Wolverine (2nd series) #107

Issue Date: 
November 1996
Story Title: 
Once Upon a Time in Little Tokyo

Larry Hama (writer), Anthony Winn (penciler), Dan Green (inker), Gloria Vasquez (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft/KF (letters), Mark Powers (associate editor), Bob Harras (editor & chief), cover by Adam Kubert

Dedicated to the memory of Mark Gruenwald

Brief Description: 

In Japan, Logan goes to pay a visit on Yukio and Amiko but finds their apartment inhabited by members of the Hand. Disposing of them, Logan is assaulted by members of the military. Eventually, Logan is able to get away and makes it to a local yakuza gambling hall, requesting sanctuary. After initial denial, he is granted sanctuary by Shirohana, the Pale Flower. In another location, Akatora and his associates hold Yukio hostage and work on brainwashing Amiko to follow them. His ultimate target: Logan. Back at the gambling hall, Shirohana and Logan share a meal together. Ultimately, Shirohana tells Logan that she is the daughter of the deceased Dai-Kumo and poisons Logan with blowfish toxin. However, thanks to Logan’s healing factor, it has no effect on him. Just then, an armored military vehicle crashes into the gambling hall much to Shirohana’s chagrin. She then proceeds to blame Logan for it and he tells her what goes around comes around.

Full Summary: 

Tokyo. Obligation time. Some obligations are strictly social, weddin’s o’ business associates, the neighbor’s birthday and then ya got the obligations o’ the heart.

Logan is about to knock on Yukio’s door to fulfill one o’ those obligations and usin’ an image inducer, at least he can do it without scarin’ Amiko but somethin’ ain’t quite right. Unbeknownst to him, a food vendor outside radios that the subject is inside and he’s alone. Their subject is also carrying lots of packages that could be weapons and advises caution. Inside the high-rise, Logan stands in front of Yukio’s door carrying a bike and a bunch of neatly wrapped presents.

Just then, he catches a scent and realizes that ain’t the familiar scent o’ Yukio and lil’ Amiko. He recognizes two heartbeats and controlled breathin’ through a mask and the sharp stink o’ clove oil. Bursting into the apartment, he exclaims that it smells like ninja spirit. Once inside, he sees two members of the Hand, ransacking the room. Logan says to them that he has a feelin’ they ain’t got the good karma to attain nirvana. He then asks them where Yukio and the kid are and what ninjas of the Hand are doin’ ransackin’ their flat. When the ninjas unsheathe their swords, Logan tells them wrong answer and asks if they are sure they wanna do this.

Without a sound, the ninjas attack. As Logan blocks their sword strikes, he tells them that facing him is gonna hurt. In short time, he slashes both of them and they disintegrate. When they do, Logan laments that one o’ these days, he’s gotta find out how they do this spontaneous combustion trick. Just then, a third ninja attacks Logan. This one tells him that the ways of death for the Hand ninjas are not for gaijin dogs to know. Gathering himself, Logan replies that the ninja said a mouthful and that bein’ dead is somethin’ he’d rather him knew more about than him and proceeds to stab the ninja through the chest. Before disintegrating, the ninja speaks into his communicator that it’s him and that he is in Yukio’s apartment.

Just then, Logan hears a voice booming from outside addressing him as “mutant” and ordering him to surrender immediately. Out on the street, a member of a military unit, flanked by military like tanks, calls out to Logan that he is surrounded and that escape is impossible. They know through confidential informants that he is a dangerous mutant and they have the means and the will to neutralize him. They wish to question him about the disappearance and possible murder of the woman and child who occupied that apartment.

Inside the apartment, Logan recognizes that the Hand, an ancient order of ninjas with a long-standing grudge against him set him up. They’ve got Yukio and Amiko stashed somewhere for insurance. Big mistake. Yukio’s a ronin, a ninja without a master, and an old friend of his. The kid, Amiko, is an orphan that Yukio took in as her own. They’re family and you just don’t mess with that. They just want him on ice. If they wanted him dead, they’d have tried to do him the old-fashioned way – with a sword. He gave Silver Samurai the Honor Sword of the Yashida Clan in return for his promise to keep an eye on Yukio and Amiko. Looks like he has a refund comin’.

