Sunday, December 29, 2013

Time Traveling Mutants: A Refresher Course On Characters Fox Can Use That Innately Manipulate Time

So after doing an entire entry on NYX on the fan casting angle, it got me thinking, what other mutants could 20th Century Fox use in the X-Franchise that manipulate time?

So starting off with the obvious, there's Kiden Nixon from NYX.  Her powers more correlate to stopping time though.  Similar to Evie from Out of this World really, but Marvel had fun playing with how it worked.  She's a character that'd be problematic to bring into the franchise though as we've discussed prior with the baggage to leaving NYX intact, but also the problems to altering it.  She may be a character that's best left lost in the cracks for now barring how a director could salvage it.

There's Trevor Fitzroy from Lucas Bishop's comic stories.  His power works as actual time travel, allowing him to go to different eras outright.  With Bishop appearing in the upcoming Days of Future Past, it seems likely that Fitzroy would be a character to follow soon after.

There's Gateway.  A character still much shrouded in mystery even in the comics, but has yet to display any limits to his abilities for traveling through time and space.

There's Magik aka Illyana Rasputin, the sister of Colossus.  Her abilities range over a wide spectrum usually relating or appearing as, well, magic.  She's been shown in the comics several times to have done her own various time hopping stints.

There's also Suzanne Chan aka Sway(currently deceased in the comics) and Heather Tucker aka Tempo(current whereabouts unknown in the comics after the Age of X mini event) who both have the ability to manipulate time passage around objects or people.  Not so much the ability to time travel but enough to manipulate trajectories and halt momentum on a smaller scale in comparison to say Kiden Nixon who essentially freezes all time.

There's Franklin Richards, the son of Susan Richards and Reed Richards.  He has full realty warping powers among of which is the ability to time travel itself.  For a brief time as part of the Fantastic Four comic line, his future self was in the past running a team called Fantastic Force.  With Fox's recently announced plans of intermingling the Fantastic Four and X-Men franchises, he presents a strong possibility of showing up as either a child or his more adult self from the same future as Rachel Summers was from.  We may even see one similar to his more recent future incarnation as shown in Future Foundation.

Last but not least, there's Legion aka David Charles Haller.  As the son of Charles Xavier, he has a wide range of abilities and was also the cause of the original Age of Apocalypse comic stories.

There's also Forge, who while not having an innate time travel ability himself, he does have an ability to create any device imaginable.  In the comics this has often included a time machine.

It's unknown if any of these characters may appear in the future of the X-Men film franchise, but it is indeed possible as they further dive into some of the time travel stories between the next two films and as the franchise continues to build.  There are many options among the writers and directors depending on the story they would like to tell.

Fan Casting A NYX Feature Film

NYX is the comic miniseries that X-23 first appeared in way back in 2003.  While often being delayed per when each issue was released due to various reasons across the board, it should also be noted that the depth to which Joe Quesada approached each issue to highlight both story and subtext could have been a major contributing factor alongside his other duties.  It is a comic that deals in heavy overtones about children (albeit mutants in this instance) that get lost in the cracks of society.  This includes the notion of mutant children the Xavier institute itself has yet to notice or be able to help, leaving these young teens to fend for themselves in a world that's treating them as outcasts.

The subject material is a heady one to approach and deals with many topics such as drug usage, prostitution, school violence, suicide, running away from home, abuse, parental neglect, being kicked out of your home for being different, and family dynamics among more.  It is a story that can be shocking at first read but upon re-reads can also reflect the clear depth the writing went to and the images used to depict these topics in thought provoking manners.  It lets the reader impose certain views over events to create responses as opposed to going into full detail of certain scenarios, allowing for these interpretive reads to yield views and opinions from the subconscious of the reader and the views they themselves lean towards of character natures or of what they themselves desire.

This story is a hard one to adapt to film outright depending on the changes made.  It's one of those few miniseries, like X-23's origin, where the changes can be minimal to none outside of rights usage though.  Depending upon how it was approached, you really wouldn't have to make any changes at all unless you wanted to use some roles to highlight other potential additions to the larger Fox X-Men franchise.

The comic characters are as follows:

Kiden Nixon - The story starts off by focusing on her, her life, family struggles, and school troubles.  She is dealing with the death of her father.  A man who died as an off duty police officer while he was getting ice cream with his daughter during his birthday.  The story then picks up several years later as Kiden has become an rather rebellious youth that's dabbling in drugs her brother sells, and goes to raves before her mutant powers activate.  Leading eventually to her running away from home after being the target of a school shooting.

Tatiana Cabon - A kind young girl who loves and adores animals.  When her mutant power manifests it becomes at the cost of that which she loves.  Soon it leads to her being chased and treated as a monster for something she herself can barely understand and is still figuring out.  Eventually she is even kicked out of her own home as her mother neglects her and chooses an abusive boyfriend over her own daughter.

Laura Kinney/X-23 - This story picks up on Laura's aftereffects of feeling lost without her family and unsure of where to go.  Falling into the hands of a pimp, she is put into a cycle of further abuse while she's essentially emotionally lost and grieving over the separation from those she loves and the Facility that will never stop trying to hurt her.  It should also be noted, that issue 3 of NYX, where Laura first premiered in the 616 Marvel universe, has a published date of February 2004.  The miniseries had many delays, and though the issue may have hit stands sooner, February 2004 is when it was officially displayed in the comic for when it was released(comics are often released a month or two prior to the time displayed on cover or inside the cover).

Cameron Palmer - A teacher that is shot during the school shooting in the story, and feels lost over how her goals of helping children have led her to being afraid of ever leaving her home, causing her life to fall apart until she eventually attempts to commit suicide but is saved by Kiden.

Bobby Soul - A mutant who is attempting to help his little brother and himself find a better home.  He is hired by Laura Kinney's pimp to retrieve her.  Having been lied to by said pimp, he changes sides and attempts to help the others.

Lil' Bro - Bobby's little brother, also a mutant, but is a story device to showing the love and dedication a big brother has with a little brother that has special needs.  He is what drives Bobby Soul to try and make a better life for them both at any cost.

The story is a very character driven piece much akin to the cult classic feature film Go and has several character stories that interconnect into one larger narrative as they eventually work together to try and find a new home together, inadvertently becoming homeless on the streets and fighting for survival.  Even the adult of the group is soon forced to leave her home as the pimp hunting Laura finds out where she is staying as they try to figure out where to go next and what to do.  It is a very troubling story with no clear happy ending, but also speaks of support and is a story that sadly many can relate to.  It's a story of life and all the twisted paths it can take until one finds a home.  It may not actually be a story that's well suited to becoming a film that gets decent box office returns, but it is a story that's powerful in its own right for what it conveys about how not all of life is pretty, and the struggles it can entail.  It could easily become a cult classic, but carries themes and subtext that can be quite painful and emotionally draining to think about when put into perspective of the real people who have to deal with such aspects of life.

If this story were adapted for film, it would more than likely receive changes to fashion a happy ending and contribute to the larger X-Franchise world's narrative.  It is a majorly self-contained story though and would really be dependent on how the director best decided it would work for how they would want to tell this story.  For the most part, the characters that would have to remain are Laura and Kiden outright potentially.  Kiden being the main driving factor behind the events of the story, she is a character that could not be removed.  Laura herself being the factor that draws Zebra Daddy, her pimp, in the story and provides much of the conflict drive to the rest of the characters troubles.  It also provides one of the most iconic scenes of the story as it's the moment where Laura stands up for herself and for her friends to protect them from the pimp's gang.

