Wolverine (4th series) #302

Issue Date: 
May 2012
Story Title: 
Back in Japan: Part 3

Jason Aaron (writer), Billy Tan & Jason Keith (art for chapters 13, 15, 16), Steve Sanders & Sotocolors (art for chapters 14, 16), VC’s Clayton Cowles (letterer), Jared K. Fletcher (designer), Sebastian Girner (assistant editor), Jeanine Schaefer (editor), Nick Lowe (group editor), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer), Art Adams & Peter Steigerwald (cover art)

Brief Description: 

In the cavern, Logan’s mind is manipulated by the mind ninjas and he believes he is back in hell and being attacked by his dead children. As he lies there, he is kicked and beaten by Mystique and Sabretooth. Eventually, Logan determines the only way he can survive is to go berserk and, when he does, he is able to free himself of the control of the mind ninjas. As this is all occurring, Amiko’s mind is manipulated as well to believe she is fighting the dragon that killed her mother, though in reality it is a group of ninjas. However, before she engages the ninjas in battle, she is whisked away by Shin Harada. Shin takes her to the Harada vault, which he opens. Shortly, Amiko discovers that Shin has sided with Creed and Azuma Goda and leaves angrily. Inside the cavern, Logan gives in to his berserk side and engages in a passionate embrace with Yukio (who is actually Mystique). As they copulate, Mystique records it in order to screw up Logan’s life. Simultaneously, Wilson Fisk hires Lord Deathstrike to kill Goda and restore control of the Hand to him.

Full Summary: 

Chapter Thirteen: Still in Hell

The last thing Logan remembers, he was in Japan, invading the secret cave headquarters of the Hand. He was about to be attacked by ninjas, and now he finds himself washed upon a beach somewhere. A very strange beach. Blood foams on the waves. The water is so cold it burns. And the sky is… the sky is… Just then, Logan realizes where he is – hell.

Passing by the new arrivals, Satan asks the new arrivals in hell what’s the matter. Is the water too cold? Don’t worry; he and his demons will get them warmed back up. Seeing Logan, Satan stops and tells him hello, James and asks him if he enjoyed his swim. When Logan replies that this can’t be, Satan tells him, by all means, to take his time. This is, after all, his favorite part. Logan asks that he’s… he’s still in hell.

Satan says and there it is – the look of infernal realization. It’s moments like this that make him glad he lost the war for heaven. He tells Logan that he’s confused. The waters of the sea of atrophy will do that to a soul. Floating in their murky depths, one dreams that he has escaped the confines of hell, outwitted that bumbling Satan and returned to some semblance of a normal life. Only then to wash up on the black shore and realize, with absolute and utter despair, that he’s been in hell all along.

Logan tells Satan he doesn’t believe him. Is he saying everything these last few months were all a dream? Satan tells him well, no… Not quite everything. Turning around, Logan comes face to face with his dead children – Cannon Foot, Gunhawk, Fire Knives, Saw Fist, and Shadow Stalker (the Mongrels) who promptly attack him.

Chapter Fourteen: Into the Cave of the Mind Ninjas

In the cave of the mind ninjas, Yukio, in her wheelchair, sings her swords around, fighting off the ninjas. As she does, she implores Logan to wake up. The mind ninjas inform her that her friend is in their clutches. His head is now their plaything. By the time they slide their blades into his heart and end his madness, he will be absolutely begging them for death. She is apparently ninja herself, or at least half a ninja. She has no doubt developed immunity to their toxins. Thus she shall be spared the taste of their madness. She shall taste instead their steel; many, many times.

As Logan lays on the ground in the fetal position, Yukio continues to fight off the mind ninjas. While she does, she thinks to herself that there are two kinds of ninja in the world. The ones you see wearing the cute little masks and costumes, who talk a lot, who love to tell you all about the horrible things they’re supposedly going to do to you. And the ones you never see or hear at all, except perhaps in one last little fleeting glimpse. Right before you realize they’ve killed you. Her name is Yukio. After using a diversion attack and escaping, Yukio says she’ll leave you to decide for yourself which kind of ninja she is.

Hiding behind a nearby rock while Sabretooth gives the order to the Hand ninjas to find her, Yukio says to herself – invade the secret, centuries-old underground lair of Japan’s most fanatical army of assassins. Rescue the Silver Samurai. Kill every ninja they find. It seemed like such a simple plan. If nothing else, at least she knows Amiko is safe at home.

Watching Amiko making her way through the caves via a monitor, a captive Shin Harada sees her and says “oh God, no.” Azuma Goda tells Harada that he’s got quite a girlfriend. So… shall they stand there together and watch her get sliced into meaty ribbons by his kill-crazed ninja horde? Or is the Silver Samurai ready to listen to reason? Enraged, Harada yells at Goda that he swears to him that if he hurts her, he’ll… Cutting him off, Goda calmly tells him yes, yes. He’s sure he’ll perform all manner of suitably gruesome acts upon each of his bodily cavities. But he’s not interested in his chest-thumping. What he wants is an answer to his simplest of questions. Is he ready to become one of the richest, most powerful men in this country? Harada replies that what he’s asking, he can’t… he… Goda says fair enough. Meaty ribbons it is.

