When Daken, Wolverine’s estranged son was introduced in the pages of “Wolverine: Origins,” the character was out to kill his father for the alleged role Logan played in the murder of his son’s mother. Recently, Daken learned that his mother’s death was actually ordered by Romulus, who is the head of a shadowy and powerful conspiracy… as well as Daken’s master. Upon learning of Romulus’s part in his mother’s murder, Daken decided that he and his father, who was already hunting Romulus, shared a common enemy. That doesn’t mean Daken’s ready to embrace his father with opens arms though. Fact is, he still hates him.
So much so, that in “Dark Avengers” #1 Daken accepted a job offer from Norman Osborn to impersonate Wolverine in Osborn’s Avengers team just so that he could antagonize his father. The Wolverine identity isn’t the only thing Daken is taking from his father though. This June, “Wolverine” becomes “Dark Wolverine” with issue #75 and will follow Daken’s solo adventures in the Marvel Universe. CBR News spoke with co-writers Daniel Way and Marjorie Liu about the series
Daniel Way, the writer of “Origins,” created Daken, so it was only natural that Editor John Barber would call him up and ask if he wanted to be involved with “Dark Wolverine.” “I had a vested interest in the character, and the idea of going global with him and really putting him out there in the Marvel Universe was really appealing to me,” the writer told CBR News. “So I told him that I’d definitely be interested, but I’ve already got two monthly books plus some special projects lined up. So we started talking about a co-writer.”
The search for Way’s co-writer wasn’t a very long one. Marjorie Liu was the writer’s first, and really only, choice. “I was looking around at who I thought would be a good fit for the character and I was like, ‘Can we get her?'” Way explained. “And in our first conversation, she asked the right kind of questions. She’s all about story logic, and I really like that because that’s where I come from. And I enjoy having the extra set of eyes. I’ll outline something then send it around and she’ll come up with questions about it or consider things that I hadn’t”
Marjorie Liu accepted the “Dark Wolverine” assignment because it gave her the chance to work with both Way, Barber and Daken, a character she finds incredibly compelling. “He’s such an intellectual. Really smart about everything he does, which makes him incredibly dangerous, because that intelligence isn’t tempered with the kind of moral code that, say, his father has,” Liu stated. “And yet, at the same time, Daken is still a young man who hasn’t been out in the world all that much. Not in the way most people his age have. So, while he’s far ahead of the curve in some ways — in others, he still has a lot of learning to do.”
When the first volume of the ongoing “Wolverine” series was launched way back in 1988, it was meant to document what the title character did in his away time from the X-Men. “Dark Wolverine” serves a similar purpose in that it chronicles the solo adventures Daken embarks on when he’s not out with Norman Osborn’s Avengers. In a recent issue of “Wolverine: Origins,” Daken declared that his current goal was to take the place of and become the man he wants to kill, Romulus. Much of his adventures in “Dark Wolverine” will be about fulfilling that goal. “Daken has been under the radar for his whole life. No one has really known about him, and that’s the way he’s kept it. Now though, he’s able to operate openly and in public, with the caveat being that he has to wear his father’s costume. This is kind of his time in the sun,” Way remarked. “Fulfilling his goal of becoming the new Romulus ultimately means going back underground. So this is his time out in the open to accomplish everything he can and to lay the ground work for becoming the next Romulus.
“And at the same time, it might be his only opportunity to be out there and be off the leash. He can have some fun. And of course his idea of fun is pretty disturbing to most people.” Way continued. “We’re kind of comparing it to that last summer before college
With “Dark Wolverine,” Liu wants to tell stories that both test Daken’s intellectual prowess and have a profound effect on him. “He’s an elegant man, a fighter who prefers to use his brain over brawn,” Liu remarked. “He’s also an extremely capable, ruthless individual who is a bit out of his element — a conflict that I think will be fascinating to explore.”
One of the reasons Daken is out of his element in “Dark Wolverine” is because for the first time he’s swimming in the larger pool of the Marvel Universe… and he’ll quickly find himself in the deep end. “One of the goals of this book is to introduce him to the Marvel Universe and to broaden the scope of his exposure and experience in the Marvel U,” Way explained. “We’ll show him interacting with other different characters: Avengers characters, Spider-Man characters, and other X-Men characters. They’re all finally getting their first look at Daken.”
