X-23 #20A comic review article by: Sara McDonald
Issues like this make it even harder for me to know that this comic's days are numbered. Marjorie Liu has done a great job of developing X-23 as a character and bringing her into her own, and this issue shows how far Laura has come from who she was in her early days in NYX. This issue focuses on the schism between Wolverine and Cyclops and, more importantly, which side Laura will choose. She isn't sure whether she belongs in Westchester or on Utopia, but the pressure is on for her to do what all the other mutants have already done and pick a side.
While she's trying to make her decision, she receives a visit from former mutant, current vampire and Utopia resident, Jubilee. They decide to take a girls' night out in New York City, both to discuss Laura's dilemma and to have a chance to unwind. Things don't turn out as planned, however, as Laura finds herself facing someone she recognizes from her old life as a prostitute working for the pimp, Zebra Daddy, and decides to try to help the women who are currently in the same position she was once in herself.
Laura's ability to save young women (and, in some cases, actual children) who are trapped in a life she used to be trapped in as well shows a real evolution of her character. It's good to see it here at the end of this series, as the X-23 that Liu has spent carefully developing over the last 20 issues is a far cry from the character she was when she worked for Zebra Daddy. She's grown in strength and confidence, until she's truly no longer the victim, but the hero.
This issue also starts to wrap up the series, with Laura saying good-bye to the characters who have been important to the series, such as Gambit and Wolverine. As she ultimately makes her decision of what team to choose, it is based, however, not on her ties to other people or what she feels like she may owe anyone in loyalty, but instead what she feels is best for her. She's not the weapon she was created to be who only takes orders, nor is she simply a clone of Wolverine, following in his footsteps. She's a strong character with her own motivation and mission, and, if she can't be in her own book, it's good to see she'll at least be sticking around the Marvel U.
Sara McDonald started reading comics in the third grade, and now puts her English degree to good use talking about them on the Internet. She currently resides in Western Massachusetts with a roommate, three cats, and an action figure collection and spends the time she isn’t reading comics working for a non-profit. You can visit her blog at Ms. Snarky’s Awesometastic Comics Blog.