BLACK BLADE

Classification: Magic item

Creator: Muramasa

User/Possessors: Cult of the Black Blade, Jessica Drew, Silver Samurai, Wolverine (James Howlett/Logan)

Aliases: Muramasa Sword, Sword of Evil

First Appearance: Wolverine II#1 (November, 1988)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Powers/Abilities/Functions: Legends state that the Black Blade is possessed by the madness of its creator, Muramasa. Those who wield the accursed Black Blade are possessed, virtual demons made flesh consumed by an unquenchable bloodlust, save for the warrior chosen by fate to be the Blade's master. Those possessed gained superhuman strength and durability. Once a bond had been forged via a mystic ceremony involving human sacrifice, the only way the terrible bond could be broken was by the death of the host. Prior to the formal forging of the bond, the Blade itself could choose a new host if a more suitable one presented itself, and those of sufficient will could forcibly sever the possession. Those possessed by the Black Blade were instantly transformed in garb and behavior, with the Blade speaking through them. The Blade could even directly speak to others.
    It is unclear if the Black Blade is indestructible, but it several times struck Wolverine's Adamantium bones and claws, as well as the Silver Samurai's tachyon field-coated sword--all of which are virtually indestructible--without any damage to itself whatsoever.
    The ceremonial garb of the Lord of the Black Blade is seen to the left (with Wolverine beneath the armor as seen here).

 

History:
(Wolverine II#3 (fb) - BTS) - The Black Blade was forged by the Japanese master swordsmith Muramasa, who imbued the metal with a piece of his soul. It was the ultimate product of his brilliance, though it was rumored to have also become infected with his madness as well.

(Wolverine II#3 (fb) - BTS) - The Black Blade took its first life in the Spring, the beginning of the Japanese year.

(Wolverine II#1 (fb) - BTS) - The Cult of the Black Blade dates back centuries, some say to the birth of Japan (16th century?).

(Wolverine II#3 (fb) - BTS) - The Cult of the Black Blade thus ritually executed all human sacrifices at dawn, the beginning of the day.

(Wolverine II#1 (fb) - BTS) - The Cult had a major resurgence in the 1920s as part of the pre-war rise of Japanese militarism. MacArthur's counter-intelligence crew supposedly took care of them during the post-war occupation of Japan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Wolverine II#1 (fb) - BTS) - Mariko Yashida arranged for the transport of the Black Blade by courier from America to Madripoor. The couriers were Lindsey McCabe and Jessica Drew.

(Wolverine II#1 (fb) - BTS) - The Cult of the Black Blade employed a group of pirates to capture Sovereign Flight 49, which carried Kojima Noburo, personal secretary of Mariko Yashida. The crew was brought to Telambang (a small island in the Indonesian Archipelago), most were slaughtered, and Noburo was tortured to gain information on the Black Blade.

(Wolverine II#1 - BTS) - Wolverine learned of the flight's disappearance and tracked it to Telambang, where he slew the pirates. Noburo died as he told Wolverine that couriers were bringing the Black Blade from America to the Madripoor airport the very next day.

(Wolverine II#1 - BTS) - A Black Blade cultist impersonating Kojima contacted McCabe, confirming the delivery.

(Wolverine II#1 - BTS) - Lyndsay McCabe arrived in Madripoor where she was ambushed by Black Blade cultists (Mei Yin, Tsuboro). They searched her belonging and then threatened her when they failed to find the Blade, but Wolverine (at the time posing as "Patch") then arrived and saved her. Wolverine told her about Kojima, and Lyndsay told him that she had spoken to "Kojima" after the hijacking, as well as that Jessica Drew was the one carrying the Blade to meet with "Kojima."

