X-Men: More Wolverines, more problems (for Wolverine)
What happens when you put two Wolverines on one team? X-Men #18 (2023) tries to answer this question.
Is too much Wolverine a bad thing? There are many versions of the mutant character across the Marvel Universe, from the original Logan, to his old man counterpart, and his daughter Laura. Wolverine’s ability to appear in dozens of Marvel books each month might lead some to believe the mutant has the ability to be in two places at once. In X-Men #18 (written by Gerry Duggan and penciled by C.F. Villa) we see this idea taken a step further as the X-Men are forced to deal with two different versions of the Laura Kinney Wolverine. Why are their two versions of the same Wolverine, and how are they supposed to share one life? Read on as we unpack these revelations.
Warning: Spoilers ahead for X-Men #18 (2023)!
Wait, how are there two Wolverines?
No, the X-Men don’t have a giant scanner that prints out duplicates of their members, but it wouldn’t be the most far-fetched thing they’ve come across. Thanks to a collaborative effort from the world’s most powerful mutants, the X-Men have basically found a way to cheat death. A group of X-Men known as the Five established the Resurrection Protocols, which uses a combination of psychic powers and cloning to revive their fallen members. When a mutant dies a psychic backup of their mind is implanted into a cloned body, which is grown from a giant golden egg. Because the psychic essence of the deceased is used, these revived individuals are considered the same person as their dead counterparts rather than clones.
Think of it like a video game. When the X-Men die, they respawn from a different area. Of course, this procedure has some complications. X-Men #19 (2021) featured the resurrection of Wolverine after she was seemingly killed during a mission inside the structure known as the Vault. Because time moves differently within the Vault, Wolverine spent hundreds of years in the structure while only a few days passed in the outside world. During her mission, Laura developed a romantic relationship with her teammate Synch.
When Laura was revived, her backup didn’t contain any of her memories from her hundreds of years in the Vault. This meant that Synch remembered their romantic relationship while she didn’t. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the biggest complication. In X-Men #16 (2022) Forge discovered that Laura had never died inside the Vault, and had been kept in stasis. Forge rescued her, and brought her back to Krakoa. This has created a bit of a mess since there are now two versions of Laura Kinney running around.
Can two versions of Laura Kinney co-exist?
There is a lot to unpack from the X-Men’s resurrection blunder. Various Marvel characters have had clone problems before, with Spider-Man being a notable example. However, because Laura was revived with the Resurrection Protocols, she is considered the same person rather than a new entity like Spider-Man’s clone Ben Reilly or Jean Grey’s clone Madelyne Pryor. However, there is a lot that separates the two Wolverines.
The Vault version of Wolverine has hundreds of years of life experience that the resurrected Wolverine does not have. Vault-Laura has also resumed her romantic relationship with Synch, something that only she remembers. Due to a glitch that occurred during her resurrection, the revived version of Wolverine has a full Adamantium skeleton like her father, whereas the Vault version only has metal claws. It’s also important to note that for the past two years, every time we’ve seen Laura Kinney it’s been the resurrected version, while the original was trapped in the Vault.
X-Men #18 (2022) dealt with the fallout of Vault-Laura’s return as the two Wolverines met for the first time. “You know what my first thought was after I was resurrected? I wanted to see the body,” the revived Laura quipped. The Wolverines then discussed some ground rules for their coexistence. They mutually agreed that if either of them died, Vault-Laura’s resurrection would take priority. Resurrected-Laura noted that this wouldn’t be an issue for her since she didn’t plan on dying anyway.
Revived-Laura claimed the mantle of Wolverine, which Vault-Laura conceded. “Fair enough. I’ve been Wolverine long enough,” Vault-Laura said. The two then parted ways, with Vault-Laura making one final request. “I’m happy you get to live a different life, and this isn’t personal, but I don’t want to be your friend. I don’t even want to see you.”
For now it seems Vault-Laura (who really needs a new codename) will remain with the X-Men. Her renewed relationship with Synch seems to be occupying her for the time being. Resurrected-Laura is currently hanging out with Jubilee, Boom-Boom, and Dazzler in the limited series X-Terminators. Marvel recently announced that Laura will star in a limited series titled X-23: Deadly Regenesis this March. Since Resurrected-Laura is keeping the Wolverine title, we can assume that the limited series will star Vault-Laura, who will be going back to the X-23 codename.
Exploring the Wolvie-Verse
The Marvel Universe now has an extra Wolverine, but what’s going on with the others? Let’s do a quick census on the current status quo of the various Wolverines:
- Wolverine (Logan) – The original Wolverine is currently going through some resurrection issues of his own. His teammate Beast is currently playing mad scientist, killing and resurrecting Logan in order to rewire his brain. Beast has turned Wolverine into an amnesiac and obedient killing machine. This storyline is currently playing out in the Wolverine title.
- Old Man Logan – This older version of Wolverine comes from an alternate post-apocalyptic future. He was brought into the mainstream Marvel Universe after the 2015 Secret Wars event shifted Marvel’s various realities. For a time he fought alongside the X-Men before he was killed at the end of the Dead Man Logan limited series.
- Poison – Jimmy Hudson is the son of the Wolverine from the Ultimate Universe. He followed in his father’s footsteps and became Wolverine for a time. When the Ultimate Universe was destroyed in the Secret Wars event, Jimmy integrated to the mainstream Marvel Universe. Jimmy changed his codename to Poison after bonding with an alien symbiote. He’s currently running around the Marvel Universe, but he been seen in a few years.
- The Sisters – Part of the reason why Laura was so nonchalant about meeting her doppelganger is because she’s been through it many times before. The Sisters are a group of Laura clones who were created by the Alchemax Corporation. Gabby Kinney, who has taken on the identity Honey Badger, is the most notable member.
- Daken – The son of the mainstream continuity Logan. Daken took the Wolverine title to spite his father, and served on Norman Osborn’s Dark Avengers. He’s currently keeping some distance from his father, which is probably the best move.
- Albert – An android copy of Wolverine, who is usually seen in the company of Elsie-Dee, a little girl android. After regularly appearances throughout the '90s, Albert disappeared for a while. He was recently seen again during the Iron Man 2020 event. Perhaps a comeback is in the cards?
- Wild Thing – Rina Logan can almost be considered a proto-version of Laura Kinney. Wild Thing is the daughter of Wolverine and Elektra from an alternate future featured in Marvel’s MC2 imprint. She was last seen making a cameo appearance in the Deadpool: Too Soon digital comic in 2016.
This isn’t even scratching the surface. If you were to invite every version of Wolverine to a dinner party, you would probably be surprised at how big your catering bill would be. In the grand scheme of things, one more Laura Kinney shouldn’t rock the boat too much. It’s a regular Wolvie-Verse, and we’re all living in it.