Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #257

Issue Date: 
January 1990
Story Title: 
Lady Mandarin

Chris Claremont (writer), Jim Lee (Penciler), Josef Rubinstein (Inker), all available (letterer), Glynis Oliver (colorist), Bob Harras (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in chief)

Brief Description: 

In the service of the Hand and the Mandarin, the brainwashed Psylocke establishes herself as Lady Mandarin, reestablishing the Mandarin’s control over the Hong Kong underworld. With that accomplished, her master, Matsuo Tsurabaya, orders her to take care of a potential, recently-arrived enemy, Patch. Wolverine has come to Hong Kong with Jubilee’s help, although he is still suffering both from his extensive injuries and from hallucinations. He and Jubilee visit Rose Wu, a friend of his working for Landau, Luckman & Lake. While shopping, Jubilee and Rose’ granddaughter are kidnapped by Psylocke. The Ninjas later confront Wolverine. Logan has the upper hand in the battle until he recognizes his teammate, Psylocke. She uses his confusion to take him out. In Cairo, Illinois, Storm, changed to a prepubescent child, is on the run from both the police and the Shadow King, not remembering her life with the X-Men. On Muir Isle, Banshee, who feels a wrongness, asks Forge to install a backdoor into the defense system he’s installing, so that they can slip back in undetected, should something be wrong. Polaris fears that the wrongness is her fault. Before she can act on this, though, she is taken prisoner by the mentally instable telepath Legion.

Full Summary: 

Hong Kong, night, outside a temple. A purple-haired woman, dressed in a modern version of a Chinese-style armor, haughtily announces that she is Lady Mandarin to the assembled lords of the Hong Kong underworld. She continues that she bids them welcome in the name of her master and reminds them of their old allegiances and pledges of fealty to him.

The criminals scoff. The Mandarin was once a name to be feared, but that is a thing of the past. Why should they respect, much less, follow a man who has consistently proved unable to defeat the lowliest of America’s so-called “superheroes?” They tell her to leave, lest she be taught a lesson she’ll never forget. Psylocke smirks. She was just about to say the same to them.

One of the lords commands the henchmen to kill her. They try their very best but Psylocke defends herself, not only with accomplished martial arts moves but also with her telepathy, as well as the Mandarin’s rings of power. She makes several of them believe they have gunned her down, only to do the same to them with a sadistic glee. Seeing their cadres decimated, the crimelords realize that she is wearing the Mandarin’s rings and that she might very well do the same to them.

Her hands crackling with energy, Psylocke admits that the thought is tempting, but their executions serve no good purpose beyond her pleasure, unless they fail to take this lesson to heart. They are all free to continue their operations, but under the Mandarin’s overall control. He will be their overlord. If they accept this new order, their future will be one of unlimited potential and prosperity. If they don’t, then there will be no future for them. The lords don’t reply but it is clear to them that they have no choice and Psylocke basks in the glow of victory.

Elsewhere, in the Hong Kong harbor, the Royal Harbor Police board a junk, to be expected by Jubilee. They are suspicious about a young American girl being alone on this junk, until Wolverine, in his Patch identity (wearing his eyepatch), joins them to ask what’s wrong. The men recognize and clearly respect - possibly even fear - him, telling him that this was merely a formality and they’ll be on their way.

Jubilee starts a scene. She does everything, from scrounging for food, to taking care of him to sailing this boat and then he expects she can’t handle a bunch of hick cops? And what’s with the eyepatch? It’s a disguise, he replies. Sarcastically, she tells him she’s impressed. Works for him, he remarks. He once again is accompanied by his hallucinations of Nick Fury and Carol Danvers. The latter tells him to tell Jubilee. Wolverine replies that she is to stay out of this, managing to weird out Jubilee. A moment later Wolverine collapses, just as “Carol” and “Fury” feared. His wounds have opened again.

Jubilee wants to get a doctor, while Wolverine assures her he’ll be fine. He’ll be dead, if he keeps it up, Jubilee shouts. He drags her all across the world, he’d better survive to take her home. So much for his mutant healing factor, ”Carol” states. Once again addressing the phantom, Wolverine replies that he always wondered if it had its limits. Jubilee asks whom he is talking to. Wolverine “introduces” Carol and Nick, to which an exasperated Jubilee shouts that there’s nobody else here. Humoring her, Wolverine agrees and then continues his conversation with “Carol,” telling her he’s got a plan. Jubilee is seriously worried. Wolverine hasn’t slept since they hitched up together. Something is bound to snap sooner or later, unless it already has…

Cairo, Illinois:

In a closed electronics shop, the TVs in the shop windows are showing a news report, displaying the picture of a white-haired young girl wanted for the murder of Dr Stuart Hayden. The investigation is headed by FBI inspector Jacob Reisz. Standing in the rain and taking in the report, young Ororo protests that the TV lies. She didn’t slay the doctor, the evil one, masquerading as the policeman did. He wants to claim her soul and make her his slave, as he did with Dr Shen. Cairo has changed and isn’t at all as she remembers it. It has grown so cold. More of the evil one’s sorcery?

