Monday, November 11, 2013

The Death of Mariko features a post by a longtime friend of John Byrne, Cory Vandernet, who found a list planned storylines through Uncanny X-Men #150.  One story was the death of Wolverine's love, Mariko, after a vicious attack at the hands of Sabretooth.

JB: Something that jumps out at me is the "death of Mariko" referece. That was going to be a hugely powerful story. In fact, when this list was made, with the death of Phoenix not even in the cards yet, it was probably the most powerful story we had planned.  I'm going to break one of my own rules here, since I have, at one time or another, discussed most of the details of Mariko's death as I had worked it out. So here it is all together, for those who haven't seen it before (and even those who have): Sabretooth attacks Mariko as a way of getting to Wolverine. He brutalizes her beyond imagining. (Nothing sexual. This is sheer animal violence.) He leaves her for dead, torn and bleeding in an alley. But she isn't dead, and the X-Men, tracking Sabretooth, find her. They race her to a hospital, and over the next several issues she lies in a coma, on life support. Other things occupy the X-Men's time for a while, but their thoughts keep coming back to Mariko. Wolverine returns to her bedside as often as he can. Her condition remains unchanged.

Finally, he can take it no longer. He begs Jean and Xavier to do something, to save her. Xavier scans her and makes a sad discovery. She is brain dead. Only the machines are keeping her alive. 
Wolverine refuses to believe it. But Jean links his mind to Mariko, and he feels the emptiness where her soul used to be. He asks to be left alone with her. Xavier and Jean depart, to wait outside. Wolverine sits by Mariko's beside, holding her hand, stroking her hair. He rises. He looks at the machines that are maintaining her life functions. In a sudden, swift movement he pops his claws and slashes the power cables. The machines fizzle and shut down.  Outside, in the hall, Jean and X have both "felt" what has happened. They move toward the door, but Wolverine comes out before they can enter. He stands for a moment in silence, looking at them. Finally he speaks. "She ain't meat," he says softly. And in an instant, he is gone, disappearing down a stairway.

Next issue, he finds and, in the most horrifying battle the Code would allow, kills Sabretooth (who was, at this point, to be revealed as his father.)

Regarding the above image, Cory writes:

"A little back-story, back in the day JB used to visit Grandpa Takes A Trip Comic-shop once in a while. When John broke the news that Mariko was going to die and Wolverine was going to kill Sabertooth out of revenge, the last few panels of the last page of the first part were to be of Wolverine cradling Mariko's body and the last panel was Wolverine raising his head with an expression of grief and hatred. I asked John what that would look like and he drew this free-hand with a ballpoint pen. At first he drew a tear welling up in the corner of his eye thought better of it and penned over it."

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