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X-Factor (1st series) # 63

Issue Date: February 1991

Story Title: Family

Staff: Louise Simonson (plot / writer), Whilce Portacio (plot / artist), Glynis Oliver (colorist), Michael Heisler (letterer), Bob Harras (editor), Tom deFalco (editor-in-chief)
Special thanks to Kimson Agena
Special assist: Homage studios

Brief Description:
Iceman and Opal intend to celebrate her birthday in a restaurant. On their way, she tells him about her recent discovery – that she’s been adopted. In the restaurant, they are suddenly attacked by Japanese cyborgs, who throw Bobby out of the window and kidnap Opal. Iceman learns from Opal’s adoptive parents that her grandfather is a Japanese crimelord and probably behind this abduction. Iceman and Marvel Girl travel to Japan to enlist the help of Mariko Yashida. Opal, in the meantime, has indeed been abducted by her grandfather. As his sole surviving heir, she is to marry one of his five cyborg lieutenants and give him a male heir. Opal, of course, openly rebels. Tatsu’o invites several guests to a sumo wrestling match with one of his lieutenants and Mariko sees this as the prefect chance to strike. When they arrive and Tatsu’o strikes Opal, though, Iceman attacks prematurely and the stadium becomes a war scene. Tatsu’o loses several of his men, but nevertheless manages to flee, along with Opal. Iceman decides to go after them himself.

Full Synopsis:
Bobby Drake and his girlfriend, Opal Tanaka, are walking through the streets of Manhattan, eager to reach the restaurant where they’ve reserved a table. Opal reminds Bobby of their first date and how they ended up back at her loft.

She interrupts that train of thought as she sees a middle-aged Japanese couple and exclaims what they are doing here. She realizes, though, that she mixed them up. Bobby asks if anything is wrong and Opal explains that she thought they were her… the people whom she believed to be her parents … until somebody sent her her birth and immigration certificates and her adoption papers from Japan. Her parents had always made such a point about trust and telling the truth but they had been lying to her all the time.

As they enter the restaurant on one of the higher stories of a skyscraper, Bobby tells her that she should talk with her parents and at least give them a chance to explain. But they don’t have to talk about it now; it’s her birthday, after all.

Suddenly, there is an explosion of light and noise and five Japanese cyborgs appear out of nothing. One of them derogatively refers to Bobby as the girl’s Gaijin lover and hits him. A calmer cyborg orders the others to grab the girl and get out of here. While one of the cyborgs holds Opal, one of the others states that this is supposed to be their rival? What would Lord Tatsu’o say to see her in a liaison with such a weakling? Answering his own question. the cyborg tosses the unconscious Bobby through the window outside to his seeming death.

Opal shouts in horror while the men make cruel jokes. Wildly, she claws at her captor and tears off a piece of cloth on his chest. One of the cyborgs intends to teach Opal a lesson in behavior but the calmer one holds him back reminding the others that she is the Dragon’s grandchild and battle is in her blood. And it is his right to discipline her, not theirs. He turns to Opal, calling her ‘Miki’ and telling her that she must come home to her grandfather.

Outside, seconds pass until the rush of air revives Bobby. He ices up and creates an ice column to lift him back to the restaurant, only to find that the cyborg goons, along with Opal, are gone. Some of the other guests recognize him as Iceman and explain hat Opal was abducted by the Yakuza – the Japanese equivalent to the Mafia. They show him the piece of cloth Opal tore off. It’s their Mon, their family crest. They add that the cyborgs said they’d been sent to bring Opal home.

Later, aboard X-Factor’ sentient ship, Iceman has filled his teammates in on what’s happened. They were no ordinary gangsters, he states. They’d been biotechncally enhanced. You could see the circuits through he surface of their skin, like veins. How could Opal have gotten mixed up with the Yakuza, Archangel wonders. Iceman intends to find out.

So, he looks up Opal’s adoptive parents in Montclair, New Jersey. They recognize him as Opal’s boyfriend but are shocked when he shows them the cloth. The Mon of the Tatsu Clan, Rita Tanaka exclaims. The dragon’s claws grasping all the world firmly in its hands. Soon, the Tanakas explain that they hadn’t seen or spoken to Opal in weeks, which was unusual, as the she used to call very couple of days. They’d always secretly feared this would happen, that her grandfather would learn of her existence. They tried so hard to keep her safe, even though in heir hearts they knew it was wrong not to tell her about he adoption. Opal’s birth mother was Rita’s distanced cousin. They’d taken care of her in her troubles. But they couldn’t save her. They beg Iceman to save Opal …

(Japan)
A surly old man orders Opal, now dressed in a lovely Kimono, to sit down. Opal silently refuses. Angrily, he orders his servants to make her sit down and they force her down to the table. The old man informs her that he has brought her here so that she can wed and give him a grandson, an heir to his fortune. Pointing at the five cyborg warriors, he tells her that he has selected these among his lieutenants – his oyabun – each of whom would make an acceptable husband. Because she is his granddaughter and because he has seen that forced alliances are not always happy ones, he is being indulgent. She may choose her mate from among those five.

