Always the glutton for punishment I am. So why not a rundown of comparisons between the main writers who have written X-23. Let's see who comes out on top.
1. X-23 being a cutter as started by Joe Quesada in NYX.
Chris Yost and Craig Kyle ran with the idea, expanding on it. Something that's understandable with how X-23 was raised.
Marjorie Liu healed X-23 from it. In a spiral of anguish picking up from X-Force with the torture and death of Kiden. Marjorie Liu weaved a powerful tale in her one-shot of the harm just escalating for this excrutiatingly painful moment for Laura. It reached the point where Laura was harming herself in front of others, and even jumping off a building which finally made her learn self-harm wasn't the way.
Winner: Marjorie Liu for moving this character past it.
2. X-23 as a prostitute as shown by Joe Quesada in NYX.
Mostly ignored by Yost and Kyle, this element was never touched on except briefly acknowledged in X-Force with the torture of Kiden.
Marjorie Liu took these cues, and ran with the psychology of it. Showing that Laura doesn't like to think about it as it was a dark place. Treading softly, but showing a woman who's trying to come to terms with herself and her past.
Winner: Marjorie Liu
3. X-23 as the tactician and ultimate strategist. As shown by Yost and Kyle in the two origin mini-series.
Yost and Kyle may have created this, and even interwove it beautifully into Academy X/New X-Men, but the growing overbearing arrogance of it in X-Force while adding comedic value, created an air of Laura borderline as a jerk, though maybe Julian was rubbing off on her. She continually had to be 'put in her place' by Wolverine, even bringing in a reminder that Kimura was still out there and hunting her down.
Marjorie Liu took a different turn after all these events, and showed a withdrawn Laura who was funneling emotions inside without harming others. Finally taking to heart what everyone, even Logan had been telling Laura. No more killing.
Winner: Tough call. Yost and Kyle may have pioneered the aspects, but Marjorie Liu really made her grow from it. While I enjoyed X-Force, the more feminine touch Liu brings to the character really helps her feel more real with these problems. So I'm going with Marjorie Liu here for the withdrawn story usage and lack of what amounts to abusing a character repeatedly, especially a female character. There comes a point where it's just too much to bear in X-Force.
4. Years of training under a sensei, and weapons applications along with field materials usage as shown by Yost and Kyle in the mini-series and Academy X.
Yost and Kyle weaved a powerful story of intrigue in those issues. Elements that had Laura show boating and trying to understand how other kids were raised. This continued throughout New X-Men and X-Force with a rising arrogance from it as she dove headfirst into the problems the institute were facing after Decimation. It even had Julian reprimanding her for her techniques, and Logan being mad at her about it as well as slamming her into a tree for how she talked about Wolfsbane.
Marjorie Liu's take on this shows after time of arrogance, and a multitude of times people waving their finger and saying bad doggie, that Laura has turned inward but still remains a master at chess, even in how she handles the telepathic entity that's inhabiting her.
Winner: Tie. Marjorie Liu's run is still going though, so she may have the edge here.(Yes I realize I used the same question twice.)
5. X-23 as Wolverine's test-tube daughter, as insinuated in the mini-series with her green eyes and other similiarities to her mother.
Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost only touched on this in the initial mini-series, but had never approached it since. Instead they just kept escalating the harm and lack of self-worth X-23 had inflicted on her from the Facility. Even after time and time again others kept caring for Laura and telling her she's worth so much more.
Marjorie Liu finally dove into this headfirst, showing that Laura does know these details, but just refuses to face them until finally her own soul had to speak up and make Laura face herself.
Winner: Marjorie Liu, but it should be noted that Yost/Kyle never had the chance to approach it, instead opting to escalate the psychology of the trauma of it inflicted upon her for 4 years, only touching briefly on it when Laura visited her family in the minis. Whereas within 4 issues, Marjorie Liu weaved a tale of healing that helped bring Laura to terms with it, without diving into the familial connections to push the point since Laura is cut off from her family because of Kimura's vendetta.
6. X-23 dealing with a telepathic enemy.
Yost/Kyle had shown this briefly in Academy X as Emma attempted to make X-23 leave by pulling memories while X-23 slept to use her own Mother against her.
Marjorie Liu continues this thought using a telepathic entity that while tortures Laura, could be exactly what's helping protect her from proddings from Emma. Laura herself seems to be cautious of this entity, and only letting him into thoughts of her creation.
Winner: Marjorie Liu, as she's had a longer duration to use this to her advantage in published work. It reflects the stragetic nature of Laura while being more subdued.
7. X-23 and her family.
As shown by Yost/Kyle X-23 has a love for her cousin and Aunt, missing them deeply, and crying whenever her mother comes up. Giving contempt towards Logan for his lack of strategy, but yet still coming to his rescue and heeding his advice, especially advice that's been beat into her when she speaks against those that Logan cares about more than her.
Marjorie Liu yielded a story of intrigue and contempt towards Logan at first while Laura was still thinking herself as simply his clone. She has since grown and heeded her mother's advice to never forgive her mother for X-23's creation. She's finally even started giving Logan a chance, even picking up on his true nature and recognizing when she's being duped. This X-23 is finally starting to take responsibility for herself, and growing by her own will. This X-23 is defiant even to Beezle-bub in her word choices, using a contraction to do that very thing to spite him.
Winner: Marjorie Liu for healing Laura and having her grow by her own will, and not because others are forcing her to. Showing a young woman who'll protect her family by any cost as she did for Julian.
Only doing seven for now, since X-23 was created seven years ago in animation. Future writer vs writer may come up as Marjorie Liu creates a wealth of information to compare to 5 years of work Yost/Kyle have on the character.
For now, the winner is...
Both. Comparing the two, is like comparing night and day. They both show different aspects in a growing timeline of events that are defining X-23 to who she is as a young woman. Both have given some great stuff, and both have yielded some interesting possibilities and story points to explore. Comparing the two is really unfair, as one side shows Laura's pain and how she grew up being inflicted with trauma, and the other shows Laura attempting to come to terms with it in humility instead of ignoring it or hiding behind arrogance and self-destructiveness. One side abuses Laura and continually beats her down, but still has her overcome it, the other has Laura healing and growing but no one will listen as oft happens when adults are around. Since people are going to say that's a cop-out, the winner is Marjorie Liu for making Laura more withdrawn and humble while still conveying the facets of Laura's training and aptitude for chess. Sorry, but I side with the starflake.
Remember, December 15th is when the next X-23 issue comes out. Be there as Laura takes to the city and branches out on her own in Marjorie Liu's masterfully written work that shows a growing and healing Laura out in the world.