X-23 Gon’ Give It To Ya: Five Essential Laura Kinney Stories
The recently released trailer for Logan — Hugh Jackman's final outing as Wolverine — has fans hopeful it could be the best in what can generously be referred to as a patchy trilogy of solo films for the character. The central focus for the new trailer is the young girl left in Logan's care by Professor X, who it was revealed will be called "Laura" confirming her as at least analogous to Laura Kinney, the X-Man formerly known as X-23 and currently starring as the new Wolverine in All-New Wolverine.
Laura first appeared in the animated series X-Men Evolution before making the leap to the comics as Wolverine discovered the existence of his teenage female clone. Laura has been a huge part of Marvel Comics for over twelve years now, and there's a lot of continuity packed in there, but we've picked out the five best comics to help familiarize yourself with the character.
While Laura made her comics debut in the series NYX, it isn’t necessarily the best place to jump in and get to know her as a character.
For that, you’re going to want to go back to this miniseries that details her origin and explains how a female teenage clone of Wolverine came to be. The book goes into detail about the harsh conditions Laura was raised in, and her training to be the world’s deadliest assassin, and what kind of effects that has on a person so young who has known no other life.
As the creators of Laura, Christopher Yost and Craig Kyle shepherded her through a lot of her formative years as a character and after her first two solo miniseries she joined the revamped New X-Men team of Xavier School students, shortly around the time of the Decimation.
New X-Men was one of the best teen books of the ‘00s and while it doesn’t shy away from the danger that comes with being a teenage superhero, it’s one of the most entertaining “mutants attending mutant school” books that Marvel has put out. X-23 represents a significant spanner in the team's works due to her lack of social skills and her struggle to overcome her violent tendencies.
After being a prominent part of the X-Men line for close to a decade, X-23 was given her own ongoing series right as her mentor and father figure Wolverine had become possessed by a literal demon, and she had to come to terms with the possibility that she might one day have to replace him.
The series also plays Laura off her brother-of-sorts, Daken, who had his own ongoing title at the time, and features a ton of fan-favorite guest stars including Gambit in a supporting role and a later arc that features X-23 come face-to-face with one of Wolverine’s other “daughters”, Jubilee.
While it might be surprising to some to see an Avengers comic here, Laura actually left the X-Men for a good deal of time to find her identity away from the team as she grappled with her assassin nature.
At this point, she was making a concerted effort to no longer kill, so putting her in a Hunger Games-style fight for survival was the worst thing that could happen to her, and that's exactly what this series was about. Throughout the run, Laura struggles with her nature and attempts to save as many people as possible from a deathtrap island — but that’s not always easy when the terrain is conspiring against you.
All-New Wolverine is Laura’s most recent — and current — ongoing series and while it doesn’t abandon any of the horror that comes with being a clone raised to do nothing but kill, it’s the most lighthearted Laura’s been allowed to be in over a decade of existence.
Aided by a kid sidekick, a pet wolverine named Jonathan, and a slew of guest stars including Doctor Strange and The Wasp, Laura found her place at the heart of one of the most consistently enjoyable superhero comics of the past few years.