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18 June 2014

Review: X-23, Vol. 1: The Killing Dream

Author: Marjorie Liu
Illustrator: Alina Urusov
Publication Date: April 20, 2011
Publisher: Marvel
Genre: Comics/Graphic Novels
Find It: GoodreadsAmazonB&N
Source: Library

X-23 has spent her short life being used by those in power, from the military to the X-Men. But when she is forced to confront a being who can control her life with nothing but a thought, will X-23 finally learn how to fight -- not for others, but herself? Guest-starring NYX!


I went into this not knowing anything about X-23. I picked it up because it was written by Marjorie Liu, a writer whose urban fantasy and paranormal romance novels I really enjoy. I was a big fan of X-Men as a teen but haven't read it in years. I'd heard good things about X-23 though and was excited to dive in.

I am not sure where this volume falls into the X-23 timeline but it's written as a good entry point for those who might be unfamiliar with the character or need a refresher course. X-23 is a killer, born and bred in a lab to be the ultimate killing machine. A genetic clone of the X-Men Wolverine, X-23 has his advanced healing abilities and adamantium claws. She has been trained to kill efficiently and without remorse. By the time we find X-23 in The Killing Dream, she has broken free of the lab and has been with the X-Men for a while. She briefly joined X-Force and was working for them as an assassin, though for the greater good. When this volume starts, her X-Men teammates and friends have just found out that X-23 has been killing for X-Force and most of them are not too happy about it. Some question her morals and whether or not she is safe to be around while others defend her. X-23 is doesn't know if she can reconcile her old self with who she wants to be. Is she just a stone cold killer? Can she be more than just a weapon?

Like I said, this is a good primer for into X-23's world. I got a sense of her character pretty quickly. She is struggling to figure out who she is and is trying to come to terms with the things she has done. She sets out on her own and, of course, comes across some trouble along the way. Luckily she has Gambit along for most of the ride and they play well off of each other. I am not sure I really got the entire Mr. Sinister storyline. I vaguely remember him from the X-books when I was a teen but not that well. He seems to have taken on a larger role than I remembered and has a fearsome reputation. Also, Ms. Sinister's outfit is pretty ridiculous, even for a comic book.

X-23 did not have the most original characterization. Her origin is fascinating and she has a lot of potential to be a really interesting character but, I found her struggle to be pretty standard for any clone or assassin story. This could also be a symptom of the fact that this is volume meant to attract new readers and her character may get more complex as we delve deeper into her world. The artwork was fine, but not particularly memorable. I do remember liking the covers for this run though.

This volume didn't blow my socks off but there's definitely potential here. X-23 is an intriguing character that I think has a lot more depth than this volume shows am looking forward seeing her evolution as the series goes on.

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