X-23 learns the tragic cost of being Wolverine

Laura Kinney claimed the role of Wolverine, but in X-Men Unlimited #40 she learns the true cost of following in Logan’s footsteps.

This article contains spoilers for Unlimited X-Men Infinite Comic #40.

Laura Kinney, formerly X-23, learned the true cost of being the x-menit is Wolverine. Introduced as the female clone of Wolverine, Laura Kinney was created to be the ultimate assassin. The “X-23” designation is not its codename – rather, it is essentially its “slave name,“given to Laura by her creators in an attempt to dehumanize her.

In Marvel Comics, Laura became Wolverine in Logan’s honor after he was thought dead. It didn’t last, of course, and Marvel initially relegated her to the role of X-23 – but readers were understandably appalled by the decision, rightly insisting it was a step back for the character. The current X-Men relaunch has thankfully rewritten that, with Laura insisting that she’s just as much a Wolverine as Logan. After all, there can be multiple Spider-Men, so there’s no reason there shouldn’t be two Wolverines.


Related: X-Men Must Bring Back Emma Frost’s Forgotten (But Perfect) Codename

Unlimited X-Men infinity comic #40, by Alex Paknadel and Julian Shaw, sees Laura learning the dark side of being a Wolverine. The current arc centers on one of the strangest members of the X-Men, Maggot, whose abilities have spiraled out of control due to resurrection protocols. Maggot’s powers transformed his digestive tract into two sentient techno-organic slugs, but the X-Men did not realize one of the slugs was still alive when they resurrected Maggot. The psychic backlash left one of the slugs out of control, and to make matters right, Laura was forced to kill her new incarnation. Finally, she learned the truth about being Wolverine – that sometimes Wolverines are called upon to do what no other X-Man should have to do. “You are the best at what you do,“Emma Frost recognizes Laura at the end of the number.”Sure,“Wolverine agrees.”But what I’m doing isn’t very nice.

This is, of course, Logan’s catchphrase as Wolverine – a line of dialogue he was particularly known for repeating during Chris Claremont’s tenure as X-Men writer. Claremont tended to have his characters repeat key phrases to help readers immerse themselves in their world; Psylocke constantly referred to her psychic knife as “the concentrated totality of his psychic powers,“for example, while action scenes often included the line”No shifts requested, none given.“It’s so fitting to see Laura Kinney claim this Claremontism as part of her Wolverine heritage.

That is, after all, what it really means to be Wolverine. Time and again, Wolverine has been forced to go to extreme lengths to protect the world. He even killed the woman he loved; Wolverine killed Jean Grey, an act he would never forgive himself for. Now her successor has learned the heavy price she must pay to become the x-menis the last Wolverine.

More: X-Men Officially Retires Original Team Member’s Codename

Unlimited X-Men infinity comic #40 is available now on Marvel Unlimited.

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