Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Rose By Any Other Name...

...Would still have thorns.

X-23 is a creation that's nearing her 10 year anniversary, but there are still some questions that fans have about her. For instance, and haste to get to the point, her name's origins.

X-23 is the 23rd attempt at creating a genetic twin of weapon X for the Facility. She has no ties to the weapon X project at all other than Dr. Rice's father who stole the initial blood sample at the cost of his life. The clone processes were failing due to Logan's DNA degradation for whatever reason(his mutation, or the age of the sample), so Laura's mother used unorthodox means in secret to create a success. Those secret trials took 23 attempts to work. X-23 the name also refers to the variation on her 23rd chromosome that makes her female instead of male. The 23rd chromosome pair is what determines gender under (for lack of a better term) normal circumstances. Hence she is named X-23 (23rd chromosome pair XX = Female, XY = Male). It's multi-referential on many levels. There's more behind that name, but those are the pertinent facts that matter.

That's not to say X-23 suffers from gender identity issues. This is why the genetic twin over clone aspect comes into play and one of the many reasons why simply writing her as a female Wolverine doesn't work(the others being her backstory, education, and training). X-23 was created via a mixture of techniques that mimics cloning but also mimics fertility treatments in how it was creating a zygote for implantation. She is entirely female born and raised, if albeit under unorthodox means. Her genetic stock exhibits the same powers as Wolverine, but also exhibits traits from her mother due to how she was created. She does have Wolverine's exact X-Gene(his mutant powers), but it is implemented in a body that's the same as what's commonly refered to as a test-tube baby/daughter created from the DNA of two parents. Her DNA also isn't subject to the same degradation that Logan's was. It's a pure corrected sample that can be used to create "true" clones. At least in the Marvel sense. 

A clone is defined by being created asexually by a single progenitor cell or organism. Which according to X-23's origin stories, isn't how she was created. That was the original intended target specimen creation of the Facility though, and why Xander Rice calls her "clone" repeatedly to dehumanize her and demean X-23. It was his way of taking verbal jabs at Dr. Sarah Kinney, Laura's mother, for her success where he failed. A success that, in his mind, undermined his superiority to her and was an assault on his pride as a scientist. Let's be perfectly blunt about his character. He's an egotistical douchebag.

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