X-23 (2nd series) #20

Issue Date: 
March 2012
Story Title: 
Girls Night Out – part 1

Marjorie Liu (writer), Phil Noto (artist), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Kalman Andrasofszky (cover art), Jared K. Fletcher (designer), Sebastian Girner (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: 

After a football game at the Jean Grey Institute, X-23 is reminded again that both groups of X-Men want to know where she stands after the schism that split the group. Laura has no wish to decide. Instead, she heads for a night on the town with Jubilee, unaware of being followed by the Black Widow. In a club, she notices a prostitute being manhandled by her pimp. She confronts the man and learns he is the successor of her old pimp, Zebra Daddy, whom she killed. Laura and Jubilee fight the pimp and his men and free the girl, then learn of the whereabouts of the other girls. They attack the brothel to free them. Outside they are already expected by SHIELD agents who help the young women. They were notified by the Black Widow, who has grown interested in Laura but criticizes her lack of strategy that night. She suggests Laura attend Avengers Academy where she can teach her to be the best hero she can be. Finally, Laura decides to take her up on the offer and leaves the Jean Grey School after telling Wolverine and Gambit goodbye.

Full Summary: 

The Jean Grey School for Higher Learning:
Get out of her way or die! X-23 warns her opponents. She does realize this is just a game, right? Bobby Drake, asks nervously. People don’t kill each other in football. He said no rules, Laura reminds him, and her teammate Jubilee agrees, warning the boys (Iceman and Gambit ) to brace themselves.

As X-23 attacks Bobby (who has iced up) Gambit mocks Jubilee’s vampire speed. Laura tries to somersault over Iceman’s ice ramp, but finds instead she is trapped, hanging upside down. From this angle, her scowl looks like a smile, Bobby observes. Ready to consider herself tackled? No, she replies and uses her footclaw to free her other leg.

Jubilee catches her and together they manage to cross the line with the ball. Iceman sighs that they are going to be hearing about this for years. Gambit agrees but figures it’s worth it.

He adds he has an appointment in the city. What’s he stealing? Jubilee asks. Nothing, he replies, but thanks for assuming the worst. That was a compliment, she clarifies.

Laura notices she is stared at by Hellion, who silently stands at the edge of the field. Jubilee suggests she ignore him. Why does he watch her? Laura asks. He’s a creep Jubes explains and Gambit agrees and offers to drive them to the city. They should go out.

No invite for him? Bobby asks. Laura explains she and Jubilee need to talk. Jubes warns she has to leave the next day. She’s not even supposed to be here. It’s stupid! Laura agrees. Bobby asks Gambit what’s going on. Choices, he explains.

In the evening, Laura and Jubilee walk through the streets of New York. Jubilee muses that she was born and grew up in LA. Always considered herself a California Mall rat. But now she misses New York. Laura announces she does not miss anything. Jubilee predicts she will miss New York too. If she goes, Laura stresses.

Jubilee doesn’t blame her for not wanting to return to the X-Men. Definitely not Cyclops, after what he did to her. Laura replies he did not make her join X-Force. It was her decision. Why did Jubilee join his side? She almost didn’t. But she is different now. A killer. No, she isn’t! X-23 replies. Jubilee points out she can hear the heartbeats of everyone around. She can smell them. And it makes her hungry. She wants to eat them. Even the kids. She would not harm anyone, Laura is certain.

But the urge is there, Jubilee explains. She has to fight. If she is not going to feed, she needs to fight. She craves violence almost as much as blood. That’s why she decided to stay with Cyclops. Her heart is with Wolverine but, if she joined him, it would only be a matter of time before she violated his trust. He’s got this new philosophy of peace. No fighting if you are a kid. And he still sees her as a kid. Laura muses he sees her the same way.

She gets a message on the phone. Another reminder she needs to choose. Jubilee suggests they do something fun and go dancing. She cannot dance, Laura protests. She’s hot, it doesn’t matter, Jubilee assures her. They walk off, not noticing the red-haired woman that watches them.

