Who's in this issue?
Thus, we end the multi-issue run of penciler Leinil Francis Yu on this title (who had moved on to bigger and better things, now as the penciler for X-Men) as well as writer Eric Larsen. And in comes new penciler and writer Steve Skroce, whose first story for this title puts Logan back in Japan to face a new threat. And already, in my opinion, Mr. Skroce has left his mark on the Wolverine title with the amount of blood that has appeared in this title, along with that really awesome shot of Wolverine's bloodied forehead after Gom had fired a bullet at Logan's skull.
In general, this was a very strong book with a good solid beginning for this story arc. Haan definately looks like a genuine threat to everyone he encounters, and Logan, once again, finds himself in the middle of a feud, with one side attempting to use Logan to their benefit to defeat the other side. This book has been a little bit more violent, in my opinion, than previous Wolverine issues (in that this issue had lots more blood), which I think will work well for this particular story arc. After all, this is a bloody feud between two warring factions of the same family, with each side wanting to retain the birthright of ruling their clan. Artwork shows a lot of promise for this particular title (less emphasis on a cartoony basis and more on a violent nature (eg. battle in the apartment), and I think it will prove to be quite refreshing to see a little bit more emphasis on adventure in this title than had been offered in the last few issues.
One really minor thing: I'm a nut for continuity, and I do hope that Mr. Skroce might keep in mind on what happened in Wolverine #109, where Amiko had been brainwashed by Akatora into believing that Logan was responsible for her mother's death and Akatora gave her a dagger dipped in blowfish toxin which she could use in the future to kill Logan for "revenge". This issue (#109) never did have a resolution, and now that Amiko has been brought into this story arc, maybe we could resolve what had happened back in Wolverine #109 and close off that particular unresolved issue.
Finally: yes, there are two different covers to this issue: the one that I have posted on this site (which is the regular one), and a really interesting-looking one (that I think was done in watercolor) which is considered to be the variant issue.
Rating (from 1 dot (not recommended) to 5 dot (highly recommended)
IN THIS ISSUE:
Flashback to the very far past, when a bloody feud within the Yashida clan results in Yolyn assuming the leadership role of the clan after the bloody murder of his father.
To the present, as Wolverine finds himself back in Japan, at the grave of his beloved Mariko Yashida, reflecting to the past when she had begged him to release her from the pain of blowfish toxin poisoning. Silver Samurai, half-brother to Mariko Yashida and current leader of the clan Yashida, appears with a wine bottle in one hand and completely drunk. He babbles to Logan about how he considered Mariko to be lucky to have died back then than to be manipulated by the corruption of the Yashida clan. Logan, infuriated at the Silver Samurai's words, storms out. Little did he or the Silver Samurai know, they were being watched by Haan Kaishek and his sister, Kia. The two recognized Wolverine, and immediately, they realized that they might be able to use Wolverine to their advantage.
In the city, Logan meets up with an old Japanese acquaintence of his, Yukio. Yukio had been given charge of the well-being of Logan's adopted daughter, Amiko, and Logan wanted to check up on Amiko, who was on her way home from school. The two heads to the street to meet up with Amiko. The two arrives at a tea house which Yukio recognizes as a place where Amiko often hangs out with her friends.
Before they could enter, a man flies out through the window into the pavement, and standing at the shattered window is Amiko, who had punched the guy through the window. Amiko blames the guy for starting the fight since the guy was drunk and was hitting on one of her friends. Yukio is mad at Amiko for harming that guy (and vows never to show Amiko any more defensive moves until she learns), while Logan is mad at Yukio for allowing Amiko to hang out in such a run-down neighborhood. Amiko yells at Logan to mind his own business since Yukio was her caretaker and not him. She runs off, and Logan follows. He catches up with her in an alley, where the two have a conversation and come to a mutual understanding of each other. Logan gives her a present of a doll.
Later that evening, back at Yukio's apartment, Logan wonders about the strange encounter with the Silver Samurai: how he was drunk and acting weird, and how he appeared to be afraid of something, which was weird since Logan had never seen him scared before. Yukio tells Logan to ignore the Silver Samurai since the Silver Samurai had always acted in his own best interest, and that Logan's responsibilities in Japan were to herself and Amiko and not the Silver Samurai. At that moment, the Silver Samurai stumbles in and collapses on the floor, with a daggar in his back.
After he regains consciousness and with Yukio stiching up his wound, the Silver Samurai tells them about how he had been overthrown by Haan Kaishek, the leader of the oldest and most powerful clan of Mongolia. Haan had spared the Silver Samurai's life in exchange to have the Silver Samurai kill the son of an Japanese industrialist who had refused to partner with Haan in some business ventures. The Silver Samurai couldn't kill the boy, and since then, Haan was out to take his revenge on the Silver Samurai. Just then, Logan catches the scents of some men on the roof poised to to attack them in the apartment. The enemy samurais attack, and Logan and the Silver Samurai attacks them while blocking the way to allow Amiko and Yukio escape. Their fight spills outside, where Haan and the rest of his men attacks. Haan fires several rounds of bullets at Logan, and kicks him off the roof. Silver Samurai is captured by his men. Because the Silver Samurai had failed him, Haan stabs a sword through the Silver Samurai's chest. Unaware to any of them, Logan had made his way back up the side of the building, and he manages to rescue the Silver Samurai. On the streets, a limosine pulls up, and Logan recognizes the man inside as Gom, Haan's brother. They flee inside his limosine.
Much later, Logan and the Silver Samurai takes shelter at Gom's home in Japan. Doctors tended to the Silver Samurai's room. Gom reveals to Logan that he had captured Yukio and Amiko, and before he could set them free, Logan had to go kill his brother, Haan, so that he could reclaim his birthright. He fires a bullet at Logan's adamantium skull. Gom knew the shot wouldn't kill him, but he did it to emphasize his seriousness and point about wanting Haan killed by Logan or he would kill Amiko and Yukio.