In a Northern temple’s main chamber…
Priests and their followers light the entire chamber with their torches. They realize they have to hurry up, because they need to stop time. If they don’t stop it soon, there will be no time left! They explain that everything must be precise, especially the arrangement of the light, the thickness and scent of vapors, as well as the pitch of vibrations. The leader orders his followers to hurry up again.
In the Southern temple’s main chamber…
Monks sit down in front of a green glowing crystal. They believe it’s time. They think the world’s energies flow at their peak currently, and mention that their crystal, which is suspended for nine days, is finally still. This makes them certain that the time is now.
The Temple-Fortress complex of Tangkor Marat. One thousand years ago…
Armies are fighting among each other. One army wants to hold its enemies back, proudly shouting that they must defeat their opponents no matter what, even if it means the end of time. Their foes simply cannot be permitted to summon the Doombringer! The opposing army shouts that their foes must be stopped as well, defending that this world shall be ended, and that the Doombringer shall lead them to rule in hell forever!
Someone shouts to begin right now. Drums boom. Horns blare. And flames mesh.
Someone shouts to begin right now. The crystal glows even brighter. The gong is struck. The crystal vibrates. And the air congeals. The monks realize they have been victorious, as they can see a portal opening itself. A red-clawed hand starts coming through. The monks shout that the walker between worlds has finally come, and will bring doom!
The priests can see the skies turning red. They realize it’s working. They believe that soon, time itself will be suspended, preventing the Doombringer from crossing over this world. Their plan will only require a little more time and everything will be frozen.
As the gong is struck again, the monks freeze and the hand gets frozen stuck in the portal.
Whatever magic or science has been worked, it already fades again, leaving its workers also frozen, at the moment of their success.
In the area temple between the two temples, opposing factions have not quite clashed. The battle stops. Leaping warriors and loosed arrows defy gravity, suspended in time as well. And so, Tangkor Marat will remain… for almost a millennium.
Tangkor Malat, nearly a thousand years later…
A loud rumble is heard. A soldier, standing on some stairs and holding his arrows ready, falls down. He gets revived. Noticing his fellow man, the warrior realizes they have failed and that the others have succeeded. They have halted time, forestalling apocalypse and thwarting hell! He runs away, hoping to find help.
Madripoor island, six years later…
The world thinks that the X-Men are dead. Instead, Wolverine finds himself hiding out in Lowtown’s Princess Bar and calls himself “Patch.” He figures that’s the right thing to do in the world of today. He defends that death is how he actually feels right now. At least ever since Lady Mariko called of their wedding. He knows that sorrow like he feels like now can’t be drowned, and a mutant wolverine like himself can’t get drunk anyway, at least not in the way Logan likes to. He can’t get comatose either, or even numb because of his healing factor.
Logan stares at some guys holding an arm contest. One guy wins and breaks his opponent’s arm. Confident, he declares that he offers fifty dollars, certain that nobody in this bar can defeat him. Logan stands up and takes the bet. The guy laughs at the fact how short Logan actually is, and agrees to the match. They go sit on a table, and the entire bar is interested in the outcome. Logan quickly finishes it and slams the guy’s arm down. The guy gets upset, claiming he wasn’t ready and won’t pay. He even takes out a gun! Wolverine isn’t impressed. He snikts out his claws, joking that they are the best kind of weapon.
The guy doesn’t know what the claws are. Logan explains that his claws are laced with adamantium and can cut through anything. The guy doesn’t think that includes his gun. And in any case, for Logan to be able to cut anything, he has to get near the gun. And the guy won’t let him. So, he quickly fires into Logan! With the bullet just barely missing Logan’s heart, he pulls it out of his chest and drops it on the ground. He feels lucky that his ribs are laced with adamantium as well, almost like everything else in his body. His healing factor already starts kicking in, helping Logan recover.
The guy freaks out seeing Logan not dying, and fires again. Logan survives all of the blasts, and takes out all of the bullets and even eats one, to show off. He slices the guy’s gun apart and knocks him out. He points his attention to the other bar thugs, asking if anyone else wants a round. They don’t want to, claiming they were about to leave.
Logan smells something. Mariko and her bodyguards enter the room. They greet. Mariko admits that she needs Logan to obtain information for her, and maybe he even has to prevent the world from ending. Logan promises he’ll do anything to help Mariko out and offers her a chair so she can explain what this is all about.
