Wolverine: First Class #13

Issue Date: 
May 2009
Story Title: 
Hand in Hand

Peter David (writer), Ronan Cliquet (artist), Ulises Arreola (colorist), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letterer), Williams & Quintana (cover), Irene Lee (production), Ralph Macchio (consulting), Nathan Cosby (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Wolverine, Kitty Pryde and her friend Sarah attend an exhibition of ancient Japanese artifacts at the American Japanese Institute in New York City. As they search for the ladies room, Kitty and Sarah bump into blind lawyer Matt Murdock. Wolverine gets escorted upstairs to meet with Keli Saga, the institute’s current owner, who fears for her life due to the threats of some unsatisfied former business partners. She requests Wolverine’s aid in defending her from the Hand’s ninja assassins. Wolverine discovers one such ninja in the room and defeats him before coming face to face with the assassin Elektra. Meanwhile, after being awkwardly ushered out of the exhibition, Kitty sneaks back into the building and discovers the blind superhero Daredevil battling agents of the Hand, who seem to be after a certain mystical demon-mask. Kitty snatches the mask out of the head Hand ninja’s grasp and leaves him at the mercy of Daredevil.

Full Summary: 

New York City…

Kitty Pryde has to admit it’s a little disappointing. When she goes to a place called “The American Japanese Institute”, she expects to see something more…Japanese-looking. She would expect to see a sloping roof or perhaps something like a humongous Shinto shrine. Instead, the institute is just a regular skyscraper, not much different than any other. It’s way more American than Japanese. Kitty supposes this is the way of the world. One has to learn to swing with the unexpected.

Outside the institute, a group of ninjas make their way across the city skyline and, as the sun sets, swing onto the building using their grappling hooks.

Inside, Kitty’s red-headed friend Sarah sneers at the current part of the exhibit, a bright-red demon mask. This is what they came here to see? They came to see some other stuff too, Kitty says. She asks her friend to have a little bit of respect, though; this particular mask is, like, a thousand years old! “So’s the guy my mom’s dating. Doesn’t make him anything special to look at, Kitty,” Sarah quips.

Sarah thought they would be doing cool stuff. Kitty asks if checking out a brand new display of Japanese artifacts isn’t cool. No, Sarah says. If that’s the case, Kitty asks, then why did she think it might have been cool in the first place? Sarah admits she came because Logan was taking Kitty—and Logan looks cool. Kitty asks if she’s kidding; does she mean to say she has a thing for Logan? “Oh, please!” Sarah sighs. “He’s just got this, y’know… aura.” Kitty tells her friend that is just Logan’s aftershave: eau de slaughter.

Brushing Kitty’s joke aside, Sarah asks if she wants to come with her to the ladies bathroom. Kitty agrees, and the two teens make their way to the restroom. They have trouble finding it, so Sarah asks a fellow museum patron for directions. He says he hasn’t seen them. Sarah asks if he’s tried opening his eyes and looking around. “Occasionally,” the obviously blind man says. “Hasn’t helped much.”

Sarah winces when she realizes the insulting insinuation of her words, while Kitty closes her eyes out of embarrassment-by-association. However, to see if the man is truly blind, Sarah waves her hand back and forth in front of his red spectacles. The man asks if she could please stop. Defiantly, Sarah asks how he knows what she’s doing if he’s blind. The blind man says while he cannot see her hand, he can feel its breeze in his face.

At this moment, Kitty grabs Sarah by the hand and marches them out of the room, shielding her own face as she goes. “Are you trying to make me embarrassed to be seen with you?” she asks. Sarah reminds her that at least the blind man didn’t see them together. “Ohmigosh. Do you have any filter between your head and your mouth?” Kitty asks. “Besides, don’t you recognize him? That’s Matt Murdock. He’s, like, this famous blind lawyer.”

Murdock, still standing attentively behind the girls, smirks as they leave. He hears every word they say.

Suddenly, something above catches Murdock’s attention. He turns his head upward and, through his superhuman-hearing, recreates a sonar-based image of ninjas crawling through the air ducts. He finds it comforting to know even ninjas are not invisible to his radar sense. Anyway, he assumes this means his tipster was correct in thinking the Hand has an interest in this place. The ninjas dare not make a move until after hours, though. When they do, Daredevil will be waiting for them.

Elsewhere, Logan admires a life-size stone statue of a samurai. A group of security guards in black suits approach him unprovoked and ask him to please come with them. Logan asks if he was bothering somebody. The guards repeat their orders. “Bub, I don’t go no place I don’t feel like goin’,” Logan says. “If you got a problem with me, spill it out. Otherwise, back off.” The guards insist they are only doing their job. “And that job would me?” Logan asks. The lead guard says Mrs. Saga has asked to see Logan. She anticipated he would hesitate. Considering she doesn’t know him, that’s pretty smart of her, Logan replies. The lead guard adds that Mrs. Saga wanted Logan to know that Lady Mariko spoke highly of him.

Logan’s eyes narrow. The guards have his attention. Now they just need to lead the way.

