X-23 (2nd series) #11

Issue Date: 
August 2011
Story Title: 
Touching Darkness – part 2

Marjorie Liu (writer), Sana Takeda (artist), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Kalman Andrasofszky (cover art), Jared K. Fletcher (designer), Jody Leheup (assistant editor), Jeanine Schaefer (editor), Nick Lowe (group editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (Exec. Publisher)

Brief Description: 

Out of control, Jubilee drinks X-23’s blood, which prompts her to experience a memory of Laura’s where she was forced to kill and didn’t. The memory snaps Jubilee out and she is angry at X for testing her. Nevertheless, the two find that their “killer” status is something they have in common and they bond. The next day, there is trouble as Gambit learns that a trigger scent was transported out of Madripoor and is being tested. The four heroes attack the lab where the altered trigger scent is being tried out. Separated from the others, Laura is subjected to the scent and then released into the Paris Metro. Jubilee tries to stop her and, in their fight, they both end up in front of an oncoming train

Full Summary: 

Jubilee drinks X-23’s blood and, while doing, so shares one of Laura’s memories.


Laura is overcome by her killer instinct in a room full of corpses. A man and woman armed with guns warn her back. She easily kills them, then sniffs and opens the door to an adjacent room where a little boy crouches.

end of the memory

Jubilee withdraws, asking what that was. She tasted her blood, Laura replies simply. What the hell was she thinking? Jubilee demands. Nothing, comes the reply. Was that some kind of sick joke? Jubilee asks and tries to punch her. Laura easily blocks the punch, telling her “no.”

Jubilee shouts she worked too hard to be normal and not a killer, but for her to offers herself up with all that blood… That’s why she left Utopia. She had to go. Everyone was afraid of her. People even wanted to kill her! People who she thought were her friends! It wasn’t until she left that she got some perspective. She was a danger to others. She just didn’t want to admit it to herself. She was so wrapped up in who she had been she couldn’t accept the fact she had changed.

Laura understands. She was raised to be a killer. She knew nothing else when she found the X-Men. Logan understood that. No one understood what it was like to have to kill to feel alive. No one wanted to understand. That’s why she had to leave! She could not become someone new with so many watching and judging. Perhaps that was why she offered the blood. She wanted to see if Jubilee would kill her.

She was testing her? Jubes asks. Not exactly. Laura admits and announces they should walk back. Oh sure, and let’s not talk about anything important, right? Jubilee mocks. Laura apologizes for scaring her. Just don’t do it again, she is told, besides licking her neck was gross! Now, if she were that hot guy a couple blocks back… Cut her one of his veins, will you? She doesn’t think she should, Laura replies seriously. Jubilee doesn’t bother telling her it was a joke.

Later the two girls and Wolverine and Gambit walk the streets. Jubilee sees a white dress in a shop window and announces Laura would look smoking hot in this. As Laura hesitates, Jubilee demands the credit card. He’ll take one for the team, Gambit agrees as they enter the shop. He probably has a stash of diamonds hidden in his underwear anyway, Jubilee replies unimpressed. That was last week, Gambit admits. Today it’s just the silverware he lifted at lunch, Logan adds. Jubilee shoves X-23 inside the dressing room.

Later, Laura stands in the dressing room looking at herself in the mirror. Jubilee peeks in, telling her she looks great. It feels wrong, Laura admits. Clearly she needs an intervention even more than she does, Jubilee sighs and asks what’s wrong. X-23 admits she doesn’t know what she’s doing here. She was given clothes in the lab. She was given clothes when she joined the X-Men, but no one… taught her how to dress. She chose what felt good. This dress is someone else, but is it who she should be?

Jubilee tells her that her clothes are part of her voice. She’s gotta love her voice. If this dress isn’t her, she should say so. Laura admits she likes dark colors. Does Jubilee want to try it on? They look at the mirror where only Laura is reflected. No, but do her a favor Jubilee replies. Tell her, she is real. She is real. Mirrors, she is told, always lie, Laura replies.

Outside, the men are waiting, wondering if the girls are still alive. That moment, Gambit gets a phone call. Trouble, he tells Logan and the arriving girls.

Later, in a café, he explains he has friends in low places. One of them heard there was an arms deal going down tonight. This one is from Madripoor. A trigger scent.

X explains to Jubilee that the scientists who made her created the trigger scent to make her kill. It’s sprayed on a target and, if she smells it, she cannot stop herself. She becomes an animal. They must stop this. She will not be used again like that. Gambit promises her he won’t let that happen, but asks her to keep in mind that nobody mentioned her by name. She told him the people in Colcord’s Madripoor lab had been affected by something formulated to make them all crazy. Maybe that’s what’s being sold tonight. He cannot be certain of that, she replies. They must go.