As she makes her way through the cave, Amiko states that her name is Amiko Kobayashi. When she was a baby, her mother was killed by a dragon and she was adopted by Wolverine and mostly raised by Yukio, his ninja ex-girlfriend. Her boyfriend is the son of the Silver Samurai. In other words, she’s used to people trying to kill her.

Just then, Amiko is overcome by gas. Holding her arm up to her face, Amiko calls out to the ninjas to come out and face her. At that moment, Amiko comes face to face with a large dragon. It’s the dragon that killed her mother and ruined her life. Ever since she was a baby, she’s always hoped and prayed that someday it’d come back. Enraged, Amiko readies her sword and lunges at the beast.

Chapter Fifteen: Out comes the Berserker

As Logan continues to be attacked by the Mongrels, he wonders if this is real. Has he been in hell this entire time? He can’t think straight. Every time he starts to, it feels almost like… like someone’s shooting him in the face.

Back in reality, Mystique shoots Logan in the face. When she follows up with a kick to his face, Creed tells her that her shootin’ him in the face is seriously one of the sexiest things she’s ever seen. Mystique asks if wants to see sexy, get her a caulk gun, a jug of ammonia, a stainless steel fish scaler and three minutes alone with loverboy there, and she’ll show him sexy.

Removing their gas masks, Creed says to Mystique that being brought back from the dead made her feisty. He likes it. Mystique says Logan killed her. Nobody’s ever killed her before. Creed says sooner or later, they all kill each other. No reason to take it personal. Mystique replies that when he wakes up, she wants every square inch of his hide on fire with as much misery as she can possibly imagine. How’s that for personal? Creed asks who says he’ll wake up. The toxins of the Hand are no joke. Developed over the course of several centuries by the wickedest minds in Japan, designed to trap even the strongest of foes inside a maze of their own memories. It takes a fella of particularly robust mental aptitude to ever think his way out. Now since when is that how she’d describe their old pal Logan there?

Mystique says either way, she’ll be ready. Creed tells her that she doesn’t have to do it like this. Mystique states that the Hand says the ritual that brought her back from the dead only strengthened her powers. This seems like as good a way as any to test that out. Don’t worry, she promises not to enjoy it too much. After Creed tells her just so she knows, she ain’t got nothin’ to prove to him, they engage in a passionate embrace.

Continuing to be torn apart by his children, the Mongrels, Logan wonders what it says about his life that he’s actually starting to wonder. Maybe he really has been in hell all this time. There’s only one way to be sure.

A few days earlier, Rachel Grey and Logan communicated with each other telepathically. After Rachel tells him that his mind is a mess, Logan replies “tell me about it.” Rachel continues that most minds are like a very limited series of caves and secret rooms. With the proper training, it’s usually possible to block those doorways and keep out intruders. His mind looks like the eastern front at the height of trench warfare. There are still old Weapon X tunnels that haven’t been filled in. And who the hell is Dr. Rot? It’s no wonder he’s so susceptible to mind-control.

Logan asks how they keep it from happening again. Rachel responds that they could train every day, fill in as many of those tunnels as they can, build up his fortifications as much as possible, but… it would still take years to make his mind anything close to impregnable. If someone wants in, they’re going to get in. What he needs to think about is how to fight back once they’re in there. Logan says there is a way, but it’s not without risks of its own. After Rachel asks what way that is, Logan tells her that it’s not just intruders they have to worry about when it comes to protecting his mind. There’s also the native population. Rachel proceeds to tell him that she’s telling him this as both his friend and his psychic self-defense instructor… sometimes it’s okay to go a little berserk.

In hell, the Mongrels continue to tear apart Logan. As they do, he remarks that he can’t kill his own children again. Looking over, he says he can’t, but he can. Just then, Logan disappears. When he resurfaces, the Mongrels wonder why Logan looks so different. In a berserker rage, Logan lashes out at the Mongrels in hell, and in reality – the mind ninjas.

In another section of the cave, Amiko gets flung up against the wall by the dragon she’s fighting. Wiping the blood away from her mouth, Amiko thinks to herself that she’s going to die. She’s fighting a dragon with a sword and she’s going to die. She’s hacked at its head; she’s stabbed it in the heart. There’s just no killing this thing. As it moves in for the kill, she feels its breath, smells its stench, hears its hearts pounding. Wait a second… since when does a dragon have more than one heart?

