The X-23 comic books definitive issue-by-issue collecting guide and trade reading order for omnibus, hardcover, and trade paperback collections. Find every issue and appearance! Part of Crushing Krisis’s Crushing Comics. Last updated March 2017 with titles scheduled for release through October 2017.
X-23 is Wolverine’s clone, but in her own way she’s Marvel’s Harley Quinn.
That’s because, like Quinn, X-23 originated in a medium other than comics. She was created for the cartoon X-Men Evolution by Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost, who would also oversee her comics journey for half a decade in a pair of mini-series and on two teams.
Kyle and Yost’s material is stellar from beginning to end. Their run on X-23 often explored the theme of her savagery – how she was raised to be a perfect assassin without being a person.
Afterwards, Author Marjorie Liu took X-23 over for two years for her first solo ongoing title. Liu focused more on X-23’s human side and her internal emotional life, forging connections with Gambit and Jubilee.
Unfortunately, her development goes on a detour from that point.
With the cancellation of her title in the midst of a reshuffling of the X-Men line, X-23 was shipped to Avengers Academy for a year. Christos Gage extended Liu’s work, but it was in a crowded team title. Afterward, Dennis Hopeless picked up X-23 and other Academy cast members for Avengers Arena – where she was cast mostly an unintentional villain.
After the end of Arena, X-23 is adopted by All-New X-Men, weirdly filling out the young cast of the 1960s original X-Men with a Wolverine analog. She’s mostly played for big action beats and romance, but her development finally gets back on track in the aftermath of Wolverine’s death in Wolverines.
Finally, in the wake of Secret Wars, X-23 regained a solo title for the first time in half a decade – this time taking on the mantle of Wolverine (!) while also continuing in All-New X-Men.
- X-23 (2005 – 2010) in Complete Collections
- Early X-23: NYX (2003), X-23 (2005), X-23: Target X (2007), & Uncanny X-Men
- X-23 in New X-Men: Academy X (2004) #20-46 (2006 – 2008)
- X-23 in X-Force (2008) #1-28 & Annual 1
- X-23 (2010) #1-21 & Venom: Circle of Four
- Heroic Age & Marvel Now: Avengers Academy (2010) #23-39 & Avengers Arena (2013) #1-18
- Marvel Now & Death of Wolverine: All-New X-Men (2013) #19-41 (2014 – 2015) & Wolverines #1-20 (2015)
- All-New, All Different Marvel: All-New Wolverine
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You need just two books if you’re looking for only the major thread of X-23’s solo story with no filler or team action through X-Men: Schism just prior to Avengers vs. X-Men and Marvel Now:
X-23: The Complete Collection Vol. 1 collects X-23 (2005) #1-6, X-23: Target X (2007) #1-6, Captain Universe/X-23 (2006) #1, X-23 [I] (2010) #1, X-23 (II) (2010) #1-3, and X-Men: To Serve And Protect (2011) #2 (4th story).
Volume 1 does not collect X-23’s mature readers debut in NYX #3-7, her stories in Marvel Team-Up #5-6, or her membership in New X-Men and X-Force (2008) – all of which are detailed below.
X-23: The Complete Collection Vol. 2 collects X-23 (II) (2010) #4-21, her crossover with Daken: Dark Wolverine (2010) #8-9, and relevant material from Wolverine: Road to Hell (2010) #1 and All-New Wolverine Saga (2010).
Oddly, this doesn’t include her story from X-Men: To Serve and Protect #2 or her crossover in Venom: Circle of Four, which could have fit into this collection. They’re both described below.
From there, you can continue to X-23’s appearances in Avengers Academy, directly to Avengers Arena, to her joining All-New X-Men, or even to her appearances in Wolverines, before continuing to her next solo turn in All-New Wolverine.
X-23’s earliest stories were told in a sequence of self-contained mini-series, which were released out of continuity order. While I’m generally in favor of reading books with big reveals in order of their release to preserve the revealing moments, X-23’s early years were carefully curated and make sense as an integrated continuity-order story.
