After getting her start in season 3 of the wildly popular animated series X-Men: Evolution, X-23 has risen through the ranks of popular Marvel characters to not only become a movie star, but also one of the most identifiable women in comics. Now bearing the moniker of her genetic predecessor, clone Laura Kinney aka the current incarnation of Wolverine has literally carved out a niche for herself in a relatively short period of time.
While the process is vastly different for her, Laura shares a trait with her “brother” Daken in that she often acts as a catalyst for the people around her. Intended since conception to be a lethal, amoral weapon needing only to be pointed at a target, her journey has been to discover herself. As a result, she brings out the best (or worst) in others by virtue of her uniquely damaged perspective on the world. These are fifteen times the mutant clone designated X-23 teamed up with other superheroes.
15 X-23 And Captain Universe
Captain Universe, the awesome personification of the Uni-power of the sub-atomic Microverse, has come to Earth-616 seeking answers to question of why its power is fluctuating and why it is losing its expansive memory. As it moves from one person worthy of its incredible power to another, Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M.) is stalking Captain Universe in an effort to steal its power for themselves. S.H.I.E.L.D is determined to stop them, while capturing the cosmic entity for themselves if possible.
Following the most recent Captain Universe encounter, A.I.M operatives disguised as road crew workers scour the rubble for any trace of the Uni-power as S.H.I.E.L.D agents watch them. When some homeless teens come across the operatives while panhandling for food and spare change, things become tense. The A.I.M workers draw automatic weapons and the also homeless Laura Kinney, who has been following the teens at a discreet distance, intercedes on their behalf in Captain Universe: X-23 #1. The A.I.M operatives radio for help, and soon, Laura is surrounded by visibility cloaked commandos. During the ensuing fight, Laura is possessed by the Uni-Power and becomes Captain Universe. The Uni-power needs Laura to infiltrate an A.I.M outpost and destroy their data surrounding itself. Remembering what was done to her in the name of “research”, X-23 opts to help the cosmic entity destroy the data files before A.I.M. can use it for their purposes.
14 X-23 And Captain America With Daredevil
In the six issue mini-series Target X, Laura Kinney has been captured by S.H.I.E.L.D and is being interrogated by Captain America in the presence of her lawyer, Matt Murdock (aka Daredevil). Finally able to find out who and what this lethal young woman is, the two heroes are taken through the horrific events that led to her ending up in an interrogation room. Laura tells them how she found her way to her aunt’s home and bonded with her cousin, Megan. The organization responsible for Laura’s painful conversion into a living weapon, the Facility, has tracked her every move, down to installing an agent as her aunt’s boyfriend. It’s only a matter of time before they order the agent to use her to murder her relatives the same way they forced her to murder her mother – by using a trigger scent that sends Laura into a preprogrammed murderous rage.
Laura fights against the programming and the sadistic handler that was created just to keep her in line, and saves her family. After going after Wolverine, Laura gets her answers and allows herself to be apprehended. Later, at the behest of Murdock, Captain America realizes allowing S.H.I.E.L.D to retain custody of Laura is no better than allowing the Facility to have her, and puts her on a bus out of town.
13 X-23 and Catiana with Kiden Nixon
After the events of “Innocence Lost” and “Target X” Laura loses herself in the faceless crush of New York City. With her mind and spirit so utterly traumatized, she becomes an easy mark for the sexual predators who lurk in the shadows. Soon, Laura has become a sex worker who specializes in violent sadomasochism for a vile pimp named Zebra Daddy. Meanwhile, Kiden Nixon, a teenager with a tragic past, is discovering that she is a mutant, with the ability to step outside of time. Her breakthrough comes at a heavy price, as her teacher Ms. Cameron takes a bullet meant for her.
Months later, Kiden is directed to rescue Ms. Cameron from a nearly successful suicide attempt and Laura Kinney from a murder rap by the spectre of her dead father, a NYPD officer killed in the line of duty. (Comics...never change.) Soon, the two of them manage to save yet another manifesting new mutant, a sensitive young woman with the ability to absorb and personify animals by contact with their blood. The three of them plus Ms. Cameron support each other after Zebra Daddy stalks them, intent on reclaiming Laura and making an example of anyone who dares keep his “property” from him. In the end, Laura must kill Zebra Daddy and his lackeys for the sake of protecting the other three women, who have become like sisters to her in NYX #6.
