Wolverine’s Greatest Love Was Always Doomed | CBR

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Across his extended life span, Wolverine has lost numerous lovers and friends. Many of them have come back to haunt him in some way or form, even just as ghosts of the lives he could have lived. But there’s one particular one that even across the multiverse remains a major tragedy.

Perhaps the most heartbreaking loss Wolverine has ever had to suffer is the end of his relationship with Mariko Yashida. After almost marrying her, Logan was forced to lose her over and over again — and never gained true closure himself over their relationship.

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Mariko Yashida debuted in X-Men #118 by Chris Claremont and John Byrne as a surprising love interest for Wolverine. During a trip to Japan, Logan and Mariko got the chance to meet and share early flirtations. Wolverine helped bring down her criminal father and even became engaged to her, but the Mastermind’s influence prevented their nuptials from taking place. She refused to resume their romance until she could sever all of the criminal ties to her family, an honorable endeavor similar to the kind of heroic commitment Wolverine had begun to show as a member of the X-Men. But it would also ultimately cost her life, as she was poisoned by the Hand and mercy-killed by Wolverine in Wolverine #57 by Larry Hama & Marc Silvestri. Mariko became just the latest in a long line of women who Logan lost.

Mariko’s eventual resurrection by the Gorgon during the events of Old Man Logan even amplified the tragedy. Although she was restored to life by the Hand and was eventually freed from their control, she never got the chance to be reunited with Logan —  as by this point it her Wolverine who was dead. Instead, Mariko found herself confronting a version of Logan from another reality — who ultimately made peace with Mariko’s desires to escape the world of crime and superpowers to live a quiet life in Canada away from the chaos that had previously dominated her life. Mariko is one of the ultimate tragedies in Wolverine’s life, a woman who almost represented the purest rejection of Wolverine’s savage past. And yet, even when it’s not his fault, he finds himself in violent conflict around her that always drives them apart.

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Being with Mariko, earning her love and affection to become her protector, could have allowed him a real chance at peace. But even in other realities where they did get the chance to be wed, everything always falls apart. In the Age of Apocalypse reality, the pair shared a romance and had a daughter, Kirika Yashida — who would later die at her father’s hands after he’d been corrupted into a replacement for Apocayplse by the Death Seed. In What If…? #43 by Ron Marz and Scott Clark, Mastermind didn’t prevent their wedding and Logan married Mariko. Drawn further into the criminal underworld of Tokyo, Mariko was eventually betrayed and murdered by the Silver Samurai — leaving a heartbroken Wolverine to leave Japan and return to the X-Men.

Mariko represents something Wolverine has never truly even known, even as an X-Man: peace. She is filled with a steely resolve and a clear morality, and yet knows Wolverine’s pain of being forced to commit terrible acts at the behest of others. She can empathize with Wolverine’s history of being used as a tool by others. In many ways, Mariko understands the pain at the heart of Logan better than anyone else. And yet, despite falling in love almost at first sight and forging a close bond, the pair will likely never get the chance to be together on a permanent basis. While she made peace with Old Man Logan, it’s possible Wolverine never will — giving him a truly tragic lingering loss to contend with.

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