The security guards take Logan upstairs in an elevator. They lead him into the office of a well-dress businesswoman. She asks if he is the one called Wolverine. Logan asks who wants to know. After she introduces herself as Keli Saga—the widow of this company’s founder—she asks if Wolverine could provide some proof of his identity. He reminds her that she is the one who brought him to her office. She explains that she summoned him on a whim. She saw him via the security cameras in the exhibit, and based off her friend Mariko’s thorough and vivid descriptions, knew it had to be him. She just wants to be sure.

Logan raises his fist level with her eyes. He unsheathes his claws, which make their signature SNIKT! sound as they stop just short of Keli Saga’s eyes. That’s proof enough for her, the wide-eyed Mrs. Saga says.

Behind Logan’s back, one of the security guards lifts his stun-gun and orders him to retract his claws immediately. In one swift motion, Logan swings his other set of claws around and slices the stun-gun into four pieces. “Never bring a taser to a knife fight,” he sneers at the guard. Mrs. Saga orders her guard to remain at ease. Wolverine is going to be on their side, she tells him. “Lady, I’m on my side,” Logan insists. After sheathing his claws, he asks how she knows Mariko Yashida. Saga explains she and Mariko were friends growing up—as close of friends as Mariko’s father allowed them to be, that is. To this day, she and Mariko still talk constantly, even when separated by miles and oceans. She believes providence brought Logan to the exhibit. “Nope,” Logan says. “Amtrak.” Mrs. Saga narrows her eyes at this joke. She is serious. She believes Logan came for a reason, that reason being to save her life.

Back in the exhibition hall, Kitty and Sarah exit the bathroom together. Kitty asks herself why girls never go to the bathroom alone… but immediately decides some questions are better left unanswered. As they return to the hall, one of the security guards tells them the exhibition hours have ended. He ushers them to the door. Kitty explains she came with a man, but the guard presumes her friend must have already exited. Kitty figures he’s right; there is no reason for her and Sarah to linger. Perhaps it’s because she’s been around the X-Men for so long, but even so, Kitty has the funniest feeling something is wrong.

Upstairs, in Mrs. Saga’s office, Saga’s assistant informs her that the gallery has closed for the evening. Saga thanks and dismisses her—but asks she remain outside the door. “Can I interest you in some tenshin as well, Wolverine-san?” Saga asks as she pours herself a cup of hot tea.

“The tea alone is fine,” Wolverine answers. Kneeling politely at the end of the tea table, he asks Saga who wants to kill her. The Hand, she says; she assumes Logan has heard of them. “Here and there, yeah,” Logan answers as he drinks his tea. What did she do to get herself targeted by the Hand? Her main sin, Saga explains, was being born without the Y chromosome. Logan presumes the Hand was not a big fan of a woman taking over the corporation. Although Mrs. Saga doesn’t think the Hand cares one way or the other, those who make use of the Hand’s services—namely assassinations—do.

“My husband was a great man, but there were some disreputable individuals with whom he did not hesitate to do business,” Mrs. Saga says. When her husband passed away from cancer a month ago, Mrs. Saga took over the company and made clear to those same unsavory individuals that their business was no longer welcome. They did not take this news well. At first they claimed she was blowing smoke, and then they claimed her decision would now stand because—as a mere woman—she could not hope to comprehend the complexities of the world. “They made it clear the roof would drop on me,” she says.

Meanwhile, in the exhibition gallery, smoke blows into the room and the roof drops as the ninjas of the Hand emerge from the overhead air ducts. With the security guards unconscious from the gas, the ninjas assume they have free reign. The unexpected emergence of Daredevil, the Man without Fear, proves them wrong. “Hands off,” he says as he yanks them away from the mystical red mask with his billy club.

Outside, Kitty and Sarah search for Logan, but see no signs of him. She grows uneasy; where could Logan possibly be? She wonders if this is what it truly means to be one of the X-Men. It used to be she could go to museums and concerts and amusement parks without thinking she was under attack—much less being correct about it all the time. She tells Sarah to stay put while she heads back into the building. Logan must still be inside, and she intends to find him.

As Kitty rounds the corner, Sarah asks how she intends to enter. She has no idea about Kitty’s mutant power. Entering buildings comes easy to someone who can phase through anything, Kitty thinks as she passes through the marble exterior. She hopes she’s wrong about her feeling and that Logan is just off somewhere sipping tea with someone. Yeah, right, she thinks to herself. That’ll be the day.

Upstairs, Logan continues sipping his tea with Mrs. Saga. He finds the tea tasty and asks if he can have more. Of course, Saga says. As he grips the pot of hot tea, Logan asks Keli if she is truly worried about these Hand warriors. “Supposedly they can go anywhere,” she answers. She adds they can be almost invisible and undetectable. Logan has heard very much the same thing. In his opinion, though, there is a huge gap between “almost” and “completely”. Suddenly, he hurls the pot of hot tea at the wall. It crashes and shatters.