Zebra daddy also provides one of the most iconic lines and scenes of the miniseries.  That of course being the infamous "welcome to my legend" line, which ends up becoming more of a nope, welcome to Laura's as to creates what happens to be one of the most cathartic and satisfying moments of the miniseries with Laura killing Zebra Daddy.

This outright is not a story for children.  The emotional material within is very adult heavy and plays honestly quite similarly to essentially a mutant version of Spring Breakers in many ways, albeit with an entirely different kind of narrative, themes, and scope.  Whereas Spring Breakers was 4 girls partying and dominating life, NYX is a story of survival, teens that have fallen in the cracks, and women standing up to not being used or abused any longer after a series of tumultuous life events.

It is a complicated story to adapt outright that may be too shocking for audiences.

Kiden Nixon being one of the few characters that may eventually need to be added to the Fox X-Franchise though due to her time manipulation powers, she is who we will focus on for the fan casting as many entries have already covered much in depth to who could portray Laura Kinney.

The only actress that comes to mind for Kiden, with her rave fueled beginning and initially harsh line delivery is Miley Cyrus.  Her recent image portrayal of herself fits in line to much of what Kiden displays early on before the story's events force her to grow up and become responsible for her actions.  They share much of the same initial personality, and attitude until much deeper into the story.  This of course is assuming Cyrus can act without using her natural Texas accent to display a native New Yorker.

So the main question really boils down to the fans.  Who do you think should portray each character in the story if such an ambitious project were to go underway?  Should such a piece of film be attempted?

Personally, I have a hard time thinking this one should be adapted, and tend to favor it potentially being skipped if Laura's story were to make it to the big screen.  There are scenes that I think would be amazing to see in live action, such as her standing up to Zebra Daddy and his gang, but personally I find it hard to believe that one action sequence is worth the emotional turmoil such a film could wrought on its audience and crew.  That's not to say it doesn't have purpose.  It's just that this miniseries in particular is a tricky beast to approach though it does have its merits for the story it conveys alongside the themes and subtext it deals with.  The discomfort it makes one feel is warranted as these are very disturbing topics, but they are topics that need help to make them better worldwide.  People do get lost in the cracks of society, and we mustn't forget that.  We must never stop trying to make the world better for everyone.

Fan Casting X-23: Part I've-lost-track-of-how-many-of-these-I've-written-but-I-still-like-writing-them.

I've been rather vocal on this to the point that I've probably driven a handful of people nuts in the process.  This one in particular isn't entirely for the sake of clarifying the reasons for my personal choices, but to also echo the sentiments expressed herein.

So we're going to run through this one more time!  That's right, we're talking about the lead trio of characters that would need to be cast in an X-23 origin feature.

Now before diving into this, it should be mentioned the other side of the equation with Laura's mother has been pretty solidified from the fan perspective at least.  Summer Glau as Dr. Sarah Kinney yields too many great possibilities with her range.  She also carries an element of passing the torch down to the next actress picking up a role that carries many of the same subtexts as her character River Tam of Firefly fame had.  This prevents herself from being typecast into the role, expands her character range, as well as gives all the fans who originally wanted her as X-23 a small nod to appease them.  It lets them know they were heard, and their thoughts considered but adapted to be fitting with how long it's taken to bring this film to life.  Now instead of as X-23, Summer Glau would literally be the mother of X-23.  She would still be a part of the project allowing for that fan nod, and yet also in a manner that'd allow for more freedom with character growth and conveyance over a blossoming new franchise's time.

That brings us to the young trio of actresses that would need to portray the characters the rest of the movie centers around.  Much of X-23's origin tale centers around Laura herself, Megan Kinney, and Kimura.

Scary yet innocent.
So starting off with Laura, let's dive into what's needed with her casting.  She'd need to be an actress that could carry the facial expressions, the emotionless blank stares, the playful annoyance at those in her way, that look of pure almost childlike mischief, yet also the passionate roaring at life, and genuine smiles and happiness Laura experiences throughout the story.  It'd need to be someone that can handle believably the full range of emotions Laura expresses within the story and express them well on screen.

She'd need to be an actress that could carry the emotional conveyance as well as the style that Laura is known for.

Standing against bullying.
It'd also much benefit the film if she were a star that's vocal on matters of uplifting others and empowering women to express themselves.  She'd need to be an active outspoken role-model in expressing the concerns that such a story like X-23 entails.  An actress that truly wants to help others stand on their own two feet to become better people, to learn to help themselves, and yet also able to help them find their voice along the way in how they do it.  Someone who stands against the hate and trolls but someone that does so with genuine love and caring.  Someone that's not afraid to be that ear needed, and will gladly interact with fans out of feeling just like them.  Someone that's still humble, but also capable of so much.  Someone that's seen first hand what real life is like and what people are like, but also hasn't let the fame separate them so much as to feel above the average audience.

"No popping foot claws today.  I like these boots."
Someone believable and earnest.  That could genuinely make you feel for Laura's plight as well as sympathize.  Someone that makes you think of X-23 the second she's on screen, and yet also still embodies the everyday girl and all the troubles they may face day in and day out in our modern world.  There's also the subtexts that X-23 plays to.  On top of the thick science fiction glossy layer you have parallels to the objectification and treatment that young stars face regularly from the general public in how they are treated and misunderstood.  Young women especially who have amazing voices and talents; full on entrepreneurs carrying the weight of their own goals and dreams through their endeavors and never truly given the full credit for all that they do.  They end up becoming seen as set pieces and props for others to gossip about.  Their lives analyzed day in and day out.  Their love life the talk of the town while others try and tell them where they should go and who they should see instead of letting them choose.  Lives touted as personal soap operas with others trying to decide for them or pressuring them.  Acts of verbal and lyrical abuse ignored because of ignorance.  The guilt trips that others play to try and have their way.  The list goes on and on.  Yet these aren't acts that stars alone face.  Young women face these things everyday in their own lives as well.

Young women, still trying to understand life, face pressures and those that try and manipulate them into doing what that person wants.  They use their names as props or notches.  Trophies for them to tout of conquests.  They direct them around with these thinly veiled abusive behaviors calling it love, but much like triggerscent itself, it's done in such a manner that it puts them between a rock and a hard place.  Boys not understanding the true meaning of love over lust and thinking their demands matter more over another's life and happiness, their own right to choose freely, pull these stunts while perpetually stuck in the maturity of a simple middle school child no matter their age.  Then adults turn around and condone this behavior.  The exact people that are supposed to step in and protect others can't see the line or the difference in what sets these acts apart.  You have one side about love and adoration that uplifts, and another that speaks of obsession and infatuation.  Yet without having the maturity to see the difference, both sides are considered the same when they're not(we will be diving into this topic at a later date as it's a topic oft misunderstood, and sickening to see condoned).  Adults that are supposed to know this line, look past it and consider this abuse cute and endearing.  Their unthinking support and additional pressure can make young women even further confused on these subjects of what's acceptable behavior.  Forcing these young women to lose themselves in the process.  It further hinders their growth into what they could be and all that they could do.  Their own accomplishments are ignored in favor of adding to these pressures.

X-23 represents symbolically all of these things with what she's experienced throughout her life.  Finding a star that could match that and still roar back would seemingly be impossible.  That is at least if it wasn't already happening in Hollywood.  Women of all walks of life face these issues.   There is no real separation of life constants no matter where you are.  Women are taught to smile and deal with it, while boys are praised for it while they drag another's name through the mud and abuse them.  Women that should rightfully stand up on their own feet and say they've had enough of being treated for less than who they are inside and out are treated as the bad guys while their oppressors are hailed.  Laura, the character presents an opportunity to roar back.  That women aren't objects to dirty or batter.  Boys are taught that they are supposed to act out and force their way, to treat a woman badly so that she keeps coming back, but that's not love.  That's not true affection.  It just perpetuates the cycle and helps further make the woman in question lose herself to being another's keeper when she has every right to lead a beautiful life of her own making.

These are many reasons why I lean on my personal actress choice for the role of Laura Kinney herself.  Selena Gomez has seen firsthand how the world acts and reacts to these situations in her own life.  Her own filmography speaks of a diverse skill set that covers a wide array of potential and shows she has the scope to handle this character on levels few could match.  Her role in Spring Breakers shows a wide array of talent that covers a third of the spectrum Laura Kinney herself has.  Her role in Getaway shows yet another third of the overall emotional spectrum and helps further her action movie and stunt experience.  Her roles in Monte Carlo and Ramona & Beezus helps further how well she can handle the friendship and family dynamic that elements of X-23's miniseries Target X displays.  Her role in Wizards of Waverly Place helped further her stunt work knowledge and special effects interaction acting while still also yielding a further example of an onscreen female bad ass.  Her clothing lines present unique opportunities that also help mirror that defining moment for X-23 that Jubilee gave her while shopping in the X-23 v3 comic.  She presents an opportunity for women to stand up for themselves and roar back to find and do what they want.  Of course, all that is assuming she'd even be interested in such a role, as only she can make that call for herself on whether or not to audition for it if it were to ever come up.  Though depending on the timing of when such a movie ever went into production, she also presents a unique opportunity to much later portray Dr. Sarah Kinney on screen as well due to how she stands to want to help uplift others.  A symbolic turn(assuming an X-23 film is 15+ years away from ever being developed) that could easily represent her own growth from child star to world respected icon in her own right.

Another role that's a complicated one to dive into is that of Megan Kinney.  The onscreen familial friendship between Laura and Megan has to have that natural chemistry that makes it play well onscreen for how much they support and care for each other.  Megan being Laura's cousin that showed her all the simple joys that life can entail.  Ashley Benson or Demi Lovato present interesting points for this potential.  Benson being one of the lead stars in ABC Family's Pretty Little Liars presents an actress that's trying to end body shaming, including how she even stood up to her own show for unrealistic touch ups to promo work that give unrealistic expectations for young women that want to try and match it.  Her character Hannah on the show presents many of the same issues all walks of life face for having different body types and what it can do to your self-esteem and the psychology that can drive one to extremes or harmful behaviors.  Demi Lovato herself has seemingly lived much of the same conflicts and emotions that run through the undertones of Laura's story.  Lovato presents a unique opportunity to redefine the role of Megan Kinney for the things she had to endure and how she used her style choices to evoke what she was feeling.  She's also stood up to even the largest of companies for their own misbehavior in condoning making light of issues that should never be treated as such.  Both yield interesting potential to the onscreen chemistry with the lead star choice in a film franchise vehicle that can help young women stand up for themselves and give the public a more rounded opportunity to dive into these topics further to show how scary it is, and yet also that there is hope for a better tomorrow.  That life carries on to get better.  A film like this yields an empowerment piece that shows you don't have to stand and take what the world throws at you.  You can roar back.

The next major role within the film is that of Kimura.  The natural opposite to X-23's character.  For this it's hard to truly pick who fits best.  There's Naya Rivera who represents an interesting counterpoint to her character Santana from Glee where she's already much displayed the natural wit and sarcastic bite to the role needed.  Granted her stunt training is marginally unknown as is her potential for acting within the confines of extreme special effects.  There's also Mila Kunis who represents strong potential among the older range Kimura might need depending on how the story angle handled the aging factor to Kimura's abilities.  She has a wide filmography and has already displayed her aptitude to this kind of role in previous forays that range from American Psycho 2: All American Girl, and Max Payne, to even Black Swan.  She also has that sarcastic bite albeit differently than Rivera's to line delivery that'd potentially be needed.

There's also Vanessa Hudgens who has just as wide a filmography and also helps play up to other facets within the subtext.  Hudgens having had her own wide array of stunt and effects acting experience within Sucker Punch itself also shows her capabilities in a story of such nature and willingness to want to portray a character in a film that could help uplift others while using a thick layer of imaginative fictional gloss that keeps audience interest piqued.  She also presents a unique opportunity with her own filmography having crossed over with Benson and Gomez in them having onscreen chemistry and natural trust in each other that may make more scenes believable as well as easier for them to film because of what they may entail.  It helps increase the comfort level that could make the scenes play better.  Though on that same token, it may also make the scenes harder to portray(but would still yield fun outtakes and bloopers!) as the strong emotions to the scenes of all three together cover a wide emotional range.  Having that bonded trust present though, may make the scenes work better overall as it helps the others still evoke that form of confidence in the face of adversity over the pure fear that someone they don't trust in that role may evoke.  It also helps break the tension onset to help each of them give the best performances they can.

 Between these first couple pieces of the larger puzzle, the makings of a poignant and powerful piece of cinema could take shape.  From it many discussions could be sparked, and it could lead the way in showing that young women are more than simply tools or objects.  They have choice, lives, loves, and passions to pursue.  They have just as much right to choose how they want to live their lives and should rightfully so cut out anyone that tries to abuse them or use them.  They should rightfully so be able to remove those that support women batterers and those that treat others as objects or set pieces to promote ideals of non-existent perfection that bully for this reason of simply being different and able to choose to love and grow as they see fit while still standing up for others.

Everyone deserves that freedom of choice and that freedom to stand up away from those that want to do nothing but drag them down.  It's truly that simple.  Audiences are already here for strong lead women roles that prove you can be a bad ass and yet still a caring and compassionate young woman.  Franchises like the Hunger Games already prove that it's possible if you maintain the heart and soul of the property along the way with the goal of simply making a good film that all would enjoy.  X-23 represents a chance to showcase and discuss many issues, but she also represents a chance to give audiences what they want to see.  The rise of a powerful young woman and her standing up for herself and family as any young person in general would want to do.  She presents a chance to give audiences the flashy action they want to see, but yet also a heartwarming and heartbreaking tale that has soul and substance within.  A character-centric piece that plays to all the strengths of what makes Marvel Comics great, but also plays to natural truths of the world all around us through the metaphors and subtext it carries within.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

X-23: The Taboos She Entails

I've glossed over this before, but never really went indepth with it all in one entry.  X-23 is a character that encapsulates a lot of symbolism from all across the emotional spectrum.

Her character history has had to deal with cutting, physical abuse, mental abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, depression, anger issues, and more.  She's gone across the proverbial spectrum of the full emotional range from supportive of others going through these issues via metaphors or herself trying to understand them.

This is what makes her character hard to adapt for film outright.  With the symbolism rooted deep into her character's story, she's a hard one to approach for the big screen.  You take any of these elements out, and you make the character lose the realism to who she is and has gone through and why she cares so much about the sanctity of innocent life with how beautiful it is.  You leave them in and you're dancing pretty damn close to an R rating.

Many of these taboos have a social stigma attached.  Cutting for example is often misunderstood and rightfully so causes adverse reactions to the depictions of it.  It is a heavy topic to dive into and the reasons behind such actions can vary as much as the person in question.  It's often confused for suicidal thoughts, but often can be a precursor to someone that will take that action as well.  This is why it gets convoluted and is scary to deal with as a topic.

