By Daniel Way & Marjorie Liu (writers), Giuseppe Camuncoli (artist), Onoford Catacchio (inker), Marte Gracia (colorist)
Having now read two issues of Dark Wolverine, I can safely say that I find Daken to be an interesting character, but not for any of the reasons Marvel wants me to care about. Specifically, I’m not terribly interested in the overplayed father/son dynamic between him and Wolverine, and I think it’s absurd to believe a man possessing bone claws could pose any kind of serious threat (honestly, for the kinds of fights Daken gets into, why doen’t his claws ever break!?). It’s the measure of this man that intrigues me though; there is an air of lethal ambiguity surrounding Daken, a sense that even amongst the scum comprising the Dark Avengers, Daken is the real threat to be feared. If Marvel’s going to pursue this storyline, that is exactly the right tone to convey and I’m surprised to be finding it in such an unlikely title as this.
Part two of “The Prince” finds Daken between a rock and a hard place, manipulating his teammates on the Avengers even as he approaches the Fantastic Four to request help in taking down Norman Osborn. Is Daken making a power play to control the Avengers, or trying to escape their corrupting influence over him? That tense uncertainty is the energy that propels Way and Liu’s scripts, although I hope to see this story become something more than a game of Machiavellian maneuvers. Special mention must be made of Giuseppe Camuncoli, who has fast become my favorite artists this year. His work has the kind of style and aggression that you’d expect to find in anime, and I think it is incredibly appropriate on this book. I’m not entirely sold on Gracia’s colors though. The heavily bold patches of color support the anime appearance, but it can be distracting at times.
I’ve never read any of Daken’s early appearances in the pages of Wolverine: Origins and I’ll keep it that way because I suspect the less I know about him the more I’ll like him. Like just about everything else under the “Dark Reign” banner right now, Dark Wolverine is a one trick pony that cannot possibly last. Having just said that, I think Daken is nonetheless an intriguing character and if the creative team can step up their game and do something more with him, I think there is potential to be found here.