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X-Men #118 (1979, February)

February 4, 2013

Another review. Hurrah. Today’s story is “The Submergence of Japan!”

The Submergence of Japan!

Sunfire’s taking a break from attacking Americans.

The Japanese ship the X-Men are on finally returns to Japan, 6 weeks after picking the X-Men up. They find Agarashima, the port they’re returning to, on fire. The X-Men pop over to the shore, and Scott says they’re going to Sunfire’s ancestral manor, to get his help to get home. When they stop for a break, Wolverine grabs a newspaper and says most of the city was evacuated due to warnings of a big earthquake coming. Scott doesn’t understand how their could be an earthquake without pre- or after-shocks, and is also surprised that Wolverine reads Japanese.

We get a brief scene of Lilandra and Xavier leaving Earth. Then we go back to Japan, where the X-Men sneak into the Yoshida Ancestral Manor in costume and run into Sunfire. He orders his guards to arrest them, but Misty says the Prime Minister wants to see them inside. Scott stands around listening to Sunfire and Colleen Wing yell at each other in Japanese, then walks away to find a phone so he can call the Mansion. He learns all the phone lines at the School were discontinued. Wolverine wanders the house, and meets Mariko Yoshida in the garden. Which leads to a pretty perfect moment. She says he speaks Japanese well for an American. His response: “I had good teachers. I’m not American, though, I’m Canadian.” As a Canadian, I can confirm that we will correct anyone who mistakes us for American. It doesn’t matter who it is. It could be the President of the US. It could be a murder with a gun to our head.  If they call us American, we will automatically say, “Canadian, actually.” It’s instinctive. I’m convinced you could communicate with coma patients that way.

Anyway. Before Wolverine can tell her his name is Logan, the Manor is attacked by a bunch of thugs in Mandroid armour. The Mandroid armour was previously seen in Avengers #94 and 95, from December 1971/January 1972, where it beat the Avengers up pretty effectively until Iron Man shut it down. Anyway, fight scene. Sunfire gets blasted before the fight even starts. Nightcrawler gets one of the thugs to shoot another. Colossus takes a swing and misses, then gets punched far away. Wolverine cuts open the guy who launched Colossus away. Cyclops and Banshee take down the second suit. Sunfire uses his flames on the third suit, and the guy inside taunts him. Until Storm whips up some freezing rain. All three down. The guys who dropped them off try to escape in their truck, but they happen to drive over Colossus.

As Cyclops congratulates the X-Men on a job well-done, Moses Magnum pops up in a hologram (I thought only CNN had that sort of technology!) and threatens to sink Japan if he isn’t declared ruler within 24 hours.

This is a solid issue, but a largely forgettable one with the benefit of hindsight. It’s a testament to what Claremont achieved on this series, over 16 years, that an issue like this ends up being forgettable. It’s most notable for introducing Mariko Yoshida. She, of course, would end up becoming one of Wolverine’s True Loves, and perhaps his most tragic. We also get some hints into Wolverine’s past, as he thinks about having been a punk kid last time he was in Japan. Now, he’s become closely associated with the country and culture. This issue also sees Xavier leave the planet for a little while, though he’d return shortly. And we also see the beginnings of an attraction between Scott and Colleen; sadly, this was never really given a chance to go anywhere. Actually, it may just be me, but I miss Colleen in general. She was a cool character. She and Misty both deserve to be showing up somewhere. Misty’s going to be in the upcoming Fearless Defenders (along with Valkyrie and Dani Moonstar, among other ladies – I’m excited for that series), but Colleen doesn’t seem to be doing anything. Which is pretty common for her. Ah, well. On a side note, we never did learn exactly what the mission of the Japanese ship was. Last issue indicated it was a secret mission of great importance. This issue reveals it lasted two years. But we’re never told what they were actually doing. It’s not a big deal, but it is an unanswered question that bothers me.

  1. I remember reading this issue somewhere.

  2. When Cyclops expressed shock over Wolverine understanding Japanese, I think Logan’s exact response was, “Well, you never asked.” Just a simple throwaway line that blossomed into an angle absolutely overworked and done to death by every other writer to tackle Wolverine. Kind of crazy to go back and see how that seed was planted.

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