12 X-23 And Wolverine with Storm and Nightcrawler
In District X, the mutant ghetto of lower Manhattan, someone has slashed four mutant hating bigots to pieces, and the earmarks all point to someone with adamantium claws. Meanwhile, the one and only daughter of the mob boss of mob bosses has been kidnapped, and Don Parisi has sent his goon of goons, a gigantic enforcer by the name of the Geech, to make things right in Uncanny X-Men v1 #451.
Meanwhile, X-23 has been hiding in plain sight, working at a nightclub that boasts a theme that revolves around mutants. If Jade Parisi has been harmed in the slightest, the monstrously strong and inhumanly fast Geech is going to kill everyone in sight. Geech handles both X-23 and Wolverine with ease, and only relents when Jade appears courtesy of Bishop and Rachel Summers. The encounter introduces X-23 to the X-Men and Wolverine -- and the realization that the two of them have a very great deal in common.
11 X-23 And Spider-Man
In Marvel Team-Up v3 #6, an evil Tony Stark from an alternate dimension has wound up on Earth and is trying to kill Paul Jenkins, a young mutant who channels solar energy, in order to facilitate Stark’s return to his own dimension. In desperation, Jenkins reaches out to Peter Parker for help. Concurrently, X-23, now an X-Man, obsessively scans the X-Mansion’s sensors for any activity and as a screen for her constant observation of Logan, the Wolverine. When Jenkins’s co-opted power is detected, X-23 decides to investigate despite the protestation of Cyclops.
Spider-Man soon arrives at the Bronx location where Jenkins is being held. After instinctively trying to kill the web-crawler, X-23 has to ally herself with Spidey to stop the Iron Maniac from distorting reality when he jumps back to his own time. With the help of Captain America and the Black Widow, Spidey uses a variation of the fastball special, launching a claws-out X-23 at Jenkins, triggering a premature explosion and defeating the evil Stark. It was awesome.
10 X-23 And Psylocke
X-23 has shadowed Logan to the further reaches of the Canadian Rockies, and she's the only one left to send a distress beacon when things go awry and Wolverine is nowhere to be found. When the X-Men arrive, they find a corpse and a panicking Laura Kinney. The X-Men are surrounded by the Hauk’ka, lizard men evolved from dinosaurs much like humans descended from apes. The X-Men are soon beaten by the Hauk’ka in Uncanny X-Men v1 #457, leaving only Laura, who manages to get away.
Soon, her only ally is the newly resurrected Betsy Braddock aka Psylocke, though she's still in restraints, since it was the black ops faction of the X-Men, the X.S.E., who were forced to put her down in the first place. With the help of a transforming Rachael Summers aka Marvel Girl, the Hauk’ka intend to bring human civilization to its knees, taking not just the Savage Land, but the entire Earth for themselves.
Thankfully, Psylocke and X-23 arrive in time to turn the tide of battle for the X-Men. The allies the two bring – Ka-Zar and the Savage Land Mutates -- lead to the X-Men’s forging of a peace treaty with the Hauk’ka.
9 X-23 And The New X-Men
Following the events of “House of M” and “Decimation,” Laura Kinney finds herself one of only a few hundred mutants worldwide who have retained their powers. This has not curbed anti-mutant hysteria; if anything, anti-mutant sentiment has increased exponentially. X-23, having been inducted into the Xavier Institute, is one of the few mutants who has not been affected, and she retains the entirety of her enhanced senses and healing factor.
As depowered students are shuttled away from the school, Reverend William Stryker, who has become an anti-mutant religious zealot, attacks the bus with an RPG, killing 42 children. It's discovered that Stryker was working in tandem with a nearly depleted super-Sentinel Nimrod, and by the time the mutant heroes realize this in New X-Men v2 #29, Forge is in danger of being killed by the android. If the mechanically gifted Forge repairs Nimrod, not only will he die, but Nimrod will come for them next.
The New X-Men attack Nimrod and are beaten mercilessly. It's only when X-23 opens Nimrod’s hide, exposing his chronal device for the other New X-Men to destroy, that the Sentinel is taken down, and Laura is nearly killed in the process.
8 X-23 And Gambit
In X-23 v1 #4, Laura Kinney has walked away from the X-Men in an attempt to reconcile who she has become with who she was once forced to be. As she hitchhikes through Arizona, an encounter with a battered truck stop prostitute named Alice brings Laura back to a dark time in a life that’s known nothing but darkness. Further down the road, she comes across the prostitute again, now beaten to death by her pimp. The pimp foolishly attacks Laura, who kills him in short order. X-23 realizes she is no longer alone, however, as Remy LeBeau aka Gambit has found her.