Using a shard of the broken cave wall, Amiko jams it into the dragon’s claw. Once she does, she realizes that the dragon she is fighting is in reality a bunch of ninjas inside a dragon suit. Enraged, Amiko deduces that she must’ve been drugged. Ninjas aren’t dragons. Ninjas she can kill in her sleep. Just then, Shin Harada swoops in, grabs hold of Amiko and they depart the cavern together. Upon seeing her boyfriend, Amiko says she thought she was there rescuing him. Shin tells her the Hand doesn’t care about him anymore. They’re too busy dying.

Alongside Yukio, Logan brutally kills the ninjas before him. Yukio proceeds to tell him that it’s about time he woke up. What’s the plan now? When Logan simply replies “kill, burn,” Yukio states that she likes that plan.

As Goda makes his way towards Creed, one of his followers tells him that the Wolverine has murdered his way into the inner sanctum. He is burning the homes of their great-great grandfathers. He has violated the temple of the beast. What shall they do? Goda says be massacred, most likely. The whole lot of them. Now if they’ll excuse him… Equipping himself with a jetpack, Goda and Creed escape the cavern.

Chapter Sixteen: The Turning of the Worm

After killing the ninjas, Yukio mentions to Logan that there’s no sign of the samurai boy. Logan states that he escaped with Amiko. Yukio asks that Amiko was there? Is he sure? Looking over at Yukio, Logan thinks to himself that when he thought he was in hell, he was under the influence of the Red Right Hand. He wasn’t in his right mind. But now… God help him, now he knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s going berserk. With that, Logan walks over to Yukio and embraces her passionately.

On the grounds of the Clan Yashida ancestral compound, Shin makes his way to the vault of the Harada family. As he slices the door open, Amiko asks him what’s going on. Shin tells her nor more running. No more hiding. It’s time he claimed what’s rightfully his. Entering the vault, Harada remarks that the treasure of the Silver Samurai belongs to him now, as does Clan Yashida. From behind, Goda tells him that perhaps he should rephrase that. Turning around with a jerk, Amiko says oh my god. Shin tells her that he’s so sorry. With Creed flanking him from behind, Goda says it all belongs to them now.

Inside the cavern, Yukio rides in on a horse. Calling out to Logan, she tells him that she’s sorry she missed the fight. Would they believe they have horses down there? Hello? Anybody? Wait… Why does it smell like… like there was more than just killing going on in there.

Exiting the cavern, “Yukio” begins to transform back into her natural form – Mystique. As she does, she remarks that worked out better than she could’ve hoped. She wanted to see if her powers were strong enough to fool even Logan’s senses, to test them up close and personal. Looking at the video on her phone of her and Logan engaged in a passionate embrace, Mystique remarks that she’d say she’s done that. Her name is Raven Darkholme. She just made love to the man who killed her. But she promises, she’s not done screwing him just yet.

In New York, Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin of Crime, is handed a photo of Azuma Goda. When he states that he never heard of him, his associate tells him that he’s the head of the Tokyo branch of the Hand. Fisk says he was the head of the Tokyo branch. He never authorized this war with the Yakuza. Kill him and all who stand with him. His associate tells him that, with all due respect, if they send an army of their Hand ninjas after his Hand ninjas, they could have a civil war on their hands. Fisk says then don’t send ninjas. God knows there are plenty of other killers around. Just use somebody good.

Sometime later, in the Tokyo airport, Lord Deathstrike arrives, carrying a briefcase.

Back at the vault of the Silver Samurai, Amiko smacks Shin across the face and runs off. As she runs off, Creed tells Shin to forget her; they’ll get him another one. Smiling, Goda replies that there’ll be women enough for all of them, but first, they’ve got work to do. As of now, the Hand in Japan is officially dead. Long live the Hand.

Meanwhile, inside the cavern, Logan burns everyone and everything inside.

Characters Involved: 

Rachel Grey, Wolverine (both X-Men)


Amiko Koboyashi

Shin Harada (Kenuichio Harada – the first Silver Samurai’s son)



Azuma Goda (director of the Tokyo branch of the Hand)

Various unnamed mind ninjas – associates of the Hand

Various unnamed ninjas of the Hand


Kingpin’s associate

Lord Deathstrike

In Hell:



Cannon Foot, Gunhawk, Fire Knives, Saw Fist, and Shadow Stalker (all Mongrels)

Various unnamed demons and lost souls in Hell

Story Notes: 

Unbeknownst to him at the time, Logan killed his children back in Wolverine (4th series) #10-13. He discovered that was the case in #14.

Wolverine killed Mystique back in Wolverine (4th series) #9. At the end of that issue, Mystique’s dead body was auctioned off and purchased by what looked to be members of the Hand.

In Wolverine (4th series) #9, Lord Deathstrike was also trying to kill Mystique. He was the one who actually brought Mystique’s dead body to be auctioned off.

Amiko’s mother was crushed by a falling building that was toppled by a giant dragon back in Uncanny X-Men #181. Logan took custody of her after he promised her mother that he would thus she was never his offspring, just “adopted daughter.”

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