Artist: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Cover By: Giuseppe Camuncoli & Marte Garcia
Empire Act II: Part 1 of 4
To be honest, I felt that Daken: Dark Wolverine was the weakest of the three ‘Wolverine Family’ titles. Of course things can change and this issue is a start. The story focuses on Daken’s relationship with the Fantastic Four, mainly his close friendship with Johnny. Johnny is taking Daken’s supposed death hard, and the others are a little worried but understand he just needs his time to cope. When an intruder to the Baxter building threatens Reed and Sue’s children, Daken is there to stop him. The funny thing is that Daken broke in as well (so much for the great security system they have over there). The Fantastic Four are shocked since they believed him to be dead, even though we the reader knew otherwise (end of issue #3, and come on, it’s his series). If Johnny took his death hard, he took the truth even harder. Feeling betrayed by Daken (that’s a first), he just goes off on him, which is understandable since he took the blame for Daken’s death and this is a most unusual turn of events for him. After everyone settles down we learn what has brought about this unexpected visit.
Daken is taking full advantage of the world believing he is dead and wants to use it as a way to start fresh. This is a chance to avoid the stigma of siding with Osborne and he believes that the Fantastic Four are the only one’s he can trust with his secret. In an effort to distance himself from his father and to ensure his cover will not be blown, he asks Reed for something he can use to defend himself so he doesn’t have to bring out his claws. Reed gives him some sort of glove that can be used to stun anyone without killing, with the exception of Ben. Just like that he’s gone. Upon his departure Reed decides that something just didn’t feel right about Daken’s visit. We then see Daken on a boat heading to an undisclosed location and he reveals that he has other plans for the glove which has potential that is held back by Reed’s unwillingness to kill. It’s apparent that he has left the country, most likely to Asia. Of course he’s in disguise and has a whole bald/shaved Matt Fraction thing goin’ on. After seeing a newspaper, he decides to go after Bucky aka Captain America aka (more importantly) The Winter Soldier, who killed his mom. It’s on the final panel that we finally learn that the boat is headed to (wait for it…) Madripoor.
This one was very good, but it was excellent on the second reading. It took a night’s sleep for all of the parallels and connections to Logan of the final few pages that my 2 AM brain didn’t seem to catch, to actually sink in. As a big fan of the early Wolverine Patch stories in Madripoor, I am very excited for what’s to come and I love the irony of following in the footsteps of his father when he intends to do just the opposite. Hopefully he’s got a better costume than a stupid eye patch.
Enough looking ahead, this one was a gem. The interactions were both humorous and believable. Daken is very likeable and seems eerily out of character until Reed’s uncertainty at the end reminds you of his manipulative ways and gives you the idea that he may have just been using them. Personally I feel that he is somewhere in the middle right now. He does in fact want to distance himself from his past and I believe he has good intentions, though he will do whatever he feels necessary to meet his goals, even if that means that he may have to cross the line or deceive others. The issue sets the stage for what has the potential of a great story, now let’s see Way and Liu build off this and meet it.