X-23: 15 Things Wolverine's Clone Can Do (That He Can't)

wolverine x-23

In the early 2000s, Marvel did an animated series designed to tie in with the successful X-Men films. Titled X-Men: Evolution, the series featured younger versions of the X-Men, with only Professor X and two adult teachers, Storm and Wolverine, serving as mentors. As the series went on, though, the show's writers naturally felt a bit regretful that they did not have a younger version of Wolverine to interact with the other teenage characters. Show writer Craig Kyle figured out a solution -- he introduced a teenage female clone of Wolverine called X-23 into the series in 2003. The character quickly proved popular, so Marvel worked her into the comic books a year later.

RELATED: Weapon Xerox: 8 Failed Wolverine Rip-Offs (And 7 Who Did It Better)

Over the last decade, she has evolved from a supporting character into the lead of her own series to, most recently, actually taking over from the deceased Logan as the All-New Wolverine. X-23 is the genetic twin of Wolverine, and a result, they have a lot in common. However, there are a number of things that she can do that the original Wolverine cannot. Here, we will list 15 things that X-23/Laura Kinney/All-New Wolverine can do that the original Wolverine (Logan) cannot.

Continue scrolling to keep reading

Click the button below to start this article in quick view

Start Now


Possibly the first thing that really jumps out at you when you see X-23 that distinguishes her from Wolverine is that while they both have three claws in their body, Laura's claws are arranged differently. She has two claws in her forearms/hand to Wolverine's three. She, however, has her third claw in her foot! It is unclear why X-23 evolved differently from Wolverine in this regard.

One theory is that, since she her mutant powers kicked in prematurely due to intentional exposure to radiation, perhaps it affected her biology and caused her to grow her claws in strange places. All of her claws were then removed from her body, coated in adamantium and then re-inserted. This naturally gives her a unique method of attacking bad guys, as she can slice them with kicks, as well.


The issue with X-23's training is that it came to a stop before it could be finished. This means that only her claws were covered in adamantium, unlike Wolverine, whose whole skeleton was covered with the very resilient metal. The big downside with adamantium is that while it is virtually indestructible, it is also very heavy.

As a result, despite having superhuman reflexes and agility, Wolverine cannot move as smoothly as X-23, because he is carrying with him a whole lot of extra weight. Thus, she is a great deal more agile than him, with many of her attack moves involving her contorting her body into strange angles with lots of flips and kicks worked in. This, of course, does not preclude from the fact that perhaps she's just generally more agile than Wolverine either way.


One of the most fascinating side effects about Wolverine's adamantium-covered skeleton is the fact that it is constantly killing Wolverine with adamantium poisoning (that doesn't really make sense, but it is what it is). The only thing keeping Wolverine in tip top shape is that his healing factor counteracts the poisonous effects.

Since X-23 doesn't have an adamantium skeleton, however, her healing factor isn't constantly working to keep her healthy from the poison, so as a result, her healing power is sharper and can heal faster than Wolverine's healing factor, which is slowed down due to the adamantium poisoning. Truly, though, this is one of those differences where it is hard to tell from the comics themselves, as over the years, Wolverine has been healing faster and faster (he was literally blown up in Civil War and regenerated himself very quickly).


This one might be a bit hard to believe, but it's actually backed up... by science! As we established, X-23 has two claws on each of her arms and one claw in her foot and all of her claws are coated in the same adamantium that covers up Wolverine's claws. Therefore, with everything else being even, it is more effective to have two claws than it is to have three.

This is because of a general rule of science that applies to all sharp items. If you lay down on a bed made out of a hundred nails, you'll be okay. If you lay down on one nail, you're going to get stabbed. This is because the force is divided over the extra nails. Thus, three claws have slightly less force than two claws and thus, her claws are deadlier.


In 1979, writer Bill Mantlo introduced one of the most unusual (and powerful) heroes in the Marvel Universe. Dubbed Captain Universe, he encountered the Micronauts where it was revealed that unlike most other superheroes, Captain Universe is not really a person so much as it is a force. You see, there is a mysterious force dubbed the Enigma Force, but no one really knows what its origins are. All we do know is that it is meant to protect Eternity (thus, the universe).

So, it creates the Uni-Power, which possesses people and transforms them into the ultra-powerful hero known as Captain Universe. Once its mission is over, it transfers itself to another person. X-23 was a host to the Uni-Power during a crossover event where it possessed a few different heroes. X-23 is the first (and only) mutant to ever be chosen by the Uni-Power.


Now, let us note that it is not that Wolverine cannot swim, as he clearly can swim. He has been shown swimming in comics on a number of occasions. At the same time, however, his adamantium skeleton weighs over 100 pounds and it is very dense. So swimming is not easy for him. He has mentioned this many times over the years. "You ever try staying afloat when your bones are laced with Adamantium? It's like swimming with an anvil on your back."

He has also said, "There's one think that's always made me uneasy. One thing I've never been comfortable around. The water. The deep ocean. The darkness of it. The depths. The mystery. And most of all, the fact that it can kill me." X-23, on the other hand, only has adamantium on her claws, so she can swim easily. In fact, since Wolverine can swim with his claws, that's how strong he is, you can only imagine how fast X-23 can swim!


Since X-23 was raised by a secretive project to becoming a master assassin, she would often prefer it if she wasn't constantly haunted by the memories of her past murders. However, she cannot avoid it, as she remembers everything that happened to her. This is a major contrast from Wolverine, who is famous for all of the things that he has forgotten over the years (possibly a side effect of his healing power -- healing his mind itself to erase painful memories).

