Rogue (3rd series) #9

Issue Date: 
May 2005
Story Title: 
Forget Me Not: part 3

Tony Bedard (writer), Derec Donovan (pencils), Transparency Digital (colors), VC’s Dave Sharpe (letters), Scot Eaton (cover), Molly Lazer (assistant editor), Stephanie Moore (editor), Tom Brevoort (supervising editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Rogue and Sunfire scout Tokyo. Eventually, Sunfire remembers that the Sumiyoshi-Kai gang always hides in the Panchinko arcade, so they go there, hoping to find some answers. After a fight, Rogue absorbs the gang’s leader’s memories and learns that the Samurai plans a secret meeting with all surviving under bosses of the mafia. After rounding the Sumiyoshi gang up and delivering them over to Sunfire’s security staff, they move over to action. Meanwhile, Lady Deathstrike gets impatient with the woman, because her plan to lure both Rogue and Mystique to her has failed so far. But the woman, who introduces herself as Blindspot, promises that her plan will work in time. The Samurai leaves for his meeting, and manages to bring all the bosses to his side. They even praise him. Sunfire and Rogue drop in, and attack the Samurai. The bosses panic and run away. During the fight, Rogue absorbs the Samurai’s memories and learns where he and Lady Deathstrike have been hiding. The Samurai escapes, but the heroes of course don’t worry about that now. Rogue learns more from the Samurai’s memories. In them, she has seen a mysterious woman, and could swear to have seen her before!

Full Summary: 

Roppongi Hills, Tokyo:

Rogue and Sunfire fly high over the hills. Rogue talks about how beautiful the city below them is, but Sunfire isn’t interested. She jokes about it, which is something he doesn’t understand. He can’t comprehend how Rogue can be joking at a time like this, when his cousin might be in danger. Rogue tries to make Shiro understand that the Silver Samurai is evil. Shiro gets angry, because he witnessed himself how the Samurai fought against criminals. He truly believes that the Samurai is a changed man. Sunfire believes that Kenuichio has been set up. Rogue isn’t so sure, as when she absorbed the memories from the pilot from the plane that was supposed to bring her to Japan, she learned that the pilot took his orders straight from Lady Deathstrike, who’s apparently working together with the Samurai.

They arrive at the Panchinko arcade, which Sunfire explains is a front for the Sumiyoshi-Kai gang. Shiro knows that the gang runs a private club upstairs the arcade, and will most likely know where to find his cousin. Hearing Sunfire talk like this takes Rogue back to a long time ago, when she had first joined the X-Men. She and Wolverine were also hunting down Yakuza hideouts, in the hope of locating the Samurai. The arcade is closed. Sunfire finds that odd, since it’s a Saturday. But he doesn’t care much, as he’s here to close them down forever!

Inside the arcade, boss Machii is leading his crew, attempting to get boxes of alcohol out. He warns them not to get any ideas and steal them, since they are all inventoried. His partner doesn’t see how they can fail, since the Oyabun’s head has been cut off. Machii gets angry, and threatens the woman with his knife, and tells her not to spread any rumors but to work. A guard warns Machii that they’ve got intruders. But he’s too late, as a burst of fire fills the entire chamber!

Sunfire, speaking in Japanese, demands from the mobster to answer him and tell him where the Silver Samurai is. Instead of answering, they open fire on the heroes. Rogue understands the language perfectly, at least for now, as when they entered she absorbed one of the guard’s memories. Sunfire isn’t impressed by the bullets. He shoots fire on them, and destroys all of the bullets including the guns, but without harming the gangsters. Sunfire again asks his questions, but the gangsters rather die than to squeal.

The fight opens again. Sunfire doesn’t notice that Machii is aiming at him. He fires, but Rogue quickly catches the bullet and throws it against Machii’s head. Sunfire hesitates this time, but then actually thanks Rogue for saving his life. Sunfire picks Machii up. He explains to him that, a day and a half ago, the Samurai send a plane to bring Rogue to Japan, but on it was Yuriko Oyama, who’s better known as Lady Deathstrike. Machii doesn’t see why he should even consider helping Sunfire. Sunfire slaps him, and tells Machii that he should consider helping them, because Shiro has learned that Kenuichio arranged the flight through someone from the Sumiyoshi-Kai who owed him a favor.

