Mariko Yashida

Mariko Yashida
Mariko Yashida(comics).jpg
Mariko Yashida in
Uncanny X-Men #173
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Uncanny X-Men #118 (February, 1979)
Created by Chris Claremont
John Byrne
In-story information
Alter ego Mariko Yashida
Species Human
Team affiliations Clan Yashida
Partnerships Wolverine

Mariko Yashida (矢志田 真理子 Yashida Mariko?) is a fictional character that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by Chris Claremont and John Byrne, the character first appeared in Uncanny X-Men #118 (February, 1979).

Contents

Fictional character biography

Mariko was the daughter of Shingen Yashida, the half-sister of the Silver Samurai, and cousin of Sunfire and Sunpyre. Upon her father's death, she became head (Oyabun) of his Yakuza crime family, Clan Yashida.

She first met the X-Men when they returned from a sojourn in the Savage Land and were asked to help Japan, which was being blackmailed by the terrorist Moses Magnum. She became close to Wolverine despite her family's disapproval. However, when her father ordered her to marry a criminal associate to settle one of his debts, she obeyed without question as a matter of honor. Furthermore, she was intent on keeping to this duty over Logan's protests and the fact that her husband is physically abusive. However, her father had his personal assassin, Yukio, secretly poison Logan to temporarily weaken him before maneuvering him into an unfair duel of honor to disgrace himself in front of Mariko and to demoralize him.

Afterward, Mariko was later used by her father as a secondary motivation to maneuver Wolverine into participating in an assassination of a rival by having the superhero inadvertently provide a distraction while protecting his love from the rival's own assassins. This also had the intended effect of deepening Mariko's disgust for Logan upon witnessing him going berserk in battle, albeit in defense of her. However, Mariko soon realized that her father was evil and was shaming her family with his schemes. To stop him, Mariko planned to kill her father and then commit seppuku in recompense for the deed. Fortunately, Logan, learning the truth about his manipulation and inspired by a personal epiphany about his humanity, attacked her father and slew him in a fair battle of honor before she could act. In doing so, Logan was convinced that Mariko would be honorbound to kill him for that and was prepared to die at her hands rather than harm her in self-defense. However, Mariko explained her opinion of her father and presented the family katana to him as a token of her approval of him as an honourable warrior who is properly entitled to it.

At this, Mariko became Logan's fiancée, but their wedding was halted by the supervillain Mastermind, who used a mind control device to change Mariko's mind. When the control was lifted, Wolverine and Mariko resumed their relationship after a period of separation, but have not reconsidered marriage. Mariko also refused any closer engagement with him until she had dealt with her father's criminal legacy, which she felt honorbound to rectify.

The X-Men returned from the first Secret Wars and accidentally end up in Japan, fighting a dragon their companion Lockheed had brought along. During the chaos, a young girl named Amiko Kobayashi loses her mother when a collapsing building crushes her. Dying, the woman begs Wolverine to take care of her daughter.[1] Since Wolverine could not take care of her himself, he chose to place Amiko in Mariko's care, whom the girl soon adopted as a surrogate mother. Akiko and Mariko were at one point targeted by Ogun, one of Wolverine's old enemies, but the attack was averted by Wolverine and Kitty Pryde.

Mariko was poisoned with tetrodotoxin from a blowfish by an assassin named Reiko, in the hire of her rival Matsu'o Tsurayaba.[2] She asked Wolverine to kill her to avoid a painful death and preserve her honor. Wolverine killed her and vowed to avenge Mariko by yearly severing parts of Matsu'o's body on the anniversary of her death.

Many years later, Wolverine was captured by the Devil and taken to Hell. In order to have Wolverine comply with his demands, he had Mariko's soul (who had been condemned to Hell for her leadership of the Yashida clan's criminal activities) brought to him and torture Wolverine into submission. Wolverine, however, was eventually rescued by his old friend from Alpha Flight, Puck.[3]

Other versions

Age of Apocalypse

In the "Age of Apocalypse" timeline, Mariko was a member of the Human High Council, a group of humans that opposed Apocalypse's tyrannical rule. While not engaged to Logan, Mariko was his former lover and she birthed him a daughter, Kirika, who is an amalgam of X-23 and her 616 daughter Amiko Kobayashi. Mariko participates in an attempt to bomb forces of Apocalypse based in North America, though she knows this would mean extensive civilian deaths.

