Wolverine (2nd series) #26

Issue Date: 
June 1990
Story Title: 
Memory of Peace

Jo Duffy (writer), Klaus Janson (penciler), Tom Palmer (inker), Glynis Oliver (colorist), Jim Novak (letterer), Bob Harras (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Six days ago, in Japan, at the home of Bando Saburo, Wolverine discovers that all those who lived there had been slaughtered. He is approached by some local thugs, whom he takes out quite easily. He follows the trail to Madripoor and gets involved in a game of poker with Gene Claymore, one of the cleanest, toughest, and most well-to-do of the island’s scum. Claymore asks him to what he should owe this visit. Wolverine’s eyes glance towards a bowl, sitting on Claymore’s shelf. It is a bowl that used to belong to Bando Saburo and his family. Before he became Wolverine. It was the treasure of the House of Bando. And now that house and his friend are dead. When he arrived at the house again six days ago, he found Bando, his wife, and all of the other members of the house dead. He was able to follow the trail from there to Claymore. At the card game, Wolverine raises the stakes again and takes Claymore for all he owns. He doesn’t want any of Claymore’s money - all he wants is the bowl and the address of the man who gave it to him - Masaki Weston. Claymore gives him the name of the man who sold it to him but, when he attempts to get the bowl back, Wolverine is able to side step his attack and Claymore falls out the window to his death. Wolverine makes it over to Weston’s place and interrupts his ritual suicide. He is disgusted by Weston’s actions over a bowl and his petty greed. After a brief struggle, and the death of Weston and his servant, Wolverine wonders why all of this had to happen - over a bowl. He thinks about destroying the bowl, but it isn’t his. It belongs to Bando. He makes it over to Japan and the grave of Bando and his wife. He places the bowl on the grave and thinks back on Bando and his way. Bando gave him a memory of peace and beauty that he will carry with him always as he walks the road to hell.

Full Summary: 

Six days ago in Japan, at the home of Bando Saburo, a plain-clothed Wolverine is standing in front of a bunch of dead men, when he is approached by some local thugs. They wonder who this stranger is - or better yet what is he? One of the thugs doesn’t really care who he is. All he knows is that this stranger has picked the wrong place and the wrong time and that it’s his funeral.

Wolverine, unimpressed, informs the group of thugs that they are all dead men. Who he is… is Wolverine. He’s a mutant. And the people who lived in the house of Bando were his friends. One of the thugs runs toward Wolverine with knife in hand. Expressionless, Wolverine takes him out with an uppercut slice. As he holds the dead man by the collar, he asks who will be next.

Undeterred, the rest of the gang of thugs rushes at Wolverine. He begins to take them out, one by one with claw strikes until he is shot by one of the other thugs in the back. He turns around to approach him when he is shot in the forehead, knocking him down! The thug, nervous, points out that, whatever this stranger is, he couldn’t survive a bullet to the head. Thing is, like Wolverine’s claws, most of his bones are man-made of a metal called adamantium. Adamantium is impenetrable. The bullet didn’t go into his head. The thug learns that the hard way and that is the last lesson he will ever learn.

Located in Asia is the island of Madripoor. It is a jewel of the Pacific. Also one of its cesspools. Madripoor is one of the great melting pots of the world, a place for the very rich and the very poor. A place for scum, for folks like Wolverine. In Madripoor, people only know as much about him as he cares to tell them. Certainly not the truth. Not that he was once a Canadian citizen named Logan, a one-time heroic adventurer, long since presumed dead. Not that he has the senses - and the nature - of an animal. Nor that his body can heal virtually any wound or illness. In Madripoor, he goes by the name of “Patch.” Tonight, Patch is playing high-stakes poker with Gene Claymore, one of the cleanest, toughest, and most well-to-do of the island’s former scum.

Sitting across the table from Patch, Claymore informs him that he is impressed by him. He has heard about his reputation as a card-player for quite some time, and he was wondering what it would take for him to finally agree to play him. Patch, holding the ace, two and three of clubs, along with the three of diamonds, and the three of hearts, responds that he never plays with anyone unless the prize is something he is really after. Claymore responds that, if he would have known that he was waiting for an opportunity to see his art collection, he would have invited Patch up there long ago. Patch replies that if he would have invited him, he wouldn’t have come. It took something important - and personal - to make him invite himself. With that, he glances at a beautiful red bowl sitting on Claymore’s shelf.