Personally, originally when wanting X-23's story adapted for film, the cutter element was one I had thought should be left out.  It's complicated and depending on the angle the story goes and the cast chosen, it may cloud perceptions too much.  Now rethinking about it, it's an element that might be better served left in her origin story.  It gives a window that opens up discussions on these topics and show the world at large that yes it is scary and frightening and does not solve anything.  It allows for a vocal approach on that topic to let people know if you do feel this way, it's okay to ask for help.  It helps show people you aren't alone and it's never an answer.

Laura has gone through the full spectrum of emotions in the comics and grown from them.  The physical and mental abuse she endured while with the Facility didn't turn her into a monster like they wanted.  Over time, it turned her kind.  The bullying and manipulations they committed didn't turn her into another Kimura, it made Laura stand strong in never wanting another to go through what she went through in her life.

These are heavy topics though.  Child abuse, depression, and more always are.  They are not pleasant to see or experience.  That's what makes them work on film to show exactly how scary it truly is.  To show why no one should ever have to go through these things.  It's a part of her life that juxtaposes well with the happiness she discovers with her family, and why it becomes even more heartbreaking later once she's separated from them.  It's shock and horror, but it's shock and horror with a purpose as it shows the true horrors about them rather directly.  In theory, for a film to cover these topics, and in such a direct manner using such a star vehicle as a Marvel franchise, it pushes discussions.  Not just for the sake of the property itself and box office revenues, but for the sake of the audiences and the people it reaches.  The people it shows that life does get better.  There are good days and bad days, and if you hold on, those good days will outnumber the bad days.  That every person is beautiful in their own way and has much to offer the world and the lives they touch, but to do that they must be here.  They must keep living.  Life is a set of cause and effect like that.  Our every action reverberates throughout all the lives we touch.  Every one of us matters and makes a difference everyday, not just in those around us, but in those that hear or see our words too.  In the digital age this has never been more true.  The words of one person can be broadcast around the world and back again within an instant.  Kind words from one coast can reach the other side of the world to help another.  Stars interact with fans on a regular basis and hear their thoughts and concerns every day.  Friends chat from countries apart.

We're in one world where we need to support one another, and it's easy to forget that.  We are all of one people trying to make it home and find where we belong through our own paths.  We shouldn't make that harder on each other.  We should be kind, courteous, and understanding.  Helping those along the way as we can.  We shouldn't let each other fall into the cracks.  We should never be the ones to push others into those cracks.

Bendis' Characterization of X-23

A small complaint that seems to be cropping up from All-New X-Men's X-23 usage is that she appears to be a little bit sassy with her attitude and word choices/usage in issue 20.

This isn't a bad thing.  In fact, it seems quite appropriate with all that she's gone through and had to endure all her life.

Laura has been put through the ringer repeatedly.  The Facility abused her and used her to kill.  Her own biological father off and on has treated her like crap with little real support until recently.  No one noticed her being gone and at Arcade's island.  Her friendship with Finesse of Avengers Academy turned sour because Finesse used her as all the others have.  Finesse took the choice away from Laura and used Laura's claws to kill.  During Arcade's island, she was used against her own friends with no choice and forced to try and kill them.

Repeatedly and repeatedly she has been tossed around and used.  She's had her choices taken away.  The Facility will never stop hounding her.  Kimura still has a vendetta against all that X-23 has helped or loved.  Her mother's family is still out of reach, and who knows when she'll be able to see them again.  The list goes on and on.  Yet she pushes on.  Laura is refusing to lash out violently and kill.  She doesn't want to be a weapon anymore.  She doesn't want to be used.  She's grown into being her own woman that wants to be able to make her own choices and fight her own battles.  She's developed her own voice and has her own will.

Her being "sassy" seems quite appropriate when you consider all these factors.  It's not that Arcade's island was such an ordeal that it changed her.  It's the fact it was one more in string of events that has pushed her to the point of standing for herself while also helping others.

Her story is still being told, and there are still details to handle that could play into this.  We've yet to see why no one has noticed she left where she was recuperating after Arcade's island, and more, but her being sassy seems quite appropriate.  The frustrations have been building for over a literal decade now, but she doesn't want to direct her anger to lashing out or even killing.  Those frustrations need to come out somewhere though.  Vocally seems quite appropriate since she doesn't want to be used as a weapon to blindly kill anymore.

She's developing into her own person and finding her own voice.  Only time will tell how that voice will continue to grow and how she will develop and use it to become the best person she wants to be.  Not the person that others want to make her become.

Of course all this is due to interpretation and Bendis may be taking it a different route.  Only the comic releases to come will reveal the path he has planned for the character and where she will grow from during his run while having her in the title.

Off-Topic(But Not Really): Children Are The Future

Okay, I'm not a parent.  Someday I want to be though.  That doesn't mean I'm going into that blindly if or when that day comes.  There are a lot of things I've learned over the years from taking psychology and sociology classes as well as having relatives and friends that took child development classes.  The rest I've picked up from being me.

One thing I've learned outright is that materialism doesn't equate parenting.  Stuff only distracts.  It doesn't provide the attention and love a child genuinely needs.  You see it all the time in charity work though.  Giving gifts and away they go until next year.  They did their good deed by buying and giving stuff.  That doesn't really solve anything though.  (Barring helping kids overseas and in lesser developed countries by providing sports equipment and other tools to help them develop.  That's an entirely different topic to dive into!  As is visiting sick kids in the hospital to help them be joyous about the holidays!)  A child that may get a broken motorized power wheel can be even happier with it than a working one because it means mommy and daddy have to push them in it and spend time with them.  The smile that lights up from those times is even greater than any moment that could have been made with it working.  Yes, the power wheel will be fixed the day after Christmas, but that child will remember that day always still for the time their parents spent with them and gave them attention.  I've seen children become enamored with the simplest of things like paper airplanes just because it means they were getting attention and had someone that listened and showed them something cool.  Someone that was there for them.  This kind of early developed passion can then build into sciences like aerodynamics as they get older as well as mathematics and overall help them grow as a person but it starts with simply giving them constant early on kindness and attention.  Materialism doesn't give what that actual genuine care and direct attention does.  The real charity work that genuinely makes a difference are those that keep coming back to visit them.  The ones that sit and play with them.  Show them sports, teach them to dance, sing karaoke with them, and genuinely listen to them regularly.  Genuinely building a bond with the child to know they have value and are loved.  From that all other passions, dreams, aspirations, and careers could blossom.

That's not to say "stuff" can't equate this as well.  Personally, I'm a toy collector.  So I'm materialistic by nature as a side effect.  For me, it's never been about the stuff itself though.  It's about the fact I plan on handing it down someday to my own future kids.  I try and pick out the best renditions and scales of hero figures across the board alongside Transformers as well.  Yes, I favor Generation 1 inspired Transformers because I want to be one of those dads that sits down and watches the original cartoon with his kids.  There's more to Transformers and even superheroes than just being "stuff" though.  They help creativity and spur parental interaction.  A child may have difficulty with a robot to vehicle or animal transformation so they must interact with parents to play with them.  Over time it helps build problem solving skills as each Transformer in and of itself is a Rubik's cube that has its own solution.  Super hero figures themselves lead to children asking about them and story time.  While playing with the figures you can see how they express themselves and notice troubling patterns to help them with based on the stories they create with them.  This also helps build and nurture creativity and allows them to explore their own story telling sides early on.  All of these mean interacting with children though and not just leaving them to play by themselves.  (And yes, the day I have kids and they make my X-23 figures have a tea party, I'm so taking pictures of it!  In fact, it'd probably become my new Facebook profile pic the day it happens!)

