X-23: Target X #1

Issue Date: 
February 2007
Story Title: 
X-23: Target X – Part One

Craig Kyle & Christopher Yost (writers), Mike Choi & Sonia Oback (artists), Troy Peteri (letterer), Rich Ginter (production), Michael O’Connor & Daniel Ketchum (assistant editors), Axel Alonso (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

While being interrogated in a New York police station, X-23 recalls key moments in her life over the last four years. She remembers her Weapon X training and how she proved herself ready for field work when she was eleven. She recalls the death of her “mother”, Dr. Sarah Kinney when she was thirteen and her subsequent escape from the Facility where she was created and trained as a killer. Finally, she recalls how she came to live with her “aunt” and “cousin” in San Francisco. Her interrogators, Captain America and Matt Murdock, ask her continuously if she is X-23 and she answers “no”. But she acknowledges that she was X-23 and crafted to be a weapon. This presents the question, “How did she stop being X-23 and become Laura Kinney?”

Full Summary: 

X-23: Age Fifteen.

She sits in an interrogation room wearing an X-Men jacket. She has a bag over her head and her mouth is taped shut. A light comes on and the bag and tape are removed. A man asks twice “Are you X-23?”
X-23: Age Eleven.

X-23 is put through a Weapon X training sequence. A hologram of the original Weapon X appears. X-23 shadows its movements perfectly as a pair of cyborg wolves attacks her. In a control booth above, Dr. Zander Rice, Dr. Martin Sutter and Dr. Sarah Kinney observe her progress. She is initially within .09n percent synchronicity with Weapon X. Zander goads Dr. Kinney saying that as a clone she should match his moves perfectly. Sarah tells him to shut up and Dr. Sutter says that X-23’s performances will determine whether their efforts to create her have been a waste of time or not. Sarah tries to tell him that she’s only a little girl and Zander reminds her once more that they’re here to build weapons not Girl Scouts. Sarah tells him to go to hell.
Behind the trio of scientists, X-23’s handler, Kimura watches the training as well. X-23 is momentarily overcome by the wolves and falls out of sync with the Weapon X hologram. Dr. Rice barks at her to resume her position but before she can do so he unleashes the next attacker: a cyberneticly enhanced grizzly bear. The bear tosses her away like a rag doll and Dr. Kinney begs him to stop the program. He notes that getting tossed like that has to be considered out of sync with program parameters.
X-23 tries to return to the hologram and is again swatted away by the bear. Dr. Kinney begs her superior, Dr. Sutter to stop the sequence before x-23 is killed. Sutter coldly replies that if she fails here, she’s no good to him anyway and orders Zander to increase the bear’s adrenaline levels. The bear advances on X-23. She kicks up from where she lies on the ground, driving her foot claw into the bears mouth and up into its brain.
Sutter is impressed by X-23’s ability to improvise and upon comparing her fight time with that of the original Weapon X finds that she defeated the bear in significantly less time than it took her predecessor. Sutter is pleased but Dr. Rice notes that she was outside mission parameters. Sutter tells him that doesn’t matter and to prepare the girl for a field test. He assigns her to the Candidate Johnson assassination. Kimura watches X-23 closely as she approaches the Weapon X hologram.
X-23: Age Fifteen.

The question is repeated: “Are you X-23?” to which the girl bound to the metal chair replies “No.” One of her interrogators confirms that she is telling the truth and the other insists that that’s not possible. He holds out a locket and asks who the woman in the photo inside is. X-23 replies that it is Doctor Sarah Kinney, her mother.
X-23: Age Thirteen.

