Frank Miller/Chris Claremont
Wolverine #1-4 and Uncanny X-Men #172-173
The Wolverine was (SO loosely) based on these comics.
There’s actually far less of a segway between that stuff with the bear and Wolverine going to Japan in the source material. Also in the comics Yukio and Wolverine get close. And Wolverine doesn’t lose his regenerative powers. And the Silver Samurai is a totally different person. And there’s no nanites. And the rest of the X-Men show up. Yeah… the only thing the same is the names of people and that it is set in Japan.
But I digress. Wolverine comes off of the mountain to see Mariko who he loves. She’s married. Her husband abuses her. Wolverine has to save her. Against her will. As the daughter of a wealthy and powerful man she is also heir to his legacy. And she is bound by tradition and honor. Stuff that the loner and berserker Wolverine wouldn’t understand. (Which his friend Osada recognizes while still saying that Wolverine is the “most Japanese Westerner he ever met” -what?!)
After fighting her father and her father leaving Wolverine for dead, Wolvie meets Yukio. Who is more wild and slightly more agile than in the film. Wolverine and Yukio get together until Wolverine finds that she was plotting against him and in cahoots with The Hand (Japanese mafia assassins). Mariko’s half brother tries to take control of the business by becoming the Silver Samurai. Viper poisons people. But in the comics it’s Rogue who- after recently inheriting Carol Danver’s powers considers herself invulnerable- saves the lot of them. While that’s going on, an out of control Ororo makes friends with Yukio and get’s her first mohawk.
I hadn’t read these before (spare me) and I’m glad I did. The art is simple and fantastic. Without relying on backgrounds and tech much is explained through just facial expression or hands… but Wolverine’s narration is sometimes a little much.
With Yukio’s consciousness living on in Ana Cortes and Brian Wood’s X-Men- as well as Storm’s punk rock ‘do, The Wolverine based off this collection and all the nerd points I just earned this was definitely worthwhile. Only downside is the collection ends without it all wrapped up and there’s this weird stuff with reincarnated Jean Grey mixed in but there was bound to be something since these stories spanned years.
If the movie was more closely based on the comics it would still have barely passed the Bechdel Test but it would have, because Yukio and Storm hit it off so well. Why did Kitty cry about Storm’s haircut, though? I’m baffled.