Daken’s actual final stand

Disclaimer before I start.  I usually avoid large amounts of pages in succession from the issues I choose mainly because I don’t understand copyright and fair use laws.  But today, I’m picking about fifteen pages or so that are basically two groups of seven or eight in a row.  If Marvel or Rick Remender or anyone associated aren’t okay with this, I’ll take it down.  But truthfully, this story needs to be shared.  It’s so good, so beautiful, and so important for the characterization of Daken and Wolverine. And now, you the reader, will promise to go and buy tons of Remender’s Marvel comics.  Maybe all of his Uncanny X-Force run?  Amazon.com always has discounts, y’know.

If you read the last article, Daken barely escaped the explosion he set off in Times Square.  Even though he was badly wounded and only weeks to live, he got better.  I don’t know how, but I’m sure his supervillain connections include some evil braniacs as well.  Because in Uncanny X-Force #33-34 (the exciting conclusion of the ten-part Final Execution arc), written by Remender and drawn by Phil Noto, Daken and Wolverine’s six-year antagonism ends.  For real this time.

As you read today, remember that even when Daken first premiered in Wolverine: Origins #5, written by Daniel Way and drawn by Steve Dillon, his motivations have never changed:

DakenFS1

I know self-loathing has become a recurring theme lately, but flaws make characters interesting.

We pick up with Wolverine awakening from a dream and strapped to a chair in some sort of interrogation room after being captured by the reformed Brotherhood of Evil.  Like most of us do.

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Y’see, this may be the first time in comics where Daken and Wolverine can have an actual conversation about their relationship without mid-fighting interruptions, ulterior motives, or last minute saves.  Just one emotionally damaged supervillain son talking to his emotionally damaged superhero father.

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Daken and Wolverine both sort of argue the same point.  Daken believes by staying true to his Wolverine-y genetics, he’s acting appropriately to his own nature.  Why change his own predestined course?  But Wolverine also sort of believes the same thing, just with using their powers and attitude for the greater good.  Like a bullet, the damage comes with who it’s being fired at, not the kind of gun being fired.

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I love this scene.  Both Daken and Wolverine genuinely apologize at how Daken’s life turned out, but Daken accepted his twisted path long ago.  And now, after a dozen battles or so, the game has to come a close.  One winner, one loser — with Daken planning to emerge victorious.

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You can read the book for how Wolverine escapes and everything that leads up to the next issue. Finally the two settle their differences claw-to-claw, but you knew that’s how this has to go.

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See what’s going on?  Wolverine would gain a clear advantage by going into his “berserker” state, where he loses control and flails way more dangerously and frighteningly than his normal mood. Daken definitely tapped into his berserker mode as soon as the fight began.

Now we get Wolverine’s clear humanity versus Daken’s primal animalism — the struggle that has haunted Wolverine in comics for decades.

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It’s heartbreaking.  The reality of their horrific fighting gets mixed with the what-if idealism of a happy, meaningful life.  While not exactly Wolverine’s fault that Daken ended up the way he did, if he had just known, if he had just searched harder, if he had just reached out, and so on, then maybe Daken’s life could have been the normal, joyful life that children deserve.  Or not.  But it doesn’t matter now.

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No better analogy for their struggle than for Daken to drown in a small puddle.  Daken hasn’t shown up in comics since; he’s really dead.  Wipe those tears away.

Before I end, there’s one final thing I want to show you.  Five issues before this in Uncanny X-Force #29, the team has been transported to an alternative post-apocalyptic future.  There, as they say goodbye, Wolverine receives parting words from his future self.

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When the series ends in Uncanny X-Force #35, the whisper gets revealed to the reader:

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This means that the entire series of pages I showed you above, Wolverine knew he had to kill Daken. If he didn’t, all the innocent students at his school would die.  No other choice.  Go back and read their conversation and you’ll notice the sad resignation in Wolverine’s choice of words.  Wipe away those tears once more.

Every time Wolverine’s grumpy and drunk, know that at least he has a good reason.

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11 Comments on “Daken’s actual final stand”

  1. Any thoughts on the huge crazy fan freakout about Havok’s speech in Uncanny? Plus, Rick’s reaction on twitter.

    • Jason Levine says:

      I read the issue and I read the outcry, and if I’m right, basically people are mad that Havok rejects his identity as a minority? Fans are mad because the X-Men are supposed to represent the “minority” — whether that’s by religion, race, sexual orientation, interest, etc. — and Havok states that we should assimilate instead of celebrate diversity? Y’know, I didn’t actually think about this until now, but I think the outrage’s overblown.

      I get how comic book fans might be bullied or ridiculed, and the X-Men are that fantasy of staying true to the fans’ passions just with laser eyes or wings or whatever.to defend themselves. I mean, I’m Jewish, and we have