Wolverine (4th series) #303

Issue Date: 
May 2012
Story Title: 
Back in Japan: Part 4

Jason Aaron (writer), Billy Tan, Steven Sanders, and Paco Diaz (art), Matt Milla, Sotocolors, Jim Charalampidis, and Rachelle Rosenberg (color), VC’s Chris Eliopoulos (letters), Jeanine Schaefer (editor), Nick Lowe (group editor), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer), Brandon Peterson (cover art)

Brief Description: 

In Japan, Logan kills the remaining ninjas left of the Hand. At the same time, Mystique escorts Shingen Harada to a meeting of Yakuza leaders where Shin slaughters them all. Meanwhile, Azuma Goda reveals his plan to Sabretooth that he will be recreating the Hand in his own image and shows Creed the list of potential candidates and of his desire to become “invisible.” In order to accomplish this, Creed hired Lord Deathstrike to shoot Goda in the head. In actuality, it was Mystique in disguise and she ends up fighting him back. Upon realizing Logan is there as well, Goda yells at Creed, who reveals that he was using Goda as a pawn. As Logan kills Goda, Creed recruits Deathstrike to join his group. Simultaneously, Amiko breaks up with Shin via battle, with Yukio’s assistance. Later, Creed and his crew (Shin, Mystique and Deathstrike) become the invisible head of Asia crime. Melita receives photos of Logan and Yukio engaged in a romantic embrace and Logan feels that it’s over. As Logan prepares to depart Japan, he is stopped by Amiko, who suggests another adventure before he leaves. Together with Yukio, the two deal with some bank robbers.

Full Summary: 

Chapter Seventeen: No More Ninjas

In an abandoned alley in Tokyo, the leader of a group of ninjas informs his comrades that they are all that’s left; the last of all their kind in Tokyo. They are the last of the ninja. Their five-hundred-year-old branch of the Hand is no more.

They have been betrayed by their leaders, he continues. Abandoned. And now they are hunted by the gaijin called Wolverine. He has defiled their caves, burned their ancient temples, murdered their brothers and sisters, stolen their children and turned them over to the police. It is up to them now to carry on the legacy of their ancestors. By sword. By shadow. By blood. They must not allow the Hand to disappear into history. Though all else crumbles, the way of the beast must endure. Let them pray and beseech the lord of the darkness for his unholy guidance, and for the strength to slaughter their enemies.

As they prepare to depart the alley, one of the ninjas states that he has a better idea. How about they just skip the prayin’ and cut to the slaughter. With that, the ninja reveals himself to be Wolverine, who summarily slices the ninjas to pieces.

At Azuma Goda’s complex, Sabretooth informs Goda that Wolverine has killed every last little shuriken-tossin’ one of them. He killed the last herd this morning, apparently while they were holding some kind of prayer meeting. The Hand of Tokyo is officially finished. Taking a sip of his drink, Goda says at last. No more fools running around in ridiculous costumes, daring to call themselves ninja. No more bowing to the whims of a fool like Wilson Fisk. Now the real work can begin.

Creed points out that Goda has just stood by and watched his whole big karate army get run down and gutted. Mind telling him where they go from there? When Goda asks who the scariest villains are in the world, Creed answers him, for one; maybe Dr. Doom and that big purple guy who eats planets (Galactus). Goda tells him wrong. The scariest villains are the ones you’ve never heard of. The ones who live solely in the shadows. Whose names you never read in the papers. Faces you never see. But who control and exploit every single facet of your life, from your mother’s teat to your sleep with the maggots. There is great power in invisibility. That is the art of ninjitsu. That is the true way of the Hand. So we had to butcher the bloated old swine that his Hand had become, so that they could bring it back as something bigger, something stronger.

Goda then asks Creed that he knows about coming back from the dead, doesn’t he? Though in his case, he managed to come back to be…pretty much the exact same thing he was before. Unlike him, though, the Hand will be marvelously transformed by its death, a transformation, he suspects that is already underway. Assuming their new friend hasn’t lost his nerve.

Chapter Eighteen: Forgive me, Father

As they drive down the road on their motorcycles, Shingen Harada tells Mystique that he can’t do this. Mystique reminds him that they’re a bunch of bloated old Yakuza bosses. He’s got armor and big glowing swords. It’ll be easy. When Shin replies that he’s not a murderer, Mystique tells him not to give her that. She saw the way he cut apart those ninjas back in the cave. And she knew his father, so she knows what sort of blood flows through his veins. And also, need she remind him, he doesn’t have a damn choice. Either he does it on his own, or she kills him and takes his form and does it for him. So really either way he looks at it, he’s gonna kill every single person inside that room.

Later, at the meeting, one of the leaders of the Yakuza remarks that this meeting is called to order. They the heads of the most prominent Yakuza in Japan are gathered there today to recognize Shingen Harada, son of the Silver Samurai, who has officially made claim to Clan Yashida, by right of birth. If there are any objections to this matter, state your case now.

