UNCANNY X-MEN #205 (1986): Yuriko becomes Deathstrike

Alternative, unpublished cover:


Last issue, Nightcrawler got a solo story.  This time, it’s basically a Wolverine story.  And it’s drawn by occasional contributor Barry Windsor-Smith, who has a somewhat abstract approach to comic book art and puts a lot of emphasis on the use of color and texture.  Not what you think of for a gritty character like Wolverine, but it works.  It’s beautiful. And it’s probably the reason he later was the artist on several major projects that further defined the character in the early 1990s “Weapon X” storyline.

I wonder if this issue was the inspiration for that story. Weapon X showed how Wolverine was created, and this issue does that for Lady Deathstrike.

Spiral, a Longshot foe, has created a “Body Shop” that offers people surgically infused cybernetic upgrades—and she starts with Lady Deathstrike. (This is also the issue that brings Longshot’s “universe” of characters fully into the X-Fold.)

Deathstrike, it’s explained, is targeting Wolverine to “honor” her dead father, who had some kind of adamantium visionary project that I admit I don’t fully understand.

The story opens after Wolverine has already sustained an attack that happened off screen, and he’s lost his memory.  It gradually comes back to him, as he goes into berserker rage mode, and he cuts Lady Deathstrike (who, remember, is his former friend Yuriko) to pieces—but not to death.

The framing sequence, or narrative through-line, is an appearance by Katie “Energizer” Power of Power Pack.

She is lost in Central Park during a snowstorm and finds Wolverine, who has lost his memory.

She doesn’t user her powers much in the issue, but she supports Logan throughout.  It shows Wolverine’s paternalistic, protective ties to children—particularly little girls—which is a consistent pattern for him. 

He’s also served as a father figure to Kitty Pryde, Jubilee, and others.  It’s a simple narrative device used to counterbalance against the potential for Wolverine to be a one-note character, like Punisher.  They did the same thing in the wonderful movie, The Professional.

Leave a Comment