Wolverine has travelled all across the Marvel Universe, from wondrous locales like the Savage Land and the homeworld of the intergalactic Shi'Ar empire to the best and worst of the world's great cities to its vast wilderness and jungles. More than merely visiting, he's called many of these locales home, but one place that has truly captured his heart is Japan. While Logan hasn't resided in the country for a long time, its culture, traditions and people are often on his mind and part of his every day life.
As a hero, Wolverine is inspired by the discipline, ethical code and martial prowess of the Samurai warrior class., as he attempts to live his life by the examples they set. But the real reason for Wolverine's fascination with Japan might just be it's women. Several of the great loves of his life have hailed from the country, and much of the trouble he's gotten into in Japan has involved a woman, leaving Wolverine with good memories of the country, some bad memories and many violent ones. Those less-than-tranquil memories are about to increase significantly because in "Wolverine" #20, in stores now, writer Jason Aaron and artist Renato Guedes kicked off an arc that will send their protagonist back to Japan and thrust him into the middle of a violent war between the Yakuza and the ninja assassin cult known as the Hand. CBR News spoke with Aaron about the arc, which was recently announced as his last on the book.
The roots for Aaron's current gang war epic stretch back to the back-up story in the debut issue of this latest volume of "Wolverine." "That was the first part of the 'Wolverine Goes to Hell' storyline, where we saw the Silver Samurai get murdered," the writer told CBR News. "He was the head of Clan Yashida, which was a big player in the Japanese underworld. His death has left that clan leaderless and created a bit of a power vacuum. The Hand and the Yakuza seem to be fighting each other in order to fill that vacuum."
Readers saw further hints of Aaron's plans for the Hand when they popped up in "Wolverine" #5.1 and the recent "Red Right Hand" storyline. Part of the reason Aaron waited so long and did so much prep work for this story is because he knows Wolverine tales set in Japan and feature the Hand have been done multiple times before.
"Wolverine obviously has a big connection with Japan. He spends a lot of time there, and it seems like throughout Marvel history, whenever you do a Wolverine in Japan story, it would have to involve ninjas and guys with Samurai swords. Certainly, those elements are in this story, but I wanted to try and take things further than that and do a story set in Japan that didn't just seem to play off the myths of the past and the usual elements associated with these Japanese stories," the writer remarked. "It's a story about the Hand and Japanese gangsters, but hopefully it's something that advances those stories a little bit and is a very new take on the Hand. We'll see a lot of interesting villains, like Wilson Fisk, who popped up in issue #20."