Writer Chris Claremont
Penciler Paul Smith
Inker Bob Wiacek
Colorist Glynis Wein
Letterer Tom Orzechowski
Cover Dated August 1983
Inside front cover ad is for Cracker Jack, which today, you can get a triple pack for a dollar at Wal-Mart. Also, no prizes are in any of those boxes.
Issue opens in Tokyo, Logan is welcoming the X-Men into Mariko’s condo.
Kurt mentions getting letters from Logan. How long must those letters take to get from Tokyo to New York?
I love this two page spread, the left page as four vertical panels with a tall panel to the right of it. The right has the tall panel on the left side with four vertical panels to the right of that one. Smith really moves your eyes naturally from panel to panel. Mariko in the tall left panel, in the same pose as Rogue in the tall right panel.
Logan is in a kimono, and I like seeing him out of costume. He seems to be at peace. In five days, Mariko and Logan will be married.
Logan notices Lockheed, making a joke about how customs must have loved seeing a purple dragon. Kitty mentions how customs didn’t mentioned it, which why would customs be upset in the Marvel Universe by seeing a teenage girl with a dragon.
Logan mentions how Lockheed reminds him of himself. Cool how this is the first meeting of Wolverine and Lockheed, don’t really think of how such legendary characters every meeting.
Logan finds out that Rogue has joined the team. Which doesn’t surprise him, as any team that would take him in, would take anyone.
Mariko accepts Rogue and welcomes her into her home. Simply because she is their guest. Mariko refers to him as Wolverine, which I find odd. Shouldn’t she only want to call him, Logan? Maybe it is due to the X-Men being around?
We see Silver Samurai watching these events unfold. We see Yukio is watching him. Yukio does a charging kick and it barely affects him. What it does do, is alert Logan to what is happening across the rooftops. He has Kurt teleport the two of them to the fight.
Logan jumps at Silver Samurai, who teleports away. Logan’s jump takes him off the roof. Kurt teleports Logan to safety. They briefly talk about Yukio, with Logan saying they are ‘friends.’
Yukio dashes off, leaping from rooftop to rooftop. She misses one building and falls. Storm catches her and they introduce themselves. Storm likes Yukio’s free spirit. I like how Yukio is a little more direct about what type of friends she and Logan are.
Back at the condo, we get the end of Logan’s recap of his miniseries and who Silver Samurai worked for. Colossus asks if Shingen is stopped, Logan states he has already stopped him. Kitty thinks that is great as now they can interrogate Shingen and get information regarding Silver Samurai. Kurt understood what Logan meant and then it dawns on Kitty what really happened to Shingen. We get a great narration caption of Logan’s describing Kitty and his relationship. She believes in him, but gets reminded that Logan can be ruthless.
We see Mariko is going to a secret meeting that no one knows she is going to. Her goal is to untie her family’s bond to crime but they are pretty tied to it due to Shingen’s involvement.
We see Viper knocking out one of the help that Logan sent to get snacks and drinks for everyone. Viper dresses as one of the help and has poisoned the drinks. Logan notices that it is not the same person as who he sent away but he doesn’t know everyone yet.
We see the X-Men, and I like how Kurt, Colossus and Kitty are on the couch. We see Rogue just far enough away that she is not included in their conversation. She is keeping her distance as she knows she isn’t quite welcomed as she was forced on everyone last issue to join the team by Xavier. Smith does a great job and if you are not looking for it, you could easily not notice the staging of everyone. Storm is by the window and there is lightning outside and the weather report said there was clear skies. Storm’s emotions are all over the place so the weather is all out of whack. Logan heads over to speak with her.
They talk about how Logan never saw himself getting married to a Japanese princess, him, a roughneck Canadian mountain man. Logan confesses and tells Storm that he may not be worthy of her, as Shingen had asked if Logan was even worthy of being called a man.
Wein does a great job now with the scene, as they keep drinking the tea, the background details are gone, replaced with nothing more than red. Danger is a foot, and it is a detail that you wouldn’t get in a black and white Essential. Logan confesses that the fight Mariko has ahead of her is too subtle for him, he is all about slashing his opponents but Mariko needs to handle the situation like a businesswoman, with meetings and deals needing to be made. Logan finally realizes that he knows why the tea has an odd after taste, it has been poisoned. He slaps the cup from Storm’s hand, and we see that she was the only one to not drink any.
Mariko is now being driven to her meeting by Yukio.
Meanwhile, in Alaska, we see Scott completely abusing his power as the grandson of the owners of Northstar Airlines. Alex comes into the office and confronts Scott for sabotaging his new relationship. I like the art detail on the file cabinet, Scott had to get a key to open the files. He had in his mind to read her personnel file and his grandparents at least attempt to protect everyone’s privacy – unless you have a key. Scott states all the odd things Madelyne has done, like offering his favorite breakfast on their first date. I wish Alex and Scott were closer brothers as one would think the natural next line would have been Alex saying something along the lines of “that must have been a great first date.” But that line could have been more mature than the era would have allowed. Maddie also confessed to knowing Scott’s favorite breakfast by being a mind reader. It is odd that Maddie’s plane crash happened the same day as when Jean died, September 1, 1980. A date that I need to try better to memorized as I do enjoy how they said the year.