From a nearby rooftop, a sniper informs his boss that he has an infrared image and a chance for a good headshot but he may get substantial bullet deflection from the window glass and blinds. His boss informs him that he, Logan, had his chance for surrender and that he has his firing order. With that, the sniper takes a shot which hits Logan in the shoulder. When he does, a hail of gunfire rains down on Logan and the military unit storms the complex, heading to the second floor where he is at. Logan runs down his options and determines that there’s no fire escape and no back door but at least the walls are thin.

Using his claws, he cuts through the wall and offers a thousand pardons to the shocked young couple on the other side. Seeing their motorcycle, he asks if he can borrow it. The young man replies sure to which his girlfriend says that he lends his bike to some strange crazy gaijin but he don’t even let her drive it. The man tells her that she doesn’t have claws and rip down walls and now, here he thought it was safer in the apartment than parked on the street. Seeing the military unit bearing down on him, Logan tells them that he’ll try his best to bring it back if he lives that long. As they open up fire towards him, Logan drives out the window, lands on top of a tank, and then the street below. Seeing him drive away, the commander tries to direct the tank fire towards him but it’s too late, he’s getting away. He gives the command to cease fire for they are going to hit civilians or even worse, damage private property.

Meanwhile, the military has problems of their own. A giant winged dragon has attacked and is burning everything to the ground. From one of the tanks, a troop calls out that even the tri-lithium hyper-energy projectiles have no effect on Kojiro, Tokyo is doomed! Another exclaims that they were fools to have continued dumping chemical wastes in the China sea where fossilized dinosaur eggs were known to have been found.

Just then, somebody yells out cut. The director proceeds to tell Akatora, the man wearing the dragon costume, that he was brilliant as always, such subtle text, such inner meaning. Removing the costume’s head, Akatora replies that the soulless creations of computer can never replace a true artist. In no time, Akatora is surrounded by beautiful women offering him his chivas on the rocks, his hand-rolled Havana cigar, and his cell phone. Talking on his phone, he is shocked to learned that he, Logan, escaped the trap. He then asks that he didn’t find out where they have the woman and the brat stashed, did he. When he learns that Logan didn’t, his response is to thank Kwannon for small mercies. He says don’t worry, he can’t get far… where can a gaijin go to ground in Tokyo?

Driving his new found bike through Tokyo, Logan recalls that some o’ the Yakuza gamblin’ dens in the Shinjuku district are traditional, with players kneelin’ on mats but a few fancy themselves to be in a class with the sleaze palaces of Las Vegas and Atlantic City. As he drives the bike inside one of those “classier” places, one of the patrons calls out that an intruder has entered and that they’re being raided. When a bunch of guards brandishing swords and guns surround him, Logan tells them to ease up, he’s no cop, nor is he a raider from another Clan. One of the men tell him then he is a crazy gaijin trespasser and he will be shot like a dog.

Getting off the bike, Logan holds up his hands and tells them that he’s an outlaw and as such, he seeks sanctuary from the Yakuza Clan that runs the gambling hall. He is informed that sanctuary applies only to brother Yakuza, not to foreign born barbarians. The order is then given to cut him down. No sooner as do the members of the clan attack Logan, he easily kills them with his claws. After killing to of them, he tells them that he’s got no mercy for lowlifes who would cut down a man they think is unarmed. He then asks if anybody there wants to try him now. The response – they’ve no time to waste with high-talking trash. Gun him down.

Brandishing a sword from one of his fallen foes, Logan introduces himself and tells them that he was formally adopted into the Yashida Clan, former betrothed of Mariko Yashida, and former custodian of the Honor Sword. He then apologizes for his rude entrance and again requests sanctuary according to the law of the Yakuza.

At that moment, a very attractive young lady emerges and applauds Logan and tells him in English that was well spoken. In Japanese, she introduces herself as Shirohana, the pale flower and oyabun of the Double Jade Clan, controller of all gambling in the district. She cannot offer him sanctuary until his credentials are verified, but she can declare a truce until that matter is cleared up. She then tells him that, in the meantime, there’s no reason to be hungry or thirsty and leads him over to the dining area. As they make their way over there, Logan asks her that she speaks English. Shirohana replies almost as well as he speaks Japanese.

