Wolverine (2nd series) #109

Issue Date: 
January 1997
Story Title: 

Larry Hama (script), Anthony Winn (pencils), Dan Green with Vince Russell (inks), Joe Rosas (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft/KF (letters), Bob Harras (editor & chief), cover by Adam Kubert {Technically, the staff isn’t listed in this issue. However, it appears to be quite similar to last issues art, etc.}

Brief Description: 

In the streets of Japan, Logan saves the noodle vendor from being assassinated by a crew of cyber-ninjas. He is then able to convince the vendor to assist him in finding where his ward, Amiko is. Meanwhile, Emi, Sumi and Akatora continue to brainwash Amiko into thinking that Wolverine is the bad guy, going as far as to providing her with a dagger to kill him. Boarding a ferry, Logan, Pale Flower, Yohei and the noodle vendor make their way out to Akatora’s island. Once there, Logan engages in battle with Akatora’s henchmen, killing them all while the rest of his crew save Amiko and Yukio. When it is down to a solo battle between Logan and Akatora, Logan wins by slashing him across the face. At that moment, Pale Flower, Yohei and the noodle vendor appear with Amiko and Yukio. Akatora then informs Logan that one of them is a ninja of the Hand who will kill Amiko. Immediately, Logan surmises that it is Yohei and kills him by throwing a sword through him. However, when he then turns to deal with Akatora, he discovers that he has disappeared. In another part of his island, Akatora tells his assistants that he is but a pawn in the game of the Hand. His job was to place an assassin close to Logan, which he has done. Boarding a life raft to make it back to the mainland, Logan promises Yukio and Amiko that he will make it back to Japan to visit; they just have to be patient. With a gleam in her eyes, Amiko says that she will be patient, as she has much training to do in the meantime.

Full Summary: 

In downtown Tokyo, a couple of cyber-ninjas hold their weapons to an unarmed and obviously scared noodle vendor. Just then, they turn when they hear a sound coming from his cart. Logan just stands there and prepares himself a bowl of noodles. He tells the ninjas not to mind him and to just go about their business. He’ll just help himself and leave the money on the cart.

Dismissing him, one of the ninjas replies that they will deal with him later. However, the assassin is unaware the man’s name is Logan, or that most folks know him better as Wolverine. He came to Japan to check on a couple o’ friends o’ his. Yukio and Amiko. Instead, he’s found himself in a whole mess o’ trouble.

Logan informs the ninjas to take their time, he’s not going anywhere. One of the ninjas says that the noodle vendor, on the other hand, is going directly to that special hell reserved for informers and traitors. With that, he opens up fire upon the noodle vendor but misses. Watching the vendor avoid contact, Logan tells him that is some mighty good duckin’ and weavin’ but he had better take the offensive before they get down to serious slicin’ and dicin’. Just then, the noodle vendor kicks over his cart and knocks it over onto one of the ninjas. Logan mentions that was a good one, parboil him with the noodle vendor.

As the other ninja goes to deliver the killing blow with his sword, the vendor blocks it with a pan and simultaneously stabs him with a long sharp knife, killing him. Logan tells him not bad; he swings a mean sauce pan for a stool pigeon. The noodle vendor peers at him and asks the mutant that he wants information from him as well. Wouldn’t it have behooved him to keep him alive? Logan replies that he was savin’ himself for the main event. The noodle vendor begins to ask what but before he can get it out a crew of cyber-ninjas appear out of nowhere. Logan says to him that he didn’t think the Hand would send only two guys with no backup, did he?

Brandishing a meat cleaver and knife, the noodle vendor calls out, “help me mutant.” Logan, still eating his noodles, tells him that he knows his name; he’s been finkin’ on him to everybody and his uncle. The noodle vendor calls out “help me Logan.” Logan proceeds to stick his bowl of noodles in the face of one of the ninjas and tells the noodle vendor that’s Logan-san to him. When the noodle vendor exclaims Logan-san, Logan tells him that’s better and takes out the ninja in front of him. He then pops his bone claws and says that it’s time to turn up the thrash-o-meter and go to throw-down city.

After a few short moments, all of the cyber-ninjas have been disposed of. With his back turned to the noodle vendor, he tells him that he knows what he’s thinkin’ and it’s a mistake and retracts his claws. With Pale Flower and Yohei holding the noodle vendor at bay, Logan tells him that he didn’t think he’d walk into this without a backup, did he. He then tells him to start spillin’ the beans on why this bad karma is comin’ down on him and where his ward Amiko is being held.

