Part III: Lotus Blossom, Eucalyptus… and Hate
Even with all the terror they were wreaking across the globe, Lady Deathstrike never neglected her grudge against Wolverine, and continued her search for the source of her dishonor. She began to hear rumors of a Wolverine sighting at a chemical plant in Japan. Upon visiting the plant, she discovered physical evidence indicating Wolverine had been there and, after murdering the two police officers who came to investigate, she hacked into the police equipment in their car and found additional information on her target. It seemed Wolverine had arrived in Japan as a legally dead corpse, and the manifest indicated that one Jessan Hoan was the recipient. Deathstrike forced Wolverine’s whereabouts out of Jessan, learning he was somewhere in Vancouver, B.C. Still, Deathstrike was impatient, and didn’t want to wander around all of Vancouver searching for her mark. She asked Gateway to send her to the exact place Wolverine was looking at that moment. Unfortunately for Deathstrike, Gateway chose this moment to engage in some passive resistance, and interpreted Deathstrike’s command rather literally.
Because Wolverine was, at that moment, looking into a photograph of his friend Puck hanging out with Ernest Hemingway during the Spanish Civil War, Gateway transported Deathstrike, Wolverine and Puck to the time and place in the photo—Spain, circa 1937. Deathstrike materialized in the hills just outside the city of Guernica, moments before the Third Reich beginning its infamous air raid on the city. After slaughtering five Spanish soldiers who accosted her, Deathstrike took a pair of their binoculars and observed Wolverine and his friends as they fled the burning ruins of Guernica. She was in this position when the Spanish forces caught her and, assuming she was an enemy sympathizer with the Republican partisans, decided to hang her from a pole. Deathstrike allowed the men to string her up. When they tried to hang her, she merely increased the girth of her neck and broke the noose. [Wolverine (2nd series) #35-36]
Although she was as intent on slaying Wolverine as ever, Yuriko realized that being in the past at this particular time presented her with certain opportunities. After the Third Reich’s pitiful attempt to kill her, Yuriko made them a proposition: she could give the Third Reich an army of super-soldiers if they would help her capture Wolverine, the other derelict from her time, and transport him to her father, Kenji Oyama, who at that time was a kamikaze pilot for Japan. If they helped him accelerate his research by sampling Wolverine as a specimen, he would never have to crash his plane, never survive, never get disfigured and never pass along his obligation to his daughter, Yuriko—thus saving Lady Deathstrike from the horror her life had become. [Wolverine (2nd series) #36]
The Third Reich agreed to Deathstrike’s deal, and together they confronted Wolverine and the Republican opposition in the Enrico pass. During the ensuing battle, Wolverine knocked Deathstrike into the path of an oncoming tank, which ran over and destroyed her arm. Enraged, she broke her alliance with the Nazis and continued battling Wolverine. At that same time, however, the time vortex began returning them to the present day, but not before depositing them in different places and times relevant to their lives. They appeared in the South Pacific in 1937, just as Yuriko’s father was making his fateful descent onto an American aircraft carrier. It then placed them to Spiral’s Body Shoppe during the time Deathstrike was being constructed, and it also returned them to the night in New York City when Deathstrike first attacked Wolverine after her enhancements. Finally, it returned them home, to their separate places: Wolverine to the Vancouver harbor, and Deathstrike to the Reavers base in Australia. Fortunately, Lady Deathstrike’s tampering with the timestream had no serious lasting effects on the modern world, other than erasing from existence a fifth Ninja Turtle. [Wolverine (2nd series) #37]
After Pierce repaired her arm, Lady Deathstrike continued trying to find a way to smoke out Wolverine so she could confront him in battle. She knew he was in New York City, but didn’t know where, exactly, to find him. However, when she saw an ad in the paper about a creature of great significance to Wolverine called the Hunter in Darkness now being in the captivity of one Ronald Parvenue, Deathstrike realized Wolverine would be drawn to the beast in order to rescue it. She arranged a meeting with Parvenue, who then accepted her both as a business partner and a lover. She was with him the day he unveiled the Hunter in Darkness to an excited crowd in Times Square. However, just after unveiling it, a sniper who blamed the creature for her life’s problems fired at it. Wolverine leapt to its defense. Incidentally, Yuriko was not the only one waiting for this opportunity to strike: Wolverine’s old nemesis Sabretooth was also in the audience, and attacked Wolverine as soon as he revealed himself. It