Thursday, October 23, 2014

Triggerscent as an Allegory For Date Rape Drugs

That's a heady line to read.
Really, sit back and think about it for a second.  Let it sink in.

It's hard to think whether or not it was intended as such.  Back in 2006 when it was added to her origin, was that intentional?  Early usage in the initial tale is hard to tell.  The follow up with Target X it becomes a little more hazy as to whether it was intentional or not, but the symbolism does start to show up.  Over time it starts to become more pronounced.

When this scent crosses X-23's path, she literally blacks out and then wakes up to everyone being dead per her own words.  The time loss is there.  The unknown actions.  Not knowing what has transpired.  The location disorientation.  There are a lot of parallels that can be drawn upon.

Instead of letting herself become assaulted though, she becomes highly aggressive.  So while it carries hues of the same stories you hear from date rape victims, there is a different connotation.  Triggerscent makes all of X-23's anger, frustration, and fury come to the surface.  It boils over and she has minimal to no control over her actions in harming others during it.

But she's still powerless in a different way.  She's still being used because of an induced state.  While induced she may be evoking all the fury that a victim of such an ordeal wishes they could to avoid what happened to them, she's dealing with guilt over what may have transpired still.  It's a moment of powerlessness still.  In a way you could say she embodies all the anger and frustration that a victim handles but not only is it in the moment itself, it's also still there in the wake of it.  There's still the guilt even though it's not her fault.  The remorse.  The avoidance.  In many ways, the story in Not Forgotten itself is taking this aspect of her and using it to empower her.  Using it against the very captors that inflicted her with this burden.

When you take this into consideration, it makes what happened with Finesse and the lie Finesse told Laura all the more heartbreaking in how she used X-23 during the Final Exam story arc of Avengers Academy.  Maybe this yields some perspective into the various traits of Laura and the different directions writers have taken her.  Every writer that has handled X-23 at a different period in her life has done so with different focuses because of where she was at emotionally in that point of time.  It's not that the character has been written poorly by anyone.  It's that dealing with what she has, from start to now, might be more than any one reader may realize or able to fully comprehend.

Whether it's Claremont and X-23 still dealing with all she's lost early on so she's only displaying what others think or expect of her, or Yost & Kyle with her robotic unfeeling aspects still learning about emotion and understanding herself, even with displays of pure arrogance and strategic superiority knowing she's right in what she's saying but unable to understand the emotional implications others are trying to plan around.  Her solid pursuit of a mission or a goal over all else as something to focus on and direct herself, to then that being taken away by the very man that's supposed to help her.  Becoming lost and confused stuck in her own head and trying to find her own path in the wake of that under Marjorie Liu's pen.  Starting to open up again but then feeling used and distraught by the very teammate she's grown closest to under Gage's writing in Avengers Academy.  Being turned back into a weapon for a sadistic man's joys by Hopeless' hands in Avengers Arena.  To finally trying to live life differently and avoiding thinking of the past as much as she can, even if it means altering how she speaks of events when others ask under Bendis' writing.  All of these writers have brought different traits forward from what the character herself has gone through and how she's trying to cope with it but still has more piled on.  All of these writers have given X-23 nuance and helped show different sides of her as she tries to grow, slips a little, and then works to stand back up again.

X-23 is a complicated character.  She's rich with symbolism and angles to approach.  Some are even darker than what many of us may ever want to admit to.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

X-23 and Lady Deathstrike: The First Time They Met

The Logan Legacy has several characters connected to Logan interacting.  Two of which in particular stand out as an interesting re-occurrence.

X-23 and Lady Deathstrike have met before.  They met way back in the 2008 event Messiah Complex.  This was before Deathstrike's recent changes.  Of course, this story is also the reason that caused those changes to her attire and even needing new bodies.

In New X-Men issue 45, X-23 took on Deathstrike for harming one of her teammates.  Someone at the time she had a crush on.  Of course this was before Hellion's bully antics and abusive tendencies came to Laura's notice and she moved on from him completely.

This brief exchange is classic Laura.  She's precise, uses cunning, listens, and waits for the right moments to strike.  She's not feral.  She's not berserk.  She's calculative and controlled.  There are hues of sass to her remarks that have subtle tones of sarcastic bite without being overtly so.  She's acrobatic and agile.  This is Laura Kinney at her best.  This is Laura Kinney when she was able to focus.  This battle though also highlights Laura's dependence on her healing factor at times.  Something that may have factored into her strategy towards Deathstrike.