Jubilee puts on a large hat and sunglasses, sighing that she used to love the sun. She needs to talk with Laura. She tells Laura that when she tasted her blood she saw something… she thinks a memory. She was killing people. Unsurprised, Laura points out she killed many people. But it was the trigger scent, right? Jubilee asks. Not always, Laura replies. But has she ever resisted the trigger scent. Snapped herself out of it? No, Laura replies. Is she sure? Because in that memory at the last moment Jubilee thought she felt something, almost like she was…

She has something to ask her, Laura interrupts. Dude, she wasn’t finished! Jubilee protests, only to be told what she was saying was irrelevant. Jubilee is a predator now. A hunter. Fast, strong. If the trigger scent is used on Laura, she wants Jubilee to kill her. Her skeleton is made of bone, not adamantium. If Jubilee rips off her head, that should be sufficient to end her life. She urges her not to hesitate. The moment, she thinks Laura has turned, kill her! She doesn’t want to, Jubilee protests. Laura announces she will not be used again! Wolverine will not do it. Neither will Gambit… She doesn’t think much of her, does she? Jubilee points out. She trusts Jubilee to kill her, Laura explains. That is a compliment.

Night time, the four are atop the roof, in costume, looking down at Paris. He loves his life! Gambit announces. Just like old times, he remarks as he ruffles Jubilee’s hair. But with fangs, right? she grins. Whatever, she is still her, he assures her. Ready? Wolverine asks X. Always, she replies. Jubilee jumps down first. Last person to get the murder perfume is a loser!

Inside a villa, several masked guests arrive. A blind member of the staff informs someone that number 12 is here with guest, then asks the couple to follow Mr. Jones. He will take them to the viewing room.

They are led to an observation window from which they can watch several prisoners in a room. They are told that the group is diverse regarding age, race and gender. And the serum affects them all with hundred percent effectiveness.

Scientists in protective suits enter and let gas into their cage. The prisoners’ eyes begin to glow red and they begin to savagely attack each other. Beautiful ,12 admits and asks for the price. He is told, it isn’t their price he should be worried about. His neighbor in room 11 has already offered ten million dollars for a single treatment… 12 goes up to fifteen.

Suddenly, Wolverine and X-23 wearing gas masks enter the booth. He loves watching people die? Wolverine snarls. X-23 makes her way downward and they grab a scientist. Wolverine tears off her gas mask demanding answers. When she refuses, X-23 stabs her leg ordering her to talk.

Elsewhere in the mansion, having taken out everyone, Jubilee asks Gambit if he arranged it for the two of them to find the trigger scent. He doesn’t want X-23 near it. He agrees that if it was up to him she wouldn’t be here at all. Jubilee asks him to give Laura some credit. He is, he replies. But he knows what it’s like to have your instincts and body turned against you. To do things you can’t control. It murders part of your soul. He knew the trigger scent scares her.

Jubilee wants to reveal something but then chooses not to. Impatient with his lock picking, she orders him to move aside and uses her vampire strength to open the door. Inside are several staff members handling the trigger scent. Boo! Jubilee exclaims.

When X-23 and Wolverine join them, Gambit and Jubilee have everything under control and have the containers with the trigger scent. However, the workers never saw the woman in charge. They also found test subjects, women, men, kids even some cats, most seemed okay, but frightened.

Suddenly, Laura smells something. She runs into an elevator behind her. Alone in the cabin, she hears a voice addressing her with her name. She remembers her voice, doesn’t she, her scent? And she supposes Laura realizes by now that her old trigger scent has been modified. It’ll send anyone into a killing rage now. Gas is released into the cabin. But Laura’s rages are particularly spectacular. Rage engulfs her and she is triggered. The cabin opens in the Metro, the Paris subway.

Jubilee comes running trying to talk Laura down. This isn’t her, she tells her. Just the red eyes alone make her look totally crazy. She offers her hand. Laura tries to slice it off. Both of them land on the track with a train rushing in. Oh great! Jubilee mutters…

Characters Involved: 


Gambit, Jubilee, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Young men




Mystery woman

in flashback:



Story Notes: 

The trigger scent that forces Laura into a berserker rage was first introduced during the first X-23 series.

The altered Trigger scent was created during the Collision crossover. A mysterious woman escaped with a sample.

Issue Information: 
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