Wolverine (2nd series) #55

Issue Date: 
June 1992
Story Title: 
Thirty Slashes Over Tokyo or “Sayonara Yellow Brick Road”

Larry Hama (writer), Marc Silvestri (penciler), Dan Green (inker), Pat Brosseau (letterer), Steve Buccellato (colors), Bob Harras (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

As Wolverine and Gambit arrive in Tokyo, they are ambushed by ninjas. They are able to handle them relatively easily and soon end up at their destination, the Ropongi police station to bail Jubilee out. Right before they get there, Jubilee is taken away in a police van. Inside the station, Wolverine is led into an evidence room, where there is a crate addressed to him. Inside the crate is a cyborg that goes by the name Cylla, who immediately attacks him. In the main office of the police station, Gambit is joined by Sunfire and, in short order, they are attacked by more ninjas on the order of Tsurayaba Matsuo, who is trying to wrest control of some underworld activities from Mariko Yashida. Inside the police van, Jubilee is threatened by Reiko, who decides to spare her life when she learns that she is friends with Wolverine. Once Reiko leaves, Yukio arrives and offers to help Jubilee.

Full Summary: 

At Los Angeles International Airport a plain-clothes Wolverine sets off the metal-detector. The female guard asks him if he would mind stepping out of line. Wolverine sarcastically asks that he set off the metal-detector, did he. He mentions that he don’t suppose they make exceptions for mutants. When the guard tells him that they would prefer to avoid a scene, Wolverine replies that he didn’t think so.

Just then, an announcement comes over the loud-speakers that flight 301 to Tokyo is now boarding parents with small children and passengers in wheelchairs at international departures, Gate 17… Upon hearing that, Gambit indicates to Wolverine that their flight was just called. Wolverine tells him that he heard it and for him to not have a vache, he’ll clear this up in a few seconds.

Ten minutes later, Wolverine is down to his underwear, hat, and boots. The guards tell him that they give up and ask where he has it stashed. Their detectors show over eight pounds of metal on him, enough for a large gun or multiple grenades. Wolverine tells her that he ain’t packin’, it’s in the bones. The guard tells him that doesn’t fly. Internal orthopedic appliances leave big surgical scars and he doesn’t have any. Wolverine asks her if she believed he healed real good? Another announcement informs that flight 301 is now boarding passengers for seats numbers 36 to 92.

Upon hearing that, Wolverine starts to leave. The guards give chase and tell him that he can’t… Wolverine cuts them off and tells them that he has to haul himself all the way to Japan to bail Jubilee out on a customs violation and now he’s gettin’ his chops busted over somethin’ that was bonded to his skeleton when he wasn’t lookin’. Wolverine then sticks his arm into the scanner and shows the guards there is his eight pounds of metal. He apologizes for not being able to check it with the other dangerous stuff.

As he starts to get dressed, Gambit quips tres deshabille. Wolverine admits that he feels like he has been there before too. He then asks Gambit why doesn’t he jus’ skip on home? There’s no real use in him taggin’ along all the way to Nippon. Gambit tells him that he t’ink maybe he stick wit him until he pay up dat fi’ t’ousand he owes him. Wolverine says that he doesn’t suppose he’d take a partnership in a bar in Madripoor, would he?

As they continue to make their way to their flight, a much larger male guard stops him and tells him to hold it. He informs Wolverine that, an integral part of his body or not, the six blades in question constitute retractable weapons with cutting edges in excess of six inches in length and as such fall under the codified restrictions of the Air Travel Security Act of 1972. After Wolverine asks him what that is in plain-speak, the guard tells him that he’s not flying. Wolverine replies that he didn’t think so. When the announcement is made for the last call for flight 301, Gambit recommends that a telephone call to Nick Fury at S.H.I.E.L.D. will settle dis’ right up.

In another location, a cyborg is told to wake up. It is time to reactivate their consciousness. The cyborg asks who? The voice tells them that they are the maintenance program. It informs the cyborg that they have been shut down to minimalize their energy requirements and maximize their survivability. The cyborg asks if Pierce is… The voice asks him formatted? The answer is yes, beyond retrieval. It tells the cyborg that they must carry on. The cyborg tells the voice to get them out of this. The voice tells it that they will get out in time. The search programs have been busy. The Logan flag was triggered by the monitor on the airline computers servicing the Pacific Rim. The Wolverine/Logan/Patch flag on the S.H.I.E.L.D. commo-tap has been triggered. It’s a request for a security waiver on a flight to Tokyo for a Mr. Logan.

Just then, the phone rings and an announcement indicates that an analogue voice incoming on land-line. Audio receptors on. Voice synthesizer on. The voice, belonging to a lady informs the cyborg that there was a power-drop on the line during the S.H.I.E.L.D. tap. Somebody else was listening in. The cyborg informs them that they will deal with it. The lady tells them that yes they will and that they are opening a cellular line. It reformats voice module to “Izzy” and tells the cyborg to be ready to config.