Often, X-23 is a character that lets herself be underestimated because it works strategically for her.  Even at her angriest, she maintains a level of calm to see what her opponent is capable of.  She doesn't reveal all her tools at her disposal right away.  The foot claws stay tucked away until the right moment to strike after she's learned what she needed to know about what she's facing.  She lets herself be downplayed simply to rise back up and end the fight.  She strikes with precision disabling her target.  These are the differences between her and Wolverine.  Where a battle between Deathstrike and Logan would rage on for pages with ferocity, X-23's exchange with her is quicker and cleaner overall.  The vital spots are attacked after assessment.  These are the same skills we see from Laura in many of her stories.  There's a level of letting herself be underestimated, so that the enemy she is facing isn't aware of all her skills until it's too late.

This fight back in New X-Men #45 was the death of Lady Deathstrike.  Later, Deathstrike was brought back because of her cyborg nature, but with how quickly and easily she was dispatched by a 'mere child,' you'd think there'd be a little bit more emotional complications to her interactions with X-23.  Possibly even a grudge against Laura for destroying that body.  Now granted that's become a common occurrence for Deathstrike, so maybe it's something she's used to at this point like a snake that sheds its skin.  Of course there's also the potential that Deathstrike is missing memories because of when her various backups were made that then were transferred to her bodies.  Even so, X-23 should remember their previous meeting still.

This is a battle that became so iconic at the time, there was even a statue dio made of it for collectors.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Rumor: Deadpool Confirmed In The Main Fox X-Men Cinematic World

During an interview over at, Simon Kinberg reveals indirectly that Deadpool may indeed be in the main X-Men Cinematic world and not a solo universe of his own.

He states:

There’s definitely a sort of overall plan that we’ve all been talking about for the universe now, and Deadpool obviously fits into that. So yeah, I guess I would say it’s part of certainly an overall timeline and thought process that goes into these films, some of which is inspired by the comics and some which is inspired by seeing what Marvel’s done with telling a larger tapestry and linking all those movies together, even as they stand independently as well. The same kind of thought is going to go into these X-Men movies at Fox.

Alluding to the fact that Deadpool, among other potential spin-offs, will indeed be part of a larger world they are building.  This bodes well for the much talked about Gambit feature, Deadpool, and any others that might potentially be in the pipeline for later to build this newly minted universe they are developing.

Preview: The Logan Legacy Issue 2

CBR has the preview for The Logan Legacy issue 2 up.

This issue is the X-23 focused one, and will be diving into her feelings about Logan.

The preview does contain some mild continuity issues with Laura's history, but you should also keep in mind the story of her cousin and aunt is not something she talks about.  This is especially true after the stunt Emma Frost pulled in New X-Men pertaining to them and her mother.  It also glosses over her involvement with the kids from NYX and how they saved her from that life, not Logan.  Much of this could be for the same reasons as to why she doesn't mention her blood relatives.  She's trying to keep them safe by not talking about them.

You can check out the preview here.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

X-23 and Domestic Violence: A Quick Overview Before Going Deeper.

One of the many topics covered within the confines of the X-23 origin tale is domestic abuse.

It's covered in both the initial origin offering with Dr. Zander Rices reactions towards Dr. Sutter's wife that he has an affair with, and again covered in X-23: Target X with Desmond's actions towards Debra Kinney in trying to trigger X-23 into killing Debra and her daughter.

X-23 v1 issue 3

This is also a topic that comes up in the X-23 v3 ongoing with Julian Keller aka Hellion.  So one of the key things to look for in an actress to play the lead role is someone that has been a spoken advocate on this very heavy to deal with prevalent in society topic alongside them having an anti-bullying stance and speaks about all kinds of positive messages.

Granted, it's not the only thing the two origin miniseries deal with.  It also dives into woman on woman violence as usually instigated by outside patriarchal reasons.

It dives into family bonds.  Family that would do anything to help each other.  Not only with Debra Kinney and Megan Kinney in how Laura helped their family come closer, but also in how Sarah Kinney risked her job and life's work with trying to save Megan in X-23: Innocence Lost.  Of course, this is shown again with Sarah Kinney in how she rescues her own daughter Laura from the Facility at the end of X-23: Innocence Lost too.

There are a lot of quite emotionally heavy topics to deal with when analyzing X-23's stories.  We'll be coming back to some of these topics to dive into them later.

For now, let's leave off on a cute moment for the potential of where the live action casting could lean!

The long-lasting friendship that Lucy Hale and Ashley Benson share on and off screen presents a chemistry potential for the big screen that'll be easy for them to convey the same emotional beats that Laura and Megan Kinney share.  Case in point, this throwback to Ms. Benson's 16th birthday she tweeted today.

TBT to my sixteenth birthday @lucyhale

Coming up next week!
X-23 and Lady Deathstrike's iconic first meeting way back in New X-Men!
And maybe more on why these casting preferences are so perfect!