Even when Wolverine seemingly regained his memories during House of M, he soon learned that there were certain things that he still did not remember (mostly involving the mysterious Romulus). Thus, since X-23 remembers everything, she is a step ahead of Wolverine (just like always).


One of the craziest things about Wolverine when he first joined the X-Men was the fact that he could literally fly into a berserker rage at seemingly the drop of a hat. Make fun of him during training sessions? He might literally stab you! Kiss his girlfriend under the mistletoe? He might literally stab you! Eat the last jelly doughnut? You get the picture.

X-23 has her own berserker rage, but it is even crazier, as she had a trigger scent that, when she would smell it, would instantly send her into a berserker rage, causing her to kill anyone who was in front of her -- even her own mother! That's bleak as heck. Over time, X-23 has been shown being able to withstand the trigger scene using severe concentration to avoid going into a berserker rage.


The mysterious Facility that, in effect, created X-23, did so so that she could be turned into the world's greatest assassin. As a result, besides just giving her adamantium-covered claws, they also gave her some of the best training in the world. She is one of the world's most adept martial artists. However, Wolverine is so skilled himself that we wouldn't want to say that she is necessarily better than him.

However, she was also trained to become an expert marksman, with pinpoint accuracy from a great distance. Wolverine has certainly shown some aptitude with guns over the years (he did fight in a few different wars) but he has never been known to be an expert marksman, so we're giving X-23 the nod when it comes to sharpshooting.


As noted before, X-23 already had one leg up on Wolverine as she was the first (and only) mutant to ever be possessed by the Uni-Power (Deadpool also was possessed years after X-23, but he's not a mutant). However, her connection to the Uni-Power ended up going even further than that.

In an arc in X-23's ongoing series, she teamed up with two other past hosts of the Uni-Power, Invisible Woman and Spider-Man. Invisible Woman was possessed in the same crossover event that X-23 was possessed in while Spider-Man was possessed back in the late 1980s during "Acts of Vengeance." Laura did this to help the Enigma Force from its sworn enemy, a malevolent force that could also possess people. In the end, X-23 became the host of the Uni-Power once more and in the end, she discovered that she has been chosen as the eventual heir to the Enigma force.


Here, we don't mean how Laura has evolved from being X-23 to becoming the All-New Wolverine (and even then, she has evolved from wearing a costume based on Wolverine to her own unique spin on the outfit), but we mean literal evolution. You see, yet another side effect of Wolverine having an adamantium skeleton is that the adamantium kept Wolverine's body in a state of suspended evolution.

During the period where Wolverine lost his adamantium, his body began to mutate and evolve into a new form (although it looked like he was devolving). Since X-23 does not have an adamantium skeleton, it means that her body is open to mutating in the future, perhaps with a secondary mutation like how Emma Frost could turn into diamond.


What is up with X-23 and being the heir to things? She's currently the heir to the Wolverine name, she apparently will be the heir to the Enigma Force and she was also one of four possible heirs to Mephisto in the storyline "Circle of Four" that took place in the pages of Venom. The idea of the story is that suddenly, four heroes were thrown together to take on Mephisto's demonic son, Blackheart.

The team consisted of a riff on the classic "New Fantastic Four" lineup of Wolverine, Hulk, Ghost Rider and Spider-Man. This time, it was X-23, Red Hulk, the female Ghost Rider and Venom. At the end, when they had successfully defeated Blackheart, the magical anti-hero known as Daimon HEllstrom noted that they each were marked with a "hellmark" that denoted that they were possible heirs to Mephisto's throne in the future.


The headline here is a bit of a joke, just a play on Wolverine and Cyclops' famously adversarial relationship with each other, so the sight of Wolverine's "daughter" making out with the younger version of Cyclops turned a number of heads (even though they don't even kiss inside that actual comic book!). However, this does tie in with a larger point regarding X-23 -- her ability to work well with others, something that Wolverine was still trying to master when he died a few years back.

While Wolverine was obviously on a number of teams right before he died, he was famously detached from his teammates, and that's something that X-23 managed to work on over the years and has become much more involved with her various teams over the year. Even for a girl who is often silent, she has managed to be more social than Wolverine ever was.


When X-23 was first introduced in the comic books, she was working as a prostitute in New York City and allowed people to abuse her as part of their purchase. Later, we learned that when she was growing up in the Facility, she would often take to cutting herself to alleviate her emotional distress over her awful upbringing. Only her mother, the scientist who donated the DNA to create X-23 and who then carried her to term as a surrogate, gave her any comfort.

Remarkably, in less than a decade, X-23 managed to overcome her issues and heal herself emotionally. This was something that Wolverine was only eventually getting around to after being alive for over a hundred years! It's got to be a bummer when you're over a century old and your teenage genetic twin has matured more than you in their lifetime.


The Facility that created X-23 was first tasked with replicating the Weapon X experiment that bonded the adamantium with Wolverine. They eventually decided to clone Wolverine, but the only genetic sample that they had was damaged, specifically in the Y chromosome. One scientist argued that they should give up on cloning Wolverine outright and just create a female genetic twin. After the first 22 attempts at cloning Wolverine failed, the 23rd attempt used this new approach, and that led to the creation of Laura Kinney, X-23.

Naturally, then, since Laura is Wolverine's genetic twin and not a clone, she is genetically female and thus has a different anatomy than Wolverine and can do things that Wolverine could never do as a genetic male. For instance, theoretically, she can get pregnant. But really, anything women can do that men cannot do would apply in this situation.

Do you think Laura has been a worthy successor as Wolverine? Let us know in the comments section!

Next 10 Things About the Legion Of Super-Heroes That Make No Sense

More in Lists