In order of release: NYX (2003) #3-7 (release of #7 was not until after Uncanny X-Men #460), Uncanny X-Men (1963) #450-451, X-Men (1991) #165, X-23 (2005) #1-6, Marvel Team-Up (2004) #5-6, Uncanny X-Men (1963) #455-460, Captain Universe/X-23 (2006) #1, and X-23: Target X (2007) #1-6 (released after New X-Men (2004) #32 & X-Men (1991) #193).
Uncanny X-Men (1963) #450-451: See Uncanny X-Men. These issues feature the team discovering X-23 (to their collective shock!) in Manhattan. They end with X-23 returning to the mansion with X-23.
X-Men Vol. 2 (1991) #165: See X-Men, Vol. 2. This one-off Christmas tale features some of X-23’s first interactions with the X-Men.
Marvel Team-Up Vol. 3 (2005) #5-6: Marvel Team-Up Volume 1: Golden Child
Issue #5 follow X-23 in her earliest days at the X-Mansion, under the watchful eyes of Cyclops and Emma Frost. She strikes out on her own at the end of the issue to confront Spider-Man, who she assumes to be a villain, but winds up teaming up with him (along with Black Widow and Captain America, who we learn she has met before in Target X). The interesting development for X-23 is in #5, whereas #6 is just fighting.
Uncanny X-Men (1963) #455-460: See Uncanny X-Men. Issue #455 continues Laura’s integration into life in the mansion similar to her scenes in Marvel Team-Up #5. It also re-introduces Psylocke to the team and finds a rash decision from X-23 leading them unaware into a trap. X-23 gets good exposure here; Claremont has always had a way with writing young female characters.
During UXM #458: a flashback in Breaking Into Comics The Marvel Way (2010) #2 (4th story). Also, at an unspecified time in this period, X-23 appears on a video screen in Marvel Team-Up Vol. 3 (2005) #7
Also in this period, a not-in-continuity X-23 appears in Marvel Team-Up (2004) #15-18 & 25 and Deadpool/GLI: Summer Fun Spectacular (2007) #1
X-23 transitions to the cast of New X-Men in a particularly fraught period for the team, as the results of House of M hits the crowded halls of the Xavier School as well as the genocidal violence of the purifiers. X-23 doesn’t get a singular focus here, but she remains under the pen of Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost, who wrote both of her mini-series. Thus, the thread of her unbringing and lack of socialization is continued throughout the run.
New X-Men Vol. 2 (2004) #20-36: See Young X-Men
After NXM#32: X-23 cameos in 190 and may be a random, unnamed student in #189 and 193 and X-Men: Phoenix Warsong (2006) #1.
X-Men Vol. 2 (1991) #202: See X-Men, Vol. 2. The collected young New X-Men briefly save the day against the Acolytes, with X-23 fighting Frenzy.
New X-Men Vol. 2 (2004) #38-41: See Young X-Men
World War Hulk: X-Men (2007) #1-2 in World War X-Men. This is effectively a Young X-Men story, and sees X-23 squaring off against a cosmically angry Hulk! This occurs during New X-Men #42.
New X-Men Vol. 2 (2004) #42-43: See Young X-Men
After Messiah Complex the New X-Men Academy is dissolved. While some students move directly to SF and others re-form in Young X-Men, X-23 joins Wolverine’s hyper-violent squad of assassins in X-Force.
The easiest way to pick this up in just four paperback books is:
- X-Force by Craig Kyle and Chris Yost Complete Collection, Vol. 1
- X-Force/Cable: Messiah War
- X-Force by Craig Kyle and Chris Yost Complete Collection, Vol. 2
- X-Men: Second Coming
Here’s how that breaks out, issue by issue:
X-Force Vol. 3 (2008) #1-6: See X-Force
Before or during #1: Present day action in Cable Vol. 2 (2008) #6 shows X-23 teaming with Warpath early in the formation of X-Force.
During #2: a flashback in Dark X-Men: Confession (2009)
Cable Vol. 2 (2008) #7 & 9-10: See Cable. These issues are half a modern-day X-Force story and half a future Cable story.
X-Force (1991) Annual 1: See X-Force
Secret Invasion: X-Men (2008) #1-2 & 4 in Secret Invasion: X-Men
X-Men: Manifest Destiny (2008) #4 (2nd story) in (need to check!), a story featuring Mercury and X-23 during their downtime at the X-Men’s base. She also has cameos in the final stories in #2-3.
