Marvel Matchup: X-23 vs Hulk
X-23, aka Laura Kinney, has all the same abilities as Wolverine but with a couple twists that might make her a more dangerous and unpredictable opponent. So is it really like father, like daughter when it comes to fighting Hulks?
Laura Kinney has a complicated origin. At one point, she was thought to be Wolverine’s clone, created to replicate the original Weapon X experiments that made him the creature he is today. And yet, it was revealed that she is Wolverine’s biological daughter during the Hunt For Wolverine: Adamantium Agenda, carried to term by Doctor Sarah Kinney.
The child known as X-23 was raised in a top-secret research facility where she was physically and emotionally abused in order to make her hostile and feral, just like Wolverine himself. The scientists did experiments on her, and forced her to respond violently to a very specific trigger smell. Any time that specific chemical was in the air, she would become uncontrollably violent.
When she was seven, the doctors use radiation to force her mutant powers to activate much earlier than normal. Much to their joy, she had a mutation quite similar to Wolverine’s. She had two bone claws protruding from each of her fists, and one claw from each foot. Her claws were then forcibly extracted and coated in adamantium, and reinserted. Her healing factor was incredible, possibly even better than Wolverine’s. And after being raised in isolation, with barely any knowledge of the world outside, they made her the perfect killing machine.
X-23 trained in every possible form of martial arts and fighting tactic. She became precise. An assassin that could never be caught or traced. She was so clever that she could even cover up her scent after she left an area. She was used for countless missions and cruel, pointless murders, all under the influence of the compulsive trigger scent. Eventually, she broke free from the research facility. But when the scientists used the trigger scent against her, she killed everyone in sight— including her own mother, who named her Laura with her dying breath.
She is haunted by her past, and even as she continues to work with the X-Men, she is still scared of reverting to that feral state. Telepaths like Emma Frost have gone through Laura’s mind to try and remove the trigger scent, but some things are too deeply ingrained. The trigger scent may always affect her. And while Wolverine has forgotten his past, she remembers everything that she was forced to do.
Laura Kinney has very similar powers to Wolverine. In fact, she was thought to be a clone for a long time due to their similarity. There are a few key differences.
First, Laura Kinney has two claws in each fist, and one claw in each foot. The claws are coated in adamantium but her overall skeleton is not. Wolverine’s skeleton is entirely coated with adamantium, and in some stories, he grows back the adamantium with his bones when he regenerates. Since adamantium is canonically toxic, this slows him and his healing factor down quite a bit. Laura Kinney is also immune to all diseases, and ages slowly, making her effectively immortal.
Laura is more agile than Wolverine (she even gave Spider-Man a harder time than Wolverine did), and with less adamantium, her healing factor is exponentially faster. There have been instances where Wolverine has grown back from a single droplet of blood. This is absolutely possible for Laura Kinney, and she’d do it quicker since she didn’t have to grow back an entire skeleton of adamantium. X-23 has been able to reattach limbs, since each part of her heals so quickly together.
X-23 is undoubtedly more refined and more ruthless than Wolverine ever was. She is unnaturally skilled in hand to hand combat.
Laura Kinney’s greatest weakness is a double edged sword: the trigger scent. She will completely lose all sense of control, and certainly revert into a pure feral beast.
That said, it would make her even more deadly. And while she’d be traumatized after whatever happened in a fight, it would make her more likely to win against her unfortunate targets. Gruesome, but true.
Bruce Banner grew up in an abusive household, where he saw his father kill his mother. Many years down the road, Bruce killed his own father. All of these things left him in constant emotional turmoil, with a burning rage inside him that was never satiated, not even by killing his father. He saw injustice in the world and only wanted to crush it. But this was not his path. Bruce took the path of higher education.
He spent his life studying and acquiring a litany of complicated degrees from a variety of prestigious universities, and he eventually graduated with a doctorate in nuclear physics. His expertise in nuclear research eventually led him to military test sites where he was tasked with designing a Gamma Radiation Bomb.
As everyone knows, the Gamma Radiation transformed the mild-mannered doctor Bruce Banner into a powerful green beast known only as the Hulk. This behemoth of a monster is a complicated and alternate personality that is basically fueled by anger itself. And though the Hulk’s history is long and complicated, it truly is best described by one of his most prominent quotes.
“I’m the strongest one there is! Hulk smash!”
Bruce Banner, who is one of the most intelligent people in the Marvel Universe, has the ability to transform into the Hulk. The Hulk, who is notably a separate being entirely, has unlimited strength. And the angrier he gets, the stronger he gets. And he can get strong enough to shatter planets. Strong enough to leap across countries. To send shock waves just by snapping.
His body will always adapt to live. He will adapt so he can breathe underwater or in space. He has a regenerative healing factor, and is also effectively immortal, even though Bruce Banner is not. He has telepathic resistance, and he can even “see” magic and ghosts in a strange way. In some comics, Hulk can even use his Gamma Radiation to shoot gamma ray beams, or manipulate gamma energy in general.
Hulk can always get anger and always get stronger, though he doesn’t necessarily get smarter (unless you’re facing one of his other odd personas like Joe Fixit). However, this means that at the beginning of any given fight, he is likely at his weakest. An opponent’s best chance to defeat him is then. The best technique overall then would be to find a way to calm down the Hulk. Some adversaries might have the ability to drain his gamma radiation or rage, and in that case, he would likely revert to Bruce Banner.
Beyond that, nothing will stop the incredible Hulk.
This fight is certainly more complicated than it seems. Adamantium is (not surprisingly) one of the few elements that can deeply wound The Hulk. And while The Hulk has immobilized and defeated Wolverine before, X-23 is significantly more agile.
X-23 would certainly have to act fast and with a plan in order to defeat The Hulk in a single round of battle. If she attacks while he’s unprepared, still early in his transformation, and not that full of rage, there’s a very good chance that she could harm him quite a bit. Plus, she has the added surprise element of her toe claw, which has caught numerous foes off guard in combat.
This of course, would make the Hulk even angrier, and he would get stronger and his healing factor would increase. And at a certain point, Hulk will be angrier and heal faster than X-23 can cut. Does this mean that it’s impossible for Laura Kinney to win? Not at all. But it certainly means that X-23 would have to have a plan laid out. One single vicious attack. If it was life or death, the trigger scent might even work to her advantage, because she’d certainly get a better advantage while in her berserker frenzy.
Given enough time, Hulk could adapt enough to be unstoppable. He was strong enough to take down the Marvel Illuminati for goodness’ sake! But that’s if he’s given long enough in battle. X-23 would only have to win in one round. But the question is…. could she?
Let us know what you think about this Marvel Mashup in the comments, and as always, don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!