Later in a club, Jubilee tries to get Laura to dance but her attention is on a pretty blonde with a Asian man with a neck tattoo who holds her shoulder somewhat too tightly. Laura tells the woman to come with her. The man asks if they know each other. Frightened, the blonde explains she doesn’t know what she wants. Sure she does, he tells her. Don’t be stupid.

One hundred dollars for the first thirty minutes, the pimp tells Laura. She is fresh and worth it. That’s what her customers say, anyway. Oh gross, Jubilee mutters.

Laura tells the man she remembers him. He was friends with a pimp named Zebra Daddy. He finally recognizes her. She was one of his, the girl with the blades! Reaching for his gun, he adds he hears she killed him. He should thank her for that. He took over his business afterward.

Before he can use the gun, Laura grabs his gun arm, and positions her claws at his throat, threatening to kill him if he moves. Noticing that other men come closer, Jubilee asks how much ass-kicking they are committing to. As much as it takes, is the reply.

Does she really think she can handle all his boys? the pimp smirks. Or maybe she has some tricks she can show them. For old times’ sake. He remembers Zebra Daddy used to give them discount, but he never had her. Not her or anyone else again! she replies and cuts at his lower body.

Jubilee vamps up and the fight begins. Very soon there is a large circle around the three women. He escaped, Laura states. They take the blonde and hurry outside. The girl mutters he is going to kill her. Angrily, she berates Laura why she did that to her. She was saving her? Laura points out. The blonde replies she has nothing besides this. She can’t go home, she can’t--

Laura asks her where the other girls are. She explains that he took over for the pimp who used to control Laura. This night will not frighten him from his business. The girls must be found. Or it will never end!

Soon the girls find the brothel and see the horrors inside. Girls who crouch on the ground. Almost naked girls standing in a row and being manhandled. A girl lying on a bed being shot up with drugs. A “John” touching a far too young girl.

Jubilee and X-23 free everyone. X has taken the keys of a van. Jubilee remarks she knows why this means so much to her. What does she think is going to happen to these girls now? They don’t know where to take them or who to call. Not the police, Laura announces.

Outside they are already expected by agents of SHIELD. In front of them stands the Black Widow, who announces she’s there to help and talk. While SHIELD takes care of the girls Natasha talks to Laura. Does she know why she’s here? Not to help these girls, Laura replies. She is the spy, Black Widow, an Avenger. The Avengers cannot stop slavery or help those girls. Neither can the X-Men, the Widow replies. But they try. Laura’s a good fighter. One of the best, she’s told. She’s also supposed to have a gift for strategy, but tonight she didn’t see it. Laura let her emotions rule.

Her… emotions, Laura repeats surprised. Natasha tells her she isn’t immune to anger. Nobody is. But she isn’t a blunt force object either. She can be better. She has had her eye on X-23 for a while. She doesn’t ignore potential. She asks her to come to the Avengers Academy. She was groomed to be the best and most dangerous. Natasha can make teach her to be the smartest as well. She can teach her how to lead. It’s not such a bad thing being useful.

So what is she going to tell them? Jubilee asks Laura.

Later, Logan finds Laura sitting on the roof. He heard she and Jubilee had an interesting night. It was… useful, Laura replies. She made a decision. She’s leaving, he states. She agrees. He’ll miss her and apologizes he couldn’t do better by her. Taking his hand, she tells him she’ll miss him too.

She can still change her mind, Gambit tells her later. But she is sure this is the right choice. That’s the beauty of knowing yourself, he agrees. He hugs her. If she needs anything at all, don’t hesitate. She is not alone. Neither is he, she tells him. He tells her to go for it and not look back, and so she drives off on her motor bike.

Characters Involved: 

Gambit, Iceman, Wolverine (X-Men in Westchester)
Jubilee (X-Man from Utopia)
Hellion (X-student in Westchester)

Black Widow (Avenger)

SHIELD agents

Armed guards

Story Notes: 

Laura will join the Avengers Academy with #23 of that title.

Laura was a prostitute in the NYX series.

Written By: