Marvel Comics has tried many times to appeal to the Japanese fandom community; one such attempt was a mini-series called 5 Ronin that Marvel put out back in 2011.
The whole idea stemmed from Marvel editor Sebastian Girner’s love for all things Japanese. He worked with writer Peter Milligan to re-imagine several heroes from the modern Marvel Universe and placed them in feudal Japan as Ronins, or a samurai without a master.
There were five issues in the series and each one focused on a different character. They chose to use the X-Men’s Wolverine, the Incredible Hulk, the Punisher, Psylocke from the X-Men, and Deadpool. Each issue told a mostly stand-alone story that was dually interconnected to all the other storylines. The overall tale centered on one dastardly villain, named Damiyo, that had wronged all of these people at different times in their lives.
Wolverine was re-created as a samurai out to avenge the death of his brother.
The Hulk was a monk trying to find a way to release the monster inside of him.
The Punisher was on a mission to get revenge for the death of his family while he had been away at war.
With a somewhat disappointing lack of feminism, Psylocke was re-created as a psychic woman that worked at a brothel and confronted this alternate version of Wolverine before being told to give up on her mission for revenge.
Finally, Deadpool was a badly scarred warrior with memory and mental problems that ending up encountering almost all of the other characters at one point. In the end, Deadpool kills Damiyo before anyone else can catch up to him and most of the Ronin carry on disappointed.
The whole series reads as more of an interesting experiment with mixing cultures, rather than something really groundbreaking. I feel like this was a good idea that just didn’t go big enough. I mean there is definitely crossover between fans of Japanese culture and fans of Marvel comic book characters. Maybe next time, they should try something with less gender stereotypes and a more creative take on their classic characters.
Not getting enough Marvel content in your life? Jump over to this dope Man at Arms: Reforged episode to watch them forge the dual swords that Thor himself will wield alongside the Hulk in the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok.