X-23: Target X #4

Issue Date: 
May 2007
Story Title: 
X-23: Target X – Part Four

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

Brief Description: 

X-23 continues to answer Captain America and Matt Murdock’s questions about her life and those she’s killed. She tells them how the Facility discovered her in San Francisco and used Trigger Scent to try and force her to kill her aunt Debbie and cousin Megan. After watching X-23 kill her mother’s boyfriend Desmond (who was secretly an agent of the Facility) Megan realized that Laura was under the sway of the Trigger Scent the Facility used to make X-23 kill her mother. Megan managed to save herself and her mother by hiding in the bathroom and rinsing the trigger sent away. X-23 came to her senses in the nick of time. X-23 explained to Cap and Daredevil how the Facility created Kimura to be invulnerable to her powers and claws and made her X-23’s handler. She gave examples of how Kimura would relish punishing X-23 whether she deserved it or not. Freed from the influence of the Trigger Scent, X-23 hid her aunt and cousin in the basement and fiercely battled the dozen troops sent to retrieve her. She dispatched them easily but was quickly defeated by Kimura who arrived to take X-23 back and kill her new family herself.

Full Summary: 

Captain America asks X-23 if she killed her aunt and cousin. Matt Murdock jumps in and tells Cap that she was under the influence of a mind-controlling drug and cannot be held responsible. Cap tells Matt that despite that people are dead and he has to understand what happened and that it will be up to someone else to decide what X-23 will be held responsible for. He asks her what happened when the tea spilled on Megan and Desmond.

One year earlier…

As X-23 pops her claws, Desmond immediately realizes what is happening and begins to panic. Megan, on the other hand, is bewildered by Laura’s behavior. Desmond calls Kimura on his cell phone and begs her to abort the mission and evac him immediately. Megan asks what he means by mission and he pushes her aside.
As he screams into the phone for help, X-23 leaps at him. She lands on his back and in seconds he is dead. As he cries out, Debbie who is upstairs in bed is startled and spills her tea. Megan cries out for Laura to stop but she doesn’t. As Megan watches her kill Desmond, she recalls the story that Laura told her about killing her mother while under the influence of the Trigger Scent. Megan quickly surmises that the tea was laced with the stuff and rushes upstairs.
She cries out for her mom and asks her franticly if she drank the tea. Debbie tells her that she spilled it and Megan takes her by the hand and hurries her into the bathroom.
X-23 makes her way up the stairs in search of her next target. Megan slams and locks the bathroom door and Laura’s slice come slashing through it. Megan is stammering to her mother that they have to get out of there and Debbie is confused by all that is happening.
Turning to the window, Megan sees the shower. X-23 is cutting the door to pieces to get to them. Megan thinks fast and shoves her mother into the shower. They both scream as X-23 bursts through the door, and yanks back the shower curtain.
As X-23 pulls back for a full force attack, the last of the Trigger Scent is washed from Megan and Debbie’s bodies and swirls into the drain. X-23 sniffs and her eyes clear. She stops and then realizes that Kimura is here and coming for them.
Nearby, Kimura reports in that Desmond is dead and they are going to have to do this the hard way. At her command, a small contingent of armored troops makes their way towards Debbie’s home.

Captain America interrupts X-23’s tale and asks her who Kimura is since she has now mentioned her twice. X-23 recounts the story of their first meeting.

X-23: Age twelve….

Just days after her claws were surgically removed and laced with adamantium, Dr. Rice enters X-23’s room and introduces her to Kimura. The older woman stands imperiously over X-23. When Rice orders x-23 to kill Kimura, she strikes without hesitation. Her blows do nothing to the woman, who simply stands there and takes it.
Rice taunts X-23, ordering her again and again to kill Kimura. Finally, Kimura blocks X-23’s blow. Rice sneers and tells X-23 that she has failed to follow his orders and must be punished. He signals Kimura who smiles sadistically and says “hi, sweetie” before viciously head-butting X-23. She then proceeds to pummel on Laura until Rice tells her to stop.
He then tells X-23 that Kimura will be her handler from now on and that if she fails to complete an order or disobeys him in any way, she will answer to Kimura. He tells X-23 that she can’t hurt or kill Kimura who they made just for her.