Mariko explains that a man came to her recently. He requested an audience with the head of the Clan Yashida, to which he professed allegiance. Mariko didn’t recognize the man. Logan wants to know if Mariko believes the man lied to her. She doesn’t. The man knew too much about the Clan’s customs and code of honor, and yet his knowledge was out of date. He wore the ancient armor of a samurai archer, and he said it had taken him months to reach her, from “the mainland,” where the man had left elite warriors of their Clan. Mariko was in disbelief after hearing the words “frozen in battle” and “time had been suspended.”
The man asked her to lead a force to their rescue, but she couldn’t fully understand the warrior. His dialect was Archaic, plus he began to babble, apparently overwhelmed by all he’d seen in the past few months. The warrior had never seen planes, cars or even electric lights. Thinking the warrior to be mad, Mariko had him sent away. He screamed that she was betraying the Clan Yashida, that he would get help from others to “finish what had been started but suspended.”
But now, Mariko isn’t so sure if the warrior was mad. Much of what he said is confirmed by ancient lore, which is always assumed was mere myth, but there is more. Logan wants to hear all about it. Mariko reveals that a thousand years ago, near the first millennium, certain mystics felt they could prevent prophesied doom only by “halting time.” Others supposedly argued that the end of this world should be hastened, that we might pass on to the next world. It is not know which side Clan Yashida ultimately supported, but some “experiment” was conducted, which was either an attempt to prevent apocalypse by stopping time, or to bring about doom by some other means. Or perhaps both. Mariko defends that their histories are unclear.
Mariko has discovered that the histories do say that, whatever happened, it was influenced by “mysterious others.” Logan wants to know who those people are. Mariko doesn’t know that. But, in some records, those people are described as “Elementals.” In other accounts, they are called “Emissaries from the invisible world around us.” Logan believes they are talking about another dimension. Mariko doesn’t know what that means but she believes that, whoever these enigmatic “messengers” were, they came at night, cloaked in black, feeding “secret knowledge of certain arts” to chosen sages and mystics.
This sounds to Logan like these people were being manipulated, maybe even controlled, like pawns in some unknown game, with their world as the chessboard. Mariko asks Logan if he’s aware of this “millennial doom.” Logan believes it’s the same thing people fear with the year 2000 so nearby. He asks Mariko if her Clan ever cared about the Gregorian calendar a thousand years ago. Mariko reveals that they didn’t, but they thought the end of the world might be brought about by barbarians. Logan believes that must mean people like him. People who did care about the calendar turning to 1000 A.D. Mariko confirms that. And, she adds, the prophecies may have become self-fulfilling. Logan mentions that the world didn’t end.
Mariko realizes that. But, she corrects, at least most of the world didn’t end. The archer claimed that something “worked,” if only on a limited scale and only within a certain “sphere.” And if time did end, then so too did the world end, at least for those within that limited sphere. Logan wants to know where all this supposedly happened. Mariko explains that, according to the myths of history of Clan Yashida, a mysterious experiment was conducted at Tangkor Marat, an ancient temple complex said to be located in present-day Thailand.
Logan realizes that’s a whole lot of jungle. He asks Mariko if she knows where this place is exactly. Mariko doesn’t, but remembers that the ancient archer – if that’s what the man really was – does know it, and she believes that if this man has gone to others of Clan Yashida as he vowed, then these people also know. Logan realizes that, by that, Mariko knows that people who are loyal to her brother, the Silver Samurai, know about it. Logan remembers that there is no love spilled between him and the Samurai, especially not after Keniuchio received the “honor sword,” which should have been Logan’s had Mariko not called of their wedding.
Logan asks Mariko if she came to him asking for help because she doesn’t want to oppose her brother. Hesitant, Mariko admits that the relationship between her and her brother have delicately balanced. But she knows that Logan can oppose him, as he has done it in the past. Logan also realizes that Mariko is confident he won’t kill her brother, because of his past feelings for her. Mariko defends that whatever her brother has done, he still remains part of her family.
Logan tells Mariko that she’s asking a lot. She reminds her that the only thing that’s standing between him and her are her obligations to the Clan. Mariko mentions to Logan that he knows how she feels about her Clan’s recent history. And now, she must know the truth about her clan’s more distant history. She must know if she has been further dishonored, and carries even more shame than she is aware of.
Logan finds it unlikely that nobody has stumbled on a frozen temple for about ten thousand years. Mariko admits that she has asked herself that very same question. It seems that archeologists discover a new site every ninety days on average, and a major one at least once a year. And there are many more sites still waiting to be found. Logan takes off his eye patch, and smiles that he meant it when he said he’ll do anything for Mariko. Logan admits to himself that he wants to take Mariko into his arms right now. Now more than ever. But the only thing he gets is a polite bow of respect from a distance. He keeps his thoughts for himself.