Meanwhile, in the middle of Tokyo Bay, Akatora kneels by a chained up Yukio while his female associate, toting a rifle, watches on. Akatora informs Yukio that her friend Logan has escaped their trap but there is more than one way to skin a Wolverine. Perhaps they can turn those who love him against him. Yukio responds by spitting in Akatora’s face. When she does, Akatora’s female associate smacks Yukio with the butt of her rifle and calls her an insolent she-dog. Wiping his face clean, Akatora tells Yukio that was a futile gesture. They know they can never turn her around, but the little one, she is another story. Realizing what he means, Yukio yells at him that if he harms Amiko, she swears she’ll…

As he goes to leave, Akatora says harm her, they are not barbarians. At the top of the steps, he drops through a trap door and asks two more of his female associates how their little princess is today. They tell him that they are just having more and more fun with every passing moment. Riding on a carousel horse and eating ice cream, Amiko is having a blast. She asks if she can watch “Sailor Moon” now. She is told that she can do whatever she pleases. Heading to where the television is, Akatora asks Amiko isn’t this much better that the ratty little room she used to live in. Amiko replies much nicer and calls him uncle Akatora. Upon hearing that, Akatora tells one of his associates to step up the subliminal indoctrination as of this afternoon.

Leaving Amiko and his associates, Akatora and his gun toting female associate enter a secret location. Akatora tells her, Miho, to make sure the blast door is double-locked. Miho confirms that it will be double-locked and keyed to the security system. She then asks him if he wants his hourly report. Holding the cell phone to his ear, he is informed that the spies have been busy. They have tracked the gaijin Logan to the gambling hall of Shirohana, the Pale Flower. Should they dispatch a ninja wet team. Akatora informs them that will not be necessary, simply drop a yen on the noodle vendor.

At the hall of the Double Jade Clan, Logan and Shirohana sit down to eat. Shirohana proceeds to ask Logan how is it that he came to be a fugitive. Logan informs her that it all started with a dragon, another one o’ them giant critters that smash up Tokyo every now and then. Amikos’ mom was part o’ the ‘collateral damage’ and he promised her he’d watch after her kid before she died in her arms. Continuing to eat and drink, he adds that he had arranged for an old friend, Yukio, to assume guardianship o’ the kid. But both o’ them have gone missing and it looks like the Hand are behind it. He tells her that he bets the Hand set him up with the government special tac forces, because that’s who showed up and rained on his parade. Shirohana tells him that she must admit, she finds much about him to be quite admirable. However, there are obligations to be met.

She asks if he remembers a yakuza chief in Osaka named Dai-Kumo. It was a certain Mr. Patch, aka Logan, along with a renegade assassin named Reiko who brought about the downfall of Dai-Kumo’s entire clan. Dai-Kumo’s daughter was forced to leave Osaka and start from scratch in Tokyo, as the Pale Flower. She then says to Logan that she hopes he’s enjoying his fish, it is blowfish and there is no antidote for the toxin.

At that moment, Logan gets a frightened look on his face and lurches backwards onto the floor, saying that he is dying. Once Shirohana and her associates circle around him, Logan pops up and asks what’s for desert. Pointing their weapons at him, one of the men shout impossible, he consumed enough toxin to kill twenty men. Logan replies twenty men without a healing factor.

At that moment, a large armored military vehicle crashes into the gambling hall. It is followed by a military commander, who states that the noodle vendor’s tip was accurate as usual as there is the mutant dog himself. They can do the community a service by eliminating the gangster scum while they’re at it. Firing back at the military, Shirohana says to Logan that again, he’s brought ruination down on her house. Taking a swig off a bottle, Logan tells her what goes around, comes around.

Characters Involved: 


Yukio and Amiko

Akatora and his followers (Miho is the only one named)

Shirohana (oyabun of the Double Jade Clan and daughter of the late Dai-Kumo)

Various members of the Yakuza Clan (all unnamed)

Various members of the Hand (all unnamed)

Various members of the government’s special forces unit (all unnamed)

Various residents of Tokyo (all unnamed)

Story Notes: 

This issue is dedicated to the memory of Mark Gruenwald, who unfortunately passed away in August of 1996 from a heart attack. He primarily worked for Marvel and among other things, wrote Captain America, Thor and the Avengers.

The phrase “smells like ninja spirit” is a reference to the popular Nirvana song “Smells like Teen Spirit.”

Logan gave the Honor Sword of the Yashida Clan to the Silver Samurai in exchange for his promise to keep an eye on Yukio and Amiko back in Wolverine (2nd series) #82.

“Sailor Moon” is a popular Japanese anime.

Logan promised to look after Amiko in Uncanny X-Men #181.

Dai-Kumo and the rest of his clan were killed by Logan and Reiko back in Wolverine (2nd series) #33. Dai-Kumo, by Reiko’s umbrella sword.

Issue Information: 
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