Just then, a phone call is placed to a warehouse worker by the name of Eddie. Izzy at the main office informs him that they have a reroute. Lading bill #506, Hardy Cylinder Clamps & Frommistats in long-term storage. Eddie answer that it is the big oblong coffin-shaped box. He remembers because it didn’t stack right. He hadda lay it across tow rows o’ standard machine crates. He asks where it’s going. He is told that he needs to take it down to overseas air-freight. It’s going to Tokyo, the paperwork will follow.

In the Ropongi district station of the Tokyo metropolitan police, Jubilee tells her fellow cell-mates to take their proto-puke fashion statements out of her face and turn down their attitude control-knobs. One of the girls asks one of her friends in Japanese what she just said. Another doesn’t care, and another says to them that they should just beat her up and take her stuff. Jubilee says no way and as she unleashes her firework power tells them that she knows what that means in any language. After that display, one of the girls calls out for the matron and tells her that she needs to get a message out of there. The guard answers that so does everybody else. The girl pulls back her jacket and reveals a tattoo of a hand. She tells the guard that not everybody else is trying to reach the Hand.

At Narita airport in Tokyo, Wolverine and Gambit have landed. Gambit asks Wolverine if he knows how to hail a taxi in Japanese. Wolverine says that he does and calls out ta-k’shi. As two taxis come, Gambit points out that it’s all nuance and inflection, n’est-ce-pas? Wolverine replies that it gets results.

When one taxi cuts off another, the offended taxi driver calls the driver of the other taxi a line jumper. A large gentleman gets out of the taxi and tells them that he is so pleased to serving them. He tells them please to me say destination in English, which he “are excellently understand as they can see.” Wolverine tells him that they want to go to the Ropongi district police station. The taxi driver that was cut off gets out of his car and confronts the other driver. He calls him a low-born dog. That was his fare and he threatens to call the taxi ministry. As Gambit and Wolverine get into the taxi, the large gentleman punches the other taxi driver in the face and tells them that he knows the police station very well.

Once in the taxi, Wolverine recognizes that they are heading in the wrong direction. The taxi driver tells them to please sit back. This is a short-cut. It is very fast and is much saving of time. Wolverine thinks to himself short-cut, right. Through a car-wash? Maybe the driver figgers to lose “face” if he shows up at the cop-shop with a dusty ride. Maybe his Uncle Sabaro owns the car-wash. Maybe this is a set-up.

As they enter the car-wash, two ninjas descend from the ceiling and jam their swords into the roof of the car. Gambit recognizes that they have been set up. Wolverine replies do tell and then pops his claws and tells him to ‘scuse him while he un-set-them-up. As he uses his claws to cut the roof of the car off he tells Gambit that he’s opening with a pair o’ trays, that’s six claws to him. Gambit informs him that he calls and holds up some powered cards. Wolverine asks him what he is holding. Gambit replies that he is holding a full house, aces over. He tosses his cards into the air and blows the ninjas away. Gambit asks if the ninjas are from the Hand. Wolverine replies that they sure ain’t from the foot. Wolverine then tells the driver that like they were sayin’ they want to go to the Ropongi police station and to put his flip-flop to the metal. The driver says yessir, Mr. Gaijin. Wolverine corrects him that that’s gaijin-sama to him.

From a car behind the taxi, a man informs the person on the other end of the line that they have it on good authority that Logan is there in Japan. He adds that he certainly hopes that this odious individual wasn’t summoned there to oppose the Hand’s takeover of certain underworld activities. He would be forced to make things more unpleasant than they really are. The person on the other end of the line informs him, Tsurayaba Matsuo, that he presumes too much. Matsuo tells them that they will address him as “Lord” and calls them an insolent wench. On the other end of the line, Mariko Oyabun Yashida tells him that the head of the Clan Yashida calls no mere ninja-monger lord.

She adds that, for his information, his betrothed knows it is inappropriate for him to be in Japan until she has fulfilled her pledge to divest the Yashida clan of all dishonorable assets. Furthermore, this business between Clan Yashida and the Hand has nothing to do with Logan; he has her word on that. She adds that, if they have anything further to discuss, it shall be over crossed swords.

Once she hangs up, one of her bodyguards informs her that Matsuo is blowing smoke. Another adds that Matsuo was calling from a cellular phone, but they are running a system code de-scrambler and a satellite trace on it. One of the bodyguards says that dog-eater Matsuo has other reasons for wanting the life of Logan. Meanwhile, the Hand has the Yashidas living in a state of siege, trying to force them into their thrall. He adds that, if Logan really is there, he would be a powerful ally. Mariko tells him that is not for him to say. She cannot accept the love or help of Logan until she has restored the honor of their clan. She is then informed that the satellite trace came in, Matsuo is located just outside a carwash near Ropongi.