Mariko mentions that she’ll await Logan’s report when he comes back at her home in Japan, where she shall be in his debt. As he watches M’iko leave, Logan reminds himself that she’ll always be in his heart, no matter how far she’ll walk away. He isn’t sure what he’s getting into, but he believes it’s time to call in the help of a friend who flies a plane.
Some time later, in Aragashima…
The temple is situated in the northern Japanese prefecture of Miyago, which is the ancestral seat of Clan Yashida. As Logan climbs up the temple, he realizes there won’t be a welcome mat for him. Once on top of the temple, Logan climbs on a balcony and finds a group of ninja’s waiting for him. He’s ready for the battle, but a voice demands that everyone stops.
It’s the Silver Samurai. Ken asks Logan if he came back for his sword. Wolverine defends that, until Mariko agrees that she’s fit to marry him, the sword doesn’t hold any honor to him. The Samurai believes that this gives him a reason to thwart his sister’s love. Logan thinks the Samurai will do that by making sure Mariko will feel ashamed. He’ll probably also do it by keeping Clan Yashida dirty and getting mixed up in Yakuza activities. The Samurai wants to know why Logan came there.
Wolverine admits he came looking for the archer, hoping he drew a map so he could find the temple faster. The Samurai withdraws his sword, revealing he just got home from visiting the city, only to find twenty of his men disobediently missing. Logan asks the Samurai if he told his boys not to go to Thailand. The Samurai admits, defending that if doom was averted a thousand years ago, he doesn’t see why they should change the situation now. The Samurai claims he knows this world, and its pleasures. Logan defends that, before pleasure, there’s the business of punishing those twenty curs.
The Samurai thinks that those men think they will find something to make themselves wealthy, but he himself believes they could find something to make everyone dead. Logan makes a deal with the Samurai that if he hands Logan the archer’s map so he can travel to Thailand with special transportation, he’ll help the Samurai punish his men. This sounds like a perfect clue for a truce, if only until they manage to save the world.
A few moments later, the Samurai has put on his armor. Logan brings him to his plane. The Samurai isn’t impressed and can’t believe that Logan calls this his “special transportation.” Logan introduces the Samurai to his pilot, Archie Corrigan, and mentions they aren’t enemies right now. In that case, Archie is pleased to meet the Samurai, at least for now. The Samurai tells Logan he deceived him. Logan admits that things aren’t as good as the Samurai’s map but, since they are all there, they’d better take off. Besides, he mentions, Archie’s an ace pilot, and the best at what he does, just like Logan is.
As they fly above the Thailand jungle, Archie notices a clearing point below and points it to Logan and the Samurai. It’s the closest landing spot’s according to the map’s coordinates and it’s situated in about seventeen miles. Logan is confident that they’ll find it. Archie promises he’ll be waiting and mentions that the coordinates are coming up. Logan notices that there is nothing below them but trees. The Samurai corrects that only the site itself is frozen, and not the area around it. Logan realizes that the trees have been growing a thousand years, hiding Trangkor Marat under a dense canopy. That explains why the place has never been found.
Logan and the Samurai jump out of the plane. Logan notices that he got out first, but he believes the weight of the Samurai’s armor will mean he’ll hit the ground before him. The Samurai does, and because of his parachute, Logan gets hung up in the trees. He snikts out his claws and cuts himself loose. The Samurai notices that the trees are still green, but some have been cut recently. Wolverine believes that must mean the Samurai’s boys must have arrived before they did, so he thinks it’s time to go punish them. The Samurai adds that they’ll go save the world as well. Logan smiles and agrees.
They scout the jungle, and arrive in front of a huge golden temple with lots of warriors frozen in mid-air! The Samurai is amazed by it. Wolverine admits that, of all the weirdness he has seen in this life, this is definitely the weirdest. It’s Tangkor Marat frozen in time, the very instant before a clash between opposing warriors. But Logan wonders if time will freeze as well once they set foot in the area. The Samurai tells Logan to go first and he’ll follow right behind. He even promises to pull him back out once he starts to freeze. Logan doesn’t think so, mentioning that the Samurai’s arm could get stuck along the way and the left of his body remain motionless until he dies.
Samurai admits he hadn’t thought of that. Logan tells the guy to stay put, and in case his butt does freeze along the way, the Samurai can kiss it goodbye – though hopefully not literally. He can run away right away should it happen, and warn Archie to contact the X-Men, or at least hoist a cold one to his memory. The Samurai promises to do that, and Logan moves closer to the temple.
