sabuki-hijiri-sam-ggdad-inv28-upper Dr. SAM SABUKI

Real Name: Hijiri "Sam" Sabuki

Identity/Class: Human;
    active at least during World War II and for at least a few years thereafter (alive presumably from the early 20th century prior to that time)
    American citizen of
Japanese descent (see comments)

Occupation: Surgeon

Group Membership: V-Battalion's Penance Council (Angel/Thomas Halloway, Citizen V/Paulette Brazee, Destroyer/Roger Aubrey, Irené Martinez, Miss America/Madeline Joyce, Robert “Reb” Ralston, Silver Scorpion/Elizabeth Barstow, Spitfire/Jacqueline Falsworth, Union Jack/Brian Falsworth, Whizzer/Robert Frank; Montgomery, Lord Falsworth/formerly Union Jack; presumably Iron Cross/Helmut Gruler, Golden Woman/Gwenny-Lou Sabuki, Human Top/David Mitchell, Fred Davis/formerly Bucky; likely others, depending on his time of retirement and/or death)

Affiliations: Nurse Gimble, Invaders (Bucky/James Buchanan Barnes (later Winter Soldier), Captain America/Steve Rogers, Human Torch/Jim Hammond, Namor the Sub-Mariner, Toro/Thomas Raymond), Kid Commandos (Bucky/James Buchanan Barnes, Golden Girl/Gwenny Lou Sabuki; later Golden Woman); Human Top/David "Davy" Mitchell, Toro/Thomas Raymond);
    possibly Blue Diamond (Elton Morrow), Lord Crichton, Jack Frost, Thin Man (Bruce Dickson) and other attendees of Brian Falsworth's funeral

Enemies: Agent Axis (a gestalt of spies Hiroyuki Kanegawa, Aldo Malvagio and Berthold Volker) and his agents (Enrico, Ishido, Wilhelm), Captain Simms;
    unspecified post-World War II threats, including war criminals, their heirs, and ensure peace for other aspirants to the mantle of demagoguery;
    Dr. Olsen at least resented him, although Sam likely held him no ill will;
    he encountered dead Skrulls and helped prevent others from gaining access to their technology, but he does not have known interactions with living Skrulls

Known Relatives: Gwendolyne "Gwenny Lou" Sabuki (Golden Girl/Golden Woman, daughter), Kenji Sabuki (Golden Sun, grandson), Ameiko Sabuki (Goldfire, great-granddaughter), Ryoko Sabuki (Radiance, great-granddaughter)

Aliases: None;
    he was referred to by a variety epithets by hostile parties

Base of Operations: Unrevealed;
    possibly Castle Masada, Symkaria;
    formerly Compound Seven, Sandy Flat Relocation Center, California;
    formerly Pacifica General Hospital, southern California

First Appearance: (Mentioned)  Invaders I#23 (December, 1977);
    (full appearance) Invaders I#26 (March, 1978)sabuki-hijiri-sam-ggdad-inv27-bussuit


Height: Unrevealed (approximately 5'4" - 5'8")
Weight: Unrevealed (there are a few panels that made him look really stout, such as the one to the left; however, most of the time, he was this frail little guy yanked around by Axis and his men; I think he work a big suit that made him look more thick; approximately 120-140 lbs.)
Eyes: Unrevealed (likely brown)
Hair: Gray (white in some panels; likely black in youth) with black mustache and eyebrows

Invaders I#27 (fb) - BTS) - Dr. Sabuki was an American citizen

(Invaders I#27 (fb) - BTS) - Dr. Sabuki worked as a surgeon at Pacifica General Hospital in

(Invaders I#26 (fb) - BTS) - Dr. Sabuki was resented by his colleague Dr. Olsen, both due to envy over Sabuki's superior skill and due to Sabuki's Japanese heritage.

(Invaders I#26 (fb) - BTS) - Nurse Gimble knew Dr. Sabuki and considered him one of the best surgeons around.

(Invaders I#27 (fb) - BTS) - Dr. Sabuki had radical theories that certain types of multiple personality disorder (now more commonly referred to as dissociative identity disorder) could be cured by delicate brain surgery.