The same is true with entertainment.  The best shows cater to both adults and children at the same time, and by discussing what you watch with them, you can see them grow and learn even more.  There are many spots in shows that may go over their heads, or they may infer something else from, and by having these dialogues you can see how your child thinks or what other behaviors or beliefs that may be counter to their development.  Did they catch a sex joke at too young an age?  You might want to look into that and find out why.  The list goes on and on.  The same is true for aggressive shows that show onscreen fighting.  Is your child trying to mimic that because they think it's cool?  Or do they see that it's not the violence, but the teamwork, camaraderie and problem solving involved or protecting others and the other moral lessons involved?  In some cases it may be the independence and ability to look out for one self a character demonstrates or even the familial bond of siblings and parents that support one another even with their differences and innate family struggles.  There is a wide spectrum of emotions that entertainment can reveal,  but it should not be used as a lone babysitter.  All of these things stem from real interaction with your children to help them grow.

During the holidays with all the hustle and bustle it's easy to forget that you're not buying stuff for your kids to keep them busy and away from you.  It's about memories you can build with them.  The things they'll cherish most are the ones that have memories attached.  The time mommy sat down and took an interest in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or how daddy knew who was on My Little Pony and even had a favorite himself.  How Teddy Ruxpin told both child and parent a story at bed time, or even the Glow Pet nightlight that a grandparent may have gotten them to help them sleep at night.  Okay, maybe I'm a sentimental sap.  I do still have the windup lamb my own gave me that plays a music box rendition of Mary had a little lamb as well as the Glo Butterfly made by Hasbro in the 80s.  Looking back now, it may seem silly to still own these, but they were gifts from family that helped at various times.  Be it staying the night at grandma's house and providing a sense of home, or a night light for comfort.  These memories attached stay with us.  They help build and fashion those bonds of trust long into being adults for who we turn to among family when we need that ear.  They are also mementos to remember those that have long passed on and helps carry on their legacy to the next generation.  A way for them to still make an impact and help even though they aren't here.  A way for them to always be here though they aren't physically.

I used to own a carded Marvel Universe X-23 figure I was saving mint in package.  Either for a future contest here, or for my own collector reasons.  Eventually I sold it to a man that had a daughter.  It was fun to hear later how it brightened her day even though she didn't know who it was really at first outside of the brief silent appearance in Wolverine and The X-Men.  All she knew is that the character was one from the stories her daddy enjoyed.  She cherished it and a Giant-man skrull he also bought and had the biggest happiest grin I've ever seen on a kids face from them because it was something they shared.  (The symbolism wasn't lost on me that his daughter was playing with a figure that by all accounts was a superhero's daughter itself.)  That's the kind of bond you want to make with children.

That's the kind of parent I want to be someday.  (I'm not praising me.  I'm praising him for how great of a father he is.  In fact, he helped inspire this entry!  I'm not a parent yet, so I cannot say for certain the kind of one I'll be.  All I know is the kind of one I want to be.)  One who is around, invested and interested in what they enjoy so they know there is always someone to turn to that'll listen.  So that they know and understand both their parents love them dearly and only want the best for them.  Do we not owe children this?  Do we not owe the ones who don't have that luxury the same?  This is the thing that can be the hardest part about children.  Once you have them, your life has to become almost entirely about them.  Otherwise they will act out to get attention which will start to create a cycle of it.  They get attention, albeit negative, from acting out, but it's the only attention they get so they make it a game.  How far can they push.  What can they do that'll cause a reaction.  These behaviors become rewarded by getting what they want from it with garnishing any attention at all.

It's easy to throw piles of stuff at children that you can walk away from and then feel good about yourself from it, or even distract others from your own past behavior by doing so, but that's not really benefiting anyone but your own ego.  Spend some time and become a constant in their lives they can trust and feel valued by.  That's what matters.  Remembering those lost is great, but it's also a form of ego stroking and is a thin line to walk.  Never forget them of course and keep them close to your heart, but help those that are here.  Be there for those that are here on a regular basis instead of lamenting and using the memory of one that's passed on to further your own ego. (If you truly want to remind families that have dealt with loss that you care and support them even over time, write them a handwritten letter about how that child impacted you and send it to them instead of using that child's memory as a PR boost.  It'll mean more to those families too and isn't that supposed to be the point?  To help them and show them directly you care?)  It may make all the difference for them as they grow up to become the best they can be.  Especially if they do have a rough life.  This is why programs like Big Brothers and Big Sisters matter so much.  They make a difference in lives, not for a day, but for a lifetime.  This is why role models matter.  This is why gender bias needs to be fought against.  Children are the future and we owe it to them to make it as bright as we can so they don't have to face the struggles and judgments others have had to face in the past.  They need to understand they do matter.  Not for some public relations stunt, but for the fact they do indeed matter.  Don't be like a politician that washes clean dishes at a soup kitchen for a photo-op.  Actually help because it's what children deserve. Do it because it's what they need and not for something you can flaunt and use.

This is why it's so disheartening to see how the media treats others that try to stand up like this to genuinely care.  People like Selena Gomez, to name one.  She has her own name and rich diverse filmography and music.  She has her own clothing lines and jewelry.  All of tasteful variety to help children and teens express themselves in hues of individuality(her mix and match clothing line is ingenious in this approach) that can help them find their own voices.  She was part of a TV show that displayed the day to day struggles of family life, much through metaphors of fantasy, but still laden with deeply rooted truths and cultural diversity.  Yet in the end much of the media world tries to hold her down about it.  They treat her as if she needs a famous man to give her name prominence, or that she's simply a pop stars ex-girlfriend.  They forget she has her own successes, her own entrepreneurs, her own career, and her own name that stands firmly on its own merits.  The rhetoric she faces from both the immaturity of the internet and these media world adults who can't see beyond their own real world soap operas are counter to the attitudes children and young adults need to see.  A strong independent successful young woman that should be treated by the merit of herself as an inspiration.  The world needs more strong independence like this as examples.  It should never be belittled.  It should be praised.  It gives children and teens something to aspire to as well as look up to.  It gives hope for a brighter tomorrow.

The same is true for many stars that do what they do to help and not for the praise.  Many of their acts go unnoticed and deliberately never talked about like visiting military hospitals and even more because they don't brag about it, or ever  mention it.  They don't want it to be used as political machinations.  It defeats the purpose and point of the act itself.  They don't do it for the praise or the recognition.  They simply did it out of the true goodness of their heart. (Like Jennifer Lawrence visiting sick kids in the hospital over the holidays. An act that only showed up because of someone digging for it through twitter feeds of parents that gave her thanks for being there.  The same to Selena Gomez visiting Bethesda Naval hospital earlier this year that went completely unnoticed by most.  The same can be said of their Christmas messages that showed support of their fans and how much they genuinely care without using the names of others to boost themselves.  They gave thanks, genuine support, and appreciation without being pretentious or treating others as props to use.  If anything, they showed how much the fans mean to them and keep them moving forward to be the best they can be.  They protected them from any kind of backlash but still showed their appreciation and gratitude for the gifts given in their own ways.)  There are times when a name or an intellectual property can help a cause, and then there are times when the cause is simply to be there for the family or child and only that family or child.  Who cares if the world never knows.  That's not the concern.  The act was never done for that reason.  What matters is that they know you were there for them and only for that reason.  It's not about quick easy press points or headlines.  It's about people as people and not as objects to use.  Never use charity to further yourself, because then it was never really charity was it?  Then it was never really about the child.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Happy Holidays From Kinney Pride!

Happy Holidays to one and all.  A happy early New Year to you all too!
For right now.  Kinney Pride will be taking a mild hiatus from today until January.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Late December 2013 News Bites

Two articles over on CBR popped up that are worth reading and raise some valid points and concerns.

