Wolverine: Soultaker #4

Issue Date: 
July 2005
Story Title: 
Soultaker: Chapter 4: Shosei Secrets

Akira Yoshida (writer), Shin Nagasawa (pencils), Guru Efx (colors), VC’s Randy Gentile (letters), Katsuya Terada (cover), Sean Ryan & John Barber (assistant editors), Nick Lowe (editor), Mike Marts (assistant editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

SPECIAL THANKS TO: C.B. Cebulski, Aki Yanagi & Mutsumi Masuda

Brief Description: 

Wolverine confronts Ryuki and his zombie army. After killing them all, Logan wants to finish the job by just killing the demon once and for all. However, Ryuki asks Logan to give a message to Mana, and hand him over the Blade of Blood, so that they can finally end the endless struggle between them. Meanwhile, Mana herself enters a temple in Tokyo. She summons up the ancient spirit of Oinari, who mentions that in order to be able to defeat Ryuki, they’ll have to use gold. Oinari disappears, but not before telling Mana that they’ll meet again some day and that she’ll have to pay him back on that day, and also to give Logan his blessing, as he has been keeping an eye on him. Mana meets up with Wolverine, who informs her of the deal. Mana already knew, and shows Wolverine the Blade, and explains its history to him. She decides to give it to Logan, suspecting that he is the only one strong enough to end the battle. She sees this as a “golden opportunity” and starts to explain to Logan what she means by that. The next day, at sunset, Wolverine and Mana make it to the Bridge where Ryuki wanted to meet. Suddenly, green smoke surrounds them, and Ryuki and a few other demons appear around them.

Full Summary: 

The demon Ryuki still possesses Hana’s body. Triumphant, he stands on a mountaintop and watches with proud how his Shisengumi zombie army moves into action. He notices that the past has risen to build the future, and that Japan will soon meet the greatest samurai who ever lived. Suddenly, Ryuki stops talking as he hears a voice behind him. It’s Wolverine. With full confidence and wearing the special kimono Mana gave him, Wolverine tells Ryuki that his army was defeated the last time, and that he’s here to make sure history repeats itself!

Ryuki laughs at Logan, and already suspects that Mana must have send him. Though, he also feels that Logan has been blessed and that a Shosei purification aura surrounds him. Ryuki finds that interesting, though isn’t scared as he notices that Logan carries “no weapons” with him. This time, the laughs are for Wolverine, who tells Ryuki that he’s wrong at that remark. He snikts his claws open, and jumps towards the zombie army. He quickly slices some of them up, though the Shisengumi army manages to regroup and attack together. Wolverine doesn’t panic, though, and moves real fast around the zombie’s and slashes them all, at the same time moving closer to Ryuki, and threatens that once the zombies are killed, he’ll come after him.

Toji Temple, Tokyo…

Mana enters the temple, and walks towards a golden, samurai-like statue. She puts her arms together and closes her eyes. She kneels before a brown carpet. She touches it, and as magic glows around Mana, the carpet spreads open and leads to an underground. Mana descends the stairs, and enters a big room, which has more golden statues in it. As she goes deeper into the room, it gets darker, but Mana uses magic so that her fingertip can make a little light. Eventually, she finds the statue she has been looking for: a locked behind red robes, fox-like statue. Mana touches it’s head, and starts to say a spell.

She bows her head and says a prayer, to the Fox With the Silver Hair. Suddenly, the statue starts to blow, and an actual wolf appears above it! The wolf can talk, and mentions that it has been centuries since the Shosei order has visited him. Mana asks Oinari to forgive the order, and explains that the order has fallen into ruin and that much of their mystic knowledge has been lost over the years. And Mana has only just today rediscovered the texts that speak of his connection to the clan.

Oinari has been aware of that, and also knows Mana’s name and the history between Hana and Ryuki. Mana begs the wolf to help her, but he answers that he’ll need gold. He claims that gold is the answer Mana seeks, since every spirit, even the most powerful one, has its failings and weakness. He tells Mana that as her human superstitions tell her, some spirits are vulnerable to iron or silver. Ryuki, however, is defenseless against gold. Oinari bids Mana farewell, as he now did his part and revealed the key to her success, but promises that, one day, they will meet again and on that day, Mana shall have to pay him back. Before he fully disappears, Oinari asks Mana to give Wolverine his blessings, and mentions that he has kept an eye on him.

Meanwhile, Wolverine moves faster by the second, and eventually destroys every zombie that confronts him. After having killed the last one, he sarcastically asks Hana if that’s all she’s got. Ryuki is impressed, and admits that Logan is a cunning warrior, and thinks he might be useful to him. Wolverine isn’t interested, and just wants to kill the demon. Ryuki appears above Hana’s body, and makes her say that Logan should give her sister a message. Ryuki wants Mana to stop the struggling between them, and bring her the Blade of Blood. He wants Mana to stop her scheming and that, if she agrees to his request, to bring the Blade to the Bridge of Six Realms at sunset, tomorrow. And if Mana fails to do that, Ryuki promises to bring hell to Earth!

He laughs, and both he and Hana’s body disappear. Logan desperately tries to slash them, but with no luck. They’re gone. Mana shows up, and carries a bag with her. She finds it good to see that Logan has survived the battle, and notices that her sister has been there, too. Logan confirms, and jokes that she and Hana look just alike. Logan isn’t in the best mood since he just fought a demon army, and cuts to the chase. He informs Mana of the deal Ryuki proposed to him.

Mana was already aware, and has brought the Blade with her in the bag. She starts to open it, and explains to Logan that the Blade is not just a sword, but the Shosei Order’s ancestral sword. Mana shows Logan the Blade, which is covered in actual blood. She explains that the Blade has been soaked in the blood of her ancestors over the centuries, and that when one of her kin passes from this mortal realm, her blood was drawn and added into the sword’s case to join that of all who served before her. It is believed by the order that, in doing so, along with the blood, a part of the deceased soul was transferred into the Blade. Thus, it is actually a living weapon.

Wolverine realizes that Ryuki must want the Blade for its souls. Mana confirms, and adds that Ryuki must believe that the souls contained within the Blade of Blood will provide her with enough power to open a gateway to Ashurado. Wolverine wants to know why Ryuki doesn’t just come and take the Blade. Mana explains that it will only respond to the will of the head priestess of the Shosei Order. And for someone else to use the Blade, Mana must willingly give it over to that person, as the souls inside it must be commanded to respond to the hand of another.

Mana of course will never hand the Blade over to the demon, but will… to Wolverine! Confused, Logan asks why. Mana thinks that they’ll know for sure Ryuki will be present tomorrow at the Bridge, and suspects that Logan is the only one with enough power to finally put an end to this madness. She thinks it’ll be a “golden opportunity.” Logan wants to know what she meant by that. Mana promises to show him as they walk to the Bridge, but in order to be able to do that, they’ll have to make one stop in between.

The next day…

Wolverine and Mana are already on the bridge. Logan asks her if she’s certain “this stuff” will hold, fearing that his healing factor might ruin things. Mana promises it’ll work. Wolverine catches a scent, and realizes Ryuki must be arriving. Green smoke surrounds them, and vultures fly over the area. They look in front of him, and notice Ryuki standing in the middle of the place, with a few other, animal-like demons next to him! Ryuki rises triumphantly above Hana’s body, and asks Mana to come to him, and embrace the full fury of Ashurado!

Characters Involved: 


Mana Yanowa

Hana Yanowa (possessed by demon Ryuki)

Oinari, the “Fox With the Silver Hair” (ancient spirit)

Shisengumi zombie army (all unnamed)

animal-like demons (all unnamed)

Story Notes: 
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