And, if Sunfire and the Samurai’s enemy showed up on the plane, Shiro will know for sure that his cousin has been set up. Machii doesn’t care. He still rather dies than to help Sunfire. But he wants to know why Shiro worries so much about the Samurai, like he is a victim. Machii explains to Shiro why he wonders, since he has found out that the Samurai has killed every Oyabun in Tokyo! Sunfire can’t believe it. Rogue’s understanding of Japanese has already faded away, so she asks Shiro for a translation. Shiro does that, telling her that the Silver Samurai has killed all the Godfathers of Japan. Rogue doesn’t want to take Machii’s word for truth. She knows that there’s only one way to discover the truth. She touches Machii’s head and absorbs his memories, and finds out that he really was telling the truth! He really does know nothing.

But Rogue did manage to pick up one thing that might help them. She tells to Shiro that Machii had his goons clearing all the valuables out of the arcade to take advantage of the current confusion, but he didn’t tell his men about the invitation he received this morning. Rogue takes out an envelope from Machii’s vest. She has discovered that the envelope says that a citywide truce will be called, and that every underboss and gang chief in town must report to the Mikado Cabaret by tomorrow night, to pay their respects to the new Oyabun of Tokyo: the Silver Samurai!

Sagacho District, Tokyo. The following evening:

The Silver Samurai finishes his mediation. The black-haired woman comes towards him, and asks the man if he’s ready. The Samurai asks her not to mock his actions, which will be as real as it can get. The woman claims not to mean any disrespect, as she knows like the best what’s going to happen. After all, without her, it wouldn’t even have been possible. The Samurai knows that and thanks the woman for it. The Samurai puts his helmet on and tells the woman that she’ll have the honor of calling the “greatest man of Japan” her friend.

At the back, Lady Deathstrike is training. She mocks to the memory thief that she’ll carve the friendship up to her tombstone. Deathstrike is angry with the woman, because though she has managed to prove her worth to the Samurai, since she did so much for him, the woman has yet to prove herself to Deathstrike. And if she won’t, Deathstrike promises her that she’ll die. The woman claims that she really did do something for Deathstrike, but she claims otherwise. The woman promised her that her plan would destroy Sunfire, and lure both Rogue and Mystique to her. But so far, Deathstrike still hasn’t seen any sign of Mystique and isn’t happy about that.

The woman regrets that, but suspects that Mystique might have suspected that she was involved, so maybe the blue mutant chose to steer clear. But, the woman says, she’s not the one who let Rogue slip through her fingers. Deathstrike gets angry and slashes the woman through her face. The Samurai calms her down, and promises Deathstrike that the woman’s plan will work out just as well for her as it did for him. Deathstrike just has to be patient for a while longer.

Deathstrike can’t believe her ears when the Samurai lectures her about patience. She knows how he always rushed headlong into a battle, heedless of the consequence. The Silver Samurai realizes that reckless anger will not serve him now as Oyabun. He knows that this is a new age, and they must be worthy of it. The Samurai asks Deathstrike to have faith, as her enemies will deliver themselves to her and Deathstrike shall proclaim what they have stolen from her father. The Samurai leaves, but first wants to know the memory thief’s real name. The woman smiles, as she usually doesn’t even let people remember that she exists. But, the woman tells both the Silver Samurai and Deathstrike to call her… Blindspot.

The Asakusa Rokku District:

All of the head bosses of the mafia are gathering in a building. Two of them are talking. One of them wonders if they are at the right place, since the door guards were from the Kanto-Kai, and the men guarding the perimeter were Ichiwa-Kai. He’s impatient and wants to know who organized this event. The other one notices that every small time mobster who wanted to be boss is present, but notices that half of the Wakagashira-Kai stayed home. The tension is thick enough for a knife to cut, and none of them feel comfortable.

Sunfire and Rogue dropped off Machii and his goons at Sunfire’s office building in Meguro and are being guarded by his security staff. Now, they are both under the city in the sewers, heading to the Rokku District. They’ve just got one more turn to make. Sunfire asks Rogue to let him handle things from now on. Rogue smiles, telling Shiro that they have that much in common: they both try to drive people away from them. Sunfire gets serious, and asks Rogue if she still has his memories in her, when she absorbed him. Rogue has. Sunfire tells Rogue that he could actually kill her for that. He explains that he spent a lifetime hiding in shame, and that with a touch Rogue exposes him as a fraud.

Rogue makes Shiro understand that there’s nothing fraud about all the good things he has done in his life. He has saved so many lives in his time as Sunfire. And Rogue is confident that they don’t care about one bit about the one mistake he might have made in the past. Sunfire realizes that the same could be said about Rogue. Rogue smiles, telling Shiro that was the thing she was trying to make him understand in the first place.

