Or – “We Could Call Him Wolver-Teen…”

…but that’s probably actually X-23.  Unless she’s Wolver-Tween?  I don’t know anymore, I’m reviewing a mutant book that’s a spinoff, I’m lucky to realize which way is up.

Daken: Dark Wolverine #1
COVER BY: GIUSEPPE CAMUNCOLI
WRITER: MARJORIE LIU/DANIEL WAY
PENCILS: GIUSEPPE CAMUNCOLI
INKS: ONOFRIO CATACCHIO
COLORED BY: FRANK D’ARMATA
PUBLISHED BY: MARVEL COMICS

Previously, on Daken – Dark Wolverine:  Years ago, the man born James Howlett (alternately known as Logan, Wolverine, Patch, and Mary Sue) had a relationship with a woman called Itsu.  As happens to every woman who gets within ten feet of Logan’s fuzzy hide, she was horribly murdered by an old foe with a grudge, and her child was eventually carried into the hands of a wealthy Japanese family.  Though he has a name, most everyone knows him as Daken, meaning “mongrel,” which leaves him with a less-than-warm personality.  Eventually, young Daken tracks down Daddy Dearest and systematically tortures him, even stealing the mystical Muramasa blade that can kill regenerating folk like himself and his old man, the better to go all Oedipal with.  After a run in the Dark Avengers, the kid gets in a few good moments, notably a face turn against Norman Osborn, and the murder of Frank Castle, before his past caught up with him.  Now a couple of claws short, the son of Logan embarks on a new career as Mega-Damage Wolverine and possibly finds himself turning on the path towards redemption.  Or, at least as much redemption as a cold-blooded mass-murdering psychopath with a mohawk and hand claws can get…

The Best There Is At What He Does, Mark II

Our story starts 50 years ago, as a drunken artist-who-will-eventually-be-known-as-Wolverine stumbles out of a bar after murdering a man.  As he is accosted by what may be a terrified widow, Wolverine is unaware that he’s being trailed by someone with a scope rifle.  Before the sniper can attack, though, Daken appears and tells him that they both have time to kill the old man, and lets Wolverine drive away unscathed.  Cut to present day, as we spy on a tender moment for Daken (schtupping a model in the dressing room) before we see him hitting on an old man, talking to Johnny Storm on his cellie, and suddenly facing down a gang of masked aggressors.  I’m troubled by this whole sequence, actually, though it serves to give us an interesting look into the mind of Daken, especially as he gently chides models for not eating.  (But when did Daken get to bond with the Human Torch?  Did I miss a crossover somewhere?)  The Son of Wolverine kills all but one of his attackers in seconds, leaving the survivor to beg for mercy.  “Please…  I’ll tell you anything!”  Daken replies, “I already know everything.”  I kind of wish I did…

Daken immediately seeks out an old friend (possibly the man from the opening sequence) and they discuss who failed to hold up their end of the bargain, and whether or not Mystique has turned on them.  Daken reveals that he told Mystique the truth (about SOMETHING) and sent her off on a tangent of her own.  “I want it all,” says Daken with an evil smile, and muses that the best way to do that is to make sure no one else has anything.  Someone is murdered in Milan for a page, then Daken returns to San Francisco and dons his new battlesuit, the better to get himself out of the shadow of his famous father.  (Given that Daddy is 5’3″, it must be late in the afternoon if you’re stuck in his shadow.)  Daken stands on a rooftop and monologues that everyone needs to beware the fury of the patient man.  The last EIGHT (!) pages of the book are a quick recap of the life of Juniorine, revealing that he’s over 60 years old, has served as a secret enforcer for decades, and that somewhere in the Marvel Universe there’s a man named Cyber whose real name is “Silus Burr.”  Which may be awesome, or awful, I’m not entirely sure that I know which.  It actually clears up a lot about the character, and helps to explain some of his motivations…

What He Does Still Ain’t Pretty…

Still, I’m concerned that even after a third of the issue takes place in an expositionary flashback, there’s just not enough substance here for me to get truly hooked.  My friend Tom Grice (who is WRONG, sir… WRONG!) was right on the money here when he described Daken as “Mega-Damage Wolverine.”  (Back in the day, Palladium Games had “Mega-Damage” weapons and structures, a hundred times as powerful as regular structural damage, for those whom just being able to smash entire buildings wasn’t quite enough.)  No matter how wonderfully Daniel Way and Marjorie Liu write the book, there’s a fundamental issue for me with the character, who comes across as Wolverine with a twist here and there.  Rather than Daddy’s love of beer and karaoke, he enjoys opera and fine wines, in lieu of Papa’s tortured samurai routine, he has a Randy Orton psychotic-viper personality.  Giuseppe Camancoli does well with the art, but his work is muddied somewhat by heavy-handed inking and dark smudgy colors, making me feel like I’m reading the book through dirty glasses.  Overall, it’s a competent piece of work that seems to be supporting my theory that Marvel wants all of its heroes to be the head of a hero family, with versions of them for all demographics.  Daken – Dark Wolverine #1 is probably a better book for those that love Wolverine and his offspring, but still manages to pull of 2 out of 5 stars overall from me.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Faithful Spoilerite Question Of They Day:  With the proliferation of Hulks, Spider-Man and his amazing namesakes, the Captain America Corps and Iron Man’s entire supporting cast getting armors of their own, which Marvel character should be next in the progression?  (I’m looking forward to Punisherette, Punisherina, and Li’l Punny with his water pistol full of grape soda…)

