Despite being introduced less than 20 years ago, X-23 has gone through a host of changes in status and role in the Marvel Universe. While the most notable of those changes saw her become the X-Men’s all-new, Logan-approved Wolverine, one of Laura’s most surprising roles was her brief stint as Captain Universe, thanks to a force that can turn anyone in the Marvel Universe into a cosmic being.
Now, we’re taking a closer look at how this all happened, and how Captain Universe could give X-23 another massive power upgrade again down the line.
The Uni-Power is one of the most powerful forces in the entire Marvel Universe. The Uni-Power is the living embodiment of life in the universe and can bond with life-forms during great times of crisis. When transformed, the user is infused with the Enigma Force and made into one of the most powerful beings in the galaxy, Captain Universe, who was originally introduced in Bill Mantlo and Michael Golden’s Micronauts #8. While they typically maintain their personality, the heroes may find themselves impacted by an ethereal and cosmic perspective. While a number of regular humans have been possessed by the power, several established Marvel heroes like the has included the Hulk, both versions of Spider-Man, Daredevil, Invisible Woman, Silver Surfer and Gladiator have all been touched by the Enigma Force.
There’s also Laura Kinney, who was granted the power briefly during a period where the Uni-Power was blasted across the Marvel Universe into various different heroes. In Captain Universe: X-23 by Jay Faerber and Francis Portella, a group of soldiers working for A.I.M. do their best to research the force and use the information for their own goals. Coming up against a group of hungry street kids, X-23 leaps into the fray and defends them, but she ends up being possessed by the Enigma Force, quickly gaining the enhanced powers of Captain Universe.
The Uni-Power speaks directly to Laura, asking for her help in destroying the records being taken about Captain Universe and the Enigma Force. Finding an empathetic connection with her own experiences under observation in a lab, Laura agrees to help. The heroic Scorpion also tries to stay in command of the situation, partly to take the information for her handlers. However, Laura’s enhanced powers mean she discovers this truth, leading her to destroy all the info as soon as she can. Feeling guilty for this betrayal, Scorpion covers for their escape. The Engima Force departs from Laura just as suddenly as it first appeared, thanking her for her help.
In Marjorie Liu and Phil Noto’s X-23 #13-16, Laura eventually ended up encountering the Uni-Force again while in New York looking for someone from her past. Laura found herself targeted by the Whirldemon King, a powerful demonic force. This ancient evil had been locked away by the original being tied to the Enigma Force, and it targeted Laura for her connection to Captain Universe.
Even more than previous heroes possessed by the Captain Universe energies, Laura is revealed to have a deeper connection to the Uni-Power. This is visualized by a distinct star-shaped mark on her hand. Working with Spider-Man and the Future Foundation, Laura spent time at the Baxter Building figuring out the connection to the force that she shared with Spider-Man and Invisible Woman, where she forged a surprisingly strong bong with Valeria Richards.
Working with the other heroes, Laura fights against the Whirldemon King. However, the King is able to possess Valeria Richards, and Laura sacrifices her own body to it for Valeria’s release. However, Laura’s ability to resist control gives her the time to grab the key to unlock the Whirldemon King’s dimension and trap herself with them. Laura’s connection with the Uni-Power is revealed to still be strong, which empowers her and transforms her into Captain Universe once more, which allows her to escape back to reality.
Returned to Earth, Laura quickly solidifies her relationship with the Fantastic Four by becoming the newest babysitter of the Richards family, but she also proves to have a much deeper connection Captain Universe. The Uni-Power hints that it has a deeper connection with Laura, and that this is “only the beginning.” This suggests that Laura and Captain Universe may bond again in the future and that their destiny could be tied together, which could end up giving the X-Men an even greater advantage.
By transforming her into Captain Universe, Marvel made X-23 one of its strongest cosmic heroes, and she may have an intergalactic destiny.