X-23 Costume History

Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost created X-23 for the animated X-Men: Evolution television series. She made her first appearance in season 3, episode 10. The show was titled X-23 and aired on August 2nd, 2003. It had X-23 breaking into the X-Mansion and taking down the heroes one at a time. The character proved very popular among fans and she was quickly introduced into the comic book universe. X-23 made her comic book debut in the December 2003 issue of NYX #3. Writer Joe Quesada had her character appearing to be a prostitute and set the stage for a darker and more complex character.

The Weapon X program, that bonded adamantium to Wolverine’s skeleton, was resurrected by a top-secret program. However, since Wolverine’s mutant healing powers made him a unique candidate for the procedure, they decided to clone Wolverine. Dr. Martin Sutter hired Dr. Sarah Kinney for this task, because of her specialization in mutant genetics. However, their only genetic sample was damaged and they were unable to use the Y chromosome. Dr. Kinney believed creating a female clone would bypass this problem. She was denied her request, but proceeded anyway. It took 23 attempts to regenerate the DNA using a duplicate X chromosome, but perseverance paid off and they finally had a sample that could be merged with an embryo. Dr. Zander Rice, who originally denied her request to make a female clone, was already spiteful, because his father was killed by the original Weapon X, found a way to have his revenge. Dr. Rice made Dr. Kinney be the surrogate for the clone specimen. Dr. Kinney now became a test subject herself, as she was studied for the 9 months of her pregnancy and up until X-23 was delivered. To activate X-23’s mutant gene, Dr. Rice exposed X-23 to radiation poisoning, when she was only 7 years old. Once her healing factor was strong enough, he removed her claws, encased them in adamantium and then reattached them. To make matters worse, he did not use any anesthetic during the procedure and created a trigger scent that would send X-23 into an uncontrollable berserker state. After suffering all this inhumanity, X-23 is trained to be a deadly assassin.

When Dr. Kinney’s niece Megan was kidnapped, she secretly used X-23 to get her back. X-23 rescued Megan, but killed her kidnapper in the process. Dr. Kinney was fired for her use of X-23, but Dr. Rice had his own plans for X-23. He instructed X-23 to kill Dr. Sutter and his family. X-23 informed Dr. Kinney, the closest thing to a mother she had, how Dr. Rice was behind the murders. While all this was going on, the lab had incubation pods growing subjects X-24 through X-50. Dr. Kinney wrote a letter to X-23, ordering her to destroy the pods and kill Dr. Rice. After X-23 successfully completed her mission, her and her “mother” prepared to flee. Sadly, Dr. Rice had one last cruel act of vengeance to carry out. He laced Dr. Kinney with the trigger scent and X-23 uncontrollably killed her. Before Dr. Kinney died, she let X-23 know that she loves her and that her name is Laura. Dr. Kinney was able to hand Laura a letter with a picture of Professor X, Wolverine and the Xavier Institute.

After escaping the facility alone, X-23 endured many hardships. With her past involvement with Megan, she went to Dr. Kinney’s sister Debbie’s house and lived with them. Unfortunately, Debbie’s boyfriend worked at the facility that created and trained X-23. He attempted to use the trigger scent and have X-23 kill Debbie and Megan. X-23 is able to kill him before the plan can work, but the facility then sent X-23’s old handler, who constantly abused her, to finish the job. X-23 was able to save Megan and Debbie, but these events drove X-23 to confront Wolverine, the man she was cloned from. She beat him in battle, but he revealed that he knows all about her, because her mother, Dr. Kinney, had sent him a letter explaining everything. This information would sends X-23 down her long journey into becoming a hero.

X-23 Original Costume with the Facility
X-23 Original Costume with the Facility

Original Costume

X-23 had a variety of training and combat uniforms while she was at the facility. They were very basic in design and had many similarities. Although one design had yellow stripes on the sides and yellow knee pads, for the most part they were completely black. It was the perfect outfit for an assassin. The black pants and simple belt were ideal for not drawing attention. The sleeveless shirt zipped up the front and buttoned at the neck. This would allow maximum movement for wielding her claws and make sure clothing did not become cumbersome. The knee high boots had holes in the toes, so she could extend her foot claw without having to constantly replace her shoes. To make sure she kept to the tight schedule essential for successfully completing missions, her bracelets had a timer incorporated into their design.