Many years ago at the home of Bando, before he had his adamantium bones and claws, before he was Wolverine, he was known as Logan. His spirit was sick and weary, and he went to his friend seeking peace. Sitting on the floor across from each other, Bando tells Logan that it was good that he could come. Logan responds that he appreciates the welcome. Bando informs him that he is grateful that Logan thought of his home when he needed rest – for sometimes, when serenity is elusive, it is still possible to find it in a garden. Logan retorts or in the company of a friend.

It all seems so very far away now, when Logan aspired to things, to spiritual ideas and abstractions, whose meanings he’s long since lost along the way.

Bando asks Logan if he would like a cup of tea and begins to make him a some. In the process of making the tea, Bando scoops some stuff from a red bowl. He also apologizes for his lack of skill. Logan asks if he can see the bowl. It is beautiful. Beautiful beyond anything he ever imagined. Bando replies that Logan has a very keen eye. That bowl is the treasure of the House of Bando. It is beyond price. It was made many centuries ago, by a master, for an ancestor of his who had a true talent for the making of tea, far beyond any poor skill of his.

Once, long ago, Logan found beauty in the delicacy of a porcelain glaze and serenity at the bottom of a bowl of tea.

When he finishes his glass of tea, Logan notices that he is not Bando’s only guest. Bando replies that Weston, the son his wife’s younger sister is here with his servant. He can only hope that Weston may find peace here as well. His father was an American - a poor man - and it worries his nephew excessively. He has yet to learn that it is not a man’s ancestry, nor his worldly goods that matter but his nature, and the things that he does. Bando continues that since he and his wife are childless, he has made Weston his heir, and he is his aunt’s joy.

Back in present day, Patch and Claymore are continuing their card game. Patch is impressed by Claymore - he is a good loser. The night is getting longer all the time and, so far, the luck has all been with Patch. Claymore asks Patch if he ever gets any complaints about how much he wins. Patch replies - not from anyone who’s still living. He then informs Claymore that he’s getting kind of bored. He asks him if he would like to up the stakes, to triple what they have been. Claymore seems uneasy about it but, before he can respond, Patch cuts him off and tells him that he can get even faster that way unless he plans on continuing to lose.

Over to the side, Wolverine notices Claymore’s bodyguards and that he has them well trained. In some places, the hired help would have gone after him after a remark like that. The thing is, he’s not cheating but there’s no way Claymore is going to win.

Six days ago, in the home of Bando, the air was filled with the smell of death and there were bodies all over the place. He couldn’t smell or hear a sign of any living thing in the garden or in the house. He rushed into the house to find Bando and his wife - both dead!! In a house where he once found peace, there was only death, and Wolverine was distraught. After grieving, he sifted the scents in the garden, in the house, and on the wind and learned that there had been other men there, with the killers, who had left before he arrived. He swore that he would track them down, pay them for that nights work, and learn the reasons for it. Fact is, he could have saved himself a lot of work and many delays, except that, in his grief, he forgot about the treasure of the House of Bando.

The same treasure that is now on Bando’s shelf. Wolverine admires Claymore’s guts. They’ve tripled the stakes twice and doubled them once and he hasn’t tried to weasel or call a halt yet. He knows that he’s going crazy, wondering how he is doing this. Wolverine couldn’t do it, not without Claymore’s help. Claymore has a great poker face but, every time the cards look wrong, he shifts a little in his chair and he starts to sweat. Wolverine can hear him squirm and he can smell his sweat and at that time he knows that it’s time to lay a big bet. Besides, it’s not cheating to use the senses nature gave him - is it?? Claymore’s doing the same and Wolverine even put a patch over one perfectly good eye!!

Ultimately, Patch informs Claymore that he sees his bet and now he wants to see what Claymore has in his hand. Claymore lays down an 8-Queen straight, off-suit. He seems confident in his hand until Patch lays down three 3’s and two 5’s - a full house!! Claymore indicates to Patch that that last bet represented everything he has in the world!! Patch stands up and points out that the word he needs to use is “had.” The thing is, he gas no interest in Claymore or his money, or his empire. All he needed was to place him in his debt.

Claymore asks what he means by that. Wolverine responds that the way he sees it, he can take everything Claymore owns or he can walk out of there with only two things he wanted and they’ll call it square. The choice is Claymores. Claymore asks him what he wants. Wolverine wants the bowl and the name and address of the man he got it from. Claymore curses him. Wolverine, undeterred, stands in front of the window and holds his ground. Claymore decides he is in a no-win situation and gives him the name. Weston. Masaki Weston. Wolverine responds that it figures. Also to not worry about giving him the address - he already knows it. He also informs Claymore that whoever told him that he was a gambler was full of it.

