X-23 #4

Issue Date: 
May 2005
Story Title: 
Innocence Lost – Part Four

Craig Kyle & Christopher Yost (writers), Billy Tan (penciler), Jon Sibal (inker), Brian Haberlin (colorist), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Cory Sedlmeier (assistant editor), Axel Alonso (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

X-23 survives her encounter with AIM and returns to the Weapon X recreation program, to the delight of Dr. Kinney and the surprise of Zander Rice. Sarah tries to learn what happened on X-23’s last mission with little success. Her efforts to reach out to X-23 are sidelined when she learns that her niece, who is the same age as X-23 has been kidnapped. Sarah and her colleague Kevin take X-23 to San Francisco to track down Megan’s kidnapper. X-23 does so with ease, rescues Megan and kills the kidnapper. When they return to the program, Sarah must face the wrath of Zander and a possible dismissal by Dr. Sutter. Zander uses this stressful time as an opportunity to ask Sutter to hand directorship of the program over to him. Sutter agrees and signs a document making Zander the new director. As soon as the documents are signed, Zander orders X-23 to kill Dr. Sutter and his family.

Full Summary: 

Doctor Sarah Kinney sits at her desk looking at a picture of her niece, Megan. She then opens the file on X-23. She is crying as she recounts Dr. Rice’s report that X-23 died on the last mission she was sent on. She notes that she didn’t believe him just as sirens sound throughout the research facility.
She races to an observation deck where Dr. Martin and Dr. Rice are watching as a security team scrambles to deal with the intruder. On the floor below, the main hatch door opens and a somewhat wounded X-23 enters. Sarah is joyously surprised and Zander continues his claim that he saw her die at the hands of AIM agents. Dr. Sutter orders Sarah to handle the debriefing of X-23.
X-23 refuses to talk about what happened to Sarah.
X-23 was gunned down by AIM, who believed her to be dead. She survived and killed her attackers in a berserker rage.
Sarah looks at the deep X-shaped scars on X-23’s forearm and asks who did that to her. X-23 remains silent.
Later in her room, Sarah is crying once more when she receives a message that her sister has called several times in the last hour trying to reach her. Sarah agrees to speak with her sister who is frantic. She learns that her niece, Megan has been kidnapped.
Sarah and her friend and colleague Kevin go to round up X-23 to help. Sarah always thought she was above Dr. Sutter and Zander Rice who turned her into a killer. But now that she was desperate and in need of help, she willingly chose to use X-23 as a weapon, too.
Rachel approaches her husband, Martin and asks if he loves her. He seems exasperated by her question but replies that he does. She starts to tell him the truth about their son, Henry when Zander comes in to inform Martin that they have a situation. Rachel begs Martin to stay but he puts her off once more. As he and Zander leave his office, Zander gives Rachel a harsh look. Zander reveals to Martin that Sarah has taken off with X-23.
In San Francisco, Sarah arrives at the home of her sister, Debbie. She assures Debbie that she’ll help find Megan and tells her that she has a detective friend in San Francisco who is working on it. X-23 uses her claws to scale the wall of Debbie’s building and enter Megan’s room. Using her keen sense of smell, she is able to identify the scents of those who had entered Megan’s room. She catches the scent of the kidnapper with ease and tracks him, as Kevin and Sarah monitor her progress.
She reaches an older apartment building and tracks down the room in which Megan is being held. She disguises herself as a Girl Scout selling cookies before ringing the doorbell. The kidnapper sees her and opens the door. He asks where her parents are and she says they’re at home with wide-eyed innocence. He invites her in while he grabs his wallet. Instead, he grabs a knife X-23 opens the box of cookies and offers him one. He looks inside and the box is empty except for a picture of Megan. He is shocked at what he sees and threatens to kill X-23.
Outside, Sarah and Kevin are waiting for a signal from X-23. It comes in the form of the kidnapper crashing through his apartment window and slamming into a car on the street below. Sarah and Kevin pull up in a van just as X-23 emerges with a somewhat shaken Megan. Sarah rushes over to her niece who wonders who she is. Sarah tells her that she’s her aunt and assures her that she’s safe. Kevin gives her a shot that sedates her and Sarah mentions that when she wakes up, she’ll forget it ever happened like a bad dream.
Sarah returns with X-23 to face an enraged Zander. They argue over Sarah’s unauthorized “field trip” and Zander’s choice to leave X-23 to die. Martin intercedes and Zander takes X-23 back to her room. Martin is clearly angry with Sarah’s little escapade and asks if she has anything to say for herself. She asks if it would matter and Sutter replies that it probably would not. He tells Sarah they will discuss her future there in the morning. As she leaves, a news reports on the apparent suicide of a man in San Francisco linked to the kidnapping and murder of seven young girls in the Bay Area.
Zander drives Martin home that evening. Martin wonders what has Rachel so upset and why she refuses to discuss it with him over the phone. Zander expresses his concern for Martin’s well-being and gives him a document to sign. This document hands over all of Martin’s duties as director of the program to Zander. Zander states that he’s already lost one father to the program and doesn’t want to lose another. Martin signs it and Zander thanks him with a hug.
A few yards from Martin’s house, Zander pulls over and pops the trunk. X-23 is inside. He hands her pictures of Martin, his wife Rachel and their son, Henry. Zander gives X-23 twenty-two minutes to kill them all and asks that she make it look like an accident.

Characters Involved: 

Dr. Zander Rice, Dr. Sarah Kinney, Dr. Martin Sutter (all part of the Weapon X re-creation project)
Rachel, Dr. Sutter’s administrative assistant/wife
Medical staff and special ops agents of the Weapon X re-creation program including Kevin (Dr. Kinney’s confidante)
Megan, Dr. Kinney’s niece
Debbie, Dr. Kinney’s sister
Megan’s kidnapper
In X-23’s memories:
AIM Agents
In photos only:
Henry Sutter

Story Notes: 

Sarah Kinney broke off communication with her sister Debbie years earlier when Debbie refused to believe her when she accused their father of molesting her.
Debbie’s daughter Megan is roughly the same age as X-23 and serves as a constant reminder of what X-23’s life could have been like if she hadn’t been born as part of the program.
Rachel’s burning secret is that she had an affair with Zander Rice and that he is the father of her son, Henry.
Zander’s father died at the hands of Wolverine when he was a part of the original Weapon X program.

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