X-23 explains that Kimura was there when they the first tested the Trigger Scent and forced X-23 to kill her sensei. They chose her sensei because he had disobeyed orders by being kind to X-23. This was their way of punishing him. As X-23 grieved for her sensei and realized what they had forced her to do and why, Kimura dragged her away by the hair to punish her for her role in all of this.
She notes that Kimura always punished her even when she had not failed. When she failed to rendez-vous at the assigned time following a mission, Kimura relished this and took the opportunity to punish X-23. In other instances, Rice lied just to create a reason for further punishment at Kimura’s hands.

Both Cap and Matt Murdock are disgusted by the lengths that Rice went to manipulate and control X-23. Cap asks if Kimura was a mutant whose mutation allowed her to withstand X-23’s claws. Laura tells him that she wasn’t but was created by the Facility as a specific counter to her abilities. Cap brings the interrogation back to the night that Debbie and Megan died.

As X-23 leads Debbie and Megan downstairs, Megan mentions that Desmond said he was on a mission. She asks what’s going on and if Laura’s creators were after her. Debbie asks Megan what she means about Desmond just as they come upon his dead body in the foyer. Debbie begins to freak out and Megan asks Laura to help her with her mother. X-23 punches Debbie in the jaw and knocks her out with a single blow.
Megan asks Laura why she did that and Laura hurriedly explains that they are coming there to kill the two of them. At that moment, a tear gas bomb crashes through the living room window. Megan asks if it’s anthrax as X-23 leads them into the basement. She then uses her claws to slice through a water pipe. She tells Megan to stay down here no matter what she hears and to not make a sound. Megan agrees though she is freezing and unclear on what Laura is doing or why.

Upstairs, armored goons enter the building and scan for targets using infrared devices. They pick up life-signs in the basement but conclude that the body temperatures are too low to be human. X-23 takes one out from behind and then braces herself against the ceiling above a doorway in an adjoining bedroom in order to take out a second. She then takes out a third in the bathroom.
A pair of troops sees this and opens fire. They report this to Kimura who sarcastically wishes them luck in taking her down themselves. X-23 dives into the kitchen and then kills the two men by hurling meat cleavers at their faces.
Downstairs, Megan can hear the sounds of battle and is frightened when the basement door swings open. The armored troop stands there a moment before falling down the stairs. He lands at Megan’s feet, several knives are sticking out of his neck.

The battle continues upstairs as X-23 uses the claws on her hands and feet to take out four goons at once. She stops to assess the field of battle and catch her breath. In that moment of pause, Kimura grabs her from behind and snaps her neck. She smiles sadistically and greets X-23. She asks “Did you miss me?” as X-23 falls to the floor.

Characters Involved: 

X-23/”Laura Kinney”

Captain America

Matt Murdock/Daredevil
in the past

Debbie Kinney, Sarah Kinney’s sister

Megan, Sarah Kinney’s niece

Desmond, Debbie’s boyfriend and an undercover Facility operative
Dr. Zander Rice, Kimura, X-23’s sensei and other unnamed personnel at the Facility

Story Notes: 

This entire series is told through a series of flashbacks from different points in X-23’s life. The interrogation by Captain America and Matt Murdock takes place in the recent past as well and is used as a framing device to further explore X-23’s history.

The full story of X-23’s creation, upbringing and earliest missions were all depicted in the X-23 Limited Series.

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 no X-23. The interrogation scenes clearly take place before events of DAREDEVIL #80 which marked the beginning of Matt Murdock’s recent incarceration.

Additional details about Kimura’s origins were revealed in NEW X-MEN #36.

Issue Information: 
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