There is a static charge around the temple and an ozone smell as well, but still Logan is able to move around freely. He notices that the time-freeze is still in effect, but it’s only affecting what was there when it originally happened. Logan notices arrows hanging in mid-air, and finds it funny to see them looking like this and not hitting or killing anyone. He does notice a warrior who was hit by an arrow a thousand years ago. His blood is still wet, though just not flowing. The body is warm but not rigor mortis. The guy just died, but a thousand years ago in the past. And he still isn’t falling.
Logan finds that weird, but calls out to the Samurai that it’s safe to join him. The Samurai does so. Logan smells something, but the smell is like nothing he smelled before – and he tracked everything. The Samurai claims not to smell anything. Logan smirks that’s because the Samurai doesn’t have his senses. Logan recognizes the scent as alien, coming from inside the temple. They enter the temple, and find the monks with the frozen portal they opened, and the purple hand still reaching through it.
Logan realizes the portal must be an opening to another dimension. The Samurai believes it’s probably where those “messengers in black” came from, the ones described in the histories of his Clan. He also believes that the dark samurais outside, and the mystic monks they can see there, are ancient members of the Clan Yashida, attempting to open the way for an invasion in Earth’s reality. Either way, Logan isn’t eager to see the rest of that creature. It looks big… and nasty. The Samurai reaches for his sword, telling Logan that if the creature can bleed, it can fall as well. Logan just hopes the creature will never move, and suggests they continue their scouting.
They find more warriors frozen. Logan believes that, if Clan Yashida was defending this temple, they were the bad guys. It’s just like Mariko fears, and that they were opening that portal right when the other faction froze time. The Samurai mentions that the renegade twenty of his men could be in the other temple they can see right now.
And they are. The Samurai’s former loyal soldiers open fire on the frozen bodies. It’s point blank, yet the frozen warriors do not fall. Their leader explains the warriors are still frozen in time, but the bullets are still in their bodies. He believes that, if the ancient archer was right about the necessary sonic weapons, the warriors will drop and die when the reverse recording is played. He orders his men to activate their equipment, which is a sonic device. A loud noise is heard. The portal starts opening again, and the shot warriors fall down and die! Time has resumed its normal course.
The remaining warriors start fighting each other again, and Wolverine and the Silver Samurai stand right in the middle of the battle! The Samurai realizes what has happened, and that they are too late and that the renegades were successful. The warriors realize that the Doombringer has been loosed and think that Wolverine is the demon. Their leader orders him killed.
Wolverine defends himself, but due to the warriors ancient dialect, he can’t understand what they are saying. The Samurai can, and translate the leader’s words for Logan. Logan mocks that he has been called many things, but “a demon” takes the cake. He smiles that the word “Doombringer” might not be too far off though, as he’d be happy to put some of these warriors out of their misery. Except, he won’t. Logan grabs one of the warriors by his throat, and notices that all of the warriors are getting older by the minute!
Not much later, all of the warriors are dropping dead like flies. They die because of old age. The Samurai recognizes one of the warriors as the ancient warrior who came to his sister, begging for help, and later to his home to steal twenty of his men. The archer has already released the actual Doombringer, only so that he can rule by his side. But the Doombringer isn’t interested in that, and eats the archer!
Wolverine notices that the archer was also aging, but wonders why it only happens now, because he has been free for six months. The Samurai suspects that’s because time was still suspended when he was running around the world looking for help, but that isn’t the case anymore.
Wolverine and the Samurai rush back to the temple where the portal was. They notice that the crystal is still there but swinging around, and the hand that stuck through the portal is gone. But the portal is still open. The hand comes through it again, and Logan panics. The Samurai realizes that the suspended crystal’s vibrations must be stopped. Logan slashes the crystal into pieces, and the portal closes with the hand being cut off. Wolverine thinks they saved the day.
The Samurai denies that, suspecting that they only prevented a second Doombringer from stepping through that portal. He believes that the first one did get out, to meet the ancient archer who freed it. They find the archer’s body. The Samurai finds it sad that someone wanted to be a king in hell. Logan believes the archer got in hell, but not in the way he hoped he would. The Samurai fears what’s going to happen if the Doombringer will reach a city, or figure out how to reopen that portal. Wolverine agrees. But he’s confident that, if the first creature is anything like the second, it can bleed. The Samurai likes that direct plan.
Logan suggests that they better split up and find this thing before it gets too far. The Samurai agrees, as he doesn’t want the creature to be captured by his renegade men. Logan makes it to the roof, and stares in front of him. He finds no trace of the Doombringer, except for clouds of dusts coming from the now deceased ancient warriors. He believes that, if the Doombringer hasn’t already escaped to the jungle, it’s probably hiding somewhere here in Tangkor Marat. Or maybe in the other temple. And the other temple is where the Samurai was heading. As he finds nothing in his temple, Logan decides to go to the Samurai’s temple.