On Akatora’s island in the middle of Tokyo bay, where a child’s game masks a vile purpose and where the love of an innocent will find its harshest challenge. As Amiko, Emi, and Sumi ride the carousel, Emi asks Amiko if she is having a good time. Amiko replies oh yes. Emi then points out the little bear riding a tricycle and his hat. Doesn’t he have a wonderful hat? Staring at the hat, Amiko’s eyes start to droop. Emi asks her if she is getting sleepy and if her eyelids are getting heavy. She adds that the music playing is so soothing.

Sumi asks her if she remembers that day walking with her mother in Tokyo and suddenly a big shadow fell over her. Amiko starts to cry and says it was a dragon. Sumi asks if she remembers how her and her mother ran and ran. Amiko replies that they couldn’t run fast enough. Sumi asks if she remembers the dragon changing. Amiko asks that it did?? Sumi says oh yes. Maybe it changed into Wolverine while she wasn’t looking and then, it killed her mother. Amiko says no, the dragon killed her mother. Logan-san saved her, he… he… Sumi tells her that’s what he made her think. But now, they know the truth.

As Amiko begins to cry, she says that Logan was laughing after he… he… Wiping the tears from her eyes, the bear says to her that they know how badly she must be hurting inside. It is so painful to find out that someone you trusted and loved was really the murderer of your mother. But they know how to make the pain go away, yes they do. As they offer the smaller, toy bear to Amiko, Amiko says that she doesn’t want a silly toy, she wants… Pulling the head off of the toy bear, the larger bear reveals a dagger in the body of it. The bear tells her this is what she wants. The blade is dipped in deadly blowfish toxin. Yes, she knows what she must do. But she must bide her time and she must wait and learn how to use the blade and many other things that will help her in her revenge. Oh yes, indeed.

Halfway across the bay, on a boat, Logan says to Pale Flower that they’re fixin’ to raid this Akatora’s private island and it is supposedly a movie studio with sound stages and sets. Pale Flower, dressed as a kabuki performer, replies that Akatora is a famous auteur. He is the creator of the long-running hit series of films about a sympathetic fire-breathing prehistoric monster named Kojiro. But that is all just a front for the many criminal activities he oversees. It is also said he has connections to the ancient order of the Hand. Logan tells her that he knows all about that bunch an’ they know plenty about him.

From the bow of the boat, the noodle vendor points off in the distance and says out there is the island. Many of the actors, stage-hands, cameramen and grips on that rock are ninjas of the Hand. They are all remorseless killers. Turning around, he tells them that now he’s told all he knows, to please turn the ferry around and leave him on the shore. Logan informs him this is a one-way excursion. He can take a dip like he’s gonna do or he can have Yohei rustle him up some hardware to fend off cyber-ninjas with. With that, Logan leaps off the ferry into the water below.

On the island itself, five of the actors sit around drinking hot beverages and smoking cigarettes. One is dressed as a gorilla, while another is dressed as a spider. Three others are dressed as alien like creatures. The one dressed as a gorilla complains that this is no life for a ninja and that they are getting soft. They should be assassinating enemies of the Hand, not indulging the stupidity of a wielding. The one dressed as a spider says that they must be prepared to confront the one called Logan, even if it means doing so by unconventional means. Their brothers who were sent after the noodle vendor did not come back after all. The gorilla points out that they were cyber ninjas of the Death Touch Cult too.

Just then, one of the cameramen calls out to the other to look at the new monster who just appeared. He asks the oversized teddy bear who he is, Winnie-the-Zilla. The man wearing the teddy bear outfit removes his mask to reveal himself as Akatora. He then tells them all that they shall do as he asks. As a trio of ladies assists him in changing into his real costume, that of the dragon Kojiro, he tells his workers to get into place; they are at the top of scene 36. Heroic Kojiro stands amid the ruins of Tokyo as the evil monsters from beyond the Pacific Rim emerge from the surf to do battle with him. Out in the surf, the ninjas wearing the spider, gorilla and alien insect costumes stand ready. Affixing his mask, Akatora yells out quiet on the set and directs the camera to start rolling.

As the cameraman starts to record the scene, the director tells him to be sure he gets all three monsters coming out of the water into frame. The cameraman says “three?” There are four of them out there. The director states there’s only supposed to be… hey, who’s that one with the claws? Emerging out of the water, Logan, wearing a red mask that covers the top half of his head, asks which one of the geeks is Akatora. He’s gonna rip him out a new nostril in a novel place after he tells him where he stashed Amiko. The alien insect leaps towards the new assailant and tells his fellow ninjas this is the reason for the strange modifications on his suit. The beast who walks like a man will find them quite formidable.