(Invaders I#26 (fb) - BTS) - Following the Japanese's bombing of the American naval base at Pearl Harbor (December 7, 1941), Dr. Sabuki and his daughter, Gwenny Lou, were taken to California's Sandy Flat relocation/detention center. They were lodged in compound seven, which apparently contained at least four other families. As he provided care for his fellow internees, they offered him and Gwenny a small private room.

(Invaders I#27 (fb) - BTS) - Dr. Sabuki had an unspecified heart condition.

(Invaders I#26 (fb) - BTS) - Dr. Sabuki suffered some ailment (for which Gwenny referred to him as "not well") after being brought to Sandy Flats.

(Invaders I#27 (fb) - BTS) <At some point before or after Dr. Sabuki's internment> - Agent Axis came to Dr. Sabuki in secrecy, asking him to operate on him to cure him of having the minds of three people (a German, an Italian, and a Japanese). Loyal to America regardless of his internment (if after that), Dr. Sabuki refused to help him.

(Invaders I#20 - BTS) <Sometime during the first half of 1942 (see comments)> - Drugged and captured by Nazi forces (with Hitler present), Toro was shot in the chest, and his level of flame was insufficient to melt the bullets, leaving him gravely wounded.

(Invaders I#23 - BTS) - The Invaders arrived at an English hospital where the doctor told the Invaders that the bullet was lodged near Toro's heart, and that it was too dangerous to risk trying to remove it. However, the doctor told them that there was one man alive who had successfully performed this operation, Dr. Sam Sabuki, who lived in California.sabuki-hijiri-sam-ggdad-inv26-seated

    Namor provided one of his flagships to swiftly and safely transport Toro across the Atlantic Ocean, and with the Torch needed for another mission, Bucky flew the flagship.

(Invaders I#25 - BTS) - Bucky landed Namor's flagship in Southern California only to find that Dr. Sabuki had been taken to one of the detention centers used to hold Japanese-Americans during World War II.

(Invaders I#26 - BTS) - Bucky desperately flew Namor's flagship to Pacifica General where the surgeon, Dr. Olsen, told him that if he operated on Toro, the boy would die. When Bucky mentioned Dr. Sabuki, the surgeon noted that he only slightly knew him, but that not even he could do the surgery. However, Nurse Gimble subsequently told Bucky that she knew Dr. Sabuki and thought he might be able to save his friend; she further noted that Olsen had always been envious of Dr. Sabuki and also resented him for being Japanese. She further told Bucky that Dr. Sabuki was being held in the Sandy Flats detention center.

(Invaders I#27 (fb) - BTS) - When Bucky asked Dr. Olsen to have Dr. Sabuki released from the relocation center long enough to perform the operation, he refused.

(Invaders I#26 - BTS) - With Namor's flagship able to automatically zero in on any U.S. city on the East or West Coast, Bucky swiftly flew to Sandy Flats, and Bucky met with the commanding officer, Captain Simms. However, the anti-Japanese Simms refused to allow Sabuki to operate on an American, and so Bucky had to fight his way past some Military Police and then ask directions to Sabuki's dwelling, Compound Seven.

(Invaders I#26) - Finding the small building to be home to five families, Bucky soon found Dr. Sabuki and Gwenny Lou, the former of whom introduced himself as politely requested his guest remove his boots before introductions were made. sabuki-hijiri-sam-ggdad-inv26-face

    After Bucky explained the situation, Dr. Sabuki agreed to go with him, no matter what, although Captain Simms would certainly attempt to thwart Bucky's removing him from that base. When Gwenny Lou asked why he would help after what the Americans had done to them, her father hushed her and reminded her that she was American as well.