(Wolverine II#2) - Wolverine traveled to the meeting place of Drew and "Kojima," finding all of the cultists slain and bearing sword wounds. The Silver Samurai then broke into the room, intending to take the Blade by force; as he and Wolverine battled, the Blade-possessed Jessica hid in the shadows, telling them that any who tried to take the Blade would pay with both their lives and their souls. The battle carried into the downstairs barroom, where the Samurai and Jessica, the Mistress of the Blade, slaughtered those present who sought to claim the Blade for its material wealth. The possessed Jessica then turned on Lyndsay, but Wolverine stopped her. As the battle continued, Wolverine literally brought down the house, and Jessica escaped in the chaos. Wolverine pursued Jessica, while Lyndsay and the Samurai made an uneasy alliance to locate her.
    Wolverine lost himself in his berserker fury as he fought the possessed Jessica, and he eventually caught the blade in his hand and tore it from her grasp. He was about to kill her, but the Blade spoke to him, recognizing his warrior spirit, and it instead chose him as its new host. Now possessed by the Black Blade, Wolverine took Jessica, intending to use her as a sacrifice to forge a permanent bond between the Blade and its new "master."

 

 

 

 

 

(Wolverine II#3) - After the Blade-possessed Wolverine escaped with Jessica to prepare the ritual, Lyndsay met with the cultists, and pretended to savagely slaughter one of them, duping them into sharing information on the Blade and the cult. The Silver Samurai revealed that Wolverine was not the Blade's chosen master, as it mastered Wolverine instead. Lyndsay, O'Donnell, and the Silver Samurai located the site of the ritual just as it began, and as Wolverine (the Lord of the Black Blade) prepared to execute Jessica (who was in a trance), Lyndsay shot Wolverine in the head, which only stunned him due to his Adamantium skull. The Silver Samurai engaged the cultists and Lyndsay rushed to Jessica's side, but the revived Wolverine then confronted her, preparing to execute her with the Black Blade. The Silver Samurai stepped in his path, using his own tachyon field-coated blade to block the Black Blade. The possessed Wolverine fought and overpowered the Samurai, but when he then turned toward Lyndsay and Jessica, Wolverine's mind struggled to reassert itself, and he hurled the Blade away, lodging it in a stone wall.
    The Silver Samurai pulled the Black Blade from the wall, and it chose him as its fated master, the warrior chosen for it by karma. The Samurai noted that the demented Blade was best controlled by an equally driven man, and he hoped that in the process both man and Blade would find salvation and peace.

See comments

 

 

 

 

Comments: Created by Chris Claremont, John Buscema, and Al Williamson.

    According to Eric J. Moreels, the Silver Samurai obtained the Honor Sword of Clan Yashida in Wolverine II#82; however he became leader of the Clan earlier in Cable: Blood & Metal#2. This means the Silver Samurai would conceivably been wielding the Black Blade in Wolverine: Doombringer, Wolv56,57, Cable: Blood & Metal#2, X-Men II#21-23, and X-Men Unlimited#3, though it is not mentioned in any of the above. He apparently abandoned the Black Blade and began using the Honor Sword after that.

    So Lyndsay McCabe bluffs some Black Blade fanatics--"the toughest hardcases I'd ever seen. They'll die first"-- into fearing her and giving up their information. Yeah, I'll buy THAT for a dollar.

    Lyndsay's name was spelled Lindsay throughout this story arc.

    ...the Birth of Japan
    That's like asking when England was formed.  To be brief, the Tokugawa Shogunate and the Edo Era united the various city-states (1600-1868). The Meiji Restoration (1868-1912) was when they started taking their place in world history, with wars against China and Russia and the annexation of Korea.  After World War II, the constitution was rewritten in 1946 and has been in effect ever since.
--
Darci
    Savage Sword of Conan#104/2 and #55 suggest that remaining parts of Lemuria became Japan, which would push its origins back before the Great Cataclysm, @ 18,000 B.C.. Then in Savage Sword of Conan#194-195, as noted, we find Yamatai. Savage Sword of Conan#104/2 seems to indicate that the Japanese islands emerged due to the sinking of Lemuria. The Hyborian Age essay (verbatim adapted for issues of Savage Sword of Conan) dealt more fully with the effects of the Great Cataclysm, while around Savage Sword of Conan#55 it was indicated that some islands of Lemuria survived, as Thulandra Thuu came from them.
--John McDonagh

The Black Blade has a small entry in Mystic Arcana: The Book of Marvel Magic.

