Silver Samurai Takes Gold in MARVEL Puzzle Quest Poll
Who is the Silver Samurai? Find out the comic origins of the 2023 winner of MARVEL Puzzle Quest's New Character Poll!
February may have been a cold month for many places, but it was a hot one for Silver Samurai. The armored assassin defeated his foes and won the MARVEL Puzzle Quest New Character Poll 2023!
One of the Marvel Universe's best fighters, Kenuichio Harada hails from Japan and honors the traditions and history of his people as well as the criminal organization Clan Yashida which was run by his father Shingen Harada until he died and his half-sister Mariko took over.
Beating out the likes of Korg, Multiple Man, Honey Badger, Electro, Moonstone, Black King and Sauron, mutant swordsman Harada stands at the top of the mountain as the game's new 4-Star Character. With interest in the character at a high, it's time to dig into some of his most memorable moments!
A Devilsh Debut
The Silver Samurai debuted in 1974's DAREDEVIL #111, quite literally bursting on the scene from nowhere and nearly killing Ol' Hornhead. After initially fending off the new enemy with help from his ally Shanna the She-Devil, Daredevil and Silver Samurai each left to heal.
It was soon revealed that Harada was working for Mandrill who was running the criminal organization called Black Spectre in an effort for his employer to forgive a debt incurred by the elder Harada. This collaboration remained short-lived, but Kenuichio's next one carries on.
The Viper's Sting
The Samurai appeared a few more times in the ensuing years. In MARVEL TEAM-UP #57 he gained his now-iconic look and he acquired a teleportation ring from John Belushi in MARVEL TEAM-UP #74.
From there, he took center stage in MARVEL TEAM-UP #83-85 whiich introduced the relationship between Viper (formerly Madame Hydra) and Harada which has been conveyed as both practical and romantic at times. She had taken control of a S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier and planned to topple the U.S. government. However, the combined efforts of Spider-Man, Black Widow, Nick Fury and Shang-Chi foiled their plot, but the villains escaped, showing up together in NEW MUTANTS #5-6 a bit later.
During the lead-up to Logan's marriage to Mariko, Silver Samurai and Viper kidnapped the would-be bride. Harada was furious that his half-sister was not only taking over the Clan Yashida instead of him, but also trying to make the organization legit, as seen in UNCANNY X-MEN #172-174.
In a later battle, Wolverine defeated Silver Samurai and intended to kill him, but Mariko stayed his claws. She later called off the wedding, stunning the Canadian hero. Remaining as the head of Yashida Clan, Mariko forgave all of Kenuichio's transgressions.
Silver Samurai gained possession of the Black Blade of Muramasa in WOLVERINE #2-3 and fought the Hand alongside Logan in WOLVERINE #56-57, but Mariko died of poisoning. With his half-sister gone, Silver Samurai took charge of Clan Yashida as seen in CABLE: BLOOD & METAL #2. He encountered Beast, Gambit, Psylocke and Revanche in X-MEN #21-23, Silver Samurai almost killed Beast, Gambit, Psylocke and Revanche while working for Nyoirin, a crime lord with the power to raise Clan Yashida back to a place of prominence.
Though mostly known as a villain, Harada told Logan he would watch over Amiko in exchange for the Honor Sword of Clan Yashida (WOLVERINE #82). He also helped Elektra clear her name after being manipulated by the hand (ELEKTRA #15) and was involved in the early formation of Big Hero Six (SUNFIRE AND BIG HERO SIX).
Falling On Hard Times
In WOLVERINE #150-153, Harada found himself on the wrong end of a blade belonging to enemies working for Haan Kaishek. Needing help, he turned to the visiting Logan. Not long after, Lady Deathstrike used the memory-erasing mutant Blindspot to play with Silver Samurai's mind for her own nefarious reasons as seen in ROGUE #7-9.
At that point, he had been taking Clan Yashida apart, realizing that he could not clean up the dirty organization. Using Blindspot, Deathstrike made Harada believe that Sunfire and the X-Men had played with his mind to make him a hero! In that state, Kenuichio killed the heads of the Yakuza and attempted to set himself up as the Silver Shogun.
No One's Pawn
The success of the Shogun endeavor and Harada's mental state remains a bit foggy, but he did remain as the head of Clan Yashida. That is until a rogue element within S.H.I.E.L.D. managed to kidnap him from his private jet and imprison him in the Raft without a trial. He escaped with the other villains and was brought back to his homeland.
Concerned about the fugitive and what his return home might mean, Captain America sent Echo to Japan in the Ronin costume as seen in NEW AVENGERS #11-13. The full team showed up around the same time that the Hand presented Kenuichio with his armor and an offer to align with the Hand and Hydra, then run by Viper. He ultimately refused the alliance and went public with what he saw as false imprisonment by the U.S. government.
Taking a new path, the Silver Samurai dedicated himself to protecting the Prime Minister of Japan, as first seen in WOLVERINE #36-37. After regaining his memories, Logan sought Harada to learn more about the Muramasa blade. When the samurai refused, Wolverine sliced off his right hand.
Wolverine did eventually find the fabled weapon, but needed to learn how to use it against his enemy Romulus, which he was able to ultimately do after training with Silver Samurai in WOLVERINE ORIGINS #42-46. Harada even worked with Bruce Banner, Skaar and Cloak to help Logan.
Death and Rebirth
During the first arc of the 2010-launching WOLVERINE series, a group called the Red Right Hand attacked Logan's allies. Silver Samurai fought valiantly against them, but was ultimately killed and sent to hell.
However, with the establishment of Krakoa as a mutant nation, Professor X and the others developed a process to bring back the dead. Eventually, Harada benefited from the process and came to oversee the Quarry, a fighting arena that also played home to the Crucible, a way for mutants to die by way of combat so they could be brought back with their full powers and memories. He was none too pleased not to be included in X of Swords, but aside from that seems content with his current duties.
Now that you know more about Silver Samurai, get ready to utilize his skills in MARVEL Puzzle Quest!
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