    As Bucky began to help Dr. Sabuki to his feet, the building started to rumble, and the Mechanical Mole, a giant drill-craft suddenly smashed through the ground, after which a trio of Agent Axis' agents (Enrico, Ishido, and Wilhelm) emerged from the craft. When Ishido (presumably) instructed Dr. Sabuki to come with him, he refused, apparently recognizing them as agents of Agent Axis, telling them, "I spit upon you ruffians -- and upon your leader." Grabbing Sam and dragging him forcefully, Ishido told him that if spit on him that he would die, and that he should fighting for Japan and serving the emperor rather than allowing himself to languish in this place. Gwenny Lou scratched Ishido in the face, which pained him despite his mask, leading the man to knock her back with a back-handed slap.

    Bucky then serially knocked down the three agents and tried to get Dr. Sabuki out the door, only to be confronted by Agent Axis himself, who held Gwenny Lou at gunpoint. Although she told her father to run and not concern himself with her, Bucky assaulted Agent Axis, only to be knocked out by Axis' enhanced strength. To save both his daughter and Bucky, Dr. Sabuki agreed to accompany Axis, and Axis and his men took Bucky and both Sabukis aboard their Iron Mole, which then backed down the tunnel it had created as Captain Simms soldiers entered and futilely fired on it. 

(Invaders I#27) - After Bucky explained how Toro was lying in Pacifica General hospital and needed Dr. Sabuki to save him, Agent Axis had Enrico redirect his Mechanical Mole to beneath that hospital (presumably wishing to take hostage the Human Torch's young ally)

(Invaders I#27 - BTS) - Meanwhile, Dr. Olsen and Nurse Gimble discussed Bucky's fate, and when the nurse argued the point again, Dr. Olsen noted that he had no reason to believe that Sabuki could perform a surgery that he could not, and he further told her the matter was closed.

    After their departure, Agent Axis' Mechanical Mole tore through the flood, and Ishido and Wilhelm grabbed Toro. When Davy Mitchell -- who idolized Toro and had overheard of his hospitalization and visited him -- shouted for them to put Toro down, the two agents grabbed Davy and took him aboard the Mechanical Mole to use as a hostage to help cover their departure.

(Invaders I#27) - After Dr. Sabuki revealed his history with Agent Axis and again refused to help him, no matter how Axis may torture him, Agent Axis threatened to serially execute the youths unless he complied. Perhaps hoping to goad one of the trigger happy goons into shooting her so that Axis couldn't use her to force her father's compliance, Gwenny Lou kicked one of Axis' men, and Bucky and Davy soon joined the fight. However, Axis then put a gun to Toro's head, and while Gwenny Lou and Davy reasoned that they would all die if they surrendered, Dr. Sabuki agreed to help Axis -- although calling him a fascist devil -- if he could, but only if all of the youths were spared. Agreeing to this, Axis had the Mechanical Mole head toward his underground citadel.sabuki-hijiri-sam-ggdad-inv27-angry

(Invaders I#27 - BTS) - Having followed Bucky's trail to Sandy Flats, the Invaders learned from Captain Simms of Agent Axis' involvement. Via a tracking device from Namor's ship that Bucky had implanted in his belt-buckle, the Invaders then followed Bucky's trail. 

(Invaders I#27) - When Bucky tried to talk to Gwenny, she angrily announced that the only thing they shared was captivity and voiced her resentment of her family's unjust internment. Sam replied that she spoke too rashly and apologized for her, but Bucky acknowledged that the relocation centers should not exist. When Axis tried to silence them, Dr. Sabuki demanded that he be allowed to operate on Toro first, and then he would work on Axis, even if Toro died despite his efforts.

    After completing his examination of Toro and delaying things as long as he safely could so as to avoid helping Axis (and potentially making him more dangerous without his affliction), Dr. Sabuki took Toro to surgery. Assisted by Gwenny and witnessed by Bucky and Davy, Dr. Sabuki successfully removed the bullet and announced that Toro would be OK after considerable rest; however, Toro's inhuman nature allowed him to swiftly regain consciousness. Although Dr. Sabuki argued that he needed to sleep, Axis demanded he being work on him immediately, or he would undo Sabuki's work with a new bullet. 

