At first glance one may easily dismiss Daken, Wolverine’s son, as a cookie-cutter knock off of his dear old dad. However, much like the once easily quick to write-off X-23, Daken actually is a rather deep and complicated character who once given the chance is really a very intriguing character. One of the most compelling proponents to the character is that while he does possess some of the obvious characteristics of his famous father he does bring to the table his own personal nuances to the overall picture.
This debut issue, which is a re-launch of the previous Wolverine series which was re-named Dark Wolverine for the past year or so, gives Daken a shot to show his mettle as a stand-alone character. Writers Daniel Way & Marjorie Liu construct a fairly decent first issue which allows the reader a glimpse into the long running hate that Daken holds for Wolverine. The first scene takes place 50 years in the past and initially caused me some confusion as I have not really followed Daken’s journeys too much. Yet when you realize that Daken possesses all of Wolvie’s talents, as well as some of his own, it just clicks that this "boy" is really a man child in terms of he is mentally young but has been kicking around for over half a decade in Marvel time.
After putting a halt to an unknown assassins attempt on Logan’s life, the issue jumps to the present day. In this scenario we witness one of Daken’s unique talents which allow him to coerce others by way of his emitting of pheromones which often results in some interesting results. In this case we see him getting his move on with a model and afterwards using this power to persuade what I assume is the models’ designer as well. Daken uses this equally on both male & female which allows for sexual ambiguity and enhances the assumption that Daken has no qualms at all with doing whatever it takes to achieve his goals. As expected there are some familiar faces that show up such as Mystique which given the long history between her and Logan is a sort of given. The finale was a nice scene of Daken taking a costume and informing the reader of his intentions of working in the shadows and just drives home what a conniving bastard he is.
The biggest obstacle for this issue was the fact that unless you have been following the character regularly you won’t be able to fully comprehends everything that is going on. You have the whole father/son dynamic, a nasty mess that is Romulus, and the abilities and psyche of Daken himself to try and contend with, which is a cause for confusion all in itself. That is not a slight on Way & Liu who plot out a very good first issue. The way that they portray the main character is fantastic. He is easily to love and despise at the same time; you hate him because he is such an ass yet you can definitely relate to him and the life he has had to lead thus far. One thing that stood out for me personally was the scene where Daken apparently has a phone conversation with The Human Torch, Johnny Storm. During this interaction it appears that the two have formed a close bond, at least Johnny thinks so. It is quite possible that Johnny is being manipulated by the mood altering powers of Daken’s. This was the one part of the issue that stuck out the most to me because while Johnny is a very hot-headed (pun intended) character it doesn’t seem plausible that he would fall victim to such situations.
From an art standpoint this was a nicely illustrated book. The pencils by Giuseppe Camuncoli are very reminiscent to Romita Jr. in some aspects which lead to a nice familiarity. Camuncoli excels when it comes to detailing the emotions of these characters and allows the reader to feel the tension through his pencils. Inker Onofrio Catacchio and colorist Frank D'Armata round out the art staff and both do admirable jobs. Though the colors have a tendency to appear washed out at times.
Overall Daken: Dark Wolverine is off to a good start. It may not resonate with everyone due to the fact that it is essentially for more or less a Wolverine title. Though I think Daken has carved a nice little path for himself and can certainly stand on his own. If you do decide to give this a shot there is a nice little history recap in the back of the book that gives the reader the basic story of Daken so far. I am going to give this book the standard one-arc trial to since as of right now I am on the fence.
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