was amidst all this that Lady Deathstrike leapt onto the airborne cage to get her vengeance. Wolverine, Sabretooth, and Lady Deathstrike battled while dangling from Parvenue’s helicopter, but it crashed into the ground, freeing the Hunter in Darkness. As Deathstrike’s misfortune would have it, the Hunter recognized Wolverine’s scent from years earlier, when he saved him in the Canadian wilderness, and felt compelled to defend him from his two attackers. Lady Deathstrike, alongside Sabretooth, found herself having to face the Hunter in Darkness in battle, while Wolverine escaped. Making matters worse for her, the same, incompetent sniper opened fire on the battling figures. After hitting Sabretooth, she hit Lady Deathstrike and knocked her over the edge of the roof. Deathstrike landed in a dumpster, surprised at how well her improved body held up to the damage. Impressed by her cunning, Parvenue continued cavorting with Deathstrike. [Wolverine (2nd series) #43, 45-46]
Despite her budding relationship with Parvenue, Deathstrike still spent a lot of time with the Reavers in Australia. She was in their base the same day a squad of reprogrammed Sentinels assaulted their headquarters and began laying waste to the team. Deathstrike and Cylla managed to slip away unnoticed, but the rest of the Reavers were not so lucky: Cole, Macon, Reese, Bonebreaker, Skullbuster and Pretty Boy were all obliterated. Donald Pierce, meanwhile, was taken captive in the attack. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #281]
Deathstrike remained involved with Parvenue, often spending time with him in New York City. One morning, he read her some interesting news he discovered in the paper involving a short man named Logan traveling through Canada on a motorcycle. Parvenue prepared a limo for his mistress in case she wanted to investigate. Suitably intrigued, Deathstrike followed Wolverine’s trail into Canada, and ambushed him at the home of Heather Hudson. Deathstrike easily incapacitated both Puck and Heather—both of whom she had battled during her first confrontation with Wolverine—and was prepared to kill them if Wolverine didn’t face her in battle. To her shock, however, Wolverine unsheathed his claws, and revealed that they were now bone. His Adamantium was gone; Magneto had forcibly extracted it from his body.
With her reason for hating him no longer an issue, Deathstrike wasn’t sure how to behave. She approached for Wolverine and, for the first time, really looked at him, and even touched his face gently. Wolverine told her that if she still wanted a fight, he’d give her one, even though he had nothing to offer her anymore. Disoriented, Deathstrike fled, telling Logan her honor might compel them to fight once more—but some other time. She reconvened with Parvenue. [Wolverine (2nd series) #76-77]
Part IV: The Ghost in the Shell
With her vendetta against Wolverine settled for the time being, Lady Deathstrike resumed working for Donald Pierce, whose consciousness had survived the Sentinel attack in the Australian Outback. Now focused on assembling cyborgs for his employer, Pierce targeted a man with a unique clairvoyant ability named Milo Thurman, whom he intended to forcibly transform into a cyborg. Unfortunately, Milo happened to be the husband of the mutant mercenary Domino and, deducing that Domino would try to save her husband, Pierce tried to eliminate her first. To this end, he sent Lady Deathstrike and the Reaver Skullbuster to assassinate Domino in Brazil. During her fight with Domino, Lady Deathstrike was caught in a thermite grenade blast, which scorched the artificial flesh off her cybernetic frame. Still, her core circuitry was unaffected, and she was able to subdue and capture Domino in this ravaged form. She transported her captive to Donald Pierce’s base in the Yukon, where he laid out his intentions to transform her into a cyborg and reprogram her into a loyal member of his Reavers for her. To prepare for this, Deathstrike and Skullbuster took Domino to the electrolyte bath, which was the first step in the painful transformation. However, as luck would have it, Domino managed to avoid submersion into the acidic bath and, when Deathstrike and Skullbuster burst into the room to subdue her, she knocked them both into the bubbling vat. As usual, Deathstrike survived this setback, just as she survived when Domino later detonated Pierce’s Yukon headquarters. [Domino (1st series) #1-3]
When a mysterious box that once belonged to the Oyama clan fell into Wolverine’s hands, Yuriko, wanting to retrieve it, renewed her grudge against the man. She ambushed him one night in New York City, at which point Wolverine reminded her that he didn’t have her father’s Adamantium. Deathstrike didn’t care, for the box he possessed represented the same thing to her: her family honor. After a tussle, Wolverine explained that he would give her the box—after he had a sit down with his associate Zoe Culloden about its contents and meaning. Deathstrike was receptive to this idea and agreed to a truce. Unfortunately for her, she was soon possessed by the spirit of Logan’s old master, Ogun, who used her body to taunt his former protégé and escape. [Wolverine (2nd series) #114]