One dives headfirst into Wonder Woman and asks why hasn't she had a solo titled movie as yet.  It's about time that she should get her own solo movie too.  Then they can start expanding the cinematic DC universe on her side with Donna Troy, Artemis, among many more.

The other is an editorial that dives into more about sexual harassment within the comics industry and life in general.

On the X-Men movie front, word has come up that Rogue has been cut from Days of Future Past.
Bryan Singer talks about the why over in an Entertainment Weekly exclusive interview.

Coming in before that was also the announcement that story sessions on X-Men Apocalypse are underway via a tweet from Bryan Singer.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

All-New X-Men Issue 20

Issue 20 of All-New X-Men hits the stands today.  This is the issue where X-23 will be formally joining the team.

It picks up from issue 19 with a brief jump that doesn't really explain the location transition, but otherwise, if you're curious, the issue reads fine.  Laura comes across as herself and in character per what she's gone through in the last month or 2 of her life.  It's offhandedly mentioned as a "year of hell" but Arcade's island was only 29 days.  Prior to that was her stay at Avengers Academy.  The Avengers Arena kids were abducted during winter break on Christmas Eve.  That puts this issue at taking place roughly at the end of January or beginning of February.

In fact, that seems to be the only goof anywhere in the comic.  I'll be honest.  I was a bit concerned with how issue 19 read to where this may be going, but it's nicely and succinctly explained outside of only one real question left outside of that "year of hell" remark.

Why didn't anyone notice she disappeared from where she was recuperating after Avengers Arena?

So far it's reading like X-23 will be a fantastic addition to the team.  Bendis, so far at least, has got a decent handle on her written voice for an interesting portrayal.

Other than that, no spoiling until next week!  Well, unless it's in the comments.  I don't like to spoil on day of releases.  So go buy the comic instead!

Soon though, here on KP we'll be diving into her healing factor.  The story elements from these two issues do fit nicely into that.  So the entry has been pushed back to accommodate them and not be a release day spoiler.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

March 2014 Solicits

Over on CBR the March solicits from Marvel are up!

Among them include the next chapters in the Trial of Jean Grey, as well as an All-New X-Men premiere Hardcover!

Due to X-23's involvement in The Trial of Jean Grey being marginally unknown, here's the entry for the premiere hardcover instead!

The X-Men are shaken to the core by the fallout from BATTLE OF THE ATOM! Kitty Pryde is particularly affected, and her faith in Wolverine’s Jean Grey School is eroded. With her students gone, what is Kitty to do? Meanwhile, X-23 is back, joining the All-New X-Men and…kissing Cyclops?! What does this mean to Jean Grey? When Jean and X-23 are forced to team up against a mysterious force, she’d better figure it out fast! Plus: it’s the 50th Anniversary of the X-Men, ring it inwith some of the greatest creators to ever work on the X-Men! Collecting ALL-NEW X-MEN #18-21, X-MEN GOLD #1 and material from A+X #18.
144 PGS./Rated T …$24.99
ISBN: 978-0-7851-8860-5
Trim size: standard

Preview: All-New X-Men #20

CBR has the preview up for All-New X-Men #20.

Worth checking out, but it's anyone's guess how the potential plot holes insinuated from issue 19 will be filled.  Bendis is a capable writer, so this might be playing up to something he's covered in the pages themselves.  Only one way to find out!  Be sure to pick up your copy when it hits store shelves next week on the 18th!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Top 10 X-23 Stories!

Today is X-23's 10th anniversary/birthday since joining the pages of Marvel Comics in NYX v1 issue 3!
Ten years ago today is when that comic first hit store shelves and officially joined the 616 Marvel Universe.  So to go with this momentous occasion, let's do a run down of her top 10 stories within the pages of Marvel Comics!

Earlier this year, I'd asked for fans to write in and suggest what their favorite X-23 stories were.  Across several platforms there was a wide array of responses but sadly not enough to tally up the results for a pure fan chosen list(too many ties mixed with not enough voted).

That being said, let's run down the list and see how it turned out!

10. Academy X: New X-Men
Coming in at number 10 was a wide array of stories that ranged from Childhood's End, Crusade, and Mercury Falling, among more.  It seems many fans loved the stories and range of emotions that X-23 went through while with these young X-Men.  Some examples of stand out moments include how X-23 saved Dust, the interactions with Mercury, and the growing on and off chemistry with Hellion.  These stories covered a wide range of topics of a teenage X-23 dealing with many topics that include analogies to school shootings(Childhood's End & Crusade), dealing with emotions, being respectful of other's beliefs, supporting friends that have been through what amounts to a metaphor for rape(Mercury Falling), her first school crush, and more.  There's also many complaints that some of these stories get as being too violent and seeming to  have a gleeful penchant to harm its characters outright with torture and abuse that borderlined on the extreme.  It reflected a headmistress that often tried to throw X-23 to the wolves and kick her out of the school or trick her into leaving, but in the end grew to accept Laura and even stand up for her.  One of the many shining moments in this run was Emma Frost's character growth, even trying to help protect Laura from Kimura and the Facility.  X-23's run through these stories gave many amazing scenes and epic battles fans would dream of before they even had the chance to.  We were given X-23 vs the future sentinel Nimrod in a story with Forge that's a 90s throwback of fun.  X-23 fans also got Laura facing off against Lady Deathstrike in a manner that's still influencing Lady Deathstrike stories to this day.  An epic battle that sometimes raises the simple question of would a rematch ever happen.  A satisfying moment that's long since even been immortalized as a collectible statue.  With how masterfully written and intertwined many of these stories are, it's hard to separate them as any single arc and instead feel best as encapsulated as Laura's full and nonstop semester at the Xavier Institute.

09. Women of Marvel Oneshot (X-23 v2 issue 1)
This was the first X-23 story written under the pen of Marjorie M. Liu.  It depicted Laura right after she'd been kicked off of X-Force and her starting to try and find herself or where she belonged.  It played up aspects of how Laura perceived herself and gave us insight into her head and emotions of the time.  We get elements of her frustration with Wolverine, and her feeling cast aside by a father figure that's kinder to other girls that aren't of his own blood.  We get to see and hear her feelings towards her NYX friends she's long missed.  A moment that proves especially powerful as it's during her coping with having killed Kiden during a future timeline.  It added a character to Laura's narrative that's an element with much potential to be expanded on or explored still, and gave us Laura's strategic awareness even while under duress.  It's a long symbolic ride that with each read brings more out that may have been missed before.  With story elements and characterization across the board that feels self-contained yet also contributes to the overall character growth it's not surprising they gave Liu a stab at an ongoing title with the character.  The artwork between the internal mindscape and Laura's currently perceived dark reality contrasts well with giving an eerie but also poignant contrast of Laura's perceptions and emotions with what she's been through up to that point.

08. Judgement (X-Men: To Serve and Protect issue 2)
This short story that's in the pages of the X-Men: To Serve & Protect miniseries is often overlooked but has indeed picked up its share of fans still.  With artwork reminiscent of an almost what if Tim Burton handled X-23 alongside presenting a question of fan debate like "what would Ghost Rider's penance stare do to X-23?" it's no wonder it still managed to make the list.  The artwork carries the story amazingly, and the writing manages to be simple and elegant yet also poignant and defining.  A short subtle interaction and narrative that carries weight across the character's actions and gives new readers a brief glimpse into her character that wets the appetite and can make them curious enough for more.