Claymore angrily rushes Wolverine, who sidesteps him and trips him. Claymore flies through the window to his ultimate death on the street below!! As he flies out the window, Wolverine glibly wishes him happy landings. Claymore’s bodyguards draw their guns and point them at Wolverine. Wolverine tells them that, as long as he can leave with what he came for, he has no quarry with any of them. He also reminds them that, before they try any stunts that will send them out the window, the second their boss touched bottom, all of them went off the payroll. The bodyguards let him pass and leave. As he does, Wolverine is pleased. He thought they would see it his way.

As Wolverine drives through the streets of Madripoor, he thinks to himself. He was pretty sure of what he would hear from Claymore, so he’d already checked out Weston’s address. It is on the south side of Madripoor, outside the limits of the main city. Like he said before, this place always draws the scum. When he reaches the house, and goes up to the door, he discovers that one of Claymore’s guards must have phoned ahead and warned Weston, because it looks like he knew that Wolverine was coming. Bando was right about his nephew, being obsessed with material things and his heritage. He has made all the preparations for Seppuku - a traditional Japanese ritual suicide - right down to having his servant there to assist him into death.

When Wolverine enters the room, Weston recognizes him as Logan. He also notices that he is Patch - he should have known. He’s been expecting him. Logan responds that is obvious. He guesses that Weston thinks dying will be easier than facing him. He’d offer to help him, but he doesn’t think Weston will really go through with it. He doesn’t have the guts! Weston replies that this is part of his heritage, which he loves. Logan points out that his aunt and uncle loved him and he killed them for money and power. As Logan holds up the bowl, he indicates that Weston ended a dozen lives for this - this piece of his precious heritage - and then he sold it, all because he heard Claymore was in the market. He then asks Weston if it was worth it.

Weston recognizes the bowl as the treasure of his house. He asks Logan if he can see it; hold it for just a moment. Logan gets down on the floor with him and lets him hold the bowl. Why not - it’s his funeral. Weston holds it up to his face and declares it to be magnificent! Logan points out that it’s just a bowl and that he killed his entire family and all of their servants for a stupid piece of pottery. There was never any need to. The reason Logan went to his uncle’s house is because he wrote him a letter.

Logan pulls out a stack of letters that Bando wrote him. He informs Weston that Bando had cancer of the stomach and that he was dying. Three weeks from now, a month at most, and the bowl would have been his anyway!! It must have really been an embarrassed Bando having a relative who is such a fool!!

At that very moment, Weston’s servant attempts to bring down the sword onto the back of Logan’s neck. He is able to roll out of the way at the last second and stabs the servant in the stomach with his claws, killing him. Weston grabs a knife and charges Logan. He is met by Logan’s claws who admits that he was wrong about just one thing - Weston did have guts after all. Now they are spilled on the floor!! Even though Weston was able to connect with the knife into Logan’s neck it’s not that big of a deal. Nothing his healing factor can’t handle. It still hurts though. So does knowing that Bando died, senselessly, for nothing more than a piece of China. So much death - so much waste. And for what? For this bowl? For nothing?

Logan picks up the bowl and goes to throw it through the window. Once, he knew why this bowl had value but his spirit took the wrong turning and now it’s just a bowl. He ultimately decides not to throw it through the window because it was Bando’s treasure.

In Japan, Logan goes to visit the grave of Bando Saburo and his wife. As he puts the bowl, flowers and a cigar on the grave, he thinks to himself that he doesn’t know if Bando believed in an afterlife, so he doesn’t know if he will ever see him again. However, he gave him a memory of peace and beauty that he will carry with him as he walks the road to hell.

Characters Involved: 

Wolverine / Patch

Various thugs in Japan (all unnamed)
Gene Claymore
Claymore’s bodyguards (all unnamed)
Masaki Weston
Weston’s servant (unnamed)

In Flashbacks:
Bando Saburo
Bando’s sister-in-law (unnamed)

Story Notes: 

Madripoor is a small island nation located to the south of Singapore. It is a haven for international criminals and where money can buy you anything.

The X-Men have been believed to be dead ever since their “death” in Uncanny X-Men #226.

The Wolverine picture gallery in the back of this comic has a rendition of Wolverine drawn by Todd McFarlane - the famous artist of Spawn, as well as various other characters in the Marvel Universe.

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