Two policemen catch sights of her, ordering her to freeze. Ororo runs into a dead end alley. The cops follow, one of them feeling sorry for her, the other trigger-happy. They find the alley empty, even though there’s no visible means of escape. Maybe she’s on he roof, the one cop suggests. Only if she can fly, the other one scoffs. On the roof, a crying Ororo chastises herself to get up and run, fearing that, no matter what she does, sooner or later she will be caught.

Hong Kong, the office of Landau, Luckman & Lake:

An elderly, overweight Chinese woman called Rose happily greets Logan and hugs him warmly, chastising him for never having written or dropped by before. She notes, though, that he looks unhealthy. It’s bad, he admits. When she asks after the girl, he just curtly explains she is his lifeline.

Nearby, Jubilee is fascinated by a picture showing Logan and a younger Rose in a city that seems to be straight out of Bladerunner. Rose introduces Jubilee to her granddaughter, Ruth, a young woman, somewhat older than Jubilee, and suggests she show her the local sights, while she and Logan talk business. Wondering if this is Logan’s way of ditching her, Jubilee leaves with Ruth.

Apparently being able to perceive Logan’s phantoms (as “Carol” has already made herself comfortable on the couch) Rose pointedly tells Logan that there’s room for two there, before exploding and shouting what the devil’s happened. Logan gives her the short version of how he has been caught and horribly tortured by the Reavers and will probably die if they get him again. Hell, he might already be done for and is just too stubborn to admit it. He has to find the other X-Men and figured this was a good place to start.

Regrettable timing, Rose states matter-of-fact, as she pours him some tea. The Mandarin’s consolidating control over the local underworld. So far he’s winning but the natives are very restless. The whole town could blow wide open any moment. He doesn’t want to be caught in the middle. As soon as he has what he needs, he’ll be gone, Logan promises.

The South China Sea, an island used as the Hand’s headquarters. The primary seamount is hollows, with a central core nearly a thousand feet tall. Crowned by a network of floating platforms, which are the finest example of sustained anti-gravity on the planet. Here, the Ninjas train, Psylocke amongst them. One slip can mean disaster, Psylocke realizes, as she falls to a lower platform, followed by a ninja who intends to finish her off. She easily evades his sword blow, though, and takes him out with her psychic knife.

It is the ultimate focus of her psionic power, she muses, but unfortunately its reach is only as long as her arm. She doesn’t pay attention and finds a blade at her throat the next moment. Matsup Tsurabaya chides her. For all her telepathic powers she failed to notice his presence. In a true battle… Psylocke understands and begs her Jonin’s forgiveness.

Later, as she relaxes in a bath, Tsurabaya states that she acquitted herself well in Hong Kong as Lady Mandarin. She faced common street thrash, she replies. It was almost too easy. He has a more challenging task for her, then. A man name “Patch” has arrived, possibly an emissary for Tyger Tiger, the major crimelord on Madripoor. They need to determine his purpose. Pslyocke promises to do so.

Tsurabaya rambles on, loudly wondering why they even bother. The Mandarin has abandoned his affairs at home to go gallivanting across the globe picking gratuitous fights with American superheroes. Has he no notion of how another public defeat will destroy his newly established credibility? It is not their concern, he finishes, as he hands Psylocke the headpiece of her armor. The Hand is sworn to serve him, as she is sworn to serve the Hand, with all their hearts. With all her heart, Psylocke echoes with less conviction.

On the streets of Hong Kong, Ruth shows Jubilee around. Jubes isn’t overly impressed with her first sights of Chinese ground. If this is what home is like, no wonder her parents emigrated to America, she figures. They draw the attention of a street gang and the leader touches Jubilee’s glasses, asking if she wants to party. ‘Hands off,’ she tells him in English. The man switches to English as well, asking her if she’s a “Yankee banana” girl, yellow on the outside, white within. He can try and peel her, she threatens, then he’ll see some fireworks.