Exiles

The death of Sunfire. Art by Clayton Henry.

In an alternate universe (Earth-2109), Mariko was Sunfire and became a member of the Exiles from issue #2 (September, 2001) until her death in issue #37 (January, 2004) of their ongoing series. In the 2109 alternate universe, Mariko had the same powers as her 616 Marvel Universe counterpart Sunfire and his sister Sunpyre. This version was created by Judd Winick and Mike McKone. A Japanese citizen and a member of the X-Men in her reality, she was one of Marvel's few openly homosexual characters. She has a relationship with one reality's version of Spider-Woman, Mary Jane Watson.

Reception

Sunfire's open homosexuality has attracted some interest after coming out in issue #11.[4] Her death has also garnered some attention. Perry Moore includes her as an example of the poor treatment of gay superheroes, paralleling the earlier Women in Refrigerators.[5]

Judd Winick has been accused of pursuing some broader social agenda, making Sunfire gay being one of his ideas used to support this notion, as he explains in an interview with Comic Book Resources:[6]

I've done a smattering of stories that are socially relevant and I'm considered the soap-box guy. I've done one story arc in Green Lantern featuring a gay character who was a survivor of a hate crime. Sunfire was gay in Exiles. And there's other stuff sort of there that people like to hang their hat on, saying I'm just this big commie out there pushing an agenda. It's only a handful of stories.

Powers and abilities

Sunfire had the ability to absorb sunlight, and convert it into superheated plasma which burst into flame on contact with the air. She could use her plasma to fire beams of scorching heat or powerful bursts of solar fire. She could fly close to 100 mph (160 km/h) by surrounding herself with a corona of fire, and then pushing the flames downward in a tight jet of superheated gas, shooting her through the air like a missile. Sunfire could see heat, by shifting her range of vision from normal light to infrared light. Sunfire was immune to extreme heat and radiation.

Wolverine Noir

Mariko appears in Wolverine Noir as a businesswoman looking to expand her father's interests into New York City.[7]

Other media

Television

  • Mariko appears in the Wolverine and the X-Men episode "Code of Conduct" voiced by Gwendoline Yeo. She's depicted as Logan's former love and the wife of the Silver Samurai. A flashback showed how she fell in love with Wolverine, but the Yakuza had him duel Silver Samurai over her. When Silver Samurai abducted the X-Men years later, Mariko arrived at the Japanese Embassy looking for her husband. She was present at the recent duel with Silver Samurai and Wolverine. After Silver Samurai acted dishonorably by using his mutant powers when it wasn't allowed, the Yakuza Leader annulled the duel and had his men take Silver Samurai away. When the Yakuza Leader agreed to release the captive X-Men, she told Wolverine that Silver Samurai will be driven from the Yakuza in shame and that they will not admit him again. When Wolverine asks her why she chose Silver Samurai, she said that she swore an oath of loyalty to him or else the Yakuza would've killed both of them. Mariko and Wolverine then went their separate ways.
  • Mariko appears in Marvel Anime: Wolverine voiced by Fumiko Orikasa in the Japanese dub and Gwendoline Yeo once again for the English dub. In this series which is not continuous with the Marvel franchises, Mariko is arranged to be married to the current leader of Madipoor. Logan spends the entire series on a quest to free her from this engagement.

Film

  • It was confirmed by X-Men and Wolverine producer, Lauren Shuler-Donner, that Mariko will be a main character in the upcoming sequel to X-Men Origins: Wolverine.[8]

External links

References

  1. ^ "Uncanny X-Men" #181 (May, 1984)
  2. ^ Wolverine vol. 2 #57 (July, 1992)
  3. ^ Wolverine v4 #2
  4. ^ Gay League profile
  5. ^ Perry Moore (2007) Hero (432 pages, Hyperion, ISBN 1423101952) extract: "Who Cares About the Death of a Gay Superhero Anyway?"
  6. ^ Winick on "Green Arrow", Mia's HIV Status and More, Comic Book Resources, October 14, 2004
  7. ^ "Wolverine Noir" 2009
  8. ^ De Semlyen, Nick. "The Future Of The X-Men Franchise: Wolverine 2". Empire. http://www.empireonline.com/features/future-of-x-men-franchise/default.asp. Retrieved 2009-10-25. 

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