One of the interesting things about “Dark Reign” is the way Marvel has taken these terrible, horrible, really, really bad people and then used the same publishing approach with these characters that they’ve used with their heroes. So where we’d get an “Avengers” comic in the past and then solo series spotlighting “Iron Man,” or “Captain America,” or even “The Vision and Scarlet Witch,” we now get “Dark Avengers” and comics like “Ms. Marvel” and “Dark Wolverine” exploring what is going on with these evil characters on a more individual basis. But even more than that — and this is the Bendis influence — unlike the old-fashioned exploits of Iron Man or Captain America, which would often have nothing to do with the grand Avengers adventure of the month, these various Dark Avengers are often shown repeating some of the same story beats from the team book, but from their own individual point of view.
So what we end up getting is this giant, fragmented, multi-angled look at a relatively short period of time in the Marvel Universe, spread out over a half-dozen different series. It’s kind of a cool experiment in superhero narrative, when you step back and look at the bigger picture.
And “Dark Wolverine” #82 is another installment in that experiment, giving us the oh-so-very Daken perspective on the Siege of Asgard that you may have heard about (or seen on every Marvel cover this month, and next, and so on). Daken, or Dark Wolverine, or just-plain Wolverine, or whatever you want to call him, hasn’t shown hardly any personality in any of his appearances outside this series. He’s violent. He’s mean. He’ll trash-talk. But that’s about it, when he shows up elsewhere, even in “Dark Avengers.” But in “Dark Wolverine,” Daniel Way and Marjorie Liu have characterized him as a post-punk, hipster anarchist. He’s funny and vicious and he seems to have his own agenda, no matter how insane it may seem to everyone else. He’s much more fascinating here than he is elsewhere.
With Giuseppe Camuncoli drawing the pages, the series has an energy that matches Daken’s attitude. Camuncoli’s work has been inconsistent over the years — maybe it’s the time he’s given to do various jobs, but sometimes his work looks amazing and fresh and vibrant and other times it looks flat and conventional — but “Dark Wolverine” #82 is good Camuncoli. It’s the kind of Camuncoli that makes you wish he was doing an extended run on “Batman,” if that makes any sense.
I haven’t written much about the plot of this issue, because the plot isn’t all that important. Daken says some snarky stuff, puts Bullseye in his place, and joins the Siege. The tone and style are what makes this comic worth reading. And though it isn’t one of the best Marvel comics you’ll ever read, it’s a nice little dagger of a comic. A sleek little jab of goodness.
And though the plot doesn’t really matter, we do get a shocking moment in the final scene. It’s so shocking that it can’t possibly amount to anything, because it would change the course of “Dark Reign” and “Siege” so radically that it couldn’t possibly occur in the pages of “Dark Wolverine.” But it’s a surprise nonetheless. A good one.