A new Heroic Age is about to begin, and when it does, readers will get a chance to see their favorite costumed champions back on top of the Marvel Universe. However, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be any room to root for the bad guy though. In their current “Dark Wolverine” series, writers Daniel Way and Marjorie Liu and artist Giueseppe Camuncoli done exactly that, with fans pulling for Wolverine’s villainous son Daken, and this September, they’ll continue their protagonist’s adventures when the book is relaunched with a new #1 issue as “Daken: Dark Wolverine.” CBR News spoke with with Way about the series, which was announced Sunday at the Chicago Comics & Entertainment Expo.
Daken’s solo exploits began in 2009 when the last volume of “Wolverine” morphed into “Dark Wolverine,” but maintained the previous series’ numbering. “‘Dark Wolverine’ #1 was actually ‘Wolverine’ #75, so it does feel nice to have an actual #1 issue. It gives that feeling of legacy; that the character is putting down roots in the real world,” Way told CBR News. “Retailers are going to dig it, obviously, because they get a first issue and a there’s a lot of stuff out there to sell this first issue. We’re not coming in cold. You hardly ever get an opportunity like this, where you have so much build up towards the launch of your series. We got a years worth of stories to clear the path for this new book, and I think we’re going to roll in with as big a story as we can. We’re going to keep Daken right in the middle of the Marvel Universe. It’s the same M.O. Just different title.”
When “Daken” begins, the title character may have changed tactics, he’s no longer wearing his father’s old costume and pretending to be him, but his goal is still the same: ultimate power over the Marvel Universe. “It’s because he thinks he’s the only person worthy of wielding any power. It’s really his ego, and like anyone else, that ego is always underwritten by massive insecurity. It’s what pushes the ego. In his mind, the more power he has, the less anyone else does. It’s like there’s some finite amount and he’s trying to suck it all up so no one else can have any,” Way explained. “You also have to look at Daken’s background. He’s essentially an orphan. So this is a guy who’s tried to build something. He comes from a kind of void and he’s trying to establish something huge. He wants something that is his and sticks around. He wants empire.”
The story in “Daken” #1 is informed by the events in September’s “Wolverine” #1, which finds the soul of Daken’s father trapped in Hell and his body possessed by a malevolent force. “Daken’s new series doesn’t spin out of ‘Wolverine’ #1, but now, with the launch of our book and ‘X-23,’ there is an X-Men line of books, and then there’s kind of a sub category to that line, which is Wolverine,” Way stated. “So in order to keep all that synergistic energy going, we acknowledge what is happening in the new Wolverine book. It’s not a cross over – it’s more of an acknowledgment of what is going on in the Wolverine sphere of influence.
“Daken had a good time running around dressed up as Wolverine and throwing dirt on his father’s legacy. So why would he not enjoy the fact that some disembodied soul has taken over Wolverine’s body and is running around out there in the world wreaking havoc? His opportunistic nature won’t allow him to just sit by and watch, as enjoyable as it is,” Way continued. “So Daken is going to seize this opportunity and use it for his own ends. Because when someone as dangerous as Wolverine, whether it’s Wolverine’s soul or not, is after people, they tend to look for help and they’re not all that discriminating in where they get it. And Daken loves coming upon people with their hand out who need something.”
While the fate of Daken’s father is addressed in the series’ initial arc, the story is more about how the title character will operate during the “Heroic Age.” “In our first story, Daken is now completely out in the world as Daken. He’s not Wolverine. He’s not an Avenger. He doesn’t have the umbrella over him that Norman Osborn provided. He has to be careful in what he does and who knows about it,” Way said. “So he’s building a foundation, and the first thing he needs to do is get someone who he can operate behind. He needs someone who can kind of cast a shadow that he can operate in, and with the dawn of the Heroic Age, a lot of people that we know as villains and bad guys are going into hiding. Daken is a pretty crafty guy, though, so if he can’t find the right guy, he might just make one.”
Intrigue, manipulation and violence will continue to be Daken’s primary tools in his new series, and like his father, he’ll employ these instruments in a variety of situations. “It will remain a dark book for sure ,and there will be elements of horror and a ton of action because that’s something that both Marjorie and I want to see more of,” Way revealed. “We’ll pick our spots, but I’d like to see more of Daken really out there mixing it up and physically engaging the Marvel Universe. A smart fighter picks the venue, though. So that’s what he’s constantly doing. Romulus, who was Daken’s instructor in almost everything, taught him that the first thing to do with an opponent is to seal them off, whether that’s by discrediting them or by other means. You isolate them and then you exploit them.”
“Daken: Dark Wolverine” is the story of a man who wants nothing more than to be the absolute ruler of the Marvel Universe, so Way and Liu’s plans for the series call for their protagonist to match wits with anyone who stands in his way, be they hero or villain. “Daken loves going up against characters who are 100 percent good or 100 percent bad. They’re easy to confuse. You just do something really good when you’re fighting that type of hero and really bad when you’re up against those kind of villains. They can’t comprehend that. It just makes them stand still, and while they’re trying to figure it out and wrap their mind around it, they give up any advantage they may have had,” Way said. “The foils that I think work best story wise are the compromised characters. The people who’ve kind of gone the rocky road, whether it’s up or down, because there’s always something they have that can be exploited, but there’s also always something that makes them fight back and not just lay down. Moonstone is a good example. I liked their relationship a lot.
“There are a couple of other characters that I could mention, but we’ve got plans for them, and there’s one character in particular that we’ve put our finger that we want to bring into our story,” Way continued. “It was something I was pushing for, and everybody kind of paused when I brought it up at a story conference. They were like, ‘That seems kind of big,’ and I said, ‘That’s how we have to look forward in building this series.’ Daken has big goals and we need to have characters to populate the book that kind of fit that. So I can say that you’re going to see some really big characters in this book. It will definitely make some waves. Characters like Doctor Doom have come up in a couple of conversations ,and we’re also bringing in some stuff from ‘Dark Wolverine,’ because the Fantastic Four already owe him a favor that hasn’t come due yet. So you’re going to be seeing that. We’ve got some very big plans.”