This issue, "Dark Wolverine" comes out of "Siege" and begins a short crossover with "Wolverine: Origins." Despite the feeling that this title has become something of a pinball, bouncing off existing stories without its own direction, there are some interesting stories being told.
Case in point: although Romulus, as a villain, has had spotty motivation at best, Way and Liu actually manage to get some mileage out of the character by putting an interesting twist on Daken’s relationship with him. Finally, it feels like there’s some reason for Romulus to be hanging around Wolverine’s world beyond the rather poorly-conceived conspiracy plot that has driven him so far, and better yet, a reason for Daken to return to the playing field despite having extricated himself by joining the Dark Avengers. Furthermore, the big revelation in this issue actually complicates Daken’s relationship with Logan in an interesting way. I didn’t see this development coming at all, but it makes perfect sense.
On the down side, this is one of those stories where the plot relies on a level of manipulation that never feels remotely realistic. Logan teams up with Daken, expecting his son to double-cross him and reveal his plans to Romulus, which he does. Logan then reveals his real plan to Daken, before double-crossing him – and I’m fairly sure there are more inexplicable reveals to come about who is manipulating who. If Way and Liu’s intention is to show that Logan is, in fact, turning into Romulus by becoming an expert at developing incredibly complex and manipulative meta-planning, then they are succeeding. But I don’t think that’s the intention at all.
As it is, despite his origins, Daken has actually worked best when isolated from the labyrinthine plotting of Wolverine’s fight against Romulus, allowing him to grow as a character apart from his father. I’ll admit the final scene surprised me, but only in the sense that it can’t be what it seems. I am interested, at least, in where things are going.
Segovia’s work on the title is decent enough. It’s hard not to be distracted by the obvious influence of Leinil Francis Yu on his work, but it’s not a huge problem in itself. A far greater concern is that he simply seems ill-suited to the material. The amount of bizarre angles, widescreen panels and splash pages seems like a desperate struggle to make what is, essentially, a talking heads and exposition issue interesting. Such stories are always a challenge for artists, and perhaps Way and Liu should have realized that, but it’s hard not to feel like Segovia has been miscast and that the comic suffers for it. It certainly doesn’t help, either, that he has to draw Romulus, who has one of the most truly unfortunate character designs I’ve ever seen.
Certainly, Dark Wolverine has survived better on its own than many expected, but the true test of its mettle will presumably come at the end of this story, when it becomes time for the book to strike out alone. As it is, this arc is effectively the finale to the current era of Wolverine and Daken’s relationship, and the book sets that particular ball rolling reasonably well.