Near the carwash, the two ninjas that were unsuccessful in apprehending Wolverine approach Matsuo’s car. They tell him that they have failed him and ask if it is his wish that they spill their entrails in atonement. Matsuo tells them that his displeasure is not such that he will require their disembowelment, yet. He trusts that they dispatched the poisoner to take care of the brat? The ninjas inform him that it was done as he commanded. They ask if they shall initiate the contingency plan for the gaijin Logan. Matsuo replies by all means.

At the police station, the cops lead Jubilee, the nasty little foreign-born trouble maker towards a police van. They tell her that she’s been transferred to the incorrigible minor facility. They don’t mess around down there. Jubilee asks if they are talking to her. She tells them “no hablo” and asks if they are going for a ride or what? As they toss her into the van they tell her to shut up and get in. As she lands in the can she says this is the worst. She looks around and notices that she is not alone. She says hello to the lady and asks her if she speaks English. The lady says yes. Jubilee tells her that’s a relief and introduces herself. The lady introduces herself as Reiko.

No sooner does the police van take off, as does the taxi arrive in front of the police station. As Wolverine jumps out of the taxi, he tells Gambit to convince sushi-for-brains to stay put while they collect Jubilee. Gambit complies and punches the taxi driver out. Inside the police station, while Gambit flirts with some ladies, Wolverine is enraged to discover that Jubilee is gone. He confirms that they bussed her out to an incorri… what facility? The police inform him that it is standard procedure. She caused a disturbance and they like order.

Wolverine then says howsabout them lettin’ him have his bike. He is informed that will not be possible, being that his delinquency in paying import duties on motorcycle has alerted his office to his other egregious violations. He hands over his card, Jotaro Isuzu. Wolverine tells him that he wouldn’t be lying, would he? Isuzu then orders two of the cops, Honda and Suzuki, to bring Mr. Logan to evidence room and confront him with proof of ignominious perfidy. The other cop tells Gambit not him. As Wolverine is led away, he tells the cops to keep their hands off the cow-skin and that he wants to see this iggy-whatever-they-said.

In the police van, Jubilee says that Rayco is a totally cool name. It sounds like an auto-parts company. She then asks her what she is in for. Reiko replies murder. Jubilee replies that’s interesting and asks who she… Reiko tells her that she killed a Yakuza chief. An evil oyabun named Dai-Kumo. She didn’t know he was a pawn of the hand. Her rash action incurred a terrible obligation, which she must repay. She then apologizes as she pulls a knife out of her pocket. She tells Jubilee not to be afraid. The blade is coated with blow-fish toxin. The end will be swift.

Jubilee screams out “No way!” and unleashes her firework blasts. As she does, she mentions that outta fry her retinas and that she can’t stick her if she can’t see her. Reiko lifts up her sunglasses and tells Jubilee that she never could see her. Matsuo had her corneas removed by laser-surgery. She tells Jubilee that is the price of her life. She kills her and she gets her eyes back.

In the evidence room in the police station, Wolverine informs Isuzu that he’s never seen the crate before him in his life. Isuzu tells him be that as it may, it was delivered to Narita airport via express air-freight addressed for personal pick-up by Logan. It contains not only taxable goods, but items specifically on the prohibited list. Wolverine asks him if he knows what’s in that thing. As the police cut the ties on the crate, they call for the crowbar. Isuzu tells Wolverine that the ministry is not naïve, they x-rayed the crate. He adds that proto-sentient biological constructs are not allowed.

Wolverine, in shock, recognizes that to mean a cyborg and asks what else is in there. Isuzu tells him there is also a sub-miniature telecommunications array, nav-sat console, a cryogenic dialysis suite… He is cut off by Wolverine who asks him if the cyborg is activated. In short time he gets his answer when they cyborg slashes through its crate with the spike on its arm.

In the office of the police station, the girls are around Gambit until a new man enters. The man mentions that it has come to his attention that there is a problem there concerning his allies, the X-Men. Gambit indicates to him that there wasn’t no problem until he showed up. He then asks him who he is. The man informs Gambit that he is Shuro Yoshida, Sunfire. Conversely, he asks Gambit who he is. Gambit tells him his name and says that he is an X-Man, f’r better or worse. Sunfire then asks Gambit that he dare brandish his weapon at him? Gambit says that it’s not at him, it’s at the small army of ninjas creeping in behind him. Immediately, Sunfire and Gambit turn around to face the ninjas.

