X-Factor (1986) - #63
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Robert 'Bob' Harras
Arthur Edward 'Art' Thibert
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Cover Date: February 1991
Cover Price: US $ 1.00
Issue Tagline: None.
Format: Color; Standard Comic Issue; 36 pages
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Letters Column: X-Changes
Bobby Drake enjoys a quiet day with his girlfriend, Opal Tanaka. They walk through the streets of Manhattan reminiscing about their first date. They pass a middle-aged Japanese couple reminding Opal of her parent’s deception. She believed them to be her birth parents until she received her actual birth and immigration certificates from an unknown benefactor in Japan. She understands that her adoptive mother and father love her, but she expresses a deep frustration that they never told her the truth.
The two enter a restaurant atop a skyscraper, but before they sit down, five Japanese cyborgs suddenly appear. They make it clear that they are there for Opal. One quickly grabs her gaijin lover and tosses him out the window while another seizes their quarry. Opal screams in horror as she watches Bobby’s body fall out of sight. She attempts to escape clawing at her captor. She only manages to tear off the family crest from his chest. He reaches back to slap her, but the apparent field commander, Hiro, stops him. Hiro reminds the soldier that her grand-father alone has the right to discipline her. Hiro turns to Opal calling her “Miki” and telling her that she must return home.
Bobby ices up as he plummets to the Earth. He creates an ice column to lift him back to the restaurant, but he arrives too late. The Cyburai teleported away with Opal. Witnesses detail what occurred during his brief absence. They also explain that her abductors are members of the yakuza – the Japanese mafia. The family crest Opal tore from her assailant’s chest is the only evidence left behind.
Bobby intends to find out why the cybernetic gangsters targeted his girlfriend. He travels to Montclair, New Jersey where he talks to Opal’s adoptive parents. They recognize the family crest as that of the Tatsu Clan. The Tanakas’s greatest fear has happened, Opal’s grandfather learned of her existence. Her birth mother tried to hide her in America with distant cousins, and the new parents did their best to keep the adoption secret. They realize it was wrong to withhold the truth, but they wanted desperately to keep her safe. They beg Iceman to save her.
In Japan, Lord Tatsu’o orders Opal to dress and act like a respectable lady. She refuses, and he angrily orders his servants to make her comply. He then informs her that he abducted her so that she can wed give him a grandson, an heir to his fortune. She must choose one of the five cyborgs warriors to marry. Each of these lieutenants –- his oyabuns – will make an acceptable husband.
Opal refuses. He has no right to force her into marriage. Besides, she already has a boyfriend. Tatsu’o angrily turns to a silent middle-aged woman at his side. She is Opal’s mother, Shizu’ko, and it will be her responsibility to teach the child of the old ways. Opal will learn her duties, Shizu’ko warns, at the peril of further alienating him from his only grand-child.
Iceman encounters some problems aboard X-Factor’s Ship. He must remove the shuttle from the engine room. A chasm forms around the smaller vehicle complicating the effort. Ship apologizes for the malfunctions. It can not find the source of this and several other recent problems forcing Beast to stay behind and attempt to isolate the cause. Bobby is unwilling to wait. He already set up a meeting with Mariko in Japan in an effort to use her underground contacts to locate Opal. Jean insists on going with him.
Mariko Yashida personally greets the two members of X-Factor as they land in Japan. There is an uncomfortable moment as Mariko and Jean instinctively understand what Wolverine saw in the other woman. Bobby hands the yakuza boss the Tatsuo family crest. Mariko recognizes it and explains the violent path Tatsu’o took to secure his leadership. The Dragon Lord maintains his role through cunning and ruthless aggression.
Opal finds it difficult to adjust to her new surroundings. Her chaperons ogle the Cyburai in training, but she will not sit and watch “monsters” strut for her. She storms out followed by Hiro. He warns her about her behavior. If she continues to show such disrespect, Tatsu’o will assume the teachers failed their task and have them beaten. She must do as the clan leader says, but Opal can not marry a man with the disfiguring cybernetic enhancements. Hiro understands her reluctance, but if she doesn’t choose, her grandfather will do it for her. She quietly decides to act as expected until she can find an opportunity to escape.
Mariko devises a plan to rescue Opal. Tatsu’o will be hosting a semi-private wrestling match. She has been invited and can bring guests, but she warns Bobby not to try anything. Her ninjas will handle the situation.
The event opens without incident until Opal ends her silence. She yells to the crowd that she has been kidnapped. Tatsu’o slaps her for the shameful public outburst. Bobby reacts without thinking and attacks against Mariko’s orders. The Yashida Clan ninjas join the fray as do the Tatsu Clan cyburai. The battle is intense with casualties and fatalities suffered on both sides.
Hiro witnesses Iceman’s bravery and honor. The yakuza soldier refuses to shoot him in the back. Instead, he confronts Bobby directly. Ninjas interrupt their brawl, and while Hiro easily dispatches them, Tatsu’o decides to withdraw his forces. He lost two of his cyber warriors and will not surrender his granddaughter.
Mariko expresses her anger at Iceman. Her forces are destroyed while making an enemy of the Tatsu clan without having anything to show for it. Bobby may have ruined the attack, but he points out that Tatsu’o teleported to safety. The plan didn’t have a chance of succeeding. Now they will try it his way!
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