The Samurai has been reunited with his men. He orders them, by the name of Clan Yashida, to lower their weapons. The warriors ignore the Samurai, claiming he has entered a land where his orders mean nothing. Logan finds the Samurai, and observes from a distance. The Samurai tries to explain that the Doombringer will destroy the Earth, so the warriors will not be able to spend their promised wealth. The warriors believe differently, as they’ll be able to spend it in hell. They want to fight, but Wolverine intervenes and jumps in the middle. He explains that he only counted ten of the Samurai’s twenty renegade men. The Samurai already realized that, and also that the other warriors must be trying to capture the Doombringer inside the temple.
The warriors angrily notice that the Samurai is working together with the gaijin, Wolverine. The Samurai tries to explain that, though he and Logan’s paths are mostly different, they are the same now and have a truce. The warriors can’t have this, and open fire on their two adversaries. Though the Samurai gets hit three times by the bullets, he still stands and both he and Wolverine waste no time to kill all of the warriors. The Samurai is hurt and can hardly stand. Wolverine promises he’ll finish the job alone and will come back for the Samurai.
Wolverine enters the temple, but it’s empty. He finds the other ten warriors though, but they are all dead. Suddenly, a skull gets thrown nearby him. Logan looks up, and believes he found his enemy. It’s the Doombringer! And the alien is even uglier than Logan feared it would be. A heavy battle follows. Though Logan realizes his bones can’t be crushed, he can still bleed just like anyone else. Both the Doombringer and Wolverine share some heavy punches with each other. Wolverine’s uniform gets mostly torn apart, and he can’t take much more.
He decides to let go of his berserker rage, realizing that’s the only way he’ll be able to defeat the Doombringer. Logan does so, and fights with the beast in him no longer in control. But the Doombringer still stands, and Wolverine starts to faint. He can only hope he’ll get some help, but doesn’t think it’s likely. But help does come, in the form of… the Silver Samurai! The Samurai sticks his sword right through the Doombringer’s stomach, and he starts to bleed and roar. The Samurai tells Logan to finish the job. Logan, slowly starting to get back to normal, agrees with that. He shares the last few slashes, and eventually the Doombringer dies thanks to his powerful claws.
The Samurai wants to know if they truly succeeded. Wolverine believes they did: the portal is closed, time unstuck, and the Doombringer is dead. He believes they truly did succeed. The Samurai believes that the world will live on then. Wolverine agrees, though realizes that some other apocalypse will follow some day no matter what. Wolverine helps the Samurai out of his heavy armor, so he can recover a bit faster. The Samurai, almost without breath, asks Logan if he’ll live, despite the wounds he has. Logan isn’t sure, and neither is the Samurai about his condition. The two leave, and Logan has a final look at Tangkor Marat, hoping the beautiful place won’t be discovered for over another thousand years.
Wolverine and the Samurai start wandering through the jungle, hoping they’ll be able to reach Archie’s plane before the Samurai starts loosing too much blood. Logan luckily already feels better thanks to his healing factor, but the Samurai claims he doesn’t. Logan carries the Samurai for the rest of the way. He even takes a brief moment to rest before continuing on. Eventually, he finds Archie waiting for them at the exact spot the guy said he would. Wolverine tells Archie to step on it, and head for the nearest hospital so that the Samurai’s wounds can be taken care of. The Samurai thanks Logan for this, and mentions he’s in his debt now. He also wants to know how he can repay him for this. Wolverine claims that’s easy: he just wants to ease the Samurai’s sister’s mind.
It’s another two days before Logan finally gets to see Mariko, but he manages to find her at her home. He hands her a white Chrysanthemum flower, which he took from Tangkor Marat before they left. Wolverine explains everything to Mariko what happened, even though it’s hard to believe. Mariko mentions that her brother will recover, but refuses to explain to her if their Clan was really involved in the way she and Logan feared they were.
Logan lies that the Clan were actually the good guys, trying to prevent an apocalypse from happening. Logan realizes this doesn’t change anything between him and Mariko. He still understands her sense of honor, but simply can’t agree with it. Mariko and Logan take goodbye from another, with Logan concluding that Mariko can call in his help anytime.
As Logan leaves, he reminds himself that he only lied to Mariko to ease her mind, and also because she wasn’t at Tangkor Marat a thousand years ago, so she actually didn’t do anything wrong. He lied because he loves her and doesn’t want to see her ashamed for the mistakes of others. Mariko watches Logan leave, and says to herself that even if Wolverine will live forever, he’ll never learn how to lie.