X-23 (2nd series) #6

Issue Date: 
April 2011
Story Title: 
Songs of the Orphan Child – part 3

Marjorie Liu (writer), Will Conrad and David Lopez (pencils), Will Conrad and Alvaro Lopez (inks) John Rauch (colorist), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Kalman Andrasofszky (cover art), Marko Djurdjevic (variant 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: 

Laura and Gambit are surprised as Miss Sinister has transformed into the real Mr. Sinister. Immediately, Gambit attacks him and is quickly beaten, as is X-23. Miss Sinister then transforms to her true self once again, after which she has Gambit locked away and Laura tied to a certain chair. When Laura regains consciousness Miss Sinister explains that, ever since she used that chair, the real Mr. Sinister has managed to take more and more control over her, therefore she wants to transfer her consciousness into Laura’s body. The process begins but, much to her surprise, she only manages to transfer Mr. Sinister’s consciousness into Laura. More surprisingly, Laura manages to cast him out, eliminating Sinister’s consciousness. Alice, in the meantime, has freed Gambit, who in turn activates the lab’s self-destruct. Now freed, Laura offers Miss Sinister a chance at redemption, which is promptly rejected. Feeling the necessary offer made, Laura guts Miss Sinister, who nonetheless manages to escape. With an injured and unconscious Alice in his arms, Gambit tricks Laura to escape, even though she wants to look for the last Alice clone, and the trio make it out of the facility before in implodes. Together they take Alice to a hospital, where Laura decides to look for Malcolm Colcord and stop his new Weapon Plus program. Meanwhile, unknown to them, the last Alice clone has survived the lab’s implosion and is now possessed by the real Mr. Sinister, who has Miss Sinister as his prisoner.

Full Summary: 

The first thing you learn is how to be alone. The second thing you learn is how to wait. The third thing you learn is how to kill. There is no art to death. All it requires is resolve. A place where you feel nothing. Where you are nothing. Death is a moment. Fill yourself with too many moments of death and you will cease to exist.

Before the eyes of X-23, Gambit and Alice the treacherous Miss Sinister has changed into the original Mr. Sinister. With a cry of rage, Gambit grabs his staff and storms at his old enemy, eyes glowing with energy. How appropriate he finds him here, Sinister remarks and slams him back with an energy bolt. “And you…” he addresses Laura. With a determined face, she unsheathes her claws and also charges at him. He fires another blast at her but she dodges it and claws him in the chest and throat.

Sinister chuckles, then grabs her arms. Let this be her first lesson, he informs her as he grabs her throat. Laura finally loses consciousness.

Sinister begins to order Alice to prepare… but suddenly his features begin to melt and struggling he returns to the form of Miss Sinister. She’s back, she tells Alice and takes X-23’s pulse. Is she dead? Alice asks. Yes, but not for long. She orders Alice to prepare the chair.

Laura wakes up strapped to a chair. Claudine tells her she’s sorry it has to end like this, then takes the statement back. She’s not even a little bit sorry, but it makes her feel better to say the words.

Why is she doing this? Laura asks. More seriously, Claudine replies that her body is not her own. Mr. Sinister has been slowly taking possession of her. She can even feel him now. A worm at the back of her mind. She’s been fighting him for months, ever since she came to this place. She didn’t realize what would happen when she sat in this chair, didn’t know she would lose so much. But even if she had, she might not have been able to stop herself. The instinct that compelled her to activate it was too overwhelming. As important to her as breathing. By the time she realized what was happening, she could already feel him consuming her. That was always his intention. If not Claudine, then someone else, he engineered. She doesn’t know how she stopped him, but she broke free of the chair. But she only delayed the inevitable. She opened the door that let him in.

She is dying, Laura states. Claudine agrees. Not her body, but she. Her personality. Her mind. Her dreams… everything she is, swallowed up by him. The times he possesses her are growing more frequent. She hasn’t been able to stop him. She needs a new body. Laura has the thing she wants the most. A healing factor. It’s like the holy grail. Immortality.

It’s the one thing that Malcolm Colcord wants most as well, she then adds. It’s the only thing that will allow his Weapon program to move forward. He promised Claudine a healing factor in return for her cooperation. A serum that she could inject into the chosen host. For a time, she thought he had succeeded in developing the serum. But when he tested it on the Alices, the results were less than satisfactory. They were defective. Much like the Alice, whose murder Laura avenged. She was going to die anyway. Snaring Laura was going to be her reprieve for a day or two.

She touches Laura’s hair and face, musing she really is lovely. Beautiful actually. Beautiful, young, with a healing factor. God must love her.

