The Weapon X Program is one of the Marvel Universe’s most shadowy and sinister organizations, turning the now-deceased mutant known as Wolverine into a weapon, training him and bonding his skeleton with unbreakable adamantium. When he escaped their clutches and became a costumed super hero, Weapon X sought other means of recreating their experiment. One option was cloning, which resulted in the birth of Laura Kinney, AKA X-23, a female clone of Wolverine possessing many of his powers as well as a set of adamantium claws in her hands and feet, raised in a horrific and brutal environment where she was trained to become an assassin at a young age.
Eventually Laura escaped and crossed paths with her biological “father.” He helped her confront some of the emotional trauma she experienced by giving her the same opportunities he had to become something better and larger; a hero and a member of groups like the X-Men and the student body of Avengers Academy. This led Laura to form a number of close bonds and relationships with other mutants and heroes, but Wolverine was still played a pivotal role in her development as a hero and a person. When he perished during “Death of Wolverine,” Laura began to wonder about her place in his legacy.
This October, Laura will stake her claim to that legacy and heroic mantle as the title character of the “All-New Wolverine” ongoing series by writer Tom Taylor and artist David Lopez, launching as part of the “All-New, All-Different Marvel” initiative. The series picks up eight months into her future with Laura having already assumed her “father’s” identity and his relentless pursuit of justice for the exploited and helpless. CBR News spoke with Taylor about the appeal of his title character, the recipe for the best Wolverine stories, and the villains that Laura Kinney will encounter in her new role.
CBR News: In recent years X-23 has been a fascinating part of books like “All-New X-Men,” “Wolverines,” and “Avengers Arena,” but it feels like when she gets a chance to shine in her own miniseries, the “X-23” ongoing by writer Marjorie Liu and her recent “Death of Wolverine” one-shot, the creators are inspired to tell some powerful, hard-hitting stories. Why do you think that is? What drew you to the character?
Tom Taylor: Laura has been through so much and I don’t think she’s come through unscathed. In fact I think she’s come through very scathed. However, she has this ferocious tenacity that kind of kicks the ass of everything she’s had to deal with.
I think there’s something very appealing about her as a character and a person. As you said, there have been some great stories that have happened in the past. Those origin stories that you talked about were gripping. When she was a young girl she was raised in this horrible environment and endured so much brutality. She was forced to inflict a lot of pain and suffering on the world against her will, so she has a lot to make up for.
I think, as soon as any creator gets their hands on Laura, they want the best for her. They want her to find redemption. And they understand why she fights so hard.
I’m very honored to have the opportunity to write the next stage of her fight.
When you pick up with Laura in “All-New Wolverine” #1 eight months will have passed. What can you tell us about her status quo and where her head is at when the series begins? Will we see the events that led her to pick up her biological “father’s” mantle?
We eventually will, but honestly we’re dropping readers right into the action in issue #1. We’re not going to have time to really talk about or examine her headspace. She’s in very, very deep, and by the end of the first issue I’m not even going to guarantee that she still has a head. [Laughs]
[Laughs] Fair enough! Previous “Wolverine” series have been able to tell different kinds of stories because of the many roles the title character played in the Marvel Universe, both in the present day and by exploring his past. What can you tell us about Laura’s initial role in “All-New Wolverine” #1?
I don’t want to give away too much, but when we first see her she’s going to be stuck between two factions that want to obliterate each other. She’s actually going to be playing the role of peacemaker and will be trying to stop them from obliterating each other. So, she may be the best there is at what she does — but she really doesn’t want to do that right now. [Laughs]
â€¨She is trying to keep a lot of people alive and there’s something that she’s very, very angry about. I think the best Wolverine stories are ones where it’s Wolverine against the world; not with a lot of backup or a team of people. That’s what we’re doing with Laura from the very beginning as well.
This will be quite a solo book. There will be some familiar faces, and some backup, but we really want to establish that she is the “All-New Wolverine” and she doesn’t need help from other X-Men at this phase.
Yep! We’re very much concentrating on action. There aren’t many places to catch our breath in the first over-sized issue. Laura slices through the pages of our first issue like Adamantium claws through butter.
You mentioned initially “All-New Wolverine” will be about Laura on her own, but would you like to see her eventually cross paths with characters like Wolverine’s son Daken or Old Man Logan in this series?
I don’t want to talk about those characters just yet. I think there will be people wanting those characters to meet and come together, but we want to tell our own stories first, and we want to establish Laura as Wolverine.
What’s your sense of Laura’s rogues gallery? Are you looking to refine and expand it?
Yeah, I think we are. We’ve talked a lot about her past but there’s a real desire from a lot of people to not focus on her past in this series and look toward her future. Some people have asked if we’re going to see Logan’s rogues gallery or if his enemies are going to become Laura’s. To them I would say she’s more than capable of pissing off her own powerful people and bringing a lot of danger into her life her own way.
She’s stubborn, violent, and righteous as hell. So we will see her start to get her own group of people annoyed with her.
Laura and her antagonists will be brought to life by an artist coming off a run on the adventures of another tough female protagonist, David Lopez who drew “Captain Marvel.” He seems like a great fit for this series.
David brings everything to this book. He’s got the game for all of it. He can do fantastic action and he’s got this amazing energy, which I love.
I’m not sure if you know this, but I was a professional juggler and fire eater for many years and I grew up on stage. I grew up in musicals and theater. So I like my characters to be able to act, and one of the things that David does so well is his characters can act. They always have such fantastic comic timing and beautiful expressions. David just brings life to these characters.
Finally, what types of stories are you and David interested in telling in “All-New Wolverine?” It seems like you have a protagonist that lends herself to almost any type of story.
Yeah, Laura can go many ways. If you’ve read her origin stories, you’ll know she can out grim-and-gritty almost anyone but we do want her to be more super hero than super-sad.
We are going to be trying to tell slightly lighter stories than some of Logan’s more painful and angsty tales but, at the same time, it’s going to be Wolverine angry about something and wanting to save people. There will be times when Laura will feel as if she’s being manipulated, or somebody is out to get her, or they’re hurting people they shouldn’t hurt. And she’s going to be trying to save a bunch of people and resetting the scales of justice.
I mentioned that Laura is going to be trying to not kill people, but I think “Wolverine” lends itself to a certain amount of stabbyness. And Laura will feel that there are people out there who may not deserve death, but do deserve a light stabbing. [Laughs]
So there will definitely be a sense of righteous indignation?
Absolutely. I think considering where Laura’s come from, and the pain that she’s come through, she wouldn’t want anyone to endure what she has. So, she has a real reason to fight for everybody.
The reason she has to fight in our first arc is as personal as it is twisted.
I want to conclude by saying, “SNIKT!” Because as the new writer of Wolverine I get to say “snikt” as punctuation. That comes with the job. [Laughs]
“All-New Wolverine” debuts this October from Marvel Comics.
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