Neither judging nor trying to take her back to the X-Men’s base of operations (Utopia), Gambit becomes Laura’s traveling companion. The two are stopped by a police blockade spearheaded by the dead girl Alice that Laura met earlier, now seemingly resurrected and healed. The girl leads the two of them to a ghost town where Miss Sinister, the voluptuous clone of Mister Sinister, awaits them. The two mutants are drawn into a web of cloned children, a town full of mind controlled citizens, and the return of the Weapon X program. X-23 slays Miss Sinister before helping Gambit collect the remaining clone of Alice and getting the children to safety.
The pair's adventures were far from over, however.
7 X-23 And Daken
Laura and Remy LeBeau are on the trail of Malcolm Colcord, who wants to revive the Weapon X program. He’s been kidnapping children from the streets of Madripoor to do it. Laura crosses paths with Daken Akihiro, the son of Wolverine, as Madripoor’s streets run red with chaos. It's revealed that Daken is the true power in Madripoor. His healing factor, ferocity, claws and ability to manipulate the emotions of those around him soon forces even the premier crime-lord of the city, Tiger Tyger, to do his bidding.
Daken plays both sides of the conflict, pitting Colcord against Laura and Gambit and all the while dancing to his own tune. He leads Colcord into their trap before betraying them both for Colcord, and knowingly contributing to the resurgence of the Weapon X program for the sake of increasing his own considerable skills. With X-23 imprisoned and Gambit incapacitated, Daken discovers Colcord has also been keeping samples of the trigger scent (you know, that thing that turns Laura into a mindless killing machine). He quietly helps his kinda sorta sister escape confinement and gifts her a folder containing the missing pieces of her past, and the two of them attempt to find to find out what Colcord is really planning. It’s then that Colcord releases the failed mutate experiments he’s collected, pointing the murderous abominations directly at Daken and X-23.
In Daken: Dark Wolverine #9 the two of them tear the mutates to pieces, and Daken realizes what Colcord (and comic fans) knew all along…Laura Kinney is a truly exceptional killer.
6 X-23 And Jubilee
The relationship between Jubilee and X-23 is a complicated one. The once innately bubbly Jubilation Lee has been changed into something else, something dark and deadly…something bloodthirsty. Jubilee has become a vampire, and her hunger is eternal. Laura smells the death on her and reacts viscerally. In addition, the relationship between Logan and the two of them smacks almost of a sibling rivalry. Both girls are depending on him to help them navigate their violent, bloodthirsty impulses, and the friction between them soon diminishes as they realize how much their experiences let them relate to each other.
In X-23 v1 #11, the two unique young women bond under the watchful eyes of Gambit and Logan, even as they all try to reach the fatalistic Laura, who is caught between her life as living weapon and her life as an X-Man. Laura then asks Jubilee for a dark favor. She asks that if anyone should try to use the trigger scent on her again, that Jubilee immediately sever her head from her body. Jubilee is insulted, until Laura explains that she's the only one she trusts to carry through with the job. Aww?
5 X-23 And Spider-Man Redux
In X-23 v1 #13, Laura wakes up in a taxi next to Gambit after having dreamed of floating in a starry void before viewing a symbol of immense power. She is seeking the one target she was ordered to assassinate that she was ever able to summon enough force of will to not kill. When she finds him the boy, Alex Cimini has grown into a college physics student, who is in the midst of an experiment that is about to go horribly awry. With no idea what to say to him, Laura quietly moves on. With a blinding flash, and a tremor that shakes the entire New York City block, the experiment goes critical while an intense pain in her throat rattles Laura right into the path of an out of control bus. Characteristically shaking it off, Laura finds herself face to face with a leering, red-eyed man with the same symbol of power emblazoned on his forehead, who walks casually through the dust and chaos. Laura has no time to follow up, as she has to instantly address the countless people who need help that only someone like her can provide.
Along the way, she meets a white-suited Spider-Man, who’s been briefed on her by a “little hirsute bird with claws.” Working together, they provide invaluable support to people trying to recover from the disastrous tremor.
4 X-23 And The Future Foundation
Soon after, Laura Kinney clutches her glowing chest in the Baxter Building as another tremor shakes the block. This time, the episode is so severe that Laura wakes up in a hospital bed with wires attached to her -- a traumatic thing, given her history. Reed Richards has developed a device that discovers the source of the disturbances is an energy reading emanating actively from Laura. Upon greater modification from the Richards’ genius daughter, Valeria, they find the same energy reading coming passively from Spider-Man and Sue Storm.
