Venom Issues 13, 13.1, 13.2, 13.3, & 13.4
- Hell is spreading across the Earth from out of Las Vegas.
- Ghost Rider is responsible but what price is she willing to pay to save mankind?!
- X-23, Venom, & Hulk must defeat their worst enemies, buying Ghost Rider time to stop hell's march across the globe!
- As a clone, X-23 has often wondered if she has a soul. This is where she gets her answer!
- Who is Ichor and why has he targeted Venom for Death?!
So far it's sounding promising besides the obvious answer on the soul or not, but I might be personally biased since my views lean to anything that is alive has a soul(besides the fact X-23 isn't exactly a true 'clone' as insinuated by her minis and the ongoing). With hell actually rising this time, maybe my previous theory of Laura facing her mother will happen(not that I think Dr. Sarah Kinney would go to hell, but she does come across as the type of person that would condemn herself to it even if she did potentially redeem herself at the end of the origin mini). I hope the deviation from Avengers Academy is only a brief one with the final X-23 ongoing issue following in March. While I'm not enthused about her addition to Avengers Academy, it does make sense on a therapeutic level to help her learn social interactions with her peers in a safe environment that's not hindered by pre-conceptions or judgements... Well even if Hazmat can be a bit nasty with subtle homophobic tendencies. (See issue 22 and her demeaning of Lightspeed in the midst of being angry at the adults... If it doesn't matter, why bring it up at all? Emphasizing the stereotypes to push the point no less. The same as any bully tries to impose what you're supposed to be by what they think is true. Not a comment on the writers though, they are just expanding the character personas to be more real during a moment of duress which typically would reveal such nuances to one's persona. A raw moment is prone to no thinking of what's being said, just being reactionary.) It could be quite interesting to see how Finesse and X-23 get along with both being so well trained with chess like pinpoint precision to their individual strategies. X-23's rather wide range of training and vast education does seem to put her at an advantage in the Academy over the others.
Daken, the half-brother of X-23, has his issue 21 listed for February. It'll be doing yet another Daken vs Daddy story as opposed to the man Daken actually hates more than anyone in the Marvel Universe, and his story has been building up to... The Winter Soldier, Bucky. Go figure. You'd think they'd at least let him go out on a high note like that instead of a low note with yet another Wolverine and Daken story.
Will keep you posted on X-23's Avengers Academy appearances as more comes to light in following months. Maybe there's a light breaking at the end of this tunnel for something else like a mini or a new ongoing or other book she might end up in. Personally if it's not a new ongoing or a mini, I'm hoping she's being added to the FF once the alternate uni Reeds story is over. It could be pretty fun to see her in a nanny capacity once the Fantastic 4 come back if the recent Misadventures in Babysitting story is any indication. Hopefully she's not being relegated to the background again of Marvel nothingness like Darkhawk and many other Marvel characters have been in recent times. (Though Defenders could be interesting too if that's where she ends up, but I'd prefer they take another stab at an ongoing altogether now that the character is in a more stable place mentally.)
Further spinning the rumor mill of Marvel reassessing how to handle the character, Christos Gage of Avengers Academy brought up a valid theory. He speculates it might be because they are trying to think of a new strategy for X-23. This sounds pretty likely considering everything the character represents and her current high ranking on the the top 100 list of Marvel characters at CBR's CSBG. So keep your fingers crossed for good news in the coming months!