I don’t know if anyone cares about Daken — I’ve long since given up on “Wolverine: Origins” — but now that this series has turned into “Dark Wolverine” and Daken, son of ol’ Wolvie, is the star, maybe people will begin to care. This issue makes him surprisingly interesting.
Like Andy Diggle’s “Dark Reign: Hawkeye,” the fun of this comic is in seeing a devious bastard play the role of a hero and doing it pretty badly. Daken as Wolverine, like Bullseye/Hawkeye, isn’t even trying to live up to his namesake. He’s just doing his own thing, playing his own manipulative game, within the context of the Norman Osborn-led Dark Avengers. The beauty of this series, such as it is, relies on the machinations Daken has constructed and watching each character react to this smug character without knowing how much he’s influencing all of their reactions. Because not only does Daken have Wolverine-ish powers, but he can also subtly influence the emotional response of those around him. He’s a feral, pseudo-Purple Man, and he uses his innate abilities to get what he wants. Though such deeds will surely come back to haunt him.
This comic is co-written by Daniel Way and Marjorie Liu, and while it reads quickly, like a typical Way comic, it has some significant layers of subtext. Daken’s ultimate motivation is still quite sketchy, and though his actions seem exceedingly selfish, there’s a charming flair to the character that makes him a likeable enough sinister protagonist.
Giuseppe Camuncoli does his usual quality job on this issue, providing angular visual characterizations and geometric compositions that aren’t particularly fancy but do what it takes to tell the story. His Daken, unlike Steve Dillon’s, looks less like an angry young punk and more like an SVA grad student circa 2005. Maybe that’s yet another level of Daken’s hidden agenda.
“Dark Wolverine” #75 does what it needs to do to make Daken a character who isn’t a total waste of space. It’s not a story I’m particularly interested in, but I’m certainly curious to see how this unique Dark Avenger plays this twisted game of his.