X-23 Steps Away From the X-MEN and Towards AVENGERS ACADEMY

X-23 Steps Away From the X-MEN

X-23 #15 cover.

With her current ongoing series now into its second year, X-23 has been stepping out from her familiar X-Men surroundings and integrating more with the bigger picture of the Marvel Universe. In her solo book, X-23's in the midst of a story arc guest-starring the FF — including Spider-Man — and she's also appearing with a team of fellow teen heroes in the pages of Fear Itself: The Home Front.

The female Wolverine clone known as Laura Kinney will move even further away from the mutant world as of December's Avengers Academy #23, where she's joining the cast of that book — mostly skipping the X-Men: Schism and subsequent X-Men: Regenesis drama in the process.

Newsarama talked with series writer Marjorie Liu about recent developments with the character, working with artist Phil Noto, an upcoming guest spot by someone from X-23's past, and why it was "necessary" to introduce her to the rest of the Marvel Universe.

Newsarama: Marjorie, we've recently seen — and it looks like we'll continue to see for at least the near future — X-23 being much more involved with the Marvel Universe as a whole. What can you say about the motivation behind integrating her more into the non-X-Men sides of the Marvel world? Was it a necessary step in continuing to evolve the character? And how enjoyable of a challenge is it to not only explore different aspects of Laura through these interactions, but also to get to write characters like the FF, who readers wouldn't normally expect to see in the book?

Marjorie Liu: It was absolutely necessary to bring Laura into the larger Marvel Universe. There's too much baggage with the X-Men — most of them know her, or think they know her — and let's face it, when you're a young person wanting a fresh start, sometimes the best thing you can do is just… run away from what's familiar. It's like going to college, in that sense. You can't really evolve by staying in one place, with the same people, in the same situations.

X-23 #16 cover.

And I love exploring Laura through these new interactions. It's so much fun pairing her with characters like the FF (and others I shall not yet name), and seeing how personalities mesh (or don't), and how she grows because of them.

Nrama: On that same subject, the December solicitation for the Christos Gage-written Avengers Academy stated that X-23 would be joining the cast of that book. As the writer of her solo title, how involved are you in a decision like that? And (assuming it's not just a one-off story, which is certainly possible) will we see this change reflected in your book?

Liu: I wasn't really involved with that decision, but I think it's a great one -— and yes, we'll be addressing her role within Avengers Academy in her ongoing. In fact, look for this to begin in #22-24, alongside another major guest-star who might become a mentor to X-23.

Nrama: Now, all of that means Laura's been pretty far from her X-Men roots, and she looks to be skipping the "Regenesis" era at least initially, based on the teasers released. Given how closely Wolverine is involved with the whole ordeal, how much, if at all, will the fallout of Schism affect Laura?

Liu: The fallout will be addressed, but not in a heavy-handed way. Laura left the X-Men for a fresh start, and seeing the division within the team only cements her decision. She has friends among the X-Men, so she's not divorcing herself of them completely… but her new partnerships, as we'll see, will take her farther afield.

Nrama: Though it seems that X-23's not done with X-characters completely — you mentioned in a previous interview that Hellion will be showing up soon, and obviously there's plenty of history there. How much of an impact will his appearance have on the book?

Liu: They have some unresolved issues, but by the end of this upcoming arc the exact nature of their relationship and feelings will be made explicitly clear.

Nrama: X-23 has had a lot of quality artists on the series thus far, and as of late you've been paired with Phil Noto. How has working with him been?

Liu: A dream. Phil is such a brilliant storyteller — and a brilliant artist. I can throw him anything — absolutely anything — and he spins it into gold. I also know that he's not afraid to experiment, and I love that.

Nrama: You've been writing the adventures of X-23 for a while now — how has your perspective on the character shifted and evolved in that time?

Liu: She's growing up. Emotionally, that is. She's never going to be as talkative as Jubilee, or as relaxed as Gambit, but her perspective on herself and her place in the world -- her comfort in the world, and people — is expanding, evolving. She's making choices for herself that she would never have thought to make in the past — asserting herself as an individual. And that's a lovely thing to be able to explore, as a writer.

Nrama: Right now within the comics industry, there has been a lot of talk and debate about mainstream comics not showcasing enough female lead characters or employing enough female creators. Given that X-23 stars a female and is written by one, how closely have you followed those discussions?

Liu: I follow them, of course, but at the end of the day the best thing I can do is write good stories, and invest as much life into these characters as I possibly can. 

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