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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9 Comments

  1. Doctor Sleepless
    September 11, 2010 at 6:11 am — Reply

    Daken befriends the F4 in the 1st arc (The good one.. actually the GREAT one)of Dark Reign: Dark Wolverine: Hello darkness my old friend, I’m here to talk with you again *cough*

    Ehh anyway that’s the arc you missed* when you jumped aboard Dark Wolverine many months ago and the comic didn’t live up to what you were told by commenters. When MARJORIE LIU isn’t involved the character seems to falter.(Really though, read the 1st arc) When ML is involved in however Daken he turns into a glorious bastard. And the closest thing Marvel has to a charming villain (Like the ones from Secret Six, yes Ragdoll is charming) But Daken is in fact nothing even resembling an anti-hero, Daken is a complete socipath. But as it is, a bad person does not equal a bad protagonist (See Showtime’s Dexter for confirmation on that).

    Oh and in case you missed it and I wasn’t the one not able to grasp it in your review (Which might very well be the case) The old man in the intro is a fashion designer, he is also the man who is killed in Milan later on. Daken’s battlesuit is high-fashion. (Though it doesn’t look it) and I might be mistaken about this. But didn’t Daken rape the female assassin!?

    Anyway I still recommend Dark Reign: Dark Wolverine (Despite the hilariously bad title) I would even say it is vital for this current story-arc since we get a taste of Daken’s plans and though process (The plans alluded to in this book also)And who doesn’t want to see Norman Osborne and Bullseye out-jerked and Mr. Fantastic out-smarted. And believably so even.

    • Doctor Sleepless
      September 11, 2010 at 6:18 am — Reply

      I haven’t had my coffee yet…yeah that’s it. When I say intro I mean the scene after the flashback (I would call that a prologue). And you seem to have caught very well that Marvel aren’t (shouldn’t be) going for an anti-villain with this character… “Or, at least as much redemption as a cold-blooded mass-murdering psychopath with a mohawk and hand claws can get…”
      Yeah pretty much…

    • September 11, 2010 at 8:23 pm — Reply

      Oh and in case you missed it and I wasn’t the one not able to grasp it in your review (Which might very well be the case) The old man in the intro is a fashion designer, he is also the man who is killed in Milan later on. Daken’s battlesuit is high-fashion. (Though it doesn’t look it) and I might be mistaken about this.

      I did miss that… Thanks for the explanation.

  2. September 11, 2010 at 9:29 am — Reply

    I don’t like Punisher in the 616, so no-go for a Punisher corps for me. Thor would be nice since by defenition that would mean we get more stories with Sif and the other gods. I don’t think Spider-Man counts yet since all he has is Araña (soon to be Spider-Girl thanks to Joey Q’s crusade). Now if you actually got Ricochet in the book and Black Cat was more than a freind with “benefits”…

  3. September 11, 2010 at 11:29 am — Reply

    Faithful Spoilerite Question Of They Day – ANSWER:

    Howard the Duck should have ducklings.
    Maybe even mutant ducklings half human, half duck (Duck body human head).

  4. Hafwit
    September 12, 2010 at 2:04 pm — Reply

    The Beast.

    There could be room for a Wannabeast in the Young Avengers. Possibly the lovechild of Hank and Magneto.

    WildeBeast, an African bounty hunter from an alternate Mutant Holocaust future.

    BeasThing, an insectile beast who got subjected to cosmic radiation.

    Atavist, a normal guy with the mind of an ape-cat-thing.

    Beastina, the obligatory teen girl version.

    • Damascus
      October 5, 2010 at 1:28 am — Reply

      Maybe the teen girl beast could be called Beautianna Beast.

      I know, I know, that’s pretty horrible. Ha.

  5. Damascus
    October 5, 2010 at 1:30 am — Reply

    How about a family of Ghost Riders? There could even be a toddler Ghost Rider on a firey tricycle.

    • Damascus
      October 5, 2010 at 1:31 am — Reply

      Ooh Ooh! And an old timey Ghost Rider on a flame covered old fashioned bike with the really big front wheel and the really small back wheel. Teenage Ghost Rider on a flamin’ Razor Scooter. Pretentious douche Ghost Rider on a hell bound Segway.

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