“It ain’t like I’m the only fella ever done bad but there’s few that’ve done worse.”
Tule Lake War Relocation Facility – Newell, California – 1943
Walking up to a group of Japanese inmates, Logan, in his military garb, tells them in Japanese that he is their friend. He is there to help them. He tells them they are unwanted in this country. However, due to both the war and the fact that the United States government suspects they may be spies, they will not be deported back to Japan. Instead, they and their families will remain detained indefinitely. He adds that they have no rights, no recourse. He is offering them an opportunity to change this. As the inmates load into a van a fellow soldier asks Logan what about their families. Logan informs him that he knows the orders. The soldier asks even the children? Logan grits his teeth and replies believe him, the next generation will only be worse.
Carrying an unconscious Daken over his shoulder, Logan, wearing his brown and tan costume, reaches his destination – the Medicine Lake lava beds near Newell, California. He recalls this is where he brought ‘em – eleven men, condemned to a fate worse’n death – by him. He had to use his sense o’ smell to find the way. The caves, lava tubes actually, went on for miles in complete darkness. Those men must’ve thought he was takin’ ‘em to hell. He was.
Inside the lava beds, the prisoners were put through extreme experiments. He doesn’t know the exact details as far as what they were doin’ to those poor bastards or why but his orders were simple. He was the guard dog. Only he kept people in instead o’ out. If anybody ran, an’ a few of ‘em did, he put ‘em down quick an’ clean – anybody. When one of the soldiers tried to run away, Logan asked him where he thought he was goin’. When the soldier replied that he can’t do this, it’s unholy; Logan told him that all of a sudden he got religion. He then added that he better hurry up an’ pray then and proceeded to shoot him in the temple, killing him. The experiment went on for days. Durin’ that time, whoever commissioned the study either did or didn’t find out what they wanted to know. Only thing he was told was that no one was to ever know about it. The experimenters and victims were murdered all by Logan’s hand. The lab was even blown up with explosives. Now, Logan is the only one who does.
Laying Daken on a table inside the caverns, Logan tells him this is where he’s gonna lay low while he finishes up his business with Romulus. When he comes back, he’ll bring someone to help him. Touching his son’s face, Logan states that his mother’s name was Itsu. Her name meant peace. He then wonders why there is no peace in him.
Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, 1946
On the ground, a newborn baby, covered in blood, screams at the top of their lungs. When the voice is heard, a young woman asks her husband Akihira what he has found. Akihira informs his wife, Natsumi, that it is a baby boy. Someone has left them a baby boy. Natsumi says it’s what they’ve always dreamed of. Their prayers have been answered. Out on the porch of their house, Akihira tells his new son that for years they have prayed for a son but it was as if the Kami were deaf to their prayers. But now, he is there and he is his son. And what is his shall be his sons. Raising his son up, he says first he will need a name.
Nine years later, four bullies tell the young child that he’s not Japanese; he’s of mixed heritage, a mongrel – Daken. Hearing that, the young man yells out not for them to call him that. His name is Akihiro. The leader of the bullies tells him that in the house, he is Akihiro, son of Akihira. But out there, to them he is Daken, the mongrel who found his way into the master’s cupboard. In short order, Akihiro is beaten down. When he is on his knees gasping for air, his father Akihira arrives and asks what is happening. Akihiro informs him not to be alarmed, the boys were teaching him a lesson. Akihira asks what the lesson is. Akihiro replies that the lesson they have taught him is that the fool rushes into a fight when he is outnumbered, the wise man waits until his enemies are alone.
Later, the parents of one of the bullies, Tonai, is found dead by his parents. At the funeral, the remaining three bullies are freaked out by Akihiro and his actions. After the proceedings, Akihira takes his son to the Torri, they must pray. Once there, Akihira tells his son that there is nothing more tragic than for a father to live beyond the life of a son. It was there that he prayed for his arrival. It is there, now, that he prays he will never leave him. He is his son, no words can ever make it not so. Noticing that his son is shaking, he asks him why he is doing so. Akihiro tells his father it is because of the dragon they kneel before, it frightens him. Akihira informs his son that it isn’t the dragon that he fears, it is the power that it represents. This is the magic of symbols. Akihiro asks his father if the dragon is the most powerful. Akihira says yes, the most powerful and the most feared.
At another time, Natsumi tells her husband to please forgive her for what she is about to say but she has no love in her heart for Akihiro. Akihira asks how she can say this; he has brought them such happiness. Natsumi asks her husband if he feels that his emotions are still his own. Their happiness comes only when he is happy. Has he not noticed that when he is angry, they feel that as well? The boy is cursed, and they have brought the curse into their house. Akihira tells her enough. It has been only a few years. Given time, love for the boy will grow inside her. Natsumi tells her no, it will not. But there is something else that does grow inside her, she is pregnant. Up above, Akihiro watches intently.
One year later, Natsumi walks in on Akihiro reading a book. She apologizes for she did not know he was… Akihiro tells her not to apologize and offers her to take a seat. He tells her that he has found the most wonderful book. Natsumi notices that it is written in Greek, did his father teach him… Akihiro informs her that he taught himself. It is a book about the Spartans. The most feared warriors the world has ever known. He asks her if she knew that if a Spartan woman gave birth to a baby that she thought was unworthy, she left it on the cliffs to die. But often, the peasants came and took the babies to raise as their own. Perhaps that’s what he is, a great warrior who was abandoned on a cliff by a woman’s foolishness. Natsumi asks if he considers her a peasant then. Akihiro tells her no, he considers her a fool and he considers her baby to be unworthy.
When Natsumi finds their newborn baby dead in his crib, Akihira takes his son outside in the rain and tells him to leave the house, never to return. When Akihiro calls out to his father no, Akihira tells him that he renounces him as his son and no longer shall he have the name Akihiro. Angered, Daken yells at him that was never his true name anyway. Just then, Natsumi charges at him with a rifle that has a bayonet affixed to the end. Once she gets close, the loud crack of thunder is heard. Daken looks down at his hand to see his claws and is in shock. Holding his dead wife, Akihira cries out. Picking up the rifle, Akihira points it at Daken. When Daken pleads, Akihira drops the rifle to his side and says he cannot. He is weak.
With that, he points the rifle at the base of his chin and pulls the trigger. With both of his parents dead, Daken looks around and asks who is watching and calls out who is there. From inside the forest, a dark menacing figure tells Daken to look deep into the shadows and there he will find him. Upon seeing him, Daken asks him who he is. The man replies that he is what he will become.
In the present:
Carving the name Romulus into his hand with his claw, Logan asks where he is. All the pieces are comin’ together but he still doesn’t have a target, just a name. Squeezing the blood in his hand, Logan loses it and pops his claws. Screaming out in an guttural growl, Logan begins to swipe his claws about wildly. As he does so, he catches a man’s leg with his claws. When he turns around, another man cracks him over the head with a boulder, knocking him out. Once he is out cold, two men drag him back into the cave.
Later, once Logan awakens, he finds himself strapped up. Before him he sees five men with tubes sticking out all over them and numbers etched into their foreheads. The men begin to talk amongst themselves in Japanese. “It is him.” “But his face, the same!” “It cannot be.” “He wakes.” They ask the gaijin if he remembers them, they remember him…