New series writer Rob Williams comes aboard with this ‘point one’ issue, replacing the title’s only writers so far, Daniel Way and Marjorie Liu. “Daken: Dark Wolverine” (and its predecessor “Dark Wolverine”) has always had potential with a lead character that isn’t quite like any other at Marvel. Daken can occupy philosophical and poetic spaces before shifting into brutal violence. Unfortunately, finding a balance that approaches consistency has never been the book’s strong point, often falling into the habit of having Daken simply retread old Wolverine moments and actions. Williams makes it clear that that cycle will be ending, but not in this issue, which is a rather hollow and empty statement of intent.
After making Madripoor his own, Daken is confronted with the fact that his father already did this, and, from there, he decides to stop proving that he can recreate his father’s accomplishments and, instead, create some of his own. And that’s it, that’s the comic. Like so many previous issues of Daken’s solo adventures, there’s a small idea stretched to a complete comic, leaving a sense of something missing, a big hole where a story should be. On the positive, Williams restrains from filling that gap with overwrought, melodramatic narrative prose, the usual technique until now.
Much of the issue is taken up with a scene where Daken has obviously broken into Avengers Tower and Wolverine, cryptic about it, makes sure that none of his teammates run into his son. Their conversation is brief and only establishes that Daken is done trying to prove himself, that he’ll be his own man. Why Williams didn’t start with that point, showing Daken in his new home of Los Angeles and actually doing something is beyond me. Spending an entire issue on ‘Well, done with that, onto the next thing...’ is tedious. Going for something new is great, but with a comic like this, just going for it would have been a better approach.
Ron Garney on art is a nice treat, but seems largely wasted here. Garney excels when the script is driving the story forward at a quick pace, preferably with plenty of action. That isn’t the case here, and that limits the appeal of the art. Garney isn’t up to capturing the subtle emotions and carrying the weight of the story on small changes in expression. Much of the issue falls flat as a result and it comes off as a case of a mismatch between script and artist.
Maybe “Daken: Dark Wolverine” #10 will be a better ‘jumping on point’ with it actually beginning the new stage of Daken’s life. This issue is nothing more here than him saying “I’m not going to copy my father anymore; I’m moving to Los Angeles.” See how easy that was to express? Lingering on the point only produces a hollow, unsatisfying