Classic X-23 Costume
Classic X-23 Costume

First Two-Piece

After escaping the facility, X-23 went after Wolverine. She switched up her fashion choice with something a little more adult. Okay, a lot more adult. She had on a black and grey crop top, but it was small enough to be considered a bra. She had on a pair of matching pants and a hooped belt. Her knee high boots were laced up to the top and gave a much tougher appearance. She still had black wristbands, but added a choker with a small locket attached to it. She would not wear this outfit again after her battle with Wolverine, but it has become her most recognizable wardrobe. Many of her future costumes would have their core elements taken from this design. It is also the costume most used for cosplayers, toys and video games.

X-23 Wolverine Costume
X-23 Wolverine Costume

Female Wolverine Impersonator

X-23 would reunite with the X-Men while working at a superhero themed bar. Her mutant work attire was a feminine version of Wolverine’s Fang Costume that he had taken off a Shi’ar Imperial Guard during their battle with the D’Ken emperor. This formfitting, tan bodysuit looked like the hide of a wild animal. It was dark brown starting at the neck, running down the front and continuing down the inside of the legs. The boots and gloves were a dark tan and lined with a string of teeth. The stringed teeth design was also used for the belt and necklace, but a small skull was used as the clasp for both.

Captain Universe X

During a multi-oneshot storyline surrounding the Captain Universe entity, X-23 was one of the characters chosen to have a one issue comic book. In the story, X-23 only gets a fraction of Captain Universe’s powers, but that was enough to change her. Her clothing was transformed into a strange mix of street clothes and cosmic power. Her pants were white, a significant difference for someone who tends to wear darker colors. Her boots, crop top, bracelets and hair were all black with images of the universe imprinted on them.

X-23 White Pants/Captain Universe
X-23 White Pants/Captain Universe


When Laura Kinney officially joined the X-Men, she wore a variety of costumes. They were mostly variations of the clothes she wore at the facility and her first encounter with Wolverine. The color scheme was more of a deep purple than black and she added some more color. Her belt was silver and had a red X on the buckle to show her team membership. She still had on her leather arm bands and locket. If it got too cold, she would wear a matching jacket.

X-23 signature Costume
X-23 signature Costume
X-23 X-Men Training Uniform with HUGE Gauntlets
X-23 X-Men Training Uniform with HUGE Gauntlets

X-Men Training Uniform

During the Messiah Complex, when the first mutant was born after M-Day, the New X-Men don the yellow and blue training uniforms of the school. Of course, X-23 added her own style to these classic costumes. Her costume was a dark blue sleeveless bodysuit, with a yellow stripe running down the front of her torso. It is easy to miss the dark blue opera gloves, because she had two huge yellow gauntlets on each arm. These things looked like cannons, they were HUGE! She also had on a pair of yellow knee pads and armored boots. She had the plain yellow belt, with a red X clearly identifying her team.

X-23 X-Force Special Operations Costume
X-23 X-Force Special Operations Costume

X-Force Special Operations

X-23 had a special operations suit that was used for her secret stealth missions with X-Force. She kept the basic design cut of her classic look, but took on the silver and black color scheme of her new team. The crop top now covered her shoulders and neck, making it a little more conservative. Little being the key word. The black and gray pattern on her shoulders gave the appearance of slash marks. She had on tight black pants, with grey stripes running down the side of her outer thighs. Her black opera gloves had a grey X in a circle drawn on the palms. The black combat boots had buckles going all the way up to her knees. She also wore a slim black mask with red lenses. The only other color was a small amount of red on the belt buckle to form the X logo. The whole ensemble gives off a very menacing appearance. If not for the massive amounts of skin showing, she could pass as a robot assassin.

X-Force to X-Men

Laura Kinney would rotate between her yellow and black student X-Men uniform and the X-Force Special Operations suit for a long time. She eventually created a hybrid costume. It would be very similar to her X-Force suit, but have a little more color. The belt buckle now had a yellow X placed on top of a red circle. There was a matching X-Men insignia put on the center of her chest. She also lost the menacing mask.

