X-23 Learns about the Tragic Cost of Being a Wolverine

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This article contains spoilers for the X-Men Unlimited Infinity comic #40.

Laura Kinney, formerly of X-23, has learned the true cost of being the X-Men’s Wolverine. Introduced as a female clone of Wolverine, Laura Kinney was created to become the ultimate killer. The designation “X-23” is not her code name— rather, it is her “slave name” given to Laura by her creators in an attempt to dehumanize her.

In Marvel comics, Laura became Wolverine after Logan after he was presumed dead. Of course, it didn’t last long, and Marvel initially assigned her the role of X-23 again, but readers were understandably shocked by this decision, rightly insisting that it was a step back for the character. The current relaunch of the X-Men has thankfully rewritten that, and Laura insists that she is just as much a Wolverine as Logan. After all, there can be multiple Spider-Men, so there’s no reason why there can’t be two Wolverines.

In X-Men Unlimited Infinity Comic #40, created by Alex Paknadel and Julian Shaw, Laura learns the dark side of Wolverine’s life. The current arc focuses on one of the weirdest members of the X-Men, Maggot, whose abilities have spiraled out of control due to Resurrection Protocols. Maggot’s powers turned his digestive tract into two sentient techno-organic slugs, but the X-Men didn’t realize that one of the slugs was still alive when they resurrected Maggot. A psychic reaction took one of the slugs out of control, and to remedy the situation, Laura was forced to kill his new incarnation. Finally, she learned the truth about being a Wolverine-that sometimes Wolverines are called upon to do things that no other X-Man should do. “You’re the best at what you do,” Emma Frost admits to Laura at the end of the issue. “Of course,— Wolverine agrees. “But what I’m doing is not very pleasant.”

This, of course, is Logan’s catch phrase in the image of Wolverine — a line of dialogue that he was especially known for repeating during Chris Claremont’s tenure as a screenwriter for the X-Men. Claremont, as a rule, forced his characters to repeat key phrases to help readers immerse themselves in their world; For example, Psylocke constantly called his psychic knife was “concentrated by the totality of his psychic abilities”, while the battle scenes often included the phrase “No mercy was asked, no one gave”. It’s very fitting to see Laura Kinney declare that this claremontism is part of her Wolverine heritage.

After all, that’s what it means to be a Wolverine. Again and again Wolverine had to go to extreme measures to protect the world. He even killed the woman he loved; Wolverine killed Jean Grey, an act for which he would never forgive himself. Now his successor has found out what a high price she has to pay to become the last X-Men Wolverine.