    Axis then showed Dr. Sabuki his robotic surgical device, which would duplicate Sabuki's skills while not allowing Sabuki or anyone's hands to touch him. Axis further had Gwenny and Davy strapped into his device, and he noted that if Axis was harmed, even accidentally, the device would automatically repeat the same moves on the two youths; additionally, the machine would electrocute them if Dr. Sabuki made one false move. sabuki-hijiri-sam-ggdad-inv27-scrubbing

    While Gwenny again urged her father that she and the other youths didn't matter and that he shouldn't help Axis, Dr. Sabuki told her that if this terrible war meant anything at all, it meant that individuals did matter, and he refused to let her die. A reviving Toro led Bucky to assault Enrico, whose gunfire struck Axis' machine, short-circuiting it and feeding electrical energy into Gwenny and Davy, granting them the superhuman abilities to project light blasts and spin and move at great speeds.  His plans falling apart, Axis ordered his men to kill the youths and Dr. Sabuki. After Toro and Bucky took down Wilhelm, Axis again held Dr. Sabuki at gunpoint, but just then the rest of the Invaders (Captain America, Human Torch, Namor) broke through the wall.

(Invaders I#28) - Gwenny and Davy joined the adult Invaders in engaging and taking down Axis' agents; however, again holding Dr. Sabuki at gunpoint, Axis forced the Invaders to allow him to escape with him inside his Mechanical Mole/Iron Mole; at this point, Axis just wanted to kill Sabuki for having failed him, but he kept him as a hostage to escape the Invaders

(Invaders I#28 - BTS) - Despite the mole closing the ground behind it, the Torch could sense the Mole's heat, and he followed it closely.

(Invaders I#28) - After emerging in a desert reservoir, Axis prepared to finish off Dr. Sabuki, but Namor emerged from the water and confronted him, leading Axis to throw Sabuki into the water to distract Namor with saving him while he fled...just as Namor had intended. Captain America then arrived in Namor's flagship and engaged Axis, ultimately subduing him.

(Invaders I#28 (fb) - BTS) - Namor recovered Dr. Sabuki.

(Invaders I#28) - After the four younger heroes defeated and contained Axis' agents, Captain America arrived with the defeated Agent Axis, and Namor and the Torch returned with Dr. Sabuki.sabuki-hijiri-sam-ggdad-cvvb1-founding

    The young heroes then noted that they couldn't go back to England with their senior members yet, and they were given Namor's flagship to transport themselves back to Sandy Flat.  After they arrived at the detention center and told Captain Simms that they would not be returning the Sabukis to their barracks, which Simms contested, "Agent Axis" (actually Namor posing as Axis, unbeknownst to the kids, Dr. Sabuki, or the soldiers) emerged from the ground via the Iron Mole. While Axis easily took down several soldiers, the young heroes subdued him and destroyed his mechanical mole.

    Captain Simms prepared to take custody of both Sabukis, but he backed down when Gwenny threatened to use her powers against him; however, Dr. Sabuki agreed to remain to take care of the sick detainees. He asked Gwenny to carry their cause to the American people.

(Invaders I#28 - BTS) - "Axis" was revealed to the young heroes as Namor to gain the kids the clout in dealing with Simms.

    The youths then revealed they would stay in the USA for a time to act as a group, hoping to wake up America in a couple ways, and they took the name of the Kid Commandos.

(Citizen V and the V-Battalion#1 (fb) - BTS / Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z hardcover#12: V-Battalion) <1948 A.D.> - Several costumed war veterans assembled to discuss forming an organization that could both hunt down war criminals and ensure peace for future generations by ensuring these criminals’ heirs and other aspirants to the mantle of demagoguery never had a chance to see their dreams fulfilled.

    Despite some heroes, such as the Human Torch (Jim Hammond) and Namor the Sub-Mariner, rejecting the proposal, others embraced it, including the Angel (Thomas Halloway), Destroyer (Roger Aubrey), Miss America (Madeline Joyce), Silver Scorpion (Elizabeth Barstow), Spitfire (Jacqueline Falsworth), Union Jack (Brian Falsworth), Whizzer (Robert Frank) and former Howling Commando Robert “Reb” Ralston.