Shocked, Mrs. Saga asks if he’s lost his mind. However, she swallows her words when she sees the image form against the wall of a Hand ninja clad in red. The ninja screams and tries to soothe the scalding burns on his head. Wolverine, meanwhile, leaps into action. With his claws outstretched, he lunges at the ninja, asking if the tea is too hot for him.

Saga pleads with him to be careful as he engages the ninja in battle. The ninja strikes at Wolverine with his blade, but Wolverine catches the sword between his claws. The first thing Saga-san should know about him, Wolverine says, is that he isn’t in the business of being careful. He deflects the sword and makes another swipe at the ninja.

Meanwhile, back in the gallery, Daredevil takes on four ninjas at once—despite being blind. While the crimson-clad heaves one ninja into two of his companions, another hurls four shuriken in his direction. Daredevil senses them in time to leap out of their way. He follows up this evasion with a swift, two-footed kick under the ninja’s jaw.

Daredevil asks why they want the mask. What about it interests them? One of the towering ninjas of the Hand, speaking in English, tells Daredevil that it is none of his concern. Daredevil is flattered they know his name. He asks the giant ninja for his. After introducing himself only as Akuma, the ninja tells the Man without Fear he has no time for him—neither for his theatrics nor his athleticism. He does, however, commend him on his fashion sense. Channeling some mystical energy through a mere gesture of his hand, Akuma sends Daredevil crashing against the wall.

With Daredevil seemingly unconscious, Akuma makes his way over to the display case housing the demonic red mask. He smashes the case with his fist. When he reaches for the mask, however, he is shocked to see his hand pass right through it as if it were a ghost. He demands to know who is responsible for this seeming sorcery! Punching a hole through the wall, Akuma declares that the man who stole the mask, no matter who he is, shall suffer. To his surprise, the man who stole the mask turns out to be not a man after all, but a young girl named Kitty Pryde. “All the greater the insult,” Akuma mutters.

“Great. You’re not only a bad guy,” Kitty says, “you’re a chauvinist.” Akuma comes crashing through the wall after her, demanding she yield the mask. It is of no interest to her! he shouts. As she runs away, Kitty tells him the fact that he is a bad guy and wants the mask is reason enough to keep it out of his grasp!

A projectile billy club smacks Akuma in the back of the head. He groans at the reappearance of Daredevil, whom he thought he had removed from the fray. This time, Daredevil holds a katana one of the Hand ninjas dropped. He figured he would return it to Akuma—point first.

Meanwhile, upstairs, Logan continues his brawl with the clandestine ninja, who thrusts at Logan with the point of his sword. Logan catches it between two of his adjacent claws, and with a quick turn of his wrist, snaps it in two. Now that the ninja is defenseless, Saga begs Logan not to kill him. Logan sighs. As he knocks the ninja unconscious with a blow to the jaw, he tells Saga her humanitarianism may be misplaced. “It’s not that,” Saga says. “This was my husband’s favorite carpet. I don’t want bloodstains in it.”

Taking her by the hand, Logan leads Saga to the exit and asks if she has a safehouse nearby in which she can hide. She has one two floors up, Mrs. Saga tells him. Logan asks her to remind him later to slice and dice the nimrod who designed this building.

As they exit into the hallway, Saga is surprised to see her security guards lying unconscious on the floor—but Logan isn’t. He should have seen this one coming. He lifts his head from the floor and looks into the eyes of their attacker and his newest opponent, a dangerous-looking woman bearing two sai and clad in a scarlet leotard, bandana and flowing sash. Logan unsheathes his claws and utters her name though clenched teeth. “Elektra.”

Characters Involved: 

Sprite, Wolverine (X-Men)
Sarah (Sprite’s friend)

Daredevil / Matt Murdock


Akuma (the Hand)

Ninjas of the Hand

Keli Saga

Her assistant

Security guards

Story Notes: 

Daredevil, a blind superhero whose alter-ego is a lawyer named Matt Murdock, possesses superhuman senses resulting from an accident as a child involving radioactive materials. While a popular character in the Marvel Universe, Daredevil rarely appears in X-Men comics. At this point in existing X-Men continuity, he had only appeared as cameos in X-MEN (1st series) #13 and #98.

Elektra first appeared as an enemy of Daredevil’s in DAREDEVIL (1st series) #168. Her appearance here presumably takes place between that issue and her death at the hands of Bullseye in DAREDEVIL (1st series) #181.

This is the first meeting in continuity of Wolverine and Elektra. They reunite later, in WOLVERINE (2nd series) #100, when Elektra is assigned to help Wolverine deal with his regression into savagery.

The Hand—an order of evil, mystical ninjas—also first appeared in DAREDEVIL (1st series) #168.

This is the first appearance of Keli Saga, who apparently is a longtime friend of Wolverine’s lover Mariko Yashida.

“Amtrak” is the more marketable name of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, the government-owned railway system in the United States.

The red mask in this issue bears strong resemblance to the mystical mask worn by the Japanese villain Ogun, whom Kitty first encounters in the KITTY PRYDE & WOLVERINE limited series.

Issue Information: 
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