When a top-secret program attempted to recreate the original Weapon X experiment that involved the feral mutant Wolverine, they failed to secure a test subject that could survive the bonding of the virtually unbreakable metal Adamantium to their skeleton. Seeking to take the project in a new direction, the project's director, Doctor Martin Sutter, recruited renowned mutant geneticist Doctor Sarah Kinney and tasked her with creating a clone. Using the only available genetic sample from Weapon X, which was damaged, they were unable to salvage the Y chromosome after 22 attempts. Kinney then proposed they create a female clone, and though her request was initially denied, she still went ahead and produced a viable female subject, prompting Sutter to reconsider. Despite resistance from his protégé Doctor Zander Rice, whom he had raised after Rice's father was killed by a bestial Wolverine at the original Weapon X Project, Sutter allowed Kinney to proceed. As revenge for her insubordination, Rice forced Kinney to act as the surrogate mother for the clone, and she gave birth to "X-23."
Raised in captivity, X-23 was trained to be a weapon. Kinney did her best to ensure the child retained some semblance of humanity, but her efforts appeared to be in vain. After seven years, Rice had X-23 subjected to radiation poisoning in order to accelerate the activation of her mutant gene, then forcibly extracted her claws and coated them with Adamantium. Next, Rice created a chemical compound he called "trigger scent" that sent X-23 into an involuntary berserker rage upon smelling its presence. Three years later, X-23 was sent on her first field mission to kill Presidential candidate Greg Johnson. Numerous other missions followed, as X-23's services were sold to the highest bidder, and she was left emotionally stunted as a result. Rice, in an attempt to avenge his father's murder, abandoned X-23 on a particularly dangerous mission, but she survived against overwhelming odds and managed to return to the facility.
Ultimately, Rice persuaded Sutter to hand over control of the program to him, then secretly ordered X-23 to kill Sutter and his family. Later, Rice revealed to Kinney a chamber with dozens of incubation pods containing female clones before he fired her. Before fleeing the facility with X-23, Kinney gave her one last mission - destroy the pods and kill Rice. However, Rice was able to exact revenge on Kinney from beyond the grave, as he had earlier exposed her to the trigger scent, sending X-23 into a rage that caused her to kill her mother. As she lay dying, Kinney named X-23 Laura.
X-23 surfaced in New York two years later and was found living on the streets by a pimp named Zebra Daddy, who took her in and employed her as a prostitute. During her time as a prostitute, X-23 seemed to suffer from a self-mutilative disorder. She superficially cut herself with her own claws whenever she was in a threatening situation. She also seemed to suffer some personality issues which left her mostly mute and unable to free herself from the grip of Zebra Daddy. X-23 started to come to her senses after she met Kiden Nixon, a young mutant with the ability to freeze time when in danger, and together with Kiden's teacher, they rescued another young mutant, the feral Catiana, from an angry mob. Zebra Daddy tracked X-23 down, but with the aid of her newfound friends and the mutant named Felon, Zebra Daddy's thugs were defeated. X-23 then killed him to save the lives of her friends. X-23 later took a job at the mutant-themed Wannabee's nightclub in the Mutant Town district of New York. It was there that she saved the life of the daughter of mob boss Don Parisi from a gang of thugs, whom she killed. The deaths inadvertently implicated Wolverine, prompting his teammates in the X-Men to investigate. X-23 instinctually attacked Wolverine on sight, but he was eventually able to calm her down, and she led the X-Men to Parisi's daughter. After aiding the X-Men against Parisi's super-strong mutant enforcer Geech, X-23 fled the scene. She later returned to help the X-Men save victims of a car accident, after which she was enrolled at the X-Men's Xavier Institute.
X-23 quickly became very protective of Wolverine, attacking his teammate Bishop after he felled Wolverine during a training session. She also took to observing Wolverine on the mansion's security monitors. During one such viewing, an anomalous energy spike prompted X-23 to investigate. Encountering Spider-Man at the source of the signal, X-23 initially mistook him for an enemy and attacked. The pair ultimately teamed up to save the young mutant Paul Patterson from an alternate reality version of the armored Avenger Iron Man. The arrival of the heroic Captain America and the super-spy Black Widow helped turn the tide. X-23 then secretly followed Wolverine on his investigation of strange activity in the Canadian Rockies. Ambushed by the Hauk'ka, evolved Saurians from the Savage Land, X-23 managed to escape and alert the X-Men. Traveling to the Savage Land, X-23 and the X-Men teamed with the Land's lord Ka-Zar and his circumstantial allies, the Savage Land Mutates, to prevent the Hauk'ka from destroying human civilization by controlling the weather-manipulating X-Man Storm. Sometime later, X-23 turned up in the in two other X-titles, without her friends. She was accused of the murders of four humans that were investigated by Wolverine and his fellow X-Men. (While she was responsible for the murders, she committed them because the victims were brutally attacking a young woman.) After a brief conflict with the mutant heroes, X-23 came to live with them at the Xavier Institute. She has nearly no social skills, so Wolverine is helping her adjust to her new life,She seems to be making friends with Shadowcat, Psylocke, and Rachel Summers. X-23 was approached by the cosmic Uni-Power in hopes of making specific use of her healing ability. Although she initially resisted its attempts to bond with her, and she remained reluctant even though it pleaded with her, she ultimately agreed to aid it and became Captain Universe for a brief time.
After the effects of "M-Day", X-23 was one of the few students who didn't lose their powers. The depowered students and staff were sent home; however their bus was bombed by anti-mutant religious zealot Reverend William Stryker. Subsequently, Emma Frost had the surviving students engage in an all-in brawl, with those deemed to be the best performers assigned to a new team of trainee X-Men. Despite Frost's attempts to omit her, X-23 was among those students who made the grade.
Powers & Abilities
X-23 possesses the ability to regenerate damaged or destroyed areas of her cellular structure at a superhuman rate, which varies in direct proportion with the severity of the damage she suffers. Despite the extent of her healing factor, X-23 is not immortal. Injuries that result in the loss of vital organs, large amounts of blood, and/or loss of physical form are potentially lethal for her. X-23's natural healing also affords her virtual immunity to poisons and most drugs, as well as an enhanced resistance to diseases and the fatigue poisons generated by bodily activity. Hence, her endurance, agility and reflexes are enhanced. X-23 also possesses superhumanly acute senses, allowing her to see and hear things at an extended distance. She is able to recognize people and objects by scent, even if that person or object is hidden, and can use these enhanced senses to track any creature with an impressive degree of success. Presumably, because X-23 is a clone of the mutant Wolverine, her healing factor will also provide her with an extended lifespan by slowing the effects of the aging process.
Due to her extensive training as a top-secret operative, X-23 is a master of multiple forms of martial arts, and is an expert in assassination techniques.
X-23's skeleton includes two retractable bone claws in each arm and one in each foot that she can extend and retract at will. These claws are housed beneath the skin and muscle. Unsheathing them causes her skin to tear and bleed, but the wounds are quickly dealt with by her healing factor. X-23 can unsheathe any number of these claws at once, although she must keep her wrists and/or feet straight at the moment the claws emerge. The claws are naturally sharp and tougher than normal human bone, allowing X-23 to cut through most types of flesh and natural materials.