Upstairs, the mobsters get even more uncomfortable. Especially when the lights turn out. Everyone takes out their guns and prepare for action. Suddenly, the lights go back on. On the stage in front of them appears a Kabuki actor, who bids them welcome on behalf of the Silver Samurai. The Samurai explains to the bosses that he chose the actor for the same reason he chose to have this meeting in Asakusa.

The Samurai begins his speech. He says that, years ago, before the world war brought them to disgrace, Asakusa was the center of the arts in Tokyo. Here, he follows, Kabuki theaters flourished in the shadow of the Senso-Ji temple. Here, he continues, they took strength from the old ways even as they rebuilt their future. The Samurai says that today, this district has gone to seed. A reflection of Japan’s lost sense of wa. He knows that even the might Yakuza has lost its way and forgotten its roots. The Samurai speaks to his brothers now, and tells them that they must once again look to the past to secure their future. He says that one Oyabun still lives, and that he is that Oyabun.

Someone from the crowd calls the Samurai a liar, as he knows that the Samurai has spent the last couple of years trying to dismantle the Yashida Clan. “Did I,” the Samurai smirks. Or did he just lull his cousin into thinking he did while he prepared his masterstroke? A mobster fires at the Samurai, who blocks the bullet away with his charged up sword. He speaks louder, telling the crowd that they must never again doubt him, and that the age of the Silver Shogun has begun! Everyone cheers for the Samurai.

Rogue and Sunfire enter. Sunfire is furious to see his brother have turned to evil again. He still doesn’t know why he needed to end both his and Rogue’s lives for that, but that’s a concern for later. Right now, Sunfire wants to fight. He shoots flames until they spread across the entire room. All the mobsters run away, and eventually only Rogue, Sunfire and the Silver Samurai are left. Rogue manages to grab the Samurai, but absorbs his memories in the process.

The Samurai quickly recovers and escapes through a hole in the wall. Sunfire wants to follow him, but Rogue asks Shiro to wait. Thanks to the Samurai’s memories, Rogue has learned that he and Lady Deathstrike are hiding in a safe house in the Sagacho District. But, Rogue has also seen someone else with them. A woman. And Rogue could swear to have seen her before!

Characters Involved: 



Silver Samurai

Lady Deathstrike

Blindspot II (the mysterious black-haired woman)

Kanto, Machii and various other unnamed mafia members

Story Notes: 

The cover of this issue is an homage to Uncanny X-Men #173. Even the Spider-Man logo, which was on all Marvel Comics at the time, is printed again, and also we see the heads of the characters on the small frame on the left. UXM #173 was a rather historical issue for the X-Men. It featured the first appearance of Storm’s punk look, Cyclops introduced Madelyne Pryor to the X-Men and Wolverine’s cancelled marriage to Mariko. Ironically, in said issue, like Rogue herself says, both she and Wolverine also take on the Japanese mafia, in particular the Yakuza, in the hope of locating the Silver Samurai, who was working for Viper at the time. Coincidence?

The mysterious black-haired woman finally gets named in this issue. Blindspot I was a female villain of a newer version of the Mutant Liberation Front, and could generate intense flashes of light from her hands and had a teleportation device. However, she was quickly killed by their associate Simon Trask when she refused to battle the Punisher. If there’s a connection between these two characters is currently unknown, but most likely not. [Punisher (3rd series) #12-16]

“Yakuza” literally means 8 (Ya)-9(Ku)-3(Za). The name comes from a Japanese card game named Oicho-Kabu, which is comparable to the American Black Jack, which is mostly played in the Las Vegas casinos. It’s the highest score you can get in the game. Yakuza’s origin can be followed far back as to the year of 1612. They were first known as “Kabuki-mono,” translated crazy men. They got that reputation because they dressed oddly, and spoke in a vigorous slang. However, people began taking them seriously when they started killing people just for fun. The one thing that was noticeable about the Yakuza was that the members were extremely loyal to each other no matter how bad the situation was. Eventually they split off and became ronin (samurai without masters), bank robbers etc. However, they reunited in the 17th century under the pretence of family and safety, since all members of the Yakuza now seem to have a lot of things in common: raised in poverty, bad childhood and a past of criminality and misfits.

The Japanese word “Oyabun”, translated means “big boss”. He is the undisputed leader of a mafia gang, with authority over all of his subordinates.

“Wa” means “harmony” in English translation.

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