Ruth grabs Jubilee by the coat and drags her away, asking her what was she thinking. You don’t threaten gang members on their own turf. She’s seen hairier marshmallows, Jubes scoffs. And now Ruth made her drop all her bags, too. Giggling, Ruth suggest than they have to shop some more, but first she suggests they get some food, Nothing that wiggles, though, Jubilee warns her. That moment, both girls are grabbed from behind.

Muir Isle, home of Moira MacTaggert’s research center, where the mutant inventor, Forge, has been busy installing a defense system as a response to the Reavers’ attack. They can begin testing in a few days, he announces. Moira stresses that they have to be ready, should the Reavers or any like them come for them again. As she leaves, Forge tells Banshee he is a lucky man. Moira is one fine-looking lady. Sean agrees, but silently worries. Lately, Moira has been wilder in dress and manner than she used to be in the past.

He asks Forge if he can design a “back door” into the system that’ll admit the two of them and which none of the others will be aware of. Anything could happen while they’ll be on the road looking for the X-Men. He’d feel better knowing they could get back in, no matter what, should something go wrong. Forge picks up on Sean’s mood. Apparently, he feels something already has gone wrong.

Secretly eavesdropping on their conversation, Lorna Dane, outside the room, fears that it’s her fault. Ever since she’s lost her magnetic powers, everywhere she’s gone people around her start behaving more and more negatively. Suddenly, she’s paralyzed, as Legion mindlocks her. Grinning, the troubled young telepath announces that, with her help, this rock and everyone on it is going to become his personal playground.

The Hong Kong harbor, at night. Logan stands on the junk he shares with Jubilee, smoking a cigar and worrying. There’s no sign of Jubilee or Ruth. Rose has lines out to the tongs and triads - the Chinese crime syndicates - but none of them seems to be responsible. Who then? Logan begins to cough violently, realizing that his healing factor can’t even cope with tobacco now. He throws the cigar away. And it lands on the head of a Ninja, who’s secretly climbing up the junk.

Logan’s still lost in thought. All his life, no matter how badly he was hurt, he got better. Suppose that’s changed? Nearby and unnoticed, the Ninjas enter the junk. The people on the other junks become aware of them, but dare not do anything or call the police for fear of retribution.

On the junk, the Ninjas find that Wolverine is gone. They intend to begin searching, when there’s a ‘snikt’ sound and Logan, now dressed in the black costume he wears on his Madripoor solo missions, comes jumping at them. He makes short work of the genin, announcing that he’d been wondering if they’d ever tangle again. The Ninjas wonder where he knows them from.

Suddenly, Jubilee is on the roof of the junk’s cabin and starts glowing and sending out fireworks to get everyone’s attention. Wolverine senses something wrong with the girl. He’s right, as, behind her, Lady Mandarin shows up, clearly controlling the girl. She warns Wolverine to surrender or suffer the consequences.

She tosses her cape over his head, momentarily blinding him. He tears it away but feels confused. Something about her is familiar, but different than it should be. As she kicks at him, she boasts that, with her telepathy, she can sense his moves before he makes them. Yet she misses. Wolverine gains the upper hand, because to him thought and action are one. His blow shatters her headpiece that was partially obscuring her face and Wolverine is in for the shock of his life, as he recognizes his teammate, Psylocke. Without missing a beat, Psylocke fries his brain with her psychic knife.

The blade also established a telepathic rapport and Psylocke knows that it is Wolverine. Now, at long last, the Hand shall be revenged on one of its greatest foes, she announces triumphantly.

Characters Involved: 

Jubilee, Psylocke, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Banshee, Polaris (former X-Men)

Forge (X-Men ally)

Moira MacTaggert

Sharon Friedlander


Rose Wu (old friend of Wolverine’s)

Ruth (Rose’s granddaughter)

Hong Kong harbor patrol

Cairo cops

Hong Kong street gang

Matsuo Tsuarabaya (Jonin of the Hand)

Genin of the Hand

Lords of the Hong Kong underworld


Wolverine’s hallucinations

Carol Danvers, Nick Fury

on television

de-aged Storm

Dr Lian Shen

FBI inspector Jacob Reisz (host body for the Shadow King)

in photograph


younger Rose Wu

Story Notes: 

This is part of the Act of Vengeance crossover, where villains attack heroes all over the world in a coordinated effort.

Rose’s photo seems to be a hint towards Logan’s extra-dimensional activities with Landau, Luckman & Lake.

Wolverine has connections to Tyger Tiger and actually helped her rise to power, as shown in Marvel Comics Presents #1-10.

Jubilee’s costume with the colors red, yellow and green and the short pants is a clear homage to Batman’s sidekick, Robin.

Issue Information: 
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