Her·o·ine (noun \ˈher-ə-wən, ˈhir-, ˈhe-rə-\) - 1:a. A mythological or legendary woman having the qualities of a hero. b. A woman admired and emulated for her achievements and qualities.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Following in Daddy's Footsteps?

It’s time to review another X-Man comic and, despite my early reservations, this comic pleasantly surprised me.

X-23 #1
Written by Marjorie Liu. Art by Will Conrad and color art by John Rauch

X-23 is a mutant first introduced back in 2004. Her past is, not surprisingly, very similar to her father, Wolverine. (Marvel insists that she’s actually a genetic twin, but more about that later) I’m not a fan of Wolverine so I don’t expect X-23 to be much different. She was created in a lab and trained to kill like the femme fatale that every comic book nerd loves. Even in her origin story, the word used is “dehumanized.”

X-23 was supposed to be a clone of Wolverine, but the scientists were unable to reconstruct the Y chromosome and one of the scientists provided the X chromosome. (Hence, Wolverine is more of a father than a twin) So basically, women are an alternative to men in the comic book world, but what else is new.

When she eventually escaped the lab, Laura Kinney (the name her surrogate mother gave her) made her way to the X-Men. Although a teenager, her assassination skills instantly prompted Cyclops to recruit her into the X-Men’s black ops team.

After a brief time with the black ops team, Wolverine dismisses her, saying that it’s time she made her own decisions instead of always following orders. That’s where X-23 #1 picks up.

Besides the cliché character, X-23 is often described as feral (in fact, she can’t even control her actions sometimes) and incapable of doing anything without being ordered. She’s also been a prostitute, is commonly depicted cutting her wrists, and her origin story screams sexism.

With all that being said, I don’t have any complaints about this issue. Sure, Laura is messed up, but what child of Wolverine wouldn’t have problems or Daddy issues? What’s most striking about this comic is the potential it has for real character development.

The advertisement leading up to this issue was for a crossover event involving Wolverine, X-23, and Dark Wolverine. The headline reads, “Wolverine goes to Hell! And everyone must pay for his sins!”

Clearly, Laura’s got some tough times ahead of her, but it seems that this new series will give her the opportunity to grow and escape her father’s shadow, hopefully with less merciless killing involved. She has potential.