Wolverine may be dead, but Lady Deathstrike’s long-held thirst for vengeance on him has not been sated. And in November 12’s Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy #4, the once-proud daughter of a Japanese crimelord (whom she feels Wolverine dishonored) seeks out the one thing that can save her own honor – the honor sword of the Clan Yashida.
Lady Deathstrike and Wolverine have had a long and bloody history together, beginning when Wolverine was bonded with adamantium – a process Deathstrike’s father created and something she feels Logan tainted by having. Carrying out a blood debt initiated by her father, Lady Deathstrike put herself through immense body modification at the hands of Spiral and others, using her unnatural new abilities to take Wolverine to the limit – even crucifying him in the Australian outback at one time. But now, with Wolverine dead – and not by her hands – she’s left scrambling for something that can let her close this chapter of her life. We talk to rising star writer Marguerite Bennett about the one-shot she and Juan Doe are creating as a part of Logan’s Legacy.
Newsarama: Marguerite, what can you tell us about this Lady Deathstrike story you’re doing for Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy #4?
Marguerite Bennett: It is about the nature of legacy, about the nature of the power the dead have over us. The conceit of our story is legacy illustrated, as scars, wounds, tattoos, the stamp of a swordmaker—the sigils and symbols that prove we once belonged to another person, where enthralled or in debt to another. We explore those symbols and patterns—and the violence from which they came and which they continue to inflict.
Nrama: The solicits mention Yuriko is out for something after Wolverine’s death; what is that, and why?
Bennett: Yuriko seeks something holy to her—the Honor Blade of the Clan Yashida, of which Wolverine was custodian before his death. The sword is the very soul of the Yashida Clan, and Yuriko wishes to rescue it, and thus cancel the debt she feels she owes Wolverine.
Nrama: Lady Deathstrike was last seen in the X-Men series with her consciousness being downloaded into other bodies. How would you describe Yuriko at the point this issue begins?
Bennett: Yuriko is trying to regain herself—she has gone through some fairly traumatic body horror, whether or not you can find it in yourself to feel sympathy for her. She has always been subject to another--her father’s weapon, Stryker’s pupil, Spiral’s experiment, Madeleine Pryor’s plaything. In such a way she was Wolverine’s nemesis, defined by her hatred of him. Without him in the world, she must seek her own identity.
Nrama: Yuriko’s always had an adversarial relationship with Wolverine due to their shared paths. Before she learns of Wolverine’s death, how would you say she feels about Logan?
Bennett: Yuriko’s hatred was inherited; her father believed Wolverine stole the adamantium that rightfully belonged to their clan and would’ve made them masterful warriors. Her father charged her to destroy Wolverine, and long after his death, she has been unable to fulfill this. She loathes Wolverine as the emblem of her failure, but I imagine she must also envy him—his freedom, his autonomy, his deep sense of self, which she has lived for decades without.
Nrama: As I mentioned, Yuriko and Logan have a long history – I know this is only so many pages, but will you be delving into that much here?
Bennett: Hmmm, yes and no? There are no flashbacks in the issue, but he is very much on her mind, to the point of preoccupation. She detests that even when he is dead, he has this final chance to haunt her, to influence her actions by plaguing her thoughts. She does not want to think of him, but she is compelled—he was her last and truest enemy, the one she was sentenced to destroy and never could. She will have to live on, forever, in failure.
Nrama: This won’t be your Marvel debut, but it’ll be close to it – how’d you get up to speed on Lady Deathstrike and the framework of this story to write this issue of Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy?
Bennett: Reading! Oh gosh, I read like crazy. I wanted to see how different writers had handled Lady Deathstrike, how fans viewed her, how different mediums presented her, how even her costume changed through the decades.
Strangely, though, I knew what frame I wanted before anything—I wanted to talk about grief after death, but Lady Deathstrike reviles Wolverine so entirely, she cannot formally ever admit even to herself that she is grieving. She must discuss it in couched terms, she speaks of legacy and debt, but never of loss—never that she needed him to define her, cursed as she was to hunt him her entire life. She is conflicted, alone—his death has stripped her purpose from her, but it has also opened her up to the chance to define herself without any interference from parties that would use her as a weapon.
Nrama: Working on this is very evocative and unique artist with Juan Doe. What do you think about him translating your script into comics for this issue?
Bennett: Juan is a dream. He is such a master. Every page he has sent has me glowing like a bride. His style is so inventive, so striking, so exciting—his ability to capture different styles, from Byzantine art to children’s crayons to gilded feudal screens, is nothing short of astonishing. His work is so excellent that nearly every page turn had my jaw dropping, and I wrote the damn thing, for heaven’s sake!
Nrama: Some might be concerned that Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy might be a morose dirge and requiem for Wolverine. Not to say that’s a bad thing, but what would you say to that expectation some have?
Bennett: No one who truly wanted to honor Wolverine would find his memory in the final notes of a dirge. You’re much more likely to find Wolverine in the bottom of a shot glass, in the scent of gun smoke, in a brawl that sends half the goons in the city groaning with fractures. Grief takes different forms, but if you wanted to do the Old Man proud, you might be having a little more fun than you signed up for.