Laura points out Claudine will do the same thing to her that was done to Claudine. She can live with that, Claudine replies. She does have one question, however. Why does a girl with a healing factor have a scar? She refers to the snowflake scar in Laura’s hand.

Does she believe a clone has a soul? Laura asks. What does that have to do with anything? is the reply as Claudine puts a helmet atop Laura’s head and places a similar helmet on herself. Claudine is a clone, Laura points out. She was never a clone, Claudine corrects her. She was a woman injected with a virus engineered to transform her into a clone. Is that what she’s worried about? That she’ll lose her soul once Claudine is inside her? No, Laura replies. She’s concerned she never had one to start with.

Claudine doubts there is such a thing. She believes more in the power of electrical impulses, memories, desire, all limited and contained within the span if a single life. Rest assured, though. If she does have a soul… it won’t be with her for much longer. With that, she presses a button. As the procedure begins, Alice runs to Gambit’s cell, where she finds him out cold.

Back in the lab, the energy transfer has begun but Miss Sinister feels something wrong. She is not leaving her body. Instead, she feels Mr. Sinister slipping away. A moment later, Laura opens her eyes and they are red. With a smirk, she asks Claudine what she was thinking, trying to rid herself of Sinister. Claudine calls him a son of a bitch. That’s her body. No it’s not, comes the reply. She doesn’t deserve it. She doesn’t deserve to keep the body she has now! He made her. He owns her! He always will! She’ll kill him first! she announces and presses a lever.

Violent energy rattles Laura’s body. Covered with blood, she asks Claudine to do it again; “he” likes to be tickled. “No!” the real Laura shouts, as another energy wave hits her and orders him out of her head. A moment later, the machine overloads and the procedure abruptly ends.

While Claudine is distracted with what remains of the control panel, Alice sneaks inside and begins to free Laura. Finally noticing, Claudine hits her over the head with a metal pipe. Enraged, Laura frees herself and attacks Miss Sinister, who warns her that the self-destruct warning has begun.

Suddenly, Gambit joins them and takes a look at Alice. Laura tells Claudine she is rid of him now. He is gone forever. She could have a second chance. Miss Sinister calls her a naive stupid girl. Who does she think she is to…

Laura slashes her stomach. She’s been told it’s important to offer mercy. But she has her limit. Claudine holds her stomach and moans that Laura can’t beat her. She’ll heal. She still has this body. Sinister was right, Laura pronounces. She does not deserve it!

Gambit cradles Alice, announcing she is barely alive. They gotta go! He found the self-destruct Sinister always installs to protect his research. He should have waited to use it, Laura criticizes. Some things you don’t wait for, he disagrees.

She remembers the other Alice that was still in the test tube. She runs after Claudine, who runs outside the lab and shuts the steel door after herself.

Laura slashes an entrance to the lab with the test tubes but they are all empty. Gambit tells her they have to run. Laura insists that the last Alice clone is somewhere. They have to save her! Gambit reminds her that this clone still needs her. She can still help Alice and a dozen other kids who need saving! He can’t do it alone! Not before this place blows! She can’t save everyone. Sometimes she has to let go! Then why is he here? she asks. C’mon, he urges her. Live!

And so, she follows. The pace blows behind them and they barely get out with Laura asking where the children are. He lied to her, she snaps, the children are already out. Cut him later, he replies. They get outside where a last car with minders is waiting for them.

Later, they have brought Alice to the hospital and sit at her bedside. Gambit promises the Laura that Alice will have the best care. He’s already called Storm, who’s having someone medivac Alice to a special hospital in San Francisco. And the other children? Laura asks. Storm’s sending a team for them. He doesn’t think that town can be trusted. Laura remarks that the children will be targets if Miss Sinister was telling the truth about Malcolm Colcord. He will want to study them in case they were… modified.

Taking the unconscious Alice’s hand, Laura asks Gambit why he came looking for her. It wasn’t for Storm or the X-Men, he replies, it was for this. To be there for her. He hardly knew her, she points out. She hardly knew Alice, he shoots back. She knew enough, Laura replies. His point exactly, Gambit states. “So what’s next?” he asks. Malcolm Colcord, she decides. The Weapon program cannot be allowed to begin again.

In a tunnel that survived the cave-in, the last Alice clone kneels next to the unconscious Miss Sinister. Poor Claudine. Such aspirations she had and now look what happened… Alice – a red diamond on her forehead – strokes her face and tells her not to worry. She’ll take care of her…

Characters Involved: 



Alice II

Alice III / Mr. Sinister

Miss Sinister


Story Notes: 

X-23 got the mysterious snowflake scar during her sojourn in “hell” in issue #3.

Issue Information: 
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