X-Force Vol. 3 (2008) #7-11 & 12 (first half): See X-Force
After #9: a flashback in Dark X-Men: Confession (2009) and a single panel cameo in X-Men: Manifest Destiny (2008) #3. Then, we see a brief domestic scene in Uncanny X-Men (1963) #505 of X-23 sharing a room with Armor and Pixie, which tips off Emma to Cyclops’s secret X-Force team.
After #12 (first half): X-23 helps defend the base from intruders in a page of Uncanny X-Men (1963) #510
Dark Avengers / Uncanny X-Men: Utopia: See Uncanny X-Men. X-23 appears in issues of this event as part of the fight against the Dark Avengers in Exodus one-shot, Uncanny X-Men #514-515, and Dark Avengers (2009) #8
Hulk Vol. 2 (2008) #14-17: See Hulk. This is X-Force’s one appearance as a team outside of the X-Men titles, as they square off versus both green and red Hulks. X-23 does not appear on-panel in 16
During Hulk #15: Flashback in Fall Of The Hulks: Red Hulk (2010) #2
X-Force: Sex & Violence (2010) #1 & 3: See X-Force. This later mini-series fills in a brief adventure for the team prior to Messiah War.
X-Force Vol. 3 (2008) #12 (2nd half) & X-Force/Cable: Messiah Complex: See X-Force. X-23 appears throughout this crossover.
X-Force Vol. 3 (2008) #16-20, X-Necrosha (2009), & X-Force Vol. 3 (2008) #21-25: See X-Force
X-Men: Pixie Strikes Back! (2010) #1-4 in paperback. X-23 is a major cast member in Pixie’s adventure.
X-Men: Second Coming (2010) in oversized hardcover and paperback. X-23 appears in nearly every issue of this crossover with X-Force, which has long-term implications for the X-Men as a whole if not X-23 in specific.
Note that X-23 has a one-shot issue earlier in 2010, listed above, which technically makes this X-23 (II) 2010.
Before her solo ongoing begins: If X-23 appears in Uncanny X-Men: The Heroic Age (2011) #1, it’s in the deep background! Then, she appears in a few panels of battle in Uncanny X-Men (1963) #534 and in a splash page in X-Men (2010) #2 and in a montage of action in #4.
During #1-3: A brief flash of X-23’s story is shown in Wolverine Vol. 4 (2010) #3. She does not appear in #5.1 (or, if she does, it’s in the background of a panel).
Wolverine: Road To Hell (2010) features a brief story shared by Daken and X-23 that leads into both of their series. It’s more of a preview of Daken than of X-23, who barely appears. However, by chronology it might fit better to read it after her #3. It is collected with Daken but also in X-23: The Complete Collection Vol. 2
X-Men: To Serve & Protect (2011) #2 (4th story) is a brief X-23/Ghost Rider team-up story, collected in X-Men: To Serve & Protect
#7-9: Daken/X-23: Collision (hardcover / paperback)
This collects includes X-23 #7-9 and Daken #5-9. X-23’s order of appearances here are X-23 #7, a final-page cameo in Daken #7, X-23 #8, Daken #8, X-23 #9, and Daken#9. Also collected in X-23: The Complete Collection Vol. 2
X-23 does not appear in New Mutants (2009) #27, despite it being listed in some guides.
X-23 cameos in a single panel of X-Men: Regenesis (2011) #1 saying “Is there any other choice?” when asked which side of the Cyclops/Wolverine divide she will come down on.
This tees up her introduction to Avengers Academy, but the remainder of her own title plays out before she is re-homed there. X-Men Legacy (2008) #259-260 play out in parallel, but X-23 appears there only in single-panel flashbacks in Rogue’s retelling of Messiah Complex and Second Coming.
