X-23 (2nd series) #14

Issue Date: 
November 2011
Story Title: 
Chaos Theory – part 2

Marjorie Liu (writer), Phil Noto (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: 

X-23 has accompanied Spider-Man to the Future Foundation, where Mr. Fantastic is trying to figure out the reason for the recent earthquake and if X-23 has any connection to it. Laura feels uncomfortable and Sue and Spidey try to put her at ease. Reed scans strange energy in her and Val figures out that Sue and Spidey also have inactive traces of the same energy. Even as Spider-Man figures out that the common link is the Uni-power, Valeria activates the old traces and Laura, Spider-Man and the Invisible Woman find themselves transported to another world. Elsewhere in New York, Gambit and Cecilia Reyes visit Alex Mancini to find Laura.

Full Summary: 

The news reports of the strange earthquake. Thanks to Spider-Man and the city’s finest, there have been no deaths but clean-up efforts continue. A fireman is interviewed and explains this is the strangest thing. The earthquake affected only one city block.

Cecilia Reyes is snarling to get the camera out of her face, as she and Gambit are helping wounded.

Suddenly, the channel changes to a cartoon. They were watching the news, Franklin or Valeria Richards protests to their “Uncle” Ben. The Thing apologizes to the kids of the Future Foundation. He forgot they don’t mind the tough stuff and all those geniuses together should be able to figure out what happened. Like if this is some new weapon…

Then Ben can clobber it, one of the Moloid kids agrees. The other Moloids point out that an earthquake only occurs when there is sufficient stored energy released after a build-up of strain and stress. Nor do seismic waves simply stop, Dragon Man adds. One block of damage and no more?

So it was an attack, Alex Power concludes. But why there? Who was the real target? Who’s the girl with his parents? Franklin asks. Ben tells him she is no one he needs to worry about. He should keep helping Valeria with her robot. Android, Val corrects him. Its ears are going to shoot lasers and its tail will detach to form a projectile bomb. Uh, right, he replies and flees.

In the corridor, he finds Spider-Man munching a sandwich. Are the others in there? he asks. Ten minutes ago they were. Her too? he asks pointedly. Spidey assures him X-23 is a good kid. Maybe, but there have been too many people with claws around the place causing trouble. He likes trouble, Spidey points out.

The Thing enters, offering Laura a sandwich, hoping she isn’t picky. All he could find were ham, pickles and something furry that growled at him. He left that off the sandwich.

She informs him that Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman (in another part of the lab) haven’t made progress yet. She wants to leave. He tells her to eat first.

Is it true that device caused the earthquake? He isn’t sure, Reed admits. But it’s likely the device had something to do with it. A massive amount of energy was realized just prior to the earthquake. Sue adds that Reed traced the source to the physics lab at the university where this thing was housed. Was anyone hurt? Laura ask. He just saw a bright light, Sue informs her.

Laura heads to the door. She demands the Thing move aside. What’s going on? he asks. Laura unsheathes her claws. Spider-Man gets between them as does Sue, who tells Laura she doesn’t need these in here. Nobody is going to keep her there against her will or hurt her. They asked her to come because she saw something. There was the symbol. Spidey reminds her he saw the symbol in his dreams too. Sue suggests Laura stick around. She might like them better than she thinks.

Does she know someone at the university? Spider-Man asks and Laura replies she was there before the earthquake, looking for someone.

At a dorm, Alec Cincini, the said someone in question, tells Gambit and Cecilia Reyes he doesn’t remember any girl of that description coming to the lab. They hand him their number if she comes.

As they walk off, Gambit insists she was here. Cecilia tries to calm him. Laura has a healing factor… Doesn’t help her if she’s buried under a building, he fears.

She thanks him for helping with the rescue work. She sounds surprised. Can she be blunt? Let him be blunt for her, Gambit replies. When she was with the X-Men, she heard people call him a womanizer, a thief. Heard about all the trouble he caused, folks he betrayed. All true, except maybe the womanizing. She smiles and tells him to watch his step. There’s glass.

Valeria comes to the lab and Sue introduces her. Val tells Laura she has heard about her. She kills people. Sue is horrified at her bad manners. Laura agrees, but she does not kill children. Not anymore, she assures Val.

They enter a room where Spidey is entertaining the kids. Spider-Man introduces Laura. Franklin offers her the last cookie, noting that he only chewed on it a little. Laura suddenly crumbles the cookie. Her face distorts and she begins to glow with energy, then passes out.

She awakes in a bed in the infirmary and immediately gets up and almost extends her claws in Valeria’s face. Was it a nightmare? Val who’s been keeping her company asks. Laura demands to know why she is in lab. They are monitoring her vitals, Val explains. It’s standard procedure in a situation like this. Laura doesn’t like it. Because she was experimented on? Val asks. Yes, Laura admits.

Reed joins them and apologizes for not taking this into consideration. Did he learn anything? X-23 asks and is told no. Sue joins them and tells her husband Laura should rest before he launches into his tests. Reed is against waiting. What if another earthquake strikes?

Spider-Man asks Laura if she is okay. She wants to know what’s happening to her, she replies. Reed remarks he has been picking up strange energy readings from the device that came from the university. Almost as if it’s still receiving. He is tracing that signal and it points him to this room. To her.

While Spider-Man and Sue try to calm Laura, Val points out her father missed something, namely that there is more than one of these energy signatures in this room. He was just looking for active radiation but she found passive old traces from both her mother and Spider-Man!

Spidey has an idea what it is. The Uni-Power, he announces. Remember? Stars on their chests… cosmic foreboding… getting selected as host of an otherworldly entity and turning into Captain Universe? Both he and Sue were possessed by it. So was she, Laura agrees.

Valeria fiddles with the device while Reed wonders why the Uni-power hasn’t manifested itself. Why these earthquakes? Why the symbol? Spidey asks. Val has finished calibrating the device to activate the passive traces of radiation. Against their protest, she presses the button.

Energy engulfs Spider-Man, X-23 and the Invisible Woman and, a moment later, they are transported to another world. They stand on a dark plane, before them a host of angry alien warriors. Asked by Sue what just happened, Spider-Man sighs that he really doesn’t want to know.

Characters Involved: 


Cecilia Reyes, Gambit (both X-Men)

Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, Spider-Man, Thing (all Future Foundation)

Alex Power, Bentley 23, Dragon Man, Franklin Richards, Korr, Leech, Mik, Tong, Turg, Valeria Richards, Vii, Wu (Future Foundation kids)

Alex Cincini

Story Notes: 

Cecilia having heard about Gambit probably stems from the time when she joined the team after Zero Tolerance and Gambit was considered a traitor.

Captain Universe is a disembodied superhero who first appeared in Micronauts (1st series) #8. It is the guardian and protector of Eternity. Rather than a character with a single identity, Captain Universe is a persona that has merged with several hosts, each on a temporary basis to deal with a specific threat.

Spider-Man became a host in Spectacular Spider-Man (1st series) #158. The Invisible Woman was a host in Captain Universe / Invisible Woman #1. X-23 was a host in Captain Universe / X-23 #1.

Issue Information: 
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