07. Not Forgotten (X-Force v3 issues 17-20)
Many consider this to be a powerful story arc for X-23.  It truly shows how dangerous she is and the lengths at which the Facility and even Kimura will go.  The artwork carries it with a cinematic quality outright as the story plays out.  While elements of the story are quite brutal and violent, it's one of the rare instances where the reader gets to see X-23 cut loose outright.  With one arm she takes on her captors and those that would use her. She uses Triggerscent to her own strategic means, channeling the control factor the Facility tried to implement on her against them.  I've personally praised this story before so many times I'm not even sure what more I could say about it that I haven't already.  To put it simply, this is the story where we see X-23 roar louder than any tiger or lion ever could.  It has a somber almost sad resolution with an overhanging plot thread that's yet to be resolved, but for a brief moment, this was the story where she was able to fully vent every frustration she could against the Facility and their machinations against her.  This would be the last time we see the Facility in the comics, and from the devastation X-23 caused, it's no wonder why.  While the story uses mild cliches and formulaic story devices, it does so under such heavy action and emotional turns that it's easy to eat it up without a second thought.  It's an emotional and action packed thrill ride that can leave any reader wide-eyed and in awe throughout.

06. Girls Night Out part 2 (X-23 v3 issue 21)
This issue is often hailed for what it pulled off.  This is X-23's silent issue.  Not a single word is spoken and the entire story was carried by character actions, body language, and symbolism.  It reflected a matured X-23 that had choices to make about where she was going next and what she wanted to do.  Picking up on her lone wolf aspects, it elaborated on Laura trying to understand the core of herself.  It showed Laura going back to nature on what could be considered a spirit quest of sorts.  This is something that contrasts well with her heavily science and cold sterile background, bringing forth amazing results and insight into the character's overall protectorate essence.  Phil Noto's artwork carries the issue throughout with an almost gritty emphasis without actually ever being grisly violent and helps give an amazing push on running with the pack while still standing as uniquely yourself.  It's an issue that can be read many times over and still come back with something new gleamed from within its pages as was common with much of the comic run written by Liu.

05. Songs of the Orphan Child part 4 (X-23 v3 issue 7)
This issue marked the prelude to Collision but is entirely self-contained.  The story was simply X-23 and Gambit trying to get to Madripoor and the adventure that ensued along the way.  It's Remy and Laura against pirates, but shows the strategic side of X-23.  Laura doesn't kill a single person in this issue even though she's literally thrown to the sharks.  It's an issue rich with symbolism and metaphors almost too many to list.  Every read through grants something new and interesting to ponder.  The artwork by Sana Takeda is phenomenal and helps carry the overall emotions conveyed with it's soft hues that compliment the narrative and symbolism within.  Another in the many simply astounding issues written by Marjorie Liu.

04. Misadventures in Babysitting (X-23 v3 issue 17-19)
The most normal thing X-23 has ever done.  Babysitting.  Okay it was for the Richards family and Valeria & Franklin are handfuls that even Jocasta of Avengers Academy or Emma Frost of the Xavier Institute would fear.  This story throws a simple normal teen moment on its head.  It shows us first hand how Laura has gotten over Hellion and why(simply put, he's a vain selfish self-obsessed arrogant bully), alongside giving us clear moments of exactly how scary she can be even without triggerscent involved.  Leaving much of the extreme violence off panel even helps illicit a frightening degree of questions like how tiny were the pieces she cut the Collector into that it incapacitated him that much and for that long.  The artwork carries the soft glowy hues that Sana Takeda became known for throughout the X-23 v3 run.  So when Laura went complete anger under this artwork and let her mama bear elements roar in a quiet stare of seeing red to protect the kids, it became some of the scariest panels ever drawn of X-23 outright.  Sana Takeda's artwork is some of the most brilliant art of X-23 and it's this subtle contrast of calmness and subtle emotional conveyance to ferocious force of nature that can really make you see why.  The verbal sparring between Gambit and Hellion at the start, alongside Gambit's commentary at the end while at the diner to pick X-23 up becomes icing on the cake that's already overflowing with greatness and jaw dropping moments.  The story is a throw back to classic Marvel, but with a modern twist.

03. Old Ghosts (X-Force v3 issues 7-10)
X-Force v3 is known for it's action and cinematic influences throughout.  The entire run plays out like a movie serial unto itself.  This one in particular had a rather powerful moment that caused fans to really care for Laura and her plight.  While during this mission they had to face clones Mr. Sinister had made of the Marauders.  The team treated them as mindless canon fodder rejects that had no right to live.  An element that caused X-23 to pause due to her own origin and reminded herself of all the subhuman treatment she's faced from Dr. Zander Rice because she was a "clone."  This story reflects how we treat others can have effects on those around us that may identify with what's being said from experiences in their own lives.  X-23 is not some simple clone or mindless attack dog, yet that's how she'd always been treated while growing up.  So seeing her own team treating others like this caused an interesting backslide moment as she risked sacrificing herself needlessly to complete the mission objective of destroying the Legacy Virus.  This allowed a powerful scene between her and another teammate that was trying to save her from herself.  It's a scene of such emotional impact that it easily lingers on in the minds of fans for years to come.  Granting it the number 3 slot on this list even.

02. Target X (X-23: Target X issues 1-6)
This being X-23's second origin miniseries but the one that more focused on who she is at heart subtly guaranteed that it would make this list.  It ranked pretty high because it's a universally loved story, problematic cliches and all (light bulb scene, it's both glorious and the biggest hindrance in the story).  It's got a Tarantino cinematic presence with how it's presented, but also yields a touching family dynamic and emotional story that plays on the heart strings with scenes that bring smiles.  The cinematic nature to the story helps evoke powerful imagery that stays with the reader and gives a comic superhero story without really being a superhero story.  It's more about character drive, family, growth, and protecting those you love.  It contains thought provoking elements that really help set the question of what is X-23.  Is she a child or is she a weapon?  How much of what she's done is really her fault?  It presents the quandary in a fashion that's symbolic on many levels with the characters chosen for the sides conveyed.  We have Matt Murdock, a blind man on one side who sees deeper than Steve Rogers, the patriotic Captain America who is on the other side at first.  There's so much within these pages that it's hard to know even where to start, and even if one tried to review it, you could still come back and find more within its pages you didn't see before.

01. Touching Darkness (X-23 v3 issues 10-12)
This one outright received the most fan praise, granting it the #1 slot across the board.  Universally, fans reacted to it as an endearing and heartwarming story.  This set sail the X-23 and Jubilee ship outright and gave readers a taste of high octane adventure, a simple yet character defining shopping moment with subtle situational humor, and helped push forward the more familial nature of the X-Men.  It also helped further develop the mystery woman seen previously during Collision.  What really makes it shine though are the subtle character defining moments.  The blossoming friendship between Laura and Jubilee comes across naturally, and yields amazing results in helping Laura find her voice.  The usages of real psychology within the pages also carries the point.  The shopping moment may seem simple and frivolous but it's an important element as finding one's style is another form of personal growth that helps a person define themselves.  It helps Laura start to find her voice and who she wants to be.  The moment is well handled as it isn't a forced gender stereotype but plays to each character's strengths and weaknesses.  We get to see a side of Gambit that's interesting and rare in comics as he tries to help Laura and is concerned for her.  He goes so far as to give her a birthday cupcake at the start that helps set the tone of the overall downtime as trying to give Laura a taste of normalcy with a birthday after a long tumultuous ordeal during Collision.  The artwork from Sana Takeda drives the issue and helps encapsulate the overall emotion well while also yielding a heart wrenching scene later as they deal with a mission about Triggerscent that leads to a powerful moment while Laura is under the influence of it.  The artwork plays beautifully to give an eeriness that helps the overall impact of the story.  Laura has friends, she has family.  They will not give up on her no matter what.  It's another crowning jewel in the Marjorie Liu run with the character.   It contains so much within so few pages that it still boggles the mind on why this comic didn't last for at least double what it did.

