Sunday, November 3, 2013

X-23: The Happy Moments

In all the X-23 stories, it's easy to forget she's not all about killing and death.  Her stories often convey many of the simple joys in life.  With how she was raised she was rarely exposed to living life and all the happiness and adventure just everyday things we often take for granted can entail.

So let's take a different look today at some of those.  The subtle moments of family, friends, and all around good times.

X-23: Target X Issue 2
This issue in particular features many scenes and aspects of life Laura had been denied up until then.  She gets to experience real jewelry shopping for the first time, her first mall trip, watching a movie at a theater and enjoying it instead of having to keep an eye on a target or informant, a pet store with furry cuddles and fun, to even a roller coaster and concert.  Megan, her cousin, helped show Laura just how much normal fun is out in the world.  Okay, maybe not all of the fun is normal.  They did start off by stealing the high school principal's car.

X-Men: To Protect and Serve Issue 2 "Judgement"
Pie is good.  Some may even call a good pie the secret to life.

X-23 v3 Issue 7 Songs of the Orphan Child part 4
I often hail this issue as a shining example of a growing X-23 as well as her adaptability, the symbolism within, and more.  Two other moments stick out in this issue as well.  Laura admiring the scenery with the dolphins swimming beside the boat.  Then at the end, she's also relaxing and enjoying the quiet with all the scents and sights it can provide while she thinks as they drift with the waves.  I personally often praise this issue as one of my all time favorites that Marvel has ever published of anything, and for good reason.

X-23 v3 Issue 11 Touching Darkness part 2
What's more fun than going shopping with the family credit cards?  Laura has rarely had the chance to really define her own voice through her own clothes purchases, having mostly only raided others closets for things to wear, or being told what to use via the Facility wardrobe for undercover ops.  So in this brief moment it's nice to see Laura shopping and picking out her own clothes.  Style is often one of the first aspects that does help a person define their voice and Laura finally got this moment thanks to Jubilee.

X-23 v3 Issue 12 Touching Darkness part 3
While continuing on the story, we do come across another amazing moment.  Jubilee's advice.  Something maybe X-23 does take to heart and she takes her next big leap into the world, quite literally in this case.   And people wonder why I call this comic run one of the best ever out of Marvel in years.  Such rich symbolism and life truths.

X-23 v3 Issue 19 Misadventures in Babysitting part 3
Misadventures in Babysitting is an amazing story about one of the most normal things a teen can do.  Babysitting.  Okay, okay.  Maybe normal is not so normal when you're in the Marvel Universe and happen to be babysitting for the Richards family.  In it's own way though it featured many smaller moments that shows use a different side of X-23.  We get to see her more direct mama bear protecting her cubs side, as well as a host of other smaller aspects including her talking a dragon down by using tone inflection calmness, and body language to communicate.  One moment in particular though stands out as normalcy.  At the end, she has to literally clean up the mess before Valeria and Franklin's parents get home so they can all stay out of even bigger trouble.

This entire story was a fun romp in babysitting. While many wouldn't call that moment in particular fun, it is interesting to note that this was X-23's first experience of having to clean up a "normal" mess before parents get home by straightening up and fixing the house.  Something that almost every teen has experienced at least once in their life.  So it does speak to the normalcy of youth that she had been denied.  The diner discussion with Gambit that followed, including his letting her stay at his apartment while he goes back to the school is another moment of the support and kindness her friends have shown her.  That topic will be saved for another entry though when we cover Julian and his ego.

X-23 v3 Issue 20 Girls Night Out part 1
Of course I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Laura and Jubilee's second set of adventures.  This pairing just works so well I'm surprised they haven't gotten their own spin off since.

This issue itself is full of tender moments as it starts the wind down journey.  A road that does eventually leads to Avengers Academy.  A touching good bye for now to both Wolverine and Gambit before she continues onto the next chapter of her life.  Though the Jubilee and X-23 girls night out got interrupted by an impromptu mission to end a local human trafficking ring, there will always be another night.  Besides, it still had a happy ending with them saving and protecting hurt girls, and they even caught Natasha Romanov's attention.

Avengers Academy Issue 38 Crosstown Rivals
The Avengers Academy vs The Jean Grey School For the Gifted in a game of flag football.  While this issue does feature some brief angsty moments, it also features a reunion of Gambit and X-23, among other fun little moments that can happen in school rivalries.  Definitely worth a read if all you want is a quick fun romp of character downtime.

It's these heartfelt moments that help define X-23 more so than the violence.  These brief romps in normalcy contrast well with her character but also show hope.  Not just hope that X-23 can change, but hope for life anywhere that can too.  Sometimes it's the simple things, the everyday joys, that are the most rewarding.  A simple night on the town with friends, a barbecue with those you consider family, or even a friendly game and more.  They are all simple moments that should always be cherished.  (Also, someone probably should have pointed out to Reptil that taking advice about women from a known womanizer wasn't the smartest thing to do.)

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