Daken’s final standPosted: 03/31/2013
While we’re on the topic of Daken Akihiro from Friday’s article, we should cover his spectacular self-implosion as his solo series came to an end. While never exactly a superhero, he was never exactly evil either. Everything Daken accomplished (or tried to accomplish) was only for one reason: to benefit himself. Look, Daken’s a merciless killer, sure, but not in the same way as like Bullseye. Think sociopath instead of psychopath.
After becoming the crimelord of Madripoor, he decided to take on a bigger challenge: Los Angeles. Luckily for him, the city only had two superheroes (Moon Knight and Echo, who are schizophrenic and deaf respectively). Unfortunately, once he discovered a new drug called Heat, it screwed up everything. I mean everything. Not only did he fail to take over Los Angeles (but still an awesome series of arcs), the drug disabled his healing factor. Bad news.
Today, we’re covering Daken: Dark Wolverine #21-23, written by Rob Williams and drawn by Matteo Buffagni, Andrea Mutti, Riley Rossmo, & Paco Diaz. He’s returned to New York for his final plan.
By the way, did you know Daken’s actually friends with Johnny Storm and the Fantastic Four? Like friends friends. It takes a lot of range to be a bonafide supervillain and buddies with Marvel’s number one super-family. Go read Dark Wolverine #75-77 for the initial friendship, but here’s a page from Daken: Dark Wolverine #4, written by Daniel Way & Marjorie Liu and drawn by Giuseppe Camuncoli.
Before we jump into our main story, understand Daken’s introduction into comics provided a great step forward for diversity in comics. He’s half-Japanese (mother’s side) and openly bisexual, hence the flirt above with the Thing. If you check out the very first article I ever wrote, you’ll see him shack up with a supporting character from his time in LA.
We begin today with the fallout from his Heat addiction:
Grim diagnosis. See why you don’t do drugs, kids? Normal people would use their final weeks for redemption and reflection, but Daken’s not normal. Also, he hits on Mr. Fantastic.
Now, what is Heat you ask? It’s a euphoria-inducing drug that makes the art look all cool like this:
Daken never really got over his obsession with his absent-father Wolverine. Lots of fighting and torture every time they appear together. But this time, Daken expands the game beyond just the two of them.
Insane reasoning, but probably the most honest answer ever to an evil plan.
By setting off a few bombs and declaring a few more hidden bombs, the entire superhero community of New York (the Avengers, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, etc.) sets out to take him down. Daken gets the final stand he wants. Oh, and also to make sure Wolverine gets set on fire:
Since Daken’s an emotional mess, he’s resigned himself to his more villainous side. Plus, I bet you never expected a Daken and Mr. Fantastic fight.
What’s the simplest way to describe today’s protagonist? Let him do it himself:
With this, the final act of his story begins. Daken versus everybody.
You have to read the issue for all the fights, including a really cool moment with the Thing (that’ll be included in the next Random Panels article). But as the brawling devolves into mindless structural danger, Daken’s Heat-influenced mind discovers an epiphany.
No doubt that Daken’s almost certainly Wolverine’s greatest failing. The kids Wolverine that mentored (Jubilee, Kitty Pryde, Armor) turned out to be productive and respected members of the superhero community. And even though Wolverine had no idea Daken existed, Daken’s emotional absence (filled instead by Wolverine’s enemies) created the ruined and frustrated monster that now stands before New York’s superheroes.
By the way, notice the wildly uncomfortable expression on Wolverine’s face on the second picture? So, does Wolverine make it back in time? Does his school and students blow up into tiny mutant pieces?
Look, you can’t really hurt Wolverine physically. He’ll recover quickly from that — but he has no healing factor for his emotions. And with Daken’s death, that claw in Wolverine’s heart will pierce him every single day for the rest of his life. Mission accomplished.
Okay, so I kind of lied to you. What you just read is the first act of Daken and Wolverine’s final story. Daken returns one more time in Rick Remender’s Uncanny X-Force for the amazing, beautiful, and incredibly satisfying conclusion. We’ll cover it next time. Then go spend your hard earned money and pick up both these volumes. Because you’re worth it.