Opal blurts out that he doesn’t have the right to do this. She already has a boyfriend. And what makes him think she’d choose one of those kidnapping brutes? The old man, Tatsu’o, angrily turns to a silent middle-aged woman at his side berating her for Opal’s behavior. This is what became of her and is son’s foolishness. He orders her to instruct Opal in her duty. This is what became of Tatsu’o’s insistence on the old ways, she replies sadly. He will drive the girl away, as he drove his son away. Who is she, Opals asks. Shizu’ko, the woman replies, her mother.

Aboard X-Factor’s Ship, things are not well. Iceman asks the Ship why it first put the shuttle in the engine room instead of the hangar and then opened a chasm between him and it. Ship apologizes. It doesn’t understand itself. There must be a malfunction somewhere. Beast suggests that, in that case, there may be a malfunction with the shuttle as well. Why doesn't Iceman wait for them to check it out and then they can all go together? Iceman tells him he’s already contacted Mariko in Japan and do they think he can’t manage without them? No, Jean replies. But they’d feel guilty if they let him go all alone. She asks him if he’ll let her accompany him and he admits that he could use the company. Now they’d better go before the others insist on crowding into he shuttle too.

Japan, home of Clan Yashida. The last few years as clan head, Mariko has tried to balance loyalty to her clan with trying to do what’s morally right. It hasn’t been an easy fight. Mariko graciously greets them. Seeing each other for the first time, Jean and Mariko size each other up, both instinctively understanding what Logan sees in the other woman. Iceman shows Mariko the Mon. Mariko recognizes it and explains that Tatsu’o clawed his way up to leadership and has kept his place through aggression and cunning. He won’t be eager to release his prey. Surely he won’t harm his own granddaughter, Jean ventures, to which Bobby coolly remarks, if his intentions were all that honorable, he wouldn't have kidnapped her.

At the home of Clan Tatsu, Opal’s grandfather gives her some chaperones, who want to watch the oyabuns’ fighting practice with her. Refusing to listen to the name ‘Miki,’ Opal tells the girl what she thinks of those monster and strides away followed by Hiro, who warns her about the consequences of her behavior. If she doesn’t learn, her grandfather will assume her teachers are at fault and will have them beaten. Probably by him and his cutthroat band, she retorts. She tells him how horrible she thinks their cybernetics make them. Hiro concedes that she may be right but reminds her that eventually her grandfather will lose patience and choose a husband for her should she keep it up.

Opal wishes Bobby were there but, believing him to be dead, she decides to pretend to go along until she finds an opportunity to escape.

At the Yashida home, Mariko tells her guests of a planned semi-private wrestling match hosted by Tatsu’o. Japan’s most famous sumo wrestler will face Tatsu’o’s strongest oyabun, Katsu’ta’ro. She has been invited and can bring guests along. She warns Bobby not to try anything. Her ninjas will handle this so they won’t cause an international incident. Reluctantly, Bobby agrees.

Several days later, both Tatsu’o’s forces and Mariko and her guests convene in a special stadium in Tokyo. One chaperone asks the strangely docile Opal not to make a scene, while Hiro for one moment believes to see the Gaijin whom they tossed out of a window. But then, he tells himself that all Gaijin look the same.

Opal suddenly creates a scene by shouting that she’s been kidnapped. Tatsu’o slaps her, telling her that she shames him. That’s too much for Iceman; against Mariko’s orders, he ices up and attacks, as do the Ninjas. Tatsu’o’s oaybun join the fray, one of whom is finding himself held back the wrestler who works for Mariko. Fu’se intends to kill the wrester. Iceman keeps them apart with his power, telling the wrestler that the cyberpunks can be stopped with out needless slaughter. While the wrestler marvels at this, one of Ninjas sneaks up on him and kills Fu’se anyway. Hiro witnessed this display and wonders why Iceman intended to let his enemy live. He is honorable, like a samurai. He must die but Hiro will not shoot him in the back. Instead, he calls out to him and orders him to face his death. In response, more of Mariko’s ninjas attack them.

Hiro dispatches them but Tatsu’o sees that there are too many. He has lost two of his cyber warriors already. He is not willing to lose any more or surrender his granddaughter. He orders Hiro and the rest of his warriors to get them out. One last parting shot at Iceman and they teleport away with Opal.

Mariko angrily shouts. Her forces destroyed, she has gained Tatsu’o’s enemy and got nothing in return – because Iceman ruined the attack. Iceman tells her that they saw Tasu’o teleport. He could steal Opal back anytime, so their plan didn’t have a chance of succeeding. Now they’ll do it his way! He’ll break Opal out or die trying!

Characters:
Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl (all X-Factor)

Opal Tanaka (Iceman’s girlfriend)
George and Rita Tanaka (Opal’s adoptive parents)

Mariko Yashida
Sumo wrestler and ninjas of Clan Yashida

Lord Tatsu’o (crime lord and Opal’s grandfather)
Shizu’ko (Opal’s mother)
Hiro, Fu’se, Kat’su’taro and others (Tatsuo’s Cyber-warriors)

Notes:
Opal learned that she was adopted in X-Factor #59.

This issue, X-Factor presents their new blue and gold uniforms.

The reason behind Ship’s malfunctions becomes apparent in #65.

Mariko had to deal with Clan Yashida’s connections to the underworld, which were established first due to her father, Shingen [Wolverine (1st series) #1-4], and then due to her own actions while under the influence of Mastermind [Uncanny X-Men #172-176].

Issue Summary written by: Ruth


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