The quest for vengeance is an all-consuming one that transforms those who walk its path. In the Marvel Universe that transformation is often both physical and emotional as fantastic technology has the power to reshape those obsessed with bloody payback into living weapons. That’s what happened to Yuriko Oyama whose quest for vengeance against the adamantium-enhanced mutant known as Wolverine, over the belief that he stole from and dishonored her father, led her to become the cybernetic assassin known as Lady Deathstrike.
Marts & Kubert Examine “Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy”
â€¨With Wolverine no longer among the living following the events of “Death of Wolverine,” Lady Deathstrike faces a strange new world with her sworn enemy vanquished — though not by her hand — and must decide what will become of her life in the X-Man’s absence. In “Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy” #4, writer Marguerite Bennett and artist Juan Doe will send Lady Deathstrike down a bold new pace and try to give her a new purpose. CBR News spoke with Bennett about exploring the X-Men corner of the Marvel Universe, Lady Deathstrike’s longstanding rivalry with Wolverine, and the trouble she’ll get into in the aftermath of her archenemy’s death.
CBR News: Marguerite, comic readers first became aware of you via your work at DC Comics, but you’re quickly becoming familiar with the X-Universe as well after working on a back up story in this year’s “Amazing X-Men Annual” and your collaboration with Chris Claremont on “Nightcrawler” #7, which was also a “Death of Wolverine” tie-in. How does it feel to be part of the “Logan Legacy” team dealing the fallout from Wolverine’s death? Do they X-Men hold any particular appeal as a writer when compared to other characters you’ve written?
Marguerite Bennett: I actually grew up on the X-Universe. I was a DC girl and I was especially huge into Batman villains when I was a little kid. The only Marvel property I was familiar with was X-Men. I knew nothing about the Avengers.
â€¨The “X-Men” cartoon was a big part of my familiarity. Then the first “X-Men” movie came out when I believe I was like 11 or 12. I was right at that age where if you saw it that it was going to stick with you. So I got really into it and fell in love with the universe.
My knowledge of the canon was pretty patchy though. [Laughs] Because I was going to the actual comic book store like maybe once a season. I was like, “This looks cool!” And, “This has a character I might like!” So I never got anyone’s complete arc. I got a lot of moments, adventures, and single images essentially. [Laughs] So I tried to fill in the blanks between those moments.
â€¨As far as working for two companies? I really like it. I feel the friendly rivalry, but it’s peculiar now since I’m doing work for both. It’s like, “Don’t fight!”
[Laughs] Mom and Dad, you’re tearing me apart!
[Laughs] Yeah, there we go.
For “The Logan Legacy” #4 you’re exploring the impact of the title character’s death on his enemy Lady Deathstrike. What was your sense of the rivalry between Yuriko Oyama and Logan? Why do you think it continued for so many years?
Yuriko was a character that was so thoroughly acted upon. She was told through all of her formative years that her purpose in life was to kill Wolverine. That her father had been shamed and broken essentially by the theft of this divine alloy that he had discovered and created [adamantium], and that Wolverine had taken it and done evil with it. That completely reflected on her family and their responsibility. So to restore her father’s grace she had to kill this man. For years it came down upon her to do this. Their entire redemption was on her shoulders.
She was not only her father’s heir, but she was also the pupil of William Stryker for a while. She was also Madeline Pryor’s plaything, and Ana Cortes bought her off the freaking Internet. So she was always being acted upon by other people and she had to find and kill Wolverine. This was her ultimate goal.
â€¨Then when he died, and not by her hand, her failure was permanent. All the momentum of her life has been cut off. So now she’s faced with this prospect of what does she do with herself? With her failure so entirely permanent what will motivate her? Now she has to make decisions for herself and think maybe for the first time in her life about her own wants and needs.
By losing Wolverine did she also lose her sense of self?
Absolutely. Her whole life was about, “This is what you owe other people. This is what you owe your father. This is what you owe your clan. And this is what you have to do to this other man.”
In other words, Lady Deathstrike has to redefine herself. What kind of trouble does that lead her to in “The Logan Legacy” #4? Charles Soule & Oliver Nome’s issue #1 suggested a MacGuffin in the form of an honor blade figured heavily in your story.
Yeah, that’s a piece of cannon from ages ago. Mariko [Yoshida, Wolverine’s deceased former fiance] had given Logan the honor blade of her clan. He was to be the custodian of it and protect it. That’s a concept that Lady Deathstrike respects.
When Logan died his vaults were immediately sacked by the vultures and the petty creatures. One of the things that was taken was this honor blade. So this is her way to settle the debt that’s between them because Logan’s death essentially removed a target from Lady Deathstrike. Not only did he die and take away the final satisfaction of her life’s work, he died while she owed him something. This is her way to make amends to him in a way that makes sense to her whole concept of debt, payment and repayment.
Where does Lady Deathstrike’s quest to retrieve the honor blade take her?
The story takes place in some interesting parts of Tokyo. It’s really fun to play with the old world and new world, crime, pop culture, and traditional religious settings. I had a great time with setting and Juan Doe just killed on the art. He’s a wizard, man. He’s a genius. I love working with Juan.
This is your second collaboration with Juan following the “Amazing X-Men Annual.” One of the things I love about him is his unique style and amazing sense of design.
Absolutely. When Juan and I worked together on the Firestar back up story in the “Amazing X-Men Annual” I was given 10 pages to tell this story. I went and looked through a bunch of Marvel and DC back up stories and I noticed a sort of trend in places. It seemed like when people were approached about doing a back up they already had an idea for the character that had been long standing for months or maybe even years and that most of the stories they had planned were 20-pagers. So they would take those stories and try and crunch them down to fit the parameters. They would wind up with like nine panels on a page and I didn’t want to be murdered in the night by my artist! [Laughs]
So I thought, “Why don’t we do something really different?” And we decided to blow up every single page into a double splash. Then it was like we only had five pages to tell a story.
â€¨The whole conceit was that Firestar was an art history student and it involved the art that people had created after she had crossed their paths. So a little kid had made a crayon drawing, and her students do these doodles between their notes, then there was some street art, some Byzantine Saints, which is the kind of art that she studied when she was in the university, and then there was a photo album that her father had made of her achievements.
â€¨Those are wildly different art styles and Juan nailed every single one! I was being so demanding and he was so brilliant and creative. There’s a sequence like that in our Lady Deathstrike story where something takes place over a series of gilded Japanese screens. It’s the same thing with these seamless transitions. His abilities make me want to push my comfort zone. If he can do this I should be trying to make this as wild and imaginative as possible. He really encourages me. He’s completely wonderful.
In addition to Lady Deathstrike, what other antagonists can readers expect to see him depict in “Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy” #4?
There will be a new villain.
We’re not going to really see any familiar faces in this issue. It’s about her and Logan and I really wanted an intimate story. This is her sort of breaking free from all these other influences. This is the first moment where she’s removed from the long canon that she’s had. She’s cut off and she’s free, but she’s alone.
â€¨I really hope people enjoy the issue. It was a pleasure to write. And again, Juan is an absolute magician. I encourage readers to pick up his work on anything.
Finally, your Marvel work continues in November with the launch of the ongoing “Angela: Asgard’s Assassin,” but for readers curious about your work for DC and other companies what do you recommend they check out?
I’m having a ton of fun right now on “Sleepy Hollow” for BOOM! It’s a four-issue miniseries with back ups by Noelle Stevenson, covers by Phil Noto and art by Jorge Coelho. I’m having a blast on it and it’s a comic where I have the most freedom to be totally weird. [Laughs]
“Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy #4” is on sale now.
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