Skip to main content

The early life of Laura Kinney

The character of Laura Kinney, also called X-23, has become a bit more mainstream given her appearance in the new Logan movie, as wonderfully portrayed by Dafne Keen.  But Logan wasn't her first appearance.  She started life in the X-Men: Evolution cartoon, and was later bridged into mainstream Marvel comics.

In my attempt to read all X-Men comics from 2007's "Messiah CompleX" crossover in a rough chronological order, I'm about to reach the X-23 ongoing series by Marjorie Liu.  But before I read that, I wanted to read (and in some cases re-read some early stories about this awesome character, including her origins.

I'll be discussing three stories:
  • The first X-23 miniseries, subtitled "Innocence Lost," from 2005, six issues long.  Written by Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost, with art by Billy Tan.
  • The second X-23 miniseries, subtitled "Target X," from 2007, six issues long. Also written by Kyle and Yost, with art by Mike Choi.
  • The miniseries "NYX," which was seven issues long and from 2003. Written by Joe Quesada and Zeb Wells, with art by Joe Middleton.
  • The "Captain Universe: X-23" one-shot issue story from 2006.  Written by Joe Faerber and art by Francis Portela. 
X-23 Complete Collection Volume 1, from which I'm reading most of this. Image from

These books tell the story of the early life of X-23, from her creation as a clone of Wolverine and an assassin for The Facility, to her time in New York as a teen prostitute.  A theme of backstory is being taken advantage of by terrible, monstrous men.


People related to the old Weapon X program that created Wolverine wanted to create him again, but none of the clones were viable. Sarah Kinney, a new scientist on the team, thought the problem lay within the Y-chromosome, so tried making a clone without one, doubling the X-chromosome instead. The result was X-23. The project lead, Zander Rice, whose father Wolverine killed during his escape years earlier, was offended that Kinney's idea worked, and seemed to make it a mission to treat her and the clone with contempt and malice.  She was trained in combat, and once her healing factor and clawed developed (forcibly), her claws were coated in unbreakable Adamantium.

X-23 was conditioned to respond to a trigger scent: if inhaled, she would go feral and kill anyone on whom the scent was sprayed.  Rice and X-23's handler Kimura, a cruel woman with unbreakable skin, used the scent to ensure she'd kill her targets. She usually killed just fine without the trigger, but occasionally it was used to ensure success, or manipulate her into killing someone she cared about.  Rice used it to make her kill her sensei and eventually Sarah, who always treated her as a daughter (eventually giving her the name Laura Kinney).

Once escaped from The Facility, she spent some time with her aunt and cousin, until she was taken in by Captain America.  Concerned she would be used as a weapon by the government, she was released to go find Wolverine, but at some point in the middle ended up on the streets of New York City, being used as a teen prostitute by a horrible pimp called Zebra Daddy.  When Laura left him, the pimp left a swath of destruction in his wake as he tried to retrieve her.   With the help of some friends, she ended Zebra's life and went off in search of the X-Men.

Here we see her first manipulation for positive ends, in a quick one-shot story of her becoming the host of the Uni-Power, a cosmic force that both good and evil powers wanted to use to their ends.  The Uni-Power possessed her briefly, using her abilities to destroy the servers of Science villain group AIM, whose new-found knowledge put the Uni-Power at risk.

At some point in between New York and the Uni-Power incident, she ended up finding Wolverine and the X-Men, though I've not read those stories.  She'all soon be a student at the Xavier Institute, which I'll cover in another post.


As I said earlier, at this point, Laura 's history is defined by the cruelty of the men controlling her life, and the occasional person showing her some kindness and empathy.  The fact that this kindness almost always proved harmful to those nice people reinforces how villainous people like Rice, Kimura, and Zebra Daddy could be.  Perhaps even more importantly, the fact that she managed to escape and have a good life for herself speaks to Laura Kinney's own strength in the face of a life stacked against her.

The "X-23 Complete Collections" are a great way to read these stories (except NYX, which has its own Complete Collection, along with its sequel, which I did not read as Laura isn't in it). They're fairly new books, so they should be easy to find at book stores or online.

The NYX Complete Collection, which collects both NYX miniseries.  I only read the first series though, which I bought on Comixology.
Before reading more X-23 solo books, I'm going to read the relaunch of New Mutants and New X-Men, which focus on the teens at the Xavier school in around 2003-2006.  Laura will eventually join this title, but I'll start that story from the beginning.

The first collection of "New X-Men: Academy X", which I'll be reading soon.


Popular Posts

Star Wars Read-Through #10: Journey to The Phantom Menace, Part 3 of 3

Having covered the adventures of Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan Kenobi, and then the adventures of Sith Lord Darth Maul, I am now in the final stage of my "Prelude to Episode I: The Phantom Menace" coverage.  In this post, I will cover a handful of stories that did not fit elsewhere, specifically:

Darth Plagueis (novel by James Luceno, 2012)Jedi Council: Acts of War 1-4 (comic by Randy Stradley, 2000)Republic 1-6 (comic arc by Jan Strnad, 1998-1999)Prelude to Rebellion parts 1-6Vow of Justice parts 1-3Starfighter (video game by LucasArts, 2001)
I read the two comics in Omnibus: Rise of the Sith.  I read Darth Plagueis in hardcover and played Starfighter on my PC, having just purchased it from  It is worth noting that, at the time "Republic" was simply called "Star Wars"; it was renamed Republic in its 46th issue in 2002.  I will be referring to it as Republic in all of my posts, to differentiate it from other comics named simply Star Wars (others having been…

A Letter To My Daughter On Her Six-Month Birthday

Dear Marilla,

I can't believe it's already been six months since that wonderful day, 8 March 2017, when you first graced us with your presence.

Your mother and I had been awaiting your arrival for literally years.  When the doctors first told us you existed, we were absolutely ecstatic.  We didn't know much about you then; not your gender, or what you'd look like.  You just had a heartbeat and a yolk sac.  Nevertheless, we nicknamed you Thor, a strong name for a strong baby of either gender.

As we got closer to the delivery date, you decided to be a bit difficult and give mommy a bit of trouble.  But after a day and a half in the hospital, at 12:30pm six months ago today, the nurse handed you to me, and we gave you your name.

You've learned so much in your first six months of life.  After perfecting the basics like breathing and eating (not an easy start, to be sure), you started figuring out how your body works.  Your dexterity keeps increasing.  You can hold y…

Star Wars Read-Through #7: Darth Bane: The Start of the Sith's Eventual Victory

In the final moments of Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Yoda and Mace Windu discuss the fact that the enemy recently defeated by Obi-Wan Kenobi was a Sith, but that "Always two there are, no more, no less. A master and an apprentice."  But the Sith we had seen in stories set earlier (written both before and after) featured entire empires of Sith.  At some point, the Sith way changed from being empires of many down to only two individuals.  The stories I read for this post (below) chronicle that transition and the Sith Lords that brought it about.

Darth Bane: Path of Destruction (novel by Drew Karpyshyn, 2006)Jedi vs. Sith 1-6 (comic by Darko Macan, 2001)Darth Bane: Rule of Two (novel by Drew Karpyshyn, 2007)Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil (novel by Drew Karpyshyn, 2009) I read Jedi vs. Sith in the Trade Paperback format.  Path of Destruction and Rule of Two I read as paperback novels, while Dynasty of Evil was read as a hardcover novel.  There is a short story, Bane of the Sith (K…