One of the other leaders pipes up and states that he for one needs more than just words. He needs to see with his own eyes that this baby-faced Harada has the guts to run his own clan. As they all know, their little war with the Hand has dragged on for far too long. The heads of the other East Asian organizations have called them to task and charged them with putting a swift end to this entire fiasco once and for all. Their newest friend, if he truly is their friend, should be willing to do this for them. Once he brings him the head of Azuma Goda, the upstart ninja bastard who started this war, then he will know Shingen Harada is a samurai in more than just name. And he will have his vote.

When Shin replies that he is not a murderer, the leaders of the Yakuza begin to laugh out loud and tell him that he is in the wrong room, little samurai. Pressing a button on his watch, Shin angrily tells them maybe he is or maybe they are. As he transforms into his Silver Samurai armor, one of the Yakuza leaders tells him that he is an arrogant fool, just like his father. He wouldn’t dare… Just then, Shin unleashes a blast that kills all of the Yakuza leaders in the room.

Once finished, Mystique morphs from her disguise as a bodyguard and tells Shin that they’re gonna have to toughen him up. She can tell he’s crying under there. Shin proceeds to inform Mystique that his dad told him about her. He said he could never decide if she was a piece of @%$# or not. As he flies out the window alone, Shin tells Mystique that he’s glad to see she finally figured it out.

Chapter Nineteen: The Day I Became Invisible

At Goda’s complex, Creed tells Goda that the boy’ll do his part. Mystique’ll make sure of that. Goda states that the Tokyo Hand is devastated. The Yakuza bosses dead. Harada is his puppet. All is as he planned. Now, at last, they can begin to gather his army.

After Goda hands Creed a piece of paper, Creed remarks that there looks to be about a dozen names on it. Where he comes from, there’s usually a good bit more than that in an army. Goda says those are the names of the Hand’s most secretive assassins. Thirteen ninjas who have been embedded throughout Japan, some for so many years they have been all but forgotten. They will activate every single one of them. And they will be all they army they shall ever need.

There is a man in Osaka who builds deadly viruses out of the air, folding diseased molecules like one folds paper into origami. There is a woman in Higashiosaka whose very flesh is deadly to the touch. To look at her for long is to sear one’s eyes. They are hardened masters of invisibility and murder, every single one. Together they will be the new face of the Hand. A face only the dead or the dying will ever see. His dear friend Wolverine will be the first. And soon after they’ve killed the unkillable and dragged his bloody remains through the corridors of power, he will wake one glorious morning to find he suddenly has a monopoly on the very act of murder itself throughout the Eastern hemisphere. And yet no one knows his name.

When Creed says that it sounds like he has all the angles covered, Goda replies yes, all but one. He himself must become invisible. And there is only one way to do that. Isn’t there, dear Sabretooth? Creed replies only one that he knows of and it certainly ain’t a pleasant one.

Later that night, Goda stands out on his balcony, enjoying the view when a scantily clad young lady staggers out of the house, snuggles up to Goda and begs him to come back into the garden. There are still many succulent fruits he has yet to taste. Goda tells her that he’ll be right there. He’s just enjoying the night air for a moment. Go and keep the other ladies company. He would hate to waste a beautiful night like this. Just then, Goda is shot in the forehead by a sniper bullet and he falls to the ground in a heap.

As the shooter, Lord Deathstrike, makes his way onto the balcony to check on his target, he is suddenly kicked by Goda who turns out to be Mystique in disguise. Mystique asks Deathstrike if he’s surprised. She figured he’d go for a headshot. That’s why she simply moved most of her brain down into her neck. Luckily you don’t need much to play a man like Goda. Shall they?

As Mystique and Deathstrike begin to engage each other in battle, Goda, from inside the complex watching on a monitor, angrily asks Creed what the hell she is doing. Why is she fighting back? He was supposed to die. Creed replies that it looks like that can still be arranged. Looking at another monitor, Goda sees Wolverine and asks what the hell he is doing there. How in the world could he have possibly found them? Smirking, Creed says huh. Just lucky he guesses.

At the Clan Yashida compound, Shin lands on the ground. When he does, Amiko emerges from the shadows and tells him congratulations. He’s officially the king *&#@ of bastard town. Shin asks Amiko to let him… Before he can finish, however, Amiko responds by kicking him in the head. Shin states that he deserved that. But let him explain. Taking a swipe at him with her sword which he ducks, Amiko asks him explain to her how he sold his soul to the Hand? The same guys who almost killed her? No thanks. Guess she shouldn’t be surprised really. He was never a very good boyfriend. Shin asks and she was always perfect he guesses, Wolverine’s innocent little daughter. Amiko tells him that she’s already unfriended him on Facebook. Now she’s going to stab him in the face. In case he can’t tell, this is her breaking up with him.