X-23 X-Men Costume
X-23 X-Men Costume | Source

Street Clothing

When X-23 was given her own comic series, she still wore a costume, but often preferred to wear her civilian clothing. I decided to show her striped tanktop, because this is a favorite among fans and cosplayers. She has on her classic black pants and boots that buckle all the way to the top. This allows her to be recognizable, even without her claws extended.

X-23 Striped Tanktop Street Clothes
X-23 Striped Tanktop Street Clothes | Source


Laura would be possessed by Captain Universe again, but this time she was fully endowed with all of his powers. As the temporary Captain Universe, her skin and clothing seamlessly blended together. The lower two thirds of her costume was a solid white. The upper third of her costume was blue with constellations drawn in. Her hair and skin took on a light blue coloring.

X-23 Uni-Power Costume/Captain Universe
X-23 Uni-Power Costume/Captain Universe
X-23 Avengers Academy Costume
X-23 Avengers Academy Costume

Avengers Academy

When X-23 joined the Avengers Academy she would wear outfits very similar to her classic costume. The tops varied in size from a bikini to sports bra and it had more of a black and blue color scheme. She would eventually start wearing a more full bodied costume. It covered most of her skin, but still left her shoulders and neck open to the elements. She wore a light blue bodysuit but had a thicker black fabric running along the front and inside the thighs. Her gloves and boots were also black. Not wanting to be considered a prude, she would only wear a sports bra during training exercises.

X-23 Mummy Bandage Costume
X-23 Mummy Bandage Costume

Mummy Wrap

At the beginning of Avengers Arena, X-23 started wearing a costume that appeared to be wrapped on her body like the bandages of a mummy. It made her boots look like armor, but the rest of the outfit was haunting. The pants and opera gloves were simple strands of flat fabric tightly woven around her body. The only smooth piece of fabric was a plain black tanktop.

New X-Men/New Costume

X-23 was given a new costume, when she joined the All New X-Men. This costume was better padded than many of her previous outfits. A brown bodysuit was outlined in black. It had orangish yellow pads on the elbows and shoulders. A gold circle with a black X was used for the belt buckle. The ensemble had a space age feel to its design. She has worn two variations of this new uniform. One covered her entire body and offered full protection in combat. The other showed a lot of cleavage and might distract opponents from her claws coming right at them.

X-23 New X-Men Costume
X-23 New X-Men Costume


Fans of x-23 have been using their closets and sewing skills to make their favorite character come to life.

X-23 Cosplay Costumes
X-23 Cosplay Costumes | Source
X-23 Alternate Cosplay Costumes
X-23 Alternate Cosplay Costumes

Home Link

Superheroine Costume History List

If you enjoyed this article, you can find links to my other Costume History Hubs by clicking on the link above. Explore the history of some of the greatest female superheroes in comics through their costumes.


Google Images (Images appeared on several sites and was unsure of original)

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nuffsaidstan profile image

nuffsaidstan 2 years ago

A favourite character of mine, picked up an amazing mint copy of NYX # 3 recently for £13 at comic book fair in Birmingham i don't think the bloke knew what he had, great fact full hub as usual!

Geekdom profile image

Geekdom 2 years ago Author

Thanks. I always appreciate your comments, but it means a lot when it is somebodies favorite character. Congrats on the NYX#3 issue. The hunt has always been my favorite part of collecting.

ironangel89 profile image

ironangel89 2 years ago from United States

So hard to believe that X-23 has been around for so long! But yeah, she definitely has enough years under her belt to earn a "history".

Geekdom profile image

Geekdom 2 years ago Author

It is crazy how quickly a decade can go by! Thanks for commenting.

swilliams profile image

swilliams 2 years ago from Arizona

I enjoyed this article! The format is stunning. I did not realize the detail behind such Costumes! Voted up and tweeted out!

Geekdom profile image

Geekdom 2 years ago Author

Thanks. It has been a lot of fun going though the history of these characters and seeing their wardrobes change with not only the time period, but the characters progression.

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