Tuesday, April 28, 2015

X is For X-23

X-23: Target X was another book featured by both Amazon and Google Play recently as part of their 'girl power' sale on superheroes.

X-23 is a clone of the Marvel Comics mutant hero Wolverine. At this point, with numerous solo movies and being a part of a team, X-Men, with multiple movies,  I'm not going to go into who Wolverine is. X-23 retains three claws, but only two of them per hand, and that third claw is in the foot. This gives her a bit of a surprise factor when fighting people used to battling Wolverine.

X-23 shares similarities to Firestar and Harley Quinn in that she was initially a character that appeared in cartons before her appearance in the comics. Since her initial appearance, X-23 has been in many solo series, team books, and limited series.

One of the strengths of Target X, is it puts X-23 firmly into the Marvel Universe. In her initial training, X-23 was trained to go into berserk rampages when hit with a 'trigger' scent. This is an odd 'weakness' but it has come into play several times.

But its important to note, some characters have a 'trigger' weakness that has nothing to do with going into a killing frenzy.

Here Captain America has come across a 'survivor' of a massacre. Too late as Cap puts her into an ambulance, does he realize that this 'survivor' is none other than the killer. Cap's desire to help has costs other people their lives even though he himself did not take them. Cap's need, his demand for acting the hero, was triggered.

X-23 also has her own nemesis here. the strange thing about the nemesis, is that in almost every encounter, even when X-23 gets the upper hand, this nemesis trounces X-23. So here's my question. Why make it a 'huge' deal to make clones of Wolverine when you can make an individual so powerful that they can trounce that clone?

That lady pounding on a young X-23 there? That's Kimura. She's indestructible. It's almost like one of those old poems where neither blade nor bullet nor whatever else you got punk is going to do anything to her. Kimura is also malicious and takes great joy in bringing pain to others, especially X-23.

X-23 grows in the volume in that her previous training and abilities as an assassin do come into play, but are also countered by her efforts at normalcy. Her time in high school gets her sent to the principal's office on numerous occasions as she has an almost Data or Spock like logic in answering questions posed to her, and with her wide body of knowledge, accumulated for the purpose of murdering people, her answers tend to fall on the rather shocking side.

For me, the volume was a hit on several areas. The art was good. The story was well paced. It took a former loner character and firmly put her into the Marvel Universe without overwhelming her with it. That is often a problem with a comic has a firm direction, like the original Runaways or Young Avengers, and it's so mashed into the greater setting, that the characters are overwhelmed.

The writers captured not only the things that make Captain America tick, but also Daredevil and Wolverine providing X-23 a great set of characters to compare and contrast to.

In the end, we're left with an X-23 whose on her own and has allies and perhaps even friends.

For myself, while I'm not a huge collector of comics, I've enjoyed her appearances in Avengers Arena as well as her stint in X-Force. The former a direct homage to Battle Royal and the later a tribute to the old New Mutants comic that evolved into X-Force, now come full circle to a hidden branch of the X-Men specializing in assassination.

Are there any particular story arcs others would recommend featuring X-23? Any particular dogs to avoid?