Issue(s): Wolverine #55, Wolverine #56, Wolverine #57
Gambit suggests a call to Nick Fury to settle the situation. We don't see if that's really what happens.
Someone (more on who in the Considerations) gets word that Wolverine is coming to Japan, and she makes a call to activate a cyborg that will turn out to be the only surviving Reaver, Cylla Markahm, (aka Skullbuster II although she's referred to as just Cylla in this story).
Meanwhile, while Jubilee is being held in a Tokyo prison, she uses her powers to fight off some toughs in the cell with her, and they turn out to be low level informants for the Hand, so the Hand is also alerted to the mutants in Japan. The Hand is currently being run by Matsuo Tsurayaba, and he currently has business dealings with Mariko Yashida, Wolverine's longtime love interest and head of a powerful clan.
And in addition to that, Japan of course has its own super-hero in Sunfire. So it's a big brawl.
And we're not done yet. Reiko, a young woman that Wolverine rescued from an obligation in a previous story, turns out to now be under obligation to the Hand, so she gets into a fight with Jubilee until she finds out that Jubilee is friends with Wolverine.
And after Reiko leaves, Jubilee is met by Yukio, another of Wolverine's young female friends.
As we saw when Wolverine was with Mystique (posing as Jean Grey) last issue, Jubilee is a little jealous of Wolverine's lady friends.
Cylla is kind of nuts.
The various fights bring down the police station, and Cylla withdraws. Wolverine decides to search for Jubilee instead of chasing her.
Meanwhile, Reiko tries to get out of Japan since she betrayed the Hand in not killing Jubilee, but it turns out that the person she was trying to get to smuggle her out is working with a contingent of Hydra led by Silver Fox. So another group of players in the mix.
I wish Silver Fox's relationship with the main contingent of Hydra that is led by Baron von Strucker was spelled out somewhere. After Strucker was resurrected, he made a point of going around to the various splinter groups of Hydra and either wiping them out or bringing them back into the main fold. Is Silver Fox's group part of Strucker's Hydra, or does she lead a contingent that has managed to stay separate?
To find Jubilee, Wolverine goes to Mariko for help, and finds her half-brother the Silver Samurai at her estate.
Mariko is trying to divest the criminal elements of the Yashida business, and she's been negotiating with the Hand.
Jubilee and Yuriko also wind up at the Yashida grounds (more jealousy from Jubilee), and so does Tsurayaba, who has apparently been getting fashion tips from the Owl.
As Mariko explains how she feels dishonored about not being able to get the Yashida clan out of the business of crime, she also offers a version of his brown and tan costume to him.
And he accepts it.
Not too far back, in Wolverine #49, when Wolverine was learning about his history, he gave up the brown costume to symbolize the fact that he's not an animal. And, in something of a contradiction, the return to the "original" costume was meant to show that he was reverting to his earlier, wilder, basically pre-Claremont character development, personality. Since at least in my mind those are two opposite things, it's hard to know what the return to the brown costume means.
Anyway, the chaotic multi-side fighting continues, especially after Cylla returns.
While Wolverine is fighting Cylla, Reiko, under duress from the Hydra, approaches Mariko and continues the negotiations on behalf of the Hand. She says that the Hand will buy out all of the Yashida criminal operations, but the Hand wants "atonement in the manner of the Yakuza" in return in the form of Mariko cutting off one of her fingers. To prove that the blade to be used for this ceremony is not poisoned, Reiko cuts herself with it. And then Mariko agrees to do it. But it turns out that Reiko has spent a lifetime developing an immunity to
When Wolverine hears Mariko cry out, he withdraws from the fight with Cylla. Jubilee and Yuriko subsequently hit Cylla with a power line in a pool of water, and her electronics short-circuit. Reiko impales herself on Silver Samurai's sword. But Wolverine can't stop Mariko from dying. She asks him to kill her with his claws instead of letting her die from the poison. He says he can't do that, but we do see a "snikt" before seeing Mariko dead.
Larry Hama and Marc Silvestri mesh very well when it comes to the humorous aspects of the story (like two taxi drivers fighting over who gets to pick up Wolverine and Gambit at the airport), and they manage to keep things entertaining in what could have been a very messy story given the number of players involved in the plot. There are still a lot of characters to contend with, and i imagine readers that didn't already know the likes of Reiko and Yuriko got a little confused (at least there is a footnote and some exposition for Reiko).
I am still left with more questions than answers when it's all over. I don't know why Mariko would agree to this "atonement". She may not feel proud about not being able to get rid of her clan's criminal operations, but she didn't need to atone to the Hand of all people. And why would she think they would be willing to buy her out (at presumably a good price) just for her finger? What do they get out of it. And isn't selling off your criminal interests for a profit not exactly a great way to restore your clan's honor in the first place? It seems like a cop out to me. If you really want to make things right, you have to stop the criminal activities, not pass them off to someone else. Larry Hama seems to pepper his stories with what seems like a lot of knowledge about Japanese culture, so to a certain extent i trust that what he's saying makes sense, but i'm always suspicious when the motivations of Asian characters comes down to some strange views on honor.
On top of that, i'm not clear on what either the Hand or Hydra get out of this. I assume the Hand don't actually wind up with the Yashida holdings. Is this all just a convoluted revenge strategy against Wolverine? it's unclear to me. So i like the fights as depicted by Silvestri and i enjoy the dialogue, but i'm left scratching my head over the plot.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Issue #54 was an out of sequence fill-in. This begins soon after the end of issue #53. Issues #58-59 are also out of sequence fill-ins. Issue #60 begins with Wolverine, Gambit, and Jubilee still in Japan. Based on references to Donald Pierce's death, and Sunfire's costume, and a number of other factors, this takes place after X-Men #4-7 and Uncanny X-Men #281-286. I guess after this arc it's ok for Wolverine to start showing up in his brown costume again.