Did your favorite make the cut?  What moments stand out to you about X-23?

X-Men: No More Humans

USA Today is carrying an article about an upcoming graphic novel from Marvel in the same vein as Avengers: Endless Wartime.  It'll be called X-Men: No More Humans and will reach store shelves May 7th.

It's set in the 616 Marvel universe and will be picking up a little bit after where Battle of The Atom ended.  It includes the current All-New X-Men roster, so X-23 is included.

Check out the full article over at USA Today.  You can see some of the preview pages below via their embed code.

10 Years of 616 Marvel Universe X-23

Ten years ago today is when NYX v1 issue 3 was first released.  This means that today is X-23's ten year anniversary of being in the 616 universe of Marvel Comics.

In the confines of the 616 universe, Laura started off by falling through the proverbial cracks of the system.  This is what defined the entire premise of NYX.  She slowly grew over the years to formally join the X-Men, then leave the X-Men as she was still emotionally lost over the loss of her family and feeling stuck within their perceptions of who she thought they wanted her to be.  Over the years, we were given a better glimpse at her origin through her first self-titled miniseries and then the followup Target X.  Alongside it came her further growth in Academy X: New X-Men, soon followed by her days with X-Force, and then her going solo as her own schoolmates ostracized her for trying to protect them from dangers to their well-being.  Eventually this led to her own short lived but much beloved solo series and then to her joining the Avengers Academy to grow even more.

Now after her days with the Avengers Academy, we've just come from seeing her leaving Arcade's island and dealing with the events and fallout (literally as she was dosed with extreme amounts of radiation during the finale) from Avengers Arena.  She's currently with the All-New X-Men where the directions of her story and some of her unresolved plot threads can continue to flourish under a new pen as they also handle the repercussions that may have affected her from this considerably deep burn.  This may have an impact on the character and how she handles events for years to come.  Until issue 20 hits news stands it's hard to say what direction they are going and just how intact Laura Kinney's memories may remain or could be repaired.
While it is unknown how much of her past she retains, the threads left unresolved are still ongoing as they aren't impacted by her memories.  How she handles them as they are approached over the coming years could be interesting and lead to much story potential as the character continues to grow.

One simple truth will always remain though.  She is Laura Kinney.  She is X-23.  Many of her personality aspects are so ingrained in her nature that no matter the events thrown at her, she is still the same at the core.  In the ever evolving narrative of nature vs nurture, we may start to see that no matter how events around her try to sway her or how confused she gets, she still fights on to protect others.

X-Men: Apocalypse - Rumors Update!

Per the previous rumor coverage over the film and what may have been a spoiler, it seems that Bryan Singer wanted to make sure one point was clarified.

Not refuting the rest of the spoiler scene, it seems to suggest Apocalypse may be something connected to an overall theme that's either time travel related (*cough* past fall *cough*) or something else entirely that may have earthly ancient roots.  KP will dive into this at a later date once the film has been released as a final product to better go over the possibilities of how it may all interconnect into a larger building picture including the potential for an Onslaught follow up after Apocalypse depending on the story path used.  (Too much potential spoilage to go into it right now, but a heavy almost full white barred entry does sound like fun to post too...)

Also in other interesting tidbits.  This image popped up over at Bleeding Cool which in turn is from Sci-Fi Now.

It depicts Wolverine with metal claws again in his future side costume.  Suggesting the Days of Future Past timeline is alternate to the point that events from The Wolverine may not have happened or that in some event prior to the events of 2023(allegedly the future time of DOFP) but after the events of The Wolverine, he manages to get his metal claws back or repaired from where they were cut off.  Rather makes sense that he would want them repaired to better handle sentinels though.  I'm not sure how well bone would fair against their machinery and constant design improvements.  It could very well be as simple as they were reattached off screen before he left Japan.

Overall, it's looking like Fox is starting to get their X-Men franchise building in a quite decent manner for the next decade with an amazing amount of potential and directions that can be taken and explored.

X-23's Costumes 2003-2013

Laura Kinney has gone through a host of combat attires over the years.  Coming up in December, we'll be seeing yet another one added to the list.  With her 10 years in comics being today, let's take a look a back and all the suits she's worn over the years.

The Facility
She's worn two different combat spec ops suits while she was with the Facility.   She had a black and yellow combat spec ops training suit.  This suit was never shown if it was used in the field.  She then had a solid black combat spec ops suit with a wristband timer that was shown to be used on missions, including her final one of escaping and destroying the Facility location she was kept in with her mother.

While confronting Wolverine in the finale, Laura switches it up to a more updated with her age combat attire.  This same outfit wouldn't be used again after this fight.  A variation of the cover version though is used during her Academy X days, and then that version also made its way into the Marvel vs Capcom 3 video game as her default costume.

Uncanny X-Men
During her first run with the X-Men right after NYX, she donned a female version of Wolverine's Fang suit that was from a Night Club that focused on the waitresses dressing up as various superheroes.  Much of the hostess attire at the club was gender bent or revealing so as to better cater to their patrons and to help boost patronage with word of mouth.

Captain Universe/X-23 One Shot
During a brief one shot comic appearance that featured as part of a multi-oneshot storyline around the Captain Universe entity, we're shown an only once used new tan and blue costume.  We end up also seeing a slight variation on it as we get to see said costume with a fraction of the Captain Universe power bestowed.

Academy X: New X-Men
At first with the New X-Men, Laura returned to her more familiar sleeveless black combat Facility covert-ops attire.  Then later switched to the suit seen on the Target X miniseries 6th issue cover as is also seen in Marvel vs Capcom 3.  Then it started taking a more purple hue.  Soon it was followed by a form of graduation suit in an iconic yellow and black as the students formally became the New X-Men.

X-Force v3
During X-Force she donned another spec ops suit.  This one in silver and black with a black and red belt emblem.  This masked suit was to help them keep a low profile for more covert stealth missions not tied formally to the X-Men.

Much later after much switching between her Yellow/black iconic suit and her silver/black spec ops masked suit, she finally settled on another new iteration.  Retiring her student yellow/black costume, she switched permanently to her X-Force suit, this time without the mask, and opted to carry the X-Men "X" logo in yellow and red.

X-23 v3
During the oneshot and then the ongoing comic run, she stuck with her newly revised suit, but mostly opted to stay in civilian clothes.  We were treated though to seeing her in a full on Captain Universe garb at one point in the short lived ongoing comic.  Showing us how she would look entirely donned in its full power.

Avengers Academy
At first with the Avengers Academy, she stuck with her most recent X-Men suit, but later during her tenure, X-23 switched to a more blue and black look that had an alternating series of tops.  The tops varied from a bikini top, to a more supportive one, and then eventually a full costume.

Avengers Arena
Starting in Avengers Arena, Laura has switched to a much more wrapped type costume.  The reason for this change was never elaborated on nor explained.  It may have been to reflect the recent events in Avengers Academy where she felt used and manipulated again.  A bandaged costume to reflect how she may have become more withdrawn into herself from the experience.  Something to tie herself back and remind her of her inner turmoil of what Finesse did.

All New X-Men
With joining the All New X-Men, X-23 will be receiving a new costume that fits in with theirs.  We've already seen two variations of this suit.  One is a more cleavage revealing suit that doesn't seem to fit with the costume styles, and in the following issue's cover we're shown that it's a much more covered suit without showing skin directly over her vital spots.