Within seconds, the arms of his costume change into barrel guns and he begins to fire upon Logan. When he does, he says to his fellow ninjas that they have all been cybernetically enhanced. Logan, however, ignores the gunfire and jams his claws into the ninja’s costume and tells him that it’s too bad he’s getting’ all this enlightenment just when he’s about to get dead. Hearing his fellow ninja yell out in pain, the spider leaps to join the fray and tells Toshi to hold on, he’s on his way. When the spider makes his way over to help his friend, Logan tells him that he’s got a set of claws he’s been savin’ just for him. When he jams it into the spider’s costume, both of the ninjas extract steel tentacles that trap Logan’s left and right hand, much to Logan’s surprise.

The gorilla approaches them firing his semi-automatic rifles at Logan and tells him that this has all been planned and rehearsed. They never knew who this scenario was meant for, but they have been prepared for this moment for years. Dragging his two captors along, Logan calls them sorry losers and tells them that it’s too bad they rehearsed the scene with the victim bein’ docile and complacent instead o’ counter-chargin’ the attack. The gorilla tells his companions to hold him. It is the last thing he says as Logan gets close enough to kick his head clean off. When the head of the gorilla flies off, Logan mentions to them that they gave up their humanity a long time ago, didn’t they. Seeing one of his ninjas killed, Akatora calls out to his fellow ninjas to cut him down!!

As soon as all the ninjas begin to charge Logan, the ferry arrives and Pale Flower and the noodle vendor open up fire upon them. Firing his weapon, the noodle vendor exclaims this is not his fight and asks what he is doing there. Pale Flower tells him that every Hand ninja he blows away there is one less to track him down. Their order was assassinating kings long before he was born so he’d best give this fight everything he has.

On the island, Logan yells out to Akatora that it’s down to them and his two friends o’ his who got kinda stuck on him. He then challenges Akatora to get down to it. Akatora replies yes, dispense with formalities and proceed to dying. At that, he opens up fire and unloads his rifle in Logan’s direction. Once he is out of ammo, Logan points out to him that he is as such and also that his pals got shredded in the crossfire. Akatora leaps at him with his sword and tells him that he’ll shred him.

Just then, the ferry crashes into Akatora’s citadel. When it does, Pale Flower, the noodle vendor, and Yohei rush headfirst into a horde of ninjas, guns blazing, so that they may locate the little girl, Amiko.

With his first strike, Akatora tells Logan that they will see how witty his repartee is after he plunges his sword through his chest. Logan takes the strike and says, “Okay, let’s see how snappy yer comebacks are after he gouges three furrows across his mug.” When Logan slashes him across the face with his claws, Akatora drops to the ground and yelps out in pain. Pulling the sword from his chest, Logan tells him that seein’ as he’s got a mutant healin’ factor and he don’t, he has a feelin’ he’ll be makin’ with the quips way before he stops howlin’. He then asks him if he’s gonna hand over his little ward or does he really go ta town on him.

From behind them, Pale Flower calls out that they found Amiko and Yukio as well. Yohei says that resistance was fierce, but brief. Akatora tells him that he has lost. One of the three over there belongs to him, a longtime sleeper and a devoted ninja of the Hand. In a matter of moments his beloved ward will die an agonizing death, done in by a poison dagger. Logan turns and exclaims that only he knows which one is the traitor. With that, he tosses the sword until it finds its mark – Yohei. After he disintegrates into nothingness, Pale Flower asks Logan how he knew it was him. Logan tells her that he could say he figured it out because he was too skilled to be a yakuza thug and he knew too much but what really did it was the combination o’ clove oil and blowfish toxin he smelled on his dagger when the wind changed. Just then, the noodle vendor calls out look – Akatora is gone.

Deep under the island, Emi and Sumi assist the injured Akatora. Laughing, he says that not even he is privy to the master plan of the Hand but he has carried out his part to the letter. They were only pawns, catspaws and decoys whose only purpose was to insinuate the real assassin into close proximity with Logan. Maybe if his little killer succeeds, the master of the Hand will tell him why they want Logan dead in the first place.

As Logan, Pale Flower, the noodle vendor, Yukio and Amiko pile into the life raft they salvaged from the ferry, Logan tells Yukio and Amiko that he hasn’t had a lot o’ time to be spendin’ with two o’ them lately. Now he’s gotta go deal with somethin’ else that needs takin’ care of. But he promises that he will return to Japan to see them all, they just gotta be patient. With a gleam in her eye, Amiko replies that she can’t wait, and that she has much to learn in the meantime.

Characters Involved: 


Yukio and Amiko

Noodle vendor (unnamed)

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

Yohei (associate of the Yashida clan)

Emi and Sumi (Amiko’s caretakers)


Akatora’s henchmen (Toshi is the only one named)

Cyber-ninjas of the Death Touch Cult (all unnamed)

Story Notes: 

Logan promised to look after Amiko in Uncanny X-Men #181 after a dragon killed her mother. He also took her away from horrible caretakers back in Wolverine (2nd series) #82.

Issue Information: 
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