I grew up reading Uncanny X-Men. From about 10 onwards, I absolutely adored the monthly adventures of Storm, Wolverine, Havok, Dazzler, Longshot, Rogue, Colossus and Psylocke. But even as I explored the Australian adventures of what could only be the coolest heroes ever, I also started to read tons of back issues acquired by my brother. Along with that, I also regularly read another seriesX-Men Classic. Through those books and numerous others, I started to learn the history of the characters and their allies
One of those characters was Yukio.
Yukio isn’t a character in comics that really became cool because of her past, or her awesome array of powers (she doesn’t have any). She is a character all about mystique—and I don’t mean the blue lady.
From her first appearance in Chris Claremont and Frank Miller’s Wolverine #1, Yukio comes off as the coolest girl in the world. She’s a fun loving ninja and free spirit that takes on dangerous jobs for the thrill far more than she does for any honor or glory. She forms an intimate bond with Wolverine almost instantly (though whether it was sexual or not is debatable).
In the issues of Uncanny X-Men that followed she also formed an instant friendship with Storm (a relationship of which fans still debate the sexual nature) that helped frame the now-powerless Ororo in a whole new light (and mohawk).
Since those two early, great appearances, Yukio’s role has often been a bit lackluster. An appearance in Wolverine: The Anime makes her very cool, but also very doomed. But outside that appearance, her comic roles often leave her injured. Her current status upon her last appearance was as a paraplegic, though in the world of comics that could be forgotten easily enough.
|Rila Fukushima as Yukio in The Wolverine.|
And of course, Rila Fukushima brings the character to life in gorgeous detail in the highly under-rated The Wolverine. Though the character went through several changes for the movie (the least of which was her transformation into a mutant), she worked beautifully as a foil and ally for Wolverine as he works his way through Japan. Unfortunately for all involved, the timeline of the film appears to have been erased entirely, making it pretty much an after-thought in Bryan Singer's overly complicated new X-Men franchise. But Rila will always be Yukio to me.