Regarding the woman that activates Cylla, it seems that the MCP thinks that it is Lady Deathstrike, and that makes sense because a) she was with Cylla when all of the other Reavers were killed and b) she's aware that Pierce has been "formatted... beyond retrieval". So i've listed her as a character appearing. But just to raise some doubt, when Cylla returns at the end of the story and provides a convenient distraction for Reiko to kill Mariko, Silver Fox says that she arranged it.
So a small part of me says that maybe it was Silver Fox the whole time. I'm assuming a later story either confirms that Deathstrike did it or shows Deathstrike still working with Cylla (which would confirm that Silver Fox didn't manage to take control of her).
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (11): show
Wait, wait, wait I'm getting confused here. Aren't Lady Deathstrike and Mariko the same person? I see two character listings there. Don't tell me Mariko did not become Lady Deathstrike all this time and I was mixed up with yet another character?
Posted by: david banes | February 12, 2016 1:35 PM
Lady Deathstrike is definitely not Mariko. :-) Lady Deathstrike's real name is Yuriko Oyama. I'll let you click through their histories to see who they are, but they're definitely separate characters.
Posted by: fnord12 | February 12, 2016 1:40 PM
Lady Deathstrike is "Yuriko"; I think you ended up fusing Mariko and Yuriko together. (which I think the X-Men animated series did or something)
Posted by: Ataru320 | February 12, 2016 1:40 PM
Oh, well on the bright side that explains why Mariko suddenly goes from 'I won't marry Wolverine' to 'I'm going to get powers and kill him.'
Posted by: david banes | February 12, 2016 1:42 PM
I seem to remember Mariko wanting Wolverine dead in the #60s though, does she resurrect or something?
And funny that Wolvie, Gambit and Sunfire all ended up as Apocalypse's horsemen. Jubilee didn't, but she became a vampire and hey, Dracula and Pocy are immortal enemies. Or something...
Good art, weird story, terrible Sunfire design foisted on Silvestri by Portacio. Faithful to it, but still terrible.
Posted by: PeterA | February 12, 2016 2:09 PM
Hey, at least the art's pretty.
John Byrne (amazingly) was not a fan of this storyline: http://www.byrnerobotics.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=13985&PN=216&TPN=3
Posted by: gfsdf gfbd | February 12, 2016 3:10 PM
Actually, Reiko kills herself to atone for the killing of Mariko, someone whom she did not know (until it was too late) was the beloved of someone to whom she owed a debt of honor. She uses Silver Samurai's sword to do it but it's definitely her impaling herself on the blade. Silver Fox anticipated her reaction and thus did not bother to set up any way to extract Reiko.
As for why Mariko was killed, I believe that it was partially to get her out of the way so that Silver Samurai could take over Clan Yashida but revenge on Wolverine was the primary motive. It was later revealed that Silver Fox's memories have been significantly altered and she has been made to believe that Logan did something HORRIBLE to her so she REALLY wants revenge!!! Also, I believe that, by manipulating someone whom Wolverine had helped into killing herself, Silver Fox saw that as another way to hurt Wolverine. Two for one.
Posted by: Don Campbell | February 12, 2016 4:21 PM
Updated the line about Reiko's death. Thanks Don.
Posted by: fnord12 | February 12, 2016 4:45 PM
@gfsdf - thanks for that link! I don't normally venture on the Byrne forums but the first page of that post was pretty fascinating - a pic of Wolverine drawn by Byrne, and more intriguingly, a list of what Claremont & Byrne had originally planned up to X-Men 150... some of which I've heard before, but some new stuff I'd never expected (Ultron? Dr Strange?)
Posted by: Jonathan | February 12, 2016 5:59 PM
Also found it interesting that Byrne wasn't entirely convinced on Claremont's idea of "breather" issues... they did some great breather issues, like 122 & 138.
Posted by: Jonathan | February 12, 2016 6:43 PM
Marvel's no-footnotes policy caused me confusion when I first got this arc- Matsuo claims that Logan cut off his hand but there's no footnote to say where. It wasn't until I reread X-Men 7 that I realized Logan cut off Matsuo's hand that issue- somehow I must have missed it the first time I read it.
Posted by: Michael | February 12, 2016 8:52 PM
Michael, the first superhero I ever created [long before Jubilee, or even Boom Boom] had the power of fireworks. It was on or about the 4th of July, so you can guess where I got the idea, but I've never thought Jubilee's powers were useless. Create M100s (or whatever they're called) that's a good superpower. Heck, I never even thought she was annoying, although I can see why other readers would. I'm a fan of Jubilee. Loud and proud. :)
[Doing the math, I'm pretty sure "Secret Wars II" #5 had come out whenever I created the character, so I probably was already aware of Boom Boom. I wouldn't cite her as an influence, I just want to keep the record straight.]
Posted by: ChrisW | February 12, 2016 10:28 PM
Michael, don't forget that Jubilee once blew up a goddamn manor, so this "her powers are so useless" meme never made that much sense to me.
Keep in mind though that Jubes was rather frightened by that application of her power, with the implication that she is suppressing the full use of her abilities fir fear of losing control and really hurting someone.
Posted by: Jon Dubya | October 7, 2016 2:04 AM
I'm yet to read 95% of x-men stories after the debut of x-treme xmen and New xmen.
So I'm wondering, does Jubilee actually graduates at some point and becomes a full xmen?
Posted by: Bibs | January 25, 2018 4:33 AM
Well, after her brief time in the best-forgotten version of New Warriors, from when she's in the all-female volume of adjectiveless X-Men, she seems to just be one of the X-Men when she appears.
Posted by: Dave77 | February 2, 2018 8:46 PM
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