It’s the ever-clever Peter Parker who makes the connection that the three of them share one very interesting trait in common. They all have been vessels of the Uni-Power in the past. The realization comes in time for Valeria to activate the modified device and send the three of them away.
When the heroes are seen again, it's on a strange landscape with hundreds of hostile alien soldiers glaring at them. The aliens attack, and the heroes see themselves not just killed but outright devoured in X-23 v1 #15. They come to in a black void, and are spoken to by the Enigma Force itself, the source of the Uni-Power. The King of the Whirldemons is coming, and that is but a taste of the pain he will bring. Only they can stand against him. The Enigma Force warns Laura that she will be of particular interest to the King. It wasn't wrong.
3 X-23 And Captain Universe Redux
The King of the Whirldemons arrived on Earth at the same time, and in the same place X-23, Spider-Man, and the Invisible Woman had just vanished from moments earlier. When the Enigma Force sends them all back to battle him alongside the rest of the Future Foundation, the King wears the skin Laura first encountered after finding the young man she chose not to kill years earlier. The leering red-eyed man with the blazing symbol on his forehead has returned.
The heroes attack him, and the entire Future Foundation is sent reeling, while X-23 is unaffected by the King’s power. Soon, the heroes realize the King has switched bodies and now resides in the form of the Richards’s daughter, the hyper-intelligent mutant Valeria Richards. In X-23 v1 #16 Laura reflects that in the past, she didn’t realize she had a choice not to kill, and it made life so much simpler. Now that the choice rests solely on her shoulders, life is much more complicated.
The King’s premise is a simple one as well. Open the portal to his soldiers or he will kill the child, or worse yet, twist her mind to suit his purposes. Ultimately, The King accepts Laura in place of Valeria, and realizes too late that he’s allowed the Enigma Force to have the perfect vessel to vanquish the King once and for all.
2 X-23 And Venom With Red Hulk, Ghost Rider, and Johnny Blaze
In Venom v2 #13, Laura Kinney has come to Las Vegas seeking a man named Degli who stole a vial of her blood. She knows that with it, Degli can create an army of living weapons just like her. Coincidentally, Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross, aka the Red Hulk, has come to Vegas to find Flash Thompson, the veteran double amputee and current host of the Venom symbiote. Thompson has suffered an alcoholic relapse and has gone A.W.O.L from the military. If there’s anything the deeply conservative Ross hates, it’s deserters.
Meanwhile, Blackheart, the son of Mephisto, seeks to usher in Hell on Earth, starting with Las Vegas (naturally), and he’s duped Alejandra, the Ghost Rider, into helping him do it. Blackheart is revealed to also be Degli, who covets Laura’s blood not just to create weapons, but also because Laura has physically been to Hell, and her blood can be used for the Hell Centrifuge he uses to summon the underworld. Johnny Blaze manages to create a barrier that contains the demonic energy and keeps it from spreading, but when X-23, Red Hulk, and Ghost Rider challenge Blackheart, he summons the Antitheses, the polar opposites of the three heroes. X-666 is a demonic cheerleader that attacks X-23 with razor-edged pompoms and knowledge of Laura’s deepest fear…the possibility that she has no soul to take.
1 X-23 And Venom With Red Hulk, Ghost Rider, and Johnny Blaze Redux
Continuing on with the most violent superhero team-up in recent memory, X-23 moves doggedly toward Blackheart with murder on her mind in Venom v2 #13.2. As she bleeds out from scores of wounds that cannot heal in Hell, X-666 taunts Laura while slowly walking her down. This is Hell, and Laura is suffering just as she’s intended to. Meanwhile, the Antitheses have left the other heroes utterly broken. Even Red Hulk can only sit morose, depressed, and mollified at the idea of having been forced to cry for his mommy while gigantic roaches crawled down his throat.
As the Ghost Rider prepares to behead Blackheart’s lover (and he responds by sending the Antitheses to her side), X-23 has reached him, and means to cut him to pieces. Blackheart stops her by pointing out the answer to her most pressing question: Laura must have a soul, because she is currently suffering in Hell, which, you know, you need a soul to do. The answer follows her down into a searing lake of fire as Doctor Strange and Daimon Hellstrom fight to save Ghost Rider and Red Hulk from their own demons -- and the Earth from Hell itself.
It's all pretty insane.
What are some of your favorite X-23 team-up moments? Tell us about them in the comments!
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