Footclaws! (Or: The Worst Character Ever)
All right, I know it's still February, and I said I was going to talk about things I love instead of things I hate, but I just can't hold out any longer.
Yeah, I said it. She's horrible. And while she's not the worst new character of 2004, she edges out Araña to take her rightful place as the worst character in the history of Marvel.
Worse than Maggot. Worse than Adam X. Worse than Ravage 2099.
"Chris, that's pretty extreme," you're probably saying, although depending on how pun-savvy you are, you might go with "x-treme" instead. Regardless, you're probably wondering why I seem to have erupted with hatred for X-23. Well, allow me to explain.
The logical place to start would be her origins. Originally created for the X-Men: Evolution TV show (which places her right alongside Spyke, who sported a fresh Wesley-Snipes-In-Demolition-Man haircut), X-23 first showed up in comics in the ridiculously overvalued NYX #3. NYX is rough to say the least. Despite some good art by Josh Middleton, it managed to remain completely wretched and unreadable for its entire run.
A few years back, Marvel EIC Joe Quesada decided that there would be no smoking in Marvel comics, since that sets a bad example for the kids. Wolverine and Nick Fury haven't been seen with cigars since. NYX #1, written by Quesada, opens up with a teenage girl doing ecstacy in a filthy bathroom. She then goes on to steal cigarettes from a friendly shopkeeper and run away from home to live on the streets for six months, which she refers to as "the best time of my life." We never actually see her smoking, though, so I guess giving handjobs in an alley so you can afford to eat doesn't count towards setting a bad example.
Needless to say, I hate that book. It's a urine-soaked barely-coherent amoral slice of hell featuring unlikable characters with no redeeming qualities. And it was late.
Into this mess strides X-23 as an underage prostitute, keeping it clean for "the kids" by walking around topless for most of the issue, just in case the tangental relationship to Wolverine didn't insure success. And the fact that she's not even the first whore-turned-superhero should give you an idea of the level of originality surrounding her.
With the debut of her own title, we finally get X-23's origin story. Raised by David Cain to become the perfect assassin, she never even learns to talk! She feels profound remorse after killing a man at a young age, then flees to become--Oh. Wait. That's the new Batgirl from five years ago. Oh well, if you squint, it's virtually the same.
X-23's a result of the Weapon X program, a bunch of surly Canadians who just haven't learned their lesson yet. She is, of course, a clone of Wolverine. Oh, Marvel. You're like retarded labrat in an electrified cage. Haven't we learned our lesson about clones yet? Anyway, through a convoluted and illogical series of events, this scientist impregnates herself with Wolvie-Juice and pops out a surly future prostitute who pops her claws immediately upon exiting the womb. God, I wish I was kidding.
They never explain why they didn't just go find the kid from that time Wolverine porked a native chick in the Savage Land.
And while we're on the subject of her popping babyclaws, remember when the x-gene didn't activate until you hit puberty? Remember when that was a rule? Hell, remember when there were rules?
Nothing about her origin story makes anything remotely resembling sense, including the fact that bonded adamantium to her bones while she was still growing (although that keeps her jailbait appeal viable into the future, I suppose). The Billy Tan art doesn't help any--although he's better than Philip Tan, who drew the stomach-turning Chuck Austen storyline "The Draco," which I think was in continuity for all of three minutes.
Anyway, all of this would just add up to a bad, unnecessary character that didn't make any sense (Cannonball, I'm looking at you) that wouldn't bother me nearly as much as X-23 does. But there's something about X-23 that pushes her over the edge into the realm previously reserved for Green Lantern's Pal Terry Berg. And I'll tell you what it is.
Wolverine's claws are problematic enough, but X-23 pops two out of each hand and one on each foot. It's just... It doesn't make...
THEY COME OUT OF HER FEET!