 

Profile by Snood.

CLARIFICATIONS:
    The Black Blade, while being a Muramasa Sword (and being forged from Muramasa's soul) is not the same Muramasa Sword in the recent Wolverine story arc, which was forged from Logan's own soul. The Black Blade is centuries old and predates the Logan-soul Muramasa Sword.

The Black Blade has no known connections to


 

CULT of the BLACK BLADE

 

    The Cult of the Black Blade dates back centuries, some say to the birth of Japan (5th century?).

    The Cult had a major resurgence in the 1920s as part of the pre-war rise of Japanese militarism. MacArthur's counter-intelligence crew supposedly took care of them during the post-war occupation of Japan. In recent years, they learned of Mariko Yashida's intended shipment of the Blade from America to Madripoor and they hired pirates to torture Mariko's secretary for information on the Blade. Three cultists (Mei Yin, Tsuboro, and another unidentified) ambushed Lyndsay McCabe when she arrived in Madripoor, but they were defeated by Wolverine and Patch. Other cultists met with Jessica Drew, but she had become possessed by the Blade and slew them. Cultists gathered for their ritual ceremony as the Blade prepared to sacrifice Jessica Drew to forge a permanent bond with Wolverine, but they were defeated by the Silver Samurai.

    As the Black Blade took its first life in the Spring, the beginning of the Japanese year, the Cult of the Black Blade thus ritually executed all human sacrifices at dawn, the beginning of the day. They are fanatical, experienced warriors, generally wielding swords.

    In Madripoor, they were based out of an old highland temple in the middle of nowhere.

 

--Wolverine II#1 (1 (fb) - BTS, 1-3

 

 

 

 

 

 


Mei Yin

 

    One of three cultists who ambushed Lyndsay McCabe in her hotel room. She got the drop on "Patch" with a gun, but then Lyndsay clocked her over the head with a vase. Later, when Mei Yin refused to give information on the Cult, Lyndsay pulled her into the shadows and pretended to slaughter her with a blade, duping the unidentified cultists into giving up information rather than face Lyndsay's wrath.

Wolverine described her as "the dragon lady," which is a common term for evil Asian women.

--Wolverine II#1 (3

 

 

 

 

 

 


Tsuboro

 

    One of three cultists who ambushed Lyndsay McCabe in her hotel room.  Later, when Mei Yin refused to give information on the Cult, Lyndsay pulled her into the shadows and pretended to slaughter her with a blade, terrifying Tsuboro.

 

--Wolverine II#1 (3

 

 

 


unidentified cultist

 

    One of three cultists who ambushed Lyndsay McCabe in her hotel room.  Later, when Mei Yin refused to give information on the Cult, Lyndsay pulled her into the shadows and pretended to slaughter her with a blade, duping the unidentified cultists into giving up information rather than face Lyndsay's wrath.

 

--Wolverine II#1 (3

 

 

 

 

 


images: (without ads)
Wolverine II#1, p20, panel 1 ("bellboy" cultist)
        p21, panel 3 (Tsuboro)
            panel 5 (Mei Yin)
    #2, p10, panel 3 (Jessica possessed)
        p22, panel 7 (speaks to Wolverine)
    #3, p1 (Wolverine possessed)
        p14, panel 2 (Lord of the Black Blade)
        p16, panel 7 (Cult)


Appearances:
Wolverine II#1 (November, 1988) - Chris Claremont (writer), John Buscema (pencils), Al Williamson (inks), Bob Harras (editor)
Wolverine II#2 (December, 1988) - Chris Claremont (writer), John Buscema (pencils), Klaus Janson (inks), Bob Harras (editor)
Wolverine II#3 (January, 1989) - Chris Claremont (writer), John Buscema (pencils), Al Williamson (inks), Bob Harras (editor)


Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

Last Updated: 10/23/13

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