Dr. Sarah Kinney lies in a pool of blood on the snowy grounds of the Facility. X-23 begs her not to leave her and to wake up. She asks her “What is my mission?” X-23 remains by her “mother’s” side for a long time despite the bitter cold. The sound of approaching helicopters forces her to her feet. She gathers the scattered notes and journals that lie strewn about Dr. Kinney’s body. She begins to walk away and then returns to Sarah’s lifeless body to wipe the tears from her empty eyes.
The circling copters easily tracks X-23 and send a small squad of troops to intercept her on the ground. She easily takes out three of them mere moments after they hit the ground. Using one of their assault rifles, she takes out one of the helicopter pilots. The copter explodes magnificently in the forest near her.
As she continues her flight from the Facility, she is suddenly hit by a series of crossbow bolts. She immediately recognizes the source: Kimura. X-23’s handler steps boldly towards her and asks if she really thought they were going to let her get away. She says that she’s going to take X-23 back in. X-23 lunges for Kimura’s gun and Kimura reminds the young clone that there’s no way that X-23 can hurt her. X-23 replies coolly “I know” and shoots the gun into a nearby snow bank. This creates a miniature avalanche that buries them both. X-23 is the first to emerge and makes good her escape.
X-23: Age Fifteen.

The interrogation continues as they ask the name of the young girl in the other side of the locket. It is Megan, Sarah Kinney’s niece.
X-23: Age Fourteen.

In San Francisco, Megan awakes from a nightmare about a deranged madman who kidnapped her when she was a child. She cries out and asks for it to stop. Surrounding her bed are drawings of the man in her dreams and another figure: a dark-haired woman with claws extending from her hand.
As Megan makes her way downstairs, she overhears her mother Debbie and her mother’s boyfriend, Desmond arguing. Desmond insists that he won’t pay for another “shrink” and what Megan needs is discipline. Debbie begins to tell him what Megan needs and Megan interrupts and asks what that might be. Debbie asks her daughter if she’d like some breakfast and Megan slams the door behind her.
From across the street, X-23 watches as her “cousin” heads off to school. For the next several weeks, X-23 watches Megan, Debbie and Desmond from afar. She observes Megan’s lonely isolation and Debbie’s motherly desperation. After three weeks of watching, X-23 rings the doorbell wearing a t-shirt and looking like a normal teenaged girl. Debbie answers the door and immediately recognizes the young woman.
X-23: Age Fifteen.

X-23 sits silently in the interrogation room. One of the men in the room insists that this isn’t going to work and the other that it has to. They ask the question “What is X-23?”
X-23: Age Fourteen.

Desmond is furious as Debbie tries to explain to him what has happened. Debbie tries to apologize and explain that the situation is complicated. Megan arrives and asks what’s going on. Debbie struggles for words and finally just tells Megan that they have a guest, her cousin. Megan is surprised by this news. She finds X-23 in her room looking at the drawings that adorn her wall. Megan gets angry and tells her to get out. X-23 asks Megan why she draws the man who took her. Megan tells X-23 that he’s not real, except in her nightmares. X-23 replies that he is real and that she killed him. Megan begins to cry.
X-23: Age Fifteen.

Again the men in shadows ask the question, “Who is X-23?” One of the men asks if he can ask the question and the other replies, “Go ahead.” The man, Matt Murdock asks “Who was X-23?” to which X-23 replies, “He knows what I was…” Captain America looks down on the young girl and says flatly “She was a weapon.”

Characters Involved: 

X-23/”Laura Kinney”
Dr. Zander Rice, Dr. Sarah Kinney, Dr. Martin Sutter (all Facility staff)

Captain America

Matt Murdock/Daredevil
Wegener, Mauer and other unnamed medical, scientific and security staff of the Facility
Debbie, Sarah Kinney’s sister
Megan, Sarah Kinney’s niece
Desmond, Debbie’s boyfriend
In Megan’s dreams:

Unnamed kidnapper

Story Notes: 

The full story of X-23’s creation, upbringing and earliest missions were all depicted in the X-23 Limited Series. Megan’s kidnapping and rescue by X-23 were shown in full in X-23 #4.
Kimura did not appear in the original X-23 Limited Series. She made her first appearance in NEW X-MEN #31.
Matthew Murdock is a lawyer as well as the masked vigilante known as Daredevil. His enhanced senses allow him to detect when others are lying which is how he knows that Laura is telling the truth when she says that she is not X-23. The interrogation scenes clearly take place before events of DAREDEVIL #80 which marked the beginning of Matt Murdock’s recent incarceration.

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