Summary: In 1982, Wolverine is living in San Francisco with his girlfriend Sung Li. Sung’s mother is acting odd, so the couple goes to visit her. The elderly woman, who now inexplicably speaks English, slaps her daughter, just before a group of ninjas crash through the window and attack. An injured Wolverine is rescued by Deathblow. Deathblow learns that Wolverine’s address is the same address used by his friend Phil Chang, who just wrote a letter asking him for help. After facing more ninjas, they return to Wolverine’s apartment. A mystery man informs them that Sung Li is in great danger.
Continuity Notes: Deathblow is a paramilitary Jim Lee character from the Wildstorm Universe. Why this story is explicitly set in 1982 is beyond me. You would think this was done to place the story in Wolverine’s pre-X-Men, secret agent days. However, Deathblow finds a photo of Wolverine with the X-Men in his wallet, so that clearly wasn’t the reason.
Review: Another Marvel/Image crossover I’ve only recently discovered, Deathblow and Wolverine teams Wolverine with the hardened soldier whose name isn’t amusing at all. Not one bit. Despite the brief acknowledgment of the X-Men, the story is played as your standard Wolverine prequel story. Wolverine has an Asian girlfriend, some ninjas are involved, and he nearly dies but is saved by his miraculous healing factor. At least he hasn’t fought back his berserker rage yet. Deathblow is brought into the story through what appears to be coincidence, but we later learn that he’s in Chinatown to respond to an urgent letter from a friend. Why exactly Phil Chang is using Wolverine’s address adds some intrigue to the story, along with the bizarre behavior of Sung’s mother. The main draw of the mini is the art, which has Aron Wiesenfeld and Richard Bennett emulating the “open” style of European and Japanese comics, with little or no shading and a bit of Geoff Darrow thrown in. The architecture looks beautiful, and while we’ve seen a thousand Wolverine/ninja fights by now, this one is visually exciting.