In the first story arc of “Dark Wolverine,” Way and Liu introduce Daken to one of the Marvel U’s premier super teams. “Daken is going to run headlong into the Fantastic Four. He just might end up aiming to high and being that kid with his hand caught in the cookie jar,” Way said. “But then again, that may just all be a ruse. With an encounter that big going on, it would be easy for him to do something small and sinister in the background.”
Further assisting Daken in his battles with the FF and other Marvel characters are the vicious people manipulation skills he learned as an agent of Romulus, and his superhuman ability to secret pheremones that alter a person’s emotions and perceptions. “As readers we’re kind of on the inside and know that he has that ability, but only an extremely limited number of people inside the Marvel U know about it,” Way explained. “So a lot of people might find themselves acting a bit out of character, going a bit too far, or doing things that they normally wouldn’t do when Daken’s around.”
He’s normally pretty cool and confident, but when his father’s around, Daken’s anger at Wolverine often causes him to do things he wouldn’t normally do, and Wolverine does play a role in “Dark Wolverine.”
“He’s the only person who can ruffle Daken’s emotions,” Liu stated. “My sense is this: normally,
Daken feels nothing for people. He doesn’t form meaningful relationships. Or rather, his relationships are guided by whether or not he can use the people he’s around. If he can’t, they don’t matter. If he can use them, they matter so long as he gets what he wants.”
Wolverine will have a role in “Dark Wolverine” but fans shouldn’t expect the series to kick off with a throw down between father and son. “If Wolverine were to go after Daken, some people would view that essentially as the X-Men attacking the Avengers, which is not good. The other thing is, let’s say he catches him unaware and away from the Avengers. What’s he going to, do kill him? Then he’s got a dead son and Romulus is still out there. There’s really no up side,” Way remarked. “He’s essentially going to let Daken alone for the most part. Now, if he really oversteps his bounds or does something really egregious, Wolverine we’ll show up and lay down the law, just like any father. So he’ll be there kind of waiting in the wings.”
Daken is not exactly a social person, and “Dark Wolverine” is a solo title, so initially there won’t be many other supporting characters in “Dark Wolverine. “He does associate with Norman Osborn and the other Dark Avengers, so you’ll see them popping in and out of the book, but this is essentially a solo title,” Way said. “That’s not to say that down the line he won’t attract characters who may orbit around him for one reason or another, but from the outset our goal is to really focus on him. And to that goal, we’re kind of going with shorter story arcs at first, which will really focus on what Daken is all about.”
Brining to life Way and Liu’s “Dark Wolverine” scripts is artist Giuseppe Camuncoli, whose artwork is currently gracing Marvel’s “X-Infernus” mini series. “I think he’ll bring beautiful storytelling to the book,” Liu said.
Way added, “I think he’ll bring to the book that sense of menace, danger, and claustrophobic feelings that Daken brings out in people. Giuseppe’s art style is also going to allow us to bring out more of the black comedy aspects, or the gallows humor of the character. That’s something I’ve been itching to do, but there really weren’t many chances to do it in ‘Origins’ simply because almost every time I showed Daken, he was around Wolverine. So he was in this horrible mood and not really wanting to tell jokes. But like I said earlier, now he’s out in the world having fun. So you can expect humor from him similar to the way I write Bullseye. If you thought my work with Bullseye was funny then you’ll think Daken is kind of funny in this book.”
As the title character in “Dark Wolverine” and one of the featured players in “Dark Avengers,” Daken is going to be kept very busy in the months ahead. This is bound to leave some fans of “Wolverine: Origins,” the title that gave birth to the character, wondering what sort of role he’ll have in that series. “Daken will still be popping up in ‘Origins,'” Way said. “He’ll be much more featured in ‘Dark Wolverine’ though. Events that are happening at the same time in ‘Origins’ kind of split Wolverine and Daken apart, and they go on separate but almost parallel paths.”