Believe it or not - Laura Kinney will get her own ongoing series in September! Let's read the interviews (1, 2) with the soon-to-be-writer of our soon-to-be-favorite comic book!
"She's been set loose from X-Force and is on a journey of self-discovery. It's going to be a dark, intense book."
Marjorie Liu: Almost two years ago my editor, John Barber, asked me to write a one-shot for X-23 -- partially to promote NYX, which I was working on at the time. That project fell to the wayside, but returned to life in late 2009 under my current editor, Jeanine Schaefer. I'm not certain how long the X-Office had been mulling the X-23 ongoing, but after I turned in the one-shot, I was invited to write the continuing series.
Nrama: X-23 has had a decent run as a supporting character in the X-Force series, but as a single character, she hasn't been quite as defined as a three-dimensional human being. For you, what's the appeal of a character like her?
Liu: I don't even know where to start. She's so damaged, and yet, despite all the terrible things that have happened to her, she's retained a particular compassion and dignity that is truly remarkable. She's ruthless, don't get me wrong -- but she has a primal sense of right and wrong that comes straight from the gut. I've heard some describe her as a robot, but I think the opposite is true: Laura feels too much, more than she can process or understand, and so she stuffs those emotions down. I think she's scared of feeling anything, because what she's endured is so tragic and awful...it's safer not to feel, to be still and quiet on the inside.
Problem is, you can't hide your heart forever. Something has gotta give.
Nrama: Something else that is particularly interesting is the darkness behind X-23's origin, much of which you helped introduce with NYX -- namely, the elements of control and dehumanization, whether that's her past as being abusively groomed into a living weapon or even living on the streets as a prostitute. First and foremost -- will you be returning to any of these themes in this book? And as a writer, how do you approach that sort of subject matter, in terms of walking that fine line between making it powerful and compelling and not making it something trivialized?
Liu: It's a very fine line. I hammered the issue home in the one-shot, as I considered that to be a character study -- and Laura's past is very much a part of what shaped her character. There's a risk, though, of going too far. The key to approaching that kind of subject matter, I believe, is to do so only when appropriate and necessary -- and then, delicately. I don't want to turn Laura into a victim, because she's not. She's tough, a survivor, unbroken -- capable of compassion and helping others, despite (or because of) what happened to her. That's to be admired, and one of the things I love about her character.
So yes, I'll be returning to those darker themes, but not in a heavy-handed manner. Only enough to show where Laura has been, where she is, and where she's going.
Nrama: It says here in the solicits that X-23 is going to have to "step up to fill [Wolverine's] shoes" -- what does that mean?
Liu: Laura isn't taking Logan's place on the X-Men team. If she's filling his shoes in any way, it's to follow his example of heroism against incredible odds, in the service of friends. She's going to try and help Wolverine. No matter the cost.
Nrama: So much about stories that tie into teams is the idea of relationships and character dynamics. How much of the other X-Men will we be seeing here? What do people on Utopia think of this quiet girl with the Adamantium claws? How about Wolverine himself? Will you be working out a new niche in the relationship between the original Canucklehead and his female clone?
Liu: The first arc will certainly involve Wolverine, though I haven't hammered out the specifics. Certainly, I'll be fleshing out their relationship -- in this arc, and in future ones -- although I should emphasize that it won't be the main focus of the ongoing. [..]
This initial story will definitely touch on Laura's feelings toward Wolverine. Complex emotions, to say the least. Laura has never had a father figure whom she can trust. Most men have betrayed or used her - or they're fellow soldiers, maybe friends - but that's not the same thing. That's not a father. That's not the kind of adult nurturer whom she can rest her heart on. Now, a lot of kids never have adults in their lives who can be trusted, ever. But that doesn't mean those kids stop looking, or hoping to find that one person who will take care of them (mentally, physically). It's an elusive thing, an emotional hunger, that sometimes isn't even consciously acknowledged.
Laura feels that hunger, but she doesn't acknowledge it. She can't. She doesn't understand those kinds of emotions well enough to even give them a name, except that they make her hurt, they overwhelm her at times, and she doesn't know why. All she can do is manage these feelings, divert them, bury them (sometimes with pain). She's a girl who feels too much, and so, doesn't allow herself to feel anything.
As such, Laura, on a superficial level, expects nothing from Logan. She acknowledges him as a mentor, a fellow fighter - the man she was cloned from. She respects him. She follows his lead. If this was a wolf pack, she'd be dominant - but he'd be her Alpha. On the surface of things, that's as deep as it gets for her. He exists, she exists, they survive, and that's that.
But deeper, much deeper, her feelings are different. Whether Laura is aware of it or not, she wants to be loved. She wants Logan to love her, as a father. She wants to know that she's not alone, even when she is. Not alone, because someone out there cares. She wants Logan to be the one who cares. She's a kid who hasn't had many good people in her life, but he's one of those good guys. And when push comes to shove, she will do whatever it takes to protect that tenuous, special relationship between them - even if she can't admit, or articulate, what that is.
Laura will often be on her own, journeying on her own, learning how to live on her own -- with a small supporting cast of regulars who pop in and out. Former X-Men, mostly, who are drawn to her despite a (perhaps wise) desire to keep their distance. As for what the people on Utopia think of her? No doubt they consider her to be quiet, a little strange, and very dangerous. But I'm not too worried about what they think. Laura won't be hanging around Utopia. [...] There are several [characters] who will act as mentors to Laura, but none I want to name at this point. [...] I won't be inventing anyone new for her to tackle -- there are enough bad guys already in the Marvel universe! And some of the good guys aren't all that great, either. Laura will have her hands full right off the bat. [...] Laura is getting out of San Francisco. She's cutting ties, learning how to be herself - exploring what it means to be herself, whoever that girl might be That can't be done around all the people (say, the X-Men), who might drag her back into her old familiar patterns of fight and obey. So yes, she'll be hitting the road, traveling. She might go around the world. She might spend some time in New York City. We'll see. The point is, though, nothing is holding her back. She can go anywhere now. Be anyone.
Ultimately, how fired up are you for "X-23?" If fans respond and the series takes off, would you want a good long run with the character?
I'm so fired up. I'm incredibly excited to be working on this book, and deeply appreciative of the opportunity to do so. If fans respond, I plan on sticking around for a good long time.