“Dark Wolverine” #87 is a comic of contradictions. It wants to be meaningful, but is so hamfisted and empty that there is no true meaning. It’s so subtle in making its true point that there isn’t one. It views inaction as action, but it’s really just inaction. Daken, the son of Logan, is full of these contradictions, but instead of making him an interesting character, it simply means he has no character. He can be violent, he can be passive, he can aggressive, he can be thoughtful, he can be wild, he can be fun, he can be anything, so he is nothing. He’s as unpredictable a character as you can find, because his actions shift on a whim with no logic or explanation. Sometimes, that can make for compelling comics, other times it’s just a hollow, empty experience where, upon finishing the book, you’re left without a single memory of what you just read.
Situated between a crossover with “Wolverine Origins” and another with “Frankencastle,” this issue is an interlude of sorts with Daken in Rome, stewing about his father cutting out his wrist claws, which were covered with the Muramasa blade, the only weapon that can kill Logan. What ensues is 22 pages of empty words and vague hints at what Daken is thinking despite him narrating the issue. A woman pickpockets him and he nearly kills her before stopping, seeing it as an exercise in power. After, we get that same scene played out in a much longer, tedious fashion.
Instead of a female pickpocket, it’s a male that attempts to seduce Daken in order to take him to a secluded area and have an associate rob him. It’s obvious in its storytelling as every line spoken by either man is cheesy and groan-inducing. Daken goes along with this little scheme because it amuses him, but he also finds no satisfaction in it. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen him act like this, pushed to the brink of violence only to back away. Nothing new is said with this latest display, no new revelations, or reason why this was worth reading.
The comic isn’t worth looking at either with dark, dull art. Mierco Pierfederici’s work has some visual similarities with Daniel AcuÃ±a’s art, but lacks his stylistic flairs and excellent line work. Pierfederici instead delivers simplistic, soft lines that don’t flow from one panel to the next. It isn’t helped by his use of buildings and backgrounds often done in entirely different styles, making characters appear cartoonish in a real world. One panel stands out, but that’s because it looks like something Giuseppe Camuncoli, the series’ usual artist, would have drawn.
“Dark Wolverine” is at its best when Daken and the story have a purpose. When it languishes in these pointless interludes and one-off stories, it descends into pseudo-poetic storytelling that never amounts to anything entertaining or meaningful.