(Citizen V and the V-Battalion#1 (fb) / Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z hardcover#12: V-Battalion) - Paulette Brazee helped spearhead the V-Battalion revival by assuming the identity of Citizen V herself. With financial support from Irené Martinez (whose infant daughter Isadora had been saved by Namor) and Montgomery, Lord Falsworth (Union Jack and Spitfire’s father), and Hijiri “Sam” Sabuki providing scientific backbone, the group was soon joined by armored German nationalist Iron Cross (Helmut Gruler) and younger heroes such as Golden Woman (Hijiri’s daughter Gwenny-Lou Sabuki), Human Top (David Mitchell) and Fred Davis (formerly Bucky). sabuki-hijiri-sam-ggdad-cvvbev1-funeral

    In 1951 the V-Battalion officially reactivated, operating out of Symkaria’s Castle Masada, which had been gifted to them as repayment for assistance the Destroyer and Union Jack had granted that country’s Wild Pack in hunting down Nazi war criminals.

(Citizen V and the V-Battalion: The Everlasting#1 (fb)) <1953> - Dr. Sabuki attended the funeral of Brian Falsworth, who had been killed in a car crash.

sabuki-hijiri-sam-ggdad-cvvb2-skrulls(Citizen V and the V-Battalion#2 (fb) / Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z hardcover#12: V-Battalion) - During the 1950s Dr. Sabuki was part of a V-Battalion mission -- including the Destroyer, Reb Ralston, Silver Scorpion, and Whizzer -- that discovered a contingent of dead Skrulls ina crashed spaceship. They kept dangerous Skrull technology from falling into the wrong hands.

(Citizen V and the V-Battalion#2 (fb) / Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z hardcover#12: V-Battalion) - Dr. Sabuki eventually died in action on a V-Battalion mission (see comments).

Comments: Created by Roy Thomas, Frank Robbins, and Frank Springer.

    Toro having been dying from a gunshot wound to the chest stretched out over 8 months of stories real time. Invaders I#24 was a reprint of Marvel Mystery Comics#17, and a few other issues were split between new stories and reprints (or "new information" flashbacks).
    However, in Marvel Time, the whole storyline stretched over only a couple to maybe a few days.
    We can narrow the formation of the Kid Commandos to the first six months of 1942. Invaders I#3 is in the first week of 1942, while Invaders II#1 is June 1942, and is a couple of weeks after their encounter with the Battle Axis in Invaders I#41.

    I'm not going to try to explain or justify the detention centers, but the history is that Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor made some Americans fearful/suspicious of the Japanese and even Japanese-Americans, and people of that descent were rounded up and placed in detention centers. You can can Google it for more information.

    Dr. Sabuki was an American citizen. A Wikipedia website discussing interment/detention during World War II said that Japanese immigrants could not become citizens, but their children, born in America, would be citizens, the latter part being the standard with which I am familiar. Doing some internet research, for what that's worth, the Nationality Act of 1790 apparently restricted naturalization to free white people (and, in practicality, only land-owning white men), and it was not altogether repealed until 1952.
    So, if that is accurate, Dr. Sabuki had to have been born in America in order to be a citizen. Japanese immigration to the United States of America began in 1885, so it is certainly possible that his parent were "issei" (first generation Japanese immigrant), Sam was "nisei" (second generation, American born child of Japanese immigrants), and Gwenny was "sansei" (third generation, the child of American-born people of Japanese descent).
    If he was born in 1890 or a couple years earlier, 50+ was pretty old for the 1940s, especially if he had some heart disease.

    There is a Pacifica Hospital of the Valley in Sun Valley, California, but I have no idea when that was formed and if it might be the hospital at which Dr. Sabuki had worked.

    It is a common weakness in stories to have a doctor be an expert in all fields of medicine and surgery, and the likelihood that Sabuki was both a skilled cardiothoracic surgeon AND a brain surgeon is low...but the likelihood that a surgeon could perform surgery to stabilize the mind of a man who was a physical and mental merger of three much, much lower...and the idea that this could be done in 1942 is even lower (although it is comic book sci-fi, so anything it possible). I'm not sure what they even thought "surgery" was going to do, short of a lobotomy, which Axis would not not have appreciated.

