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X-23 Volume 1
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X-23 was created as a teen female facsimile of Wolverine, the no-nonsense mutant whose metal "claws" and berserker rage have made him one of Marvel's flagship characters. And what with the claws, minor killing lust, and antisocial tendencies, she kind of is. But paranormal romance and urban fantasy author Liu (Dirk & Steele novel series) seems to have cribbed more from La Femme Nikita than The Uncanny X-Men-and that isn't exactly a good thing. Mutant teenage outcast X-23, aka Lauren Kinney, is set up as a relatable avatar for disaffected teenage girls everywhere. The more her adult guardians try to make her feel welcome, the more withdrawn she becomes, to the point of running away. (That's what happens when you're raised by scientists to be a secret government "weapon.") We follow X-23 as she wanders in search of her past and/or a sense of belonging. Along the way, we're privy to flashbacks of her training to be a killer, her confusion over having a scientist as "mommy," and the legacy of being cloned from a guy named after a vicious mammal. We feel as if we should sympathize with X-23, but it's hard not to want more action and less daddy/mommy-issue psychobabble. Verdict This collection of issues 1-6 looks cool-the art blends elements of manga with a traditional American comic style-but the execution is hollow and falls into superhero comic cliches. If you want credible female-driven angst, reread Daniel Clowes's Ghost World instead.-Robert Morast, Fargo, ND (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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