Venom: Circle of Four in oversize hardcover and paperback and in Venom by Rick Remender: The Complete Collection Volume 2. This crossover occurs between #20-21 and was originally planned for the titles of its various participants (Red Hulk, Ghost Rider, and X-23), but as they neared cancellation and Venom did not they were made into a special decimal point mini series here in Venom (2011) #13, 13.1-4, & 14. (X-23 also appears in single panels of flashback to this story in Venom (2011) #23, 25, & 42)
In the wake of her solo series (and the schism that occurred in the X-Men just prior), Wolverine and Hank Pym decide that Laura would be best served at the Avengers Academy rather than Wolverine’s school due to her history of instability amongst the X-Men students.
This places X-23 in the midst of a large, unfamiliar cast that was largely created by writer Christos Gage just for the title. In that group, X-23 befriends Finesse – a similarly deadly would-be assassin who is on a different path than X-23.
Arena is a brutally fun version of Hunger Games using Marvel’s young heroes. Unfortunately, X-23 is mostly played as a villain through the use of her trigger scent. If you enjoy her more savage tendencies, then you’ll probably appreciate the action in this book. If you’re more intrigued by the development arc from Liu’s run as continued by Gage, this may not be satisfying.
Avengers Academy (2010) #23-26: See Young Avengers. X-23 is featured throughout #23 as part ofher arrival, but the story is mostly Reptil’s. X-23 gets a few good training scenes, including one talking about animal instincts vs. killer instincts with Tigra. She appears in just a pair of pages in #24 – training with Finesse and Mettle, and then on the final splash. In #25 she appears briefly in the background of a combat scene.
X-23 mostly appears in the background of crowd scenes in Astonishing X-Men (2004) #51 at Northstar’s wedding, but her former writer Marjorie Lui does fit in one exchange with her pal, Jubilee The Vampire.
Avengers Academy (2010) #29-33: See Young Avengers. These are Avengers vs. X-Men tie-ins. As one of the only mutants at the Academy (and Wolverine’s clone!), X-23 is naturally the focus of this arc. Issue #29 has several nods to existing X-23 plots, including a brief confrontation with Wolverine over Schism, a reunion with some of her Academy X friends. Then, X-23 is the star of #30-32 and is featured in #33. These issues serve the AvX plot, but also has establishing moments relationships that will play out in Arena (especially with Hazmat).
Avengers Academy (2010) #34-37: See Young Avengers. In #34 X-23 briefly trains with her friend Finesse and appears with the team throughout. In #35 she cameos in battle and has a scene where she believes she is dying, and reflects on her many victims on a single page. She is shown fighting throughout #36 with a few key heroic moments. In #37 X-23 has few scenes, but Finesse’s defense of her is interesting (if inessential) character development that continues past the end of the arc,
Avengers Academy (2010) #38-39: See Young Avengers. Issue #38 is another reunion with X-23’s Academy X friends – and culminates in #39. Altogether, it gives Laura a solid arc of growth, even if it is mostly erased in Arena.
Avengers Arena (2013) #1-6, 8-11, 13-18: See Young Avengers.
Also in this period: X-23’s photo is shown (along with dozens of other heroes) in a non-continuity fashion in Young Avengers (2013) #11.
After Arena #18: Madame Web projects a vision of X-23 fighting Hazmat into Peter Parker’s brain in The Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #695. We also see a brief flashback to Arena in Avengers Undercover (2014) #1.
X-23 is thrust into ANXM with little explanation about her exit from Avengers Arena. Generally she feels very “off-voice” from the established voice of her character in this period. She has some featured moments here that dictated some of her development through All-New All-Different Marvel, but some of them feel a bit dissonant.
Then, with Logan’s untimely (and unlikely) demise, X-23 anchors a book of Weapon X castoffs in Wolverines.
All-New X-Men (2013) #19-21: See Young X-Men. This arc focuses heavily on X-23 as she is discovered by the All-New team in the wake of Avengers Arena.
X-23 appears in panels of X-Men: No More Humans (2014) OGN as part of the assembled All-New X-Men in this story focusing on the characters introduced in Battle of the Atom, but she has no specific speech or action.
The Trial of Jean Grey: See Young X-Men.X-23 is a featured player here in All-New X-Men (2013) #22, Guardians of the Galaxy (2013) #11, All-New X-Men (2013) #23, GotG 12, ANXM 13, GotG 13
After Trial of Jean Grey: X-23 and the team briefly spar with Quentin Quire in Wolverine and the X-Men (2014) #4. She appears deep in the background of a panel in Uncanny X-Men (2013) #23. X-23 appears in a panel of flashback in Cyclops (2014) #1.