    Big thanks to Loki for confirming the first appearance of Dr. Sabuki's real name, Hijiri, in Citizen V and the V-Battalion#2's end notes, as well as pointing out a couple missed appearances. These end notes also confirmed the identities of each character in the flashbacks to early V-Battalion activities, as well as giving each flashback a title. The Skrull encounter involving Dr. Sabuki was referred to as "They Walk Among Us."

    While not expressly stated as occurring at a specific date, the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z hardcover#12: V-Battalion referenced the Skrull encounter after Brian Falsworth's 1953 death, and it referenced Dr. Sabuki's death after Miss America's 1958 death.

    I'll target Golden Girl/Woman as the next profile from these stories, followed by Golden Sun and Radiance. We'll eventually circle back and cover the likes of Dr. Olsen, Nurse Gimble, and Captain Simms, but probably not for awhile...

Profile by Snood.

Dr. Hijiri "Sam" Sabuki
should be distinguished from:

images: (without ads)
Invaders I#26, pg. 12, panel 1 (seated in compound, eating);
          panel 2 (face, oblique, talking to Gwenny);
       pg. 14, panel 2 (face, angry, speaking to Axis);
    #27, pg. 11, panel 3 (removing robe, with business suit underneath);
          panel 4 (surgical scrub);
          panel 5 (scrubbed in; gowned);
    #28, pg. 15, panel 3 (accepting return to internment)
Citizen V and the V-Battalion#1, pg. 14, panel 3 (with founding V-Battalion/Penance Council)
Citizen V and the V-Battalion: The Everlasting#1, pg. 1 (at funeral for Brian Falsworth)

Invaders I#20-21 (September-October, 1977) - Roy Thomas (writer/editor), Frank Robbins (penciler), Frank Springer (inker)
Invaders I#22 (November, 1977) - Roy Thomas (writer/editor), Jim Mooney (penciler), Frank Springer (inker)
Invaders I#23 (December, 1977) - Roy Thomas (writer/editor), Frank Robbins (penciler), Frank Springer (inker)
Invaders I#25-28 (February, May 1978) - Roy Thomas (writer/editor), Frank Robbins (penciler), Frank Springer (inker)
Citizen V and the V-Battalion#1-2 (June-July, 2001) - Fabian Nicieza (writer), Michael Ryan (penciler), Sean Parsons (inker), Marc Sumerak (assistant editor), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Citizen V and the V-Battalion: The Everlasting#1 (March, 2002) - Fabian Nicieza (writer), Lewis Larosa (penciler), Jim Royal (inker), Tom Brevoort (editor)

All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z#12 (December, 2006) - Jeff Christiansen (head writer/coordinator), Michael Hoskin, Stuart Vandal, Al Sjoerdsma, Eric J. Moreels, Sean McQuaid, Chad Anderson, Mark O'English, Anthony Flamini, Ronald Byrd, Jacob Rougemont, Mike Fichera, Madison Carter & Chris Biggs (writers), Michael Short (assistant editor), Jeff Youngquist & Jennifer Grunwald (editors)

Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z hardcover#12 (March, 2010) - Jeff Christiansen (head writer/coordinator), Mike Fichera, Markus Raymond, Mike O'Sullivan & Madison Carter (coordination assistants), Stuart Vandal, Sean McQuaid, Michael Hoskin, Mike O'Sullivan, Ronald Byrd, Mike Fichera, Madison Carter, Rob London, Gabriel Shechter, Eric J. Moreels, David Wiltfong, Jacob Rougemont, Chris Biggs, Rich Green, Kevin Garcia, Jeph York, & Mark O'English (writers), Brian Overton (copy editor), John Denning & Alex Starbuck (assistant editors), Mark D. Beazley (editor, special projects), Jeff Youngquist & Jennifer Grunwald (editors)

First posted: 12/09/2023
Last updated: 12/10/2023

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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