How, exactly, Deathstrike’s symbiosis with Ogun ended is unknown, but what is known is that his possession of her reignited her forgotten sense of giri. After he left her, she felt empowered to expel the “corrupting” influence of Western culture in Japan. She connected with a terrorist organization dedicated to purging Western influence over Japanese culture through violent, terrorist acts. One of this group’s earliest acts involved attacking the patrons at an American-themed restaurant in Tokyo. To their surprise, the long-thought-dead Captain America resurfaced at that moment and thwarted their attack. Later, Deathstrike’s terrorist group attempted to poison the audience at the Captain America movie in order to demonstrate how Western culture was “poisoning” Japan. Lady Deathstrike fought against Captain America when he tried to stop them, but he defeated her, and then diffused the nerve gas bomb before it was detonated. In the aftermath, Lady Deathstrike slipped away unnoticed, once again evading justice. [Captain America (3rd series) #1]
Later, while Yuriko was living in Toronto, someone using Bastion’s old computer systems attempted to reprogram her into a Prime Sentinel. Deathstrike successfully repelled the online attack, only to find herself under physical attack from a small squad of Prime Sentinels who had been converted. Outgunned, she went to the only people she knew who could help her: the X-Men. She crash-landed on their property just moments ahead of the Sentinels, and fell unconscious while the X-Men repelled them. After the battle, the battered Yuriko begged the X-Men for help. Reluctantly, the X-Men—including her old nemesis Wolverine—agreed to help her, if only because they feared the consequences of an outbreak of Prime Sentinels. They traced the source of the attack to a resort town in Belize and, while the X-Men confronted the culprit—Stryfe—Deathstrike fought off the hordes of swarming Prime Sentinels with a weapon that non-lethally subdued their programming. When the waves of Prime Sentinels finally overwhelmed her, she retreated inside, where Stryfe took her captive. He informed her that, due to the unique nature of her cybernetics, he could use her to trigger all of the latent Prime Sentinels worldwide at once. Thankfully, the quick thinking of the X-Men prevented him from succeeding, and he teleported away in defeat. After the battle, Yuriko celebrated victory with the X-Men on the tropical beach. Perhaps optimistically, Wolverine sensed this might be a turning point for Yuriko, hoping she choose to someday fight on the side of good. [X-Men Annual 2000]
Wolverine’s hopes for Yuriko eventually proved to be in vain. For reasons unknown, she resumed her old, hateful ways. After laying low for some time, she teamed up with two of Wolverine’s oldest foes, Sabretooth and Omega Red, to get revenge on their mutual enemy. They started by attempting to kill his closest friends and family. They brutally maimed Nightcrawler and almost killed James and Heather Hudson. When they encountered Yukio and Amiko in Japan, Lady Deathstrike hoisted Yukio up in the air and repeatedly plunged her claws into her back, irreparably damaging her spine. She then carved a message for Logan in Yukio’s back, telling him where he had to go to find Amiko, whom they took hostage. They also shut down Wolverine’s healing factor remotely, weakening him for their final showdown. When Wolverine arrived at their meeting place in Las Vegas to confront them, Deathstrike and Omega Red easily defeated him, and hauled his unconscious body to their hotel room to celebrate. Luckily for Wolverine, there were fractures in the alliance between Deathstrike, Omega Red and Sabretooth, and when Sabretooth refused to pay his business partners for their services, the unsteady alliance splintered. Sabretooth decided to screw them out of their payment, smashed their heads together and teleported away with Logan and Amiko, leaving Lady Deathstrike with nothing. [Wolverine (2nd series) #173-175]
After this, Deathstrike worked for a mobster named Nicopetti. Despite completing every task he ever assigned her, he refused to help her when she asked him to assist her in slaying Wolverine. Enraged, Deathstrike tried to kill him by throwing him out his office window—just as Wolverine arrived to make her pay for what she had done to his family. Yuriko fled, and Logan chased her on motorcycle, tackling her in a field. They prepared to battle to the death like samurai. However, when Deathstrike finally gained an advantage over Wolverine, she found she could not kill him; her pursuit of him was all that gave her life meaning. Similarly, when Wolverine had her at a disadvantage, he refused to kill her as well. She was sick and needed help, he said—not execution. He left her with a samurai sword to fend for herself with Nicopetti’s men arrived. [Wolverine (2nd series) #183]