Released: July 27th 2016
Issues: X-23 (2005) 1-6, X-23: Target X 1-6, Captain Universe/X-23 1, X-23 1, X-23 (2010) 1-3
Warnings: Graphic injuries, animal death
The latest reboot of X-23 made me painfully aware of just how far behind I am in reading up on this fascinating character. So I decided to go crazy and read everything about her that I could. The first stop, naturally, had to be the Complete Collection Vol. 1.
I’m actually pretty sure that I could have read all of these on Marvel Unlimited if I had wanted to, but in this case it was easier to get the collection all arranged for me. Plus the price was reasonable, and it’s always nice to support a series, even and older one, by buying it.
This volume covers a huge chunk of X-23 (aka Laura’s past) from her origin story up through the 2010 reboot of her series. Some of the events are standalone issues, and thus have a page or two of context beforehand, to help give a better idea of what is going on. I found this to be incredibly helpful, and am glad that somebody thought to add it.
Warnings first: Okay, this really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody, but X-23 has some fairly graphic scenes in it. I mean, we’re talking about a young girl that was genetically created, and then raised, to be a killer. So it isn’t going to be pleasant all the time. There are also some animal deaths that happen. You can see them coming though, so just skip a couple of panels and don’t think about it too much.
Before reading this volume, I knew the basics about Laura and her creation, but that was about the extent of it. Since I’ve been reading the latest round of her comics, naturally I became curious about more of her past, especially since it keeps getting mentioned. I’m not there yet (for example I haven’t hit the clone conflicts she’s referred to), but this one volume made a huge dent in what I didn’t know about her.
I thought I knew that Laura was a tragic character before this…but now I know just how badly I underestimated that. Laura is one of those characters that just seem to get kicked down again and again and again. Not all that dissimilar to Peter Parker, when you stop and think about it. It’s just the way they’re beat down that’s different.
I have to give her character so much credit for pulling through the messes again and again, while still doing everything possible to maintain her humanity. We can argue all we want about that, but the truth of the matter is that for as long as she worries about it, she is in fact still human enough to care.
There were a few characters in this series that I would have loved to kick a few dozen times, but they were obviously designed to make me feel that way. Still, they did a great job of pointing out some obvious morality questions. These people believe that mutants are less than human, while they themselves act like monsters. The irony appears to be lost on them, which isn’t terribly surprising.
I think my favorite of the collection so far was probably the original X-23 series, where her origin was laid out. It was tough to read, of course, but it was still fascinating. I liked everything else as well, but for different reasons.
Despite liking the first series the best (so far) my favorite scene/event wasn’t in any of them. I absolutely loved the scenes involving Captain America. How he was forced to face his own biases based on his past, and how it was causing him to repeat the same mistakes as everyone else in Laura’s life. It was incredibly well done. I don’t think this would have worked nearly so well if they had chosen any character other than Captain America (being that he’s fully capable of admitting when he’s wrong, even if it does take some time to sink in).
I could go on to the next X-23 Complete Collection next, but I think I’m going to follow the advice I was given and read Wolverine: The Road to Hell next. That one sounds interesting, and it’ll fit chronologically with what I’ve already read. So win-win.