Saturday, August 10, 2013

Wolverine #3 (November 1982)

Title: Loss
Cover: Frank Miller, Josef Rubinstein
Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Frank Miller
Inker: Josef Rubinstein
Colors: Glynis Wein
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Price: $0.60
Cover Date: November 1982
Release Date: July 1982
Synopsis: After enduring no end of emotional and physical punishment over the prior two issues, Logan cuts loose and blows off steam as he and Yukio cut a swath through Tokyo’s seedy bars. The issue starts with Logan sparing with a former Sumo wrestler in a bar room brawl than ends with his opponent being flung through the window onto the street. Outside Logan meets his old friend and former colleague Asano Kimura who is currently a member of Japan’s Secret Service.  Asano prevails upon Logan to stop drowning his sorrows and to help him stop an a villain who has taken over the entire Japanese underworld. In a tense exchange with his old friend, Logan declines to help and takes off with Yukio.

The couple stagger off into the streets as the ninjas of the Hand lie in wait.  The splash page features a fantastic aerial view with group of ninjas on the rooftops overlooking Wolverine and Yukio, proving that no one can draw ninjas like Frank Miller! As he and Yukio walk into a rail yard, Logan is dead drunk and collapses onto the tracks with Yukio in his arms. Despite his drunken stupor, Logan feels a faint vibration on the tracks and dives to safety with Yukio in the nick of time as the Bullet Train flies past. Completely surprised, Logan yells at Yukio, wondering what the hell she was thinking playing chicken with the bullet train. She replies that she wishes to live life to its fullest and, when she dies, she wishes to die spectacularly.

Logan passes out on the tracks and he dreams of himself as a samurai warrior in ancient times fighting to win the hand of his beloved Mariko. He finds the gates of her home barred and the walls lined with archers who tell him that he is not welcome. The warrior attacks against impossible odds and pays a terrible price in the vicious battle. Nearly dead, the warrior is brought before Mariko who says “My love is for a man. Not a beast clad in human form who knows nothing of honor, or duty, or any of the beliefs that I hold most dear.” She then knocks an arrow and shoots him dead, sending him back into the abyss out of which he struggled so long ago. “I sleep. I…dream. I dream. I…weep.” Logan’s tortured soul suffers.

While Logan sleeps, Yukio is cornered by the Hand ninjas who relay Yashida Shingen’s orders to kill Wolverine or suffer the consequences. Yukio pretends to agree and manages to kill all five of the ninjas with her trademark throwing blades. With the threat addressed for the moment, Yukio tries to wake Logan from his drunken sleep, but to her dismay, he mutters “Mariko,” so she kicks him to the ground and stalks off.  Yukio returns to their hotel where she wrestles with her impossible situation: She loves a man who she knows will always love another.  And she is now so far at odds with her employer Shingen that she may have passed the point of no return. As she ponders these issues, the door tentatively opens and she reacts instinctively.

Logan returns to his hotel, looking to make up with Yukio, who he rightly assumes is furious at him for uttering Mariko’s name, and also wanting to determine why the Hand is still interested in Yukio after the death of Katsuyori.  Logan enters his room and stops immediately as he spots a corpse on the floor – his friend Asano with one of Yukio’s knives in his neck. He doesn’t rush to judgement, thinking that Asano’s death may have been an accident born of surprise. But when Logan examines the blade, he comes to a chilling conclusion: The poison on the blade is the same nerve toxin that he fell victim to in Shingen Yashida’s palace. Yukio works for Shingen and has been lying to him from the start. setting him up as her pawn and victim.

Yukio appears on the scene, trying to explain. Logan’s reaction is swift as it is fierce. “You’d better kill me now, Yukio. You won’t get a second chance.” Yukio flees and Logan follows her in a fantastic chase sequence across the rooftops of Tokyo. He soon catches her and they crash throw a window into a rock garden. As the two come head to head, they are ambushed by the Hand who try to neutralize Logan’s close quarters killing skill by binding his limbs with ropes from a distance. They are no match for Logan who quickly dispatches the ninjas with a bit of help from Yukio, who escapes during the melee. The issue ends with Logan searching his soul and coming to a critical conclusion: “I’m a man, Shingen! Not a beast. A man! And that mistake is going to cost you!” To be concluded next issue in Honor.

Source: Kraalo Archives, Marvel Comics

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