Who's in this issue?
You sure aren't going to find too many of these solidly-written stories in this title, so in my opinion, enjoy it while it lasts! Although writer/penciler Steve Skroce's artwork is nice, it's his fast-pace action and solid story-telling style of writing is what's got me captivated by this title. This story, so far, basically goes back to the essential basics of what makes ... or made ... this title popular to read: Wolverine is left with little choice and becomes an unwilling participant in some kind of conflict, where he kicks some serious butt against the "enemy". Japan = ninjas whenever you put Wolverine and Japan together, and this story has done a superb job blending these elements together with a very intriguing family conflict at both ends. The story has plenty of elements and suspense that will make you want to read the next issue, not because you have to, but because you want to. How will Logan get out of this? Where does Kia hide Yukio and Amiko? Is there more to her than meets the eye? Does she have some kind of secret agenda than what she chooses to say? It's types of questions like this that is presented casually, not forcefully, in this story arc which keeps this storyline intriguing and fresh.
Furthermore, the way he tells the story is very well-done. Each panel follows each other very fluidly, which gives the storyline a more "flowing" feel to it; that is, the story is being told as one continuous arch instead of broken pieces and you needing to fill in the missing pieces. Good examples of this? The fight scene, and the scene near the end when Kia is begging Wolverine to help her. In my opinion, it's hard for writers and pencilers, as separate identities, to do this, which is why as both the writer and penciler, Steve Skroce can alleviate this "choppiness" that could occur with separate writers and artists, and he can tell the story much more fluidly as both the writer and the penciler.
Unfortunately, Steve Skroce is only slated to do this one story arc for the title, and then he'll be gone. But, with the way he's been writing for this title in the last two issues, I sincerely hope that he will be given a chance to stay on the title for a longer period of time, just to see what direction he can take the character of Wolverine.
Final thought? If you like good storytelling with good action sequences, or if you're one of those who just likes mindless fighting with lots of guns, bullets, and blood, then this issue could be perfect for you.
Rating (from 1 dot (not recommended) to 5 dot (highly recommended)
"Blood Debt: Pt. II"
IN THIS ISSUE:
Flashback to the very far past, when a bloody feud between two brothers leads to Yolyn killing his own brother in cold blood.
Back to the present, where Yukio and Amiko are being held captive by Gom and Kia while Wolverine has been forcefully sent to kill Gom's brother, Haan. Wolverine had been sent to Haan's penthouse to kill Haan and bring his head back to Gom as proof before Amiko and Yukio could be set free.
Upon breaking in, Logan finds that Haan was already waiting for him with two hundred armed guards. Haan wouldn't let Logan whether Gom had double-crossed Logan or not by sending him into a trap. Haan leaves his men to kill Logan as he leaves.
A very bloody and violent battle ensues as Logan takes on the hundred armed guards to fight his way to the departing Haan. Combining his feeling of being betrayed by Gom and the adrenaline rush of having to fight these many armed men, Wolverine is sent into a berserker rage, punching and slashing his way to the window to give escape. He manages to escape through the window, survives a fall into a bus stop (to the surprise of the bus rider waiting for the bus to come), and starts making his way back to get revenge at Gom.
Back at Gom's, the Silver Samurai, still recovering from his injuries, tries unsuccessfully to get Gom to release Amiko and Yukio. As the two are arguing, Amiko and Yukio tries to slip free of their restraints. Just when Gom was about to kill Silver Samurai, Wolverine returns, wounded, but without Haan's head. Wolverine barges in, demands to know from Gom how Haan had two hundred armed men already waiting for him. Gom tells Logan he never double-crossed him, until he realized that Haan had planned this all along: he knew Logan would think Gom had double-crossed him, and Logan would therefore come back to Gom's hideout to get answers, which meant that Logan would be leading Haan straight to Gom.
At this moment of recognition, a bomb explodes outside, and Haan and his men enters. Gom tries to make an escape while Logan resumes his fight against Haan's men. In another room, Amiko and Yukio hears the commotion, and tries to get free. But, two of Gom's men stops them from escaping. Silver Samurai tries to wrestle the gun free from one of the men to buy Amiko and Yukio some time to escape, but was unsuccessful. From behind, someone shoots the two guards from behind. Kia was the one who had pulled the trigger, and leads Amiko, Yukio, and the Silver Samurai out through the back.
Back to Gom, as he tries to make his escape to his car with one of his guards. From behind, the two are hit by gunfire. Gom discovers that Haan had pulled the trigger. Gom begs for mercy from Haan, but Haan mercilessly kills him at point blank range.
To the rear, where Kia had a waiting servant and car already in place to whisk the three captives away. Yukio, not trusting Kia, tries to convince Kia to change her plans, but Kia gases them with sleeping gas. Her attendant loads the three unconscious captives into the car, as she reenters the compound to look for Gom. She finds Logan knealing besides Gom's body. Logan demands from her to tell him the whereabouts of Yukio and Amiko. She couldn't tell him, only saying that her purposes was to be the "in-between" person: to make peace between Gom and Haan, and she thought that she could protect Gom in the event that Haan struck. She now needed Logan to provide her with safe passage to and from Haan's penthouse. She couldn't release Yukio or Amiko with the fear that if she did so, Logan would not help her. She promises she would arrange for him to speak with Yukio and Amiko, and promises that after one more night, this "nightmare" would be over. Logan, faced with little choice, agrees to help her, but warns her that if either Yukio or Amiko were hurt, he promises that there would be no place for Kia to hide from him.