laura is dying in the not-so-distant future. Perhaps the fact that her DNA is only half Wolverine's is going to connect to this, preventing her from becoming the kind of near-immortal her father has shown himself to be.
Otherwise, it may mean that readers get another look at her backstory, as we discover how this came about. Was there some element of the healing factor that caused a fetal Laura to take on Sarah's DNA in utero? Or did Sarah intentionally add some of her own for reasons we can only guess at?
Either way, Wolverine now has another twist waiting for him when he makes his true debut in Return Of Wolverine, which hits shelves on September 19th. In the meantime, though, Marvel is still wrapping up a few storylines from the Hunt For Wolverine event - and launching a few new ones through shocking revelations like these.
Hunt For Wolverine: Adamantium Agenda #4 is available now from Marvel Comics.