In the police van, Reiko tells Jubilee that it is pointless to resist, it is just a matter of time before her blade cuts her and the poison takes effect. She then takes a lunging swipe at Jubilee but misses when Jubilee dodges her. Jubilee replies that she will take her chances and get a few licks in herself. With that, she connects with a kick to Reiko’s chin. As Reiko does a back-flip to ready herself for another attack, Jubilee tells her that even if she does get lucky and (gulp) stops her clock, her pal Wolvie will track her down. As Reiko lunges at Jubilee again, she tells her that she will cut him too. Jubilee quips back with only if she can get past his adamantium claws. Reiko stops in her tracks and grabs Jubilee by the face. She asks claws? What about claws? She then asks if this Wolvie is also called Patch or Logan.

In the evidence room, the cyborg breaks out of the crate and tells Wolverine that they knew they could get to him by trusting in the efficiency of Japanese bureaucrats. All they had to do was mess up with their customs officers in his name and they tracked him right down for them. As the cops unload their guns in the direction of the cyborg, it has no effect. They tell Isuzu of that, but he leaves and says that he will file a report on it later.

Wolverine leaps into action and mentions that it must be open-season on him down in cyborg-ville. He adds that, if ol’ Pierce hadn’t got terminated by a Sentinel, he’d say he was still processin’ ‘em through his electrolyte vats. He asks this cyborg what they are, an off-brand? The cyborg tells Wolverine that they are Cylla, and they are Pierce’s last little project. As they begin to tussle, Cylla tells him that they were less than a vegetable with pain-receptors, and Pierce put her back together. In return, she has to take him apart.

In the main office of the police station, Gambit and Sunfire continue their brawl with the horde of ninjas. Gambit tells Sunfire that he’s a disadvantage. When Sunfire asks how so, Gambit points out that he can’t unleash his full power inside the building or he “bring de whole t’ing down” on them, like Samson. Sunfire informs him that he doesn’t require the use of his awesome sun power to deal with low-born riff-raff such as the ninjas they are fighting.

As Cylla continues her assault on Wolverine, she informs him that all the other cyborgs, all the other Reavers and even his pal, Deathstrike, were just prototypes. She is the production model. Her claws are laminated molybidium steel. She has an inboard computer for slash trajectory. Her eyes have built in HUDs (heads up display), projecting ranging data and target parallax on her corneas. As she connects with a slash to Wolverine’s face and a knee to his chin, she tells him that she doesn’t need to owe Pierce to take him out, she’d do it just to know she’s alive.

On the roof of the police station, a helicopter drops off more ninjas as more ninjas enter from a van in the front door. As they do, they inform Matsuo of the progress. Matsuo tells them to dispense with the progress reports and to notify him when they have Wolverine’s head neatly wrapped in a plastic napkin. Inside the station, Gambit mentions to Sunfire that the ninjas may be low-born an’ they may be riff-raff but they sure be a lot of them.

Out in the streets of Tokyo, the police van crashes. As the driver and guard run away, Reiko tells Jubilee that they were bought out by the Hand and that they believe they are fleeing a murder scene. She tells her that they are wrong. She informs Jubilee that she gives her her life back and adds that she is now the one under obligation to the man she calls Wolvie, the man she knew as Patch. When Jubilee expresses confusion at this, Reiko tells her to tell him that Reiko pays him back for his mercy at the graveyard in Osaka. As she walks away she says that this makes twice that she has betrayed the hand. Laughing, she then adds that she truly is a losing hand.

As she walks away, Jubilee tells her that’s right, go ahead and to leave her hanging. She wonders aloud what is so darn funny. A person behind her tells her that Reiko is Yakuza, a gambler. Ya-ku-za are the numbers 8-9-3. Jubilee turns around and asks who? Yukio tells her that 8-9-3 constitutes a losing hand in a common card game. It is, like she says “born to lose.” Yukio introduces herself to Jubilee and tells her that any friend of Wolverine is a friend of hers. Upon seeing Yukio, she wonders aloud how come Wolverine doesn’t know any plain girls with frumpy tastes in clothes. She then says don’t answer that.

Characters Involved: 

Gambit, Jubilee, Wolverine (all X-Men)




Tsurayaba Matsuo

Mariko Oyabun Yashida

Mariko’s bodyguards (all unnamed)


Various members of the Hand (all unnamed)

Various security guards and patrons at Los Angeles International Airport (all unnamed)

Various Tokyo policemen (Honda and Suzuki are only named)

Jotaro Isuzu

Eddie (warehouse worker)

Various inhabitants of the Tokyo jail (all unnamed)

Various residents of Tokyo (all unnamed)

Story Notes: 

Reiko killed Dai-Kumo back in Wolverine (2nd series) #33. Wolverine spared her life in the same issue.

Donald Pierce was terminated by a Sentinel in Uncanny X-Men #281.

“Vache” is French for “cow,” meaning that Logan was telling Gambit “Not to have a cow,” a phrase made popular at the time of this issue’s publication by Bart Simpson. “Tres dishabille” is French for “very undressed,” while “no hablo” is Spanish for “I don’t speak,” usually meant “I don’t speak a language.”

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