I wonder what Claremont’s original plan was for Maddie, as it is weird to stack the deck that much. Why not just make Maddie a one time girlfriend for Scott. I figure (or may be remembering this) that Claremont wanted Maddie to be this complicated so that once Scott got over the coincidences, he – and us – would accept Maddie as she would have been proven herself by then. But why make it so complicated? Or why then involve her in Inferno? I know at one point, they wanted Jean back for X-Factor and then they would have wanted Jean and Scott back together, after that happened.
Imagine if they just wanted Scott back into X-Factor, he stayed married to Madelyne and it was only super awkward around Jean for the first 24 issues? Eventually Jean would move on, maybe to Wolverine, who knows, and the stories went from there. It would have made Scott a better character, instead of ditching his family – which many still have not forgiven him for or at least, cite it as a turning point for him. Now that I have a family of my own, I may have to reexamine my love for Cyclops but it was over 30 years ago so it might be time to move on, especially with how the character and the X-Office have not referenced it in forever.
Back to Mariko’s meeting. She meets with Silver Samurai, who is her younger half brother, Viper and Nabatone Yokuse. Yokuse is the head of the second biggest crime family in Japan, right behind her late father, so now she is the number one crimelord. An honor, she doesn’t want. There is an awesome What If involving if Mariko let Wolverine do his thing and deal with the problem, his way. One day we will get to it.
Mariko tells Silver Samurai that she only took this meeting to confront him, even though he is Shingen’s oldest male, he is not first born, so the honor of Clan Yashida goes to her. This angers him, naturally, and he prepares his sword to deal with her. She states she was promised a safe meeting, which Yokuse states that promise was only for Mariko, not imposters. We find out that Mariko is really Yukio! Yukio and Silver Samurai begin to fight. She is surprised how fast he is in all of that armor.
Viper knows she followed Mariko’s limo from the condo to the meeting so Mariko must be inside still. So she runs to the limo to kill Mariko. During the time the meeting was taking place, Storm had a chance to get into the limo. I suppose to keep Mariko company. Viper opens the door and gets a gust of wind that blows her backwards. We see Storm step out of the limo, which is a panel that looks odd to me. I am sure it is due to seeing a superhero step out of a car, as how often does that happen? I never think of them needing to travel by car but this time it makes sense as now Storm has the element of surprised. No pun intended.
Viper is knocked out and this is another instance of Storm having no control of her powers. Storm tells Mariko to call the police using the car phone, which is how Yukio called Storm, in case anyone was wondering. Storm starts to fly, also noticing that the more she tries to, the harder it seems to be. Storm crashes through a window, and we see Yukio and Silver Samurai are still fighting. Storm tries to help by summoning lightning, which completely backfires on her. It is an intense panel, Storm looks like she is horribly burned.
Storm has fallen for Yokuse’s trap. Which is a crazy trap, how did he even know that Storm was going to be involved as he would have to know that Wolverine was going to knock the tea out of her hands. Clearly the trap was for Storm, as none of the other X-Men’s powers would have involved lightning. Maybe he had a plan per X-Man but I doubt it.
Due to Storm’s lightning going all over the place, one strikes a crate full of explosives. Yukio grabs Mariko’s kimono and jumps at Storm, still in agony, and they crash through another window. Yukio has only barely enough time to wonder if they made it out in time when the warehouse explodes. They are flung even farther into the water. In the explosion, we see a giant image of the Phoenix coming out of the warehouse. Storm wonders if she is seeing things when Yukio confirms she saw it too. We see in the background Yokuse, in a shadow, smiling.
One has to look for him to see him. Great touch by Smith. He really does spend a great deal of time in backgrounds and filling rooms with decorations, all rooms are filled with life. One of the reasons why he didn’t last long on the title, as it takes a bunch of time to do all of that.
Silver Samurai has survived the explosion as well. He can’t locate Viper, and he swears he is going to kill everybody. These panels look incredible with the fire behind him and the glint off of his armor.
The issue ends at the hospital. Mariko has used her influence to ensure that the X-Men have an entire floor to themselves with plenty of bodyguards. Which I find cute, as the people the X-Men fight, usually guns can’t hurt them but maybe the bodyguards can at least slow the would be assailants down a little.
Wolverine is now in costume. Mariko doesn’t want him to go as he is still weak from the poison. The other X-Men will make it, it is touch and go but they are slowly recovering. Wolverine has to go, if he doesn’t, the fight will come to the hospital. Rogue states she will come with him.
Wolverine doesn’t want her too, she is quick to state that if she never gets a chance to prove herself, then how will she ever. The reason she isn’t on her death bed is that she is half-alien. Which is an odd statement as she isn’t. Does she mean that the powers she got from Carol are Kree-related, that’s a different matter but Wolverine moves on in the conversation. That line, along with not including Amanda and Lockheed in the Morlock mission, has bugged me for years.
Wolverine knows he needs Rogue, so he grudgingly agrees. His only requirements, she follows his lead and everything he tells her to do, every step of the way.
Amazing how now that Smith gets to draw Rogue, she is even younger than in Walt Simonson’s last issue, and now only has the one white stripe in her hair. Now she appears to be in her early twenties. I guess once you go from villain to hero, that de-ages you.
Paul Smith’s second to last story on the title is coming to an end.
At the very end, Kitty Pryde answers the letters page.
. . .
This website has most of the pages, if you want to read along –