All-New X-Men (2013) #26: See Young X-Men. Issue #26 is a standalone story in the wake of Trial. It has a brief passage of development for X-23, as she attempts to leave the team but is stopped by two of the members with whom she’s forged a connection.
All-New X-Men (2013) #27-29: See Young X-Men. An arc that follows up on the characters from No More Humans, above. You can skip this if you haven’t read that.She is a background team player in #27. She barely appears in #28, though that sets up a cool final splash image and heavy involvement in #29.
All-New X-Men (2013) #30-31: See Young X-Men. The first six pages of #30 focus on X-23’s relationship with the young Angel, and X-23 is a major contributor to the team’s actions in #31.
All-New X-Men (2013) #32-36: See Young X-Men. A cross-dimensional arc with Miles Morales, the Ultimate universe Spider-Man. X-23 has some development with Angel and specific action. She does not appear in #37, which is an issue focused on Jean Grey.
Black Widow (2014) #11: See Black Widow. A team-up between Black Widow and X-23 drawn by X-23’s former artist, Phil Noto! This is a great-looking story much more in the feel of X-23’s solo adventures. This may actually occur after the Death of Wolverine, but because it makes no mention of it you might find that it makes more sense to read it first. X-23 subsequently appears in a single, silent panel of #12 reacting to news coverage of Widow.
Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy (2014) #1-2 & 7 in Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy. Note that the story begins in media res and then goes back to explain X-23’s involvement in issue #2.
Wolverines (2015) #1-5: Vol. 1: Dancing with the Devil
Wolverines (2015) #6-10: Vol. 2: Claw, Blade, and Fang
Wolverine (2015) #11-15: Vol. 3: The Living and The Dead
After #13: Nova (2013) Annual 01: X-23 appears with the All-New team in the final panel of this as a lead-in to Black Vortex.
Guardians of the Galaxy and X-Men – The Black Vortex: See Young X-Men. X-23 appears throughout this crossover story, but is not one of the most major players from her team. She appears in The Black Vortex Alpha (2015) #1, Guardians of the Galaxy (2013) #24, Legendary Star-Lord (2014) #9, All-New X-Men (2013) #38-39, Guardians Team-Up (2015) #3, Legendary Star-Lord (2014) #10-11, Guardians of the Galaxy and X-Men: The Black Vortex Omega (2015) #1
All-New X-Men (2013) #40-41 & Uncanny X-Men (1963) #600: See Young X-Men. In issue #41, X-23 shares scenes with the team and with Angel in the wake of Black Vortex. Otherwise, she is mostly relegated to background action.
Wolverines (2015) #16-20: Vol. 4: Destiny
X-23 cameos in Deadpool (2013) #45 (along with a great many other characters)
Laura’s taking up the mantle of Wolverine completes her narrative of transformation from Wolverines.
Out of Continuity: X-Men: Worst X-Man Ever (2016) #1-5
Before or early in her series: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe (2016) OGN HC, Deadpool V Gambit (2016) #4
All-New X-Men (2016) #1-6, 9 & Annual 1: See Young X-Men.
Likely before Civil War II: A Year of Marvels: May Infinite Comic (2016) #1, All-New, All Different Marvel Universe (2016) One-Shot, A Year of Marvels: The Incredible (2016) #1, Mockingbird (2016) #5
#7-12: Volume 2: Civil War II
Civil War II: Civil War II (2016) #1 & 3, Civil War II: Choosing Sides (2016) #1, New Avengers (2015) #12, Nova (2016) #8, Uncanny Avengers [II] (2015) #13
Annual 1: Pending solicit information
#13-17: Volume 3: Enemy of the State II
Likely after Civil War II but before IvX: Power Man and Iron Fist (2016) #10, Ghost Rider (2017) #1-3
All-New X-Men (2016) #12 & 15-18: See Young X-Men.
Monsters Unleashed (2017): So far, in All-New X-Men (2016) 1.MU.
IvX (2017): Pending release of the full series, but so far X-23 has appeared in #1-2.
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