Throughout Goda’s complex, Goda angrily accuses Creed that he did this. He sold him out. To Wolverine! Creed tells him that’s one way of looking at it. Another might be to say he never really gave much of a damn about him in the first place. When Goda starts to call Creed an ungrateful…, Creed slaps him across the face. As he does, he tells Goda he had himself a humdinger of a plan. And so far it’s been running like clockwork. But he was dead wrong about just two little things. Being invisible is good, you see, but you don’t ever wanna be too invisible. ‘Cause then the people around you might start to forget just exactly what they ever needed you for in the first place.

As Creed begins to walk away, Goda calls him a stupid dog-faced sonuva… Creed continues that the other thing he was wrong about... was him. He didn’t go through these last few months just to come back as the same old fella he was before. Even he has gotta admit, Goda states, that fella was pretty dog-gone badass. He came back for something bigger, a whole helluva lot bigger. So he guesses this is where they part ways. Wolverine’ll be along any minute now to kill him. And just so he knows, being stabbed with them claws a’ his, it hurts like holy hell. But congratulations, he wanted to be invisible. He definitely will be now. After Goda grabs hold of a nearby pistol and sword, Creed takes off in his jet-pack, just as Wolverine arrives on the rooftop.

Falling from the roof, Lord Deathstrike and Mystique continue their battle. Using her powers to sprout wings and bird claws, Mystique slashes Deathstrike across the face and proceeds to tell him that is for the last time they met. Before the battle can commence any further, Creed hovers overhead and tells Raven to remember why they’re there. They don’t wanna kill nobody. They’re just looking to make some friends.

At the Clan Yashida compound, Amiko and Shin continue their battle. Amiko proceeds to tell Shin that she can’t believe she ever dated a guy who hits like him. Shin angrily replies you little… He’s the Silver Samurai. The head of Clan Yashida. He killed a dozen Yakuza today. You don’t get to talk to him like that just because they used to make out. Leaping backwards, Amiko says God, don’t remind her. Shin tells Amiko that she shouldn’t have come there. He’s not a boy anymore. This is a man’s game and he’s playing, and her daddy Wolverine isn’t around to save her. Amiko says he’s right, but he forgot about her mom. Just then, Yukio arrives in a helicopter and opens fire on Shin.

Back on the roof of Goda’s compound, Wolverine attacks Goda and, eventually, kills him. Once he does, he remarks “God, I love this country.”

Later, at Yukio’s apartment, she tells a crying Amiko not to worry, there’ll be other guys. Amiko tells her she doesn’t want a new boyfriend. She just wants to kill her old one. As Logan attempts to contact Melita Garner, he is unable to do so. In New York, Melita chooses not to answer her phone after receiving pictures of Logan and Yukio having sex. Back in Japan, Yukio says to Logan boyfriend trouble. She’ll get over it. They always do. Logan says no, not always.

In an undisclosed location, a meeting is called to order of the assembled heads of the East Asian families, tongs and syndicates are there to address the aftermath of the Hand/Yakuza war. Who has come to represent Tokyo? Just then, Creed enters the room, flanked by Shingen Harada, Mystique and Lord Deathstrike, and states that’d be him. When the question arises who he is, Creed tells him he’s nobody really. He’s what ya might call invisible. With that, Deathstrike, Mystique and Shin attack the inhabitants of the room. With the carnage complete, Creed leans back in a chair and remarks “Sabretooth, invisible king of all Asia…” Heh, he likes the sounda that.

Back in Yukio’s apartment, Logan mentions to Yukio that he can’t help thinking he’s missing something. After Yukio says Creed got away, Logan replies that Creed always gets away. But if he knows him, this was all one big joke, just an excuse to have some laughs and spill some blood. He can’t help but wonder what he accomplished there. Yukio points out that he wiped out the Hand in Tokyo. He won the war.

Glancing at Amiko’s closed door, Logan asks did he? Yukio says some battles, unfortunately, last forever. Logan states that he has a school back in the States; if Amiko ever gets too much for her to handle… Yukio says he could just come back to visit more often. Logan says this is Japan, he’ll always be back.

Preparing to leave, Logan tells Yukio to take care of herself. Before he ultimately departs, Amiko bursts out of her room and says she just heard on the police radio… there’s a robbery at a bank in Shibuya… So… you know… she was just wondering… Does he have to leave so soon?

Later, Wolverine, Amiko and Yukio are all geared up and teaming up to handle the robbery on the streets of Tokyo.

Characters Involved: 


Amiko Koboyashi


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



Lord Deathstrike

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

Various unnamed former Hand ninjas

Various unnamed members of the Yakuza

Various unnamed female companions of Azuma Goda

Various unnamed heads of the East Asian crime families, tongs, and syndicates

Melita Garner

Story Notes: 

Wolverine killed Mystique back in Wolverine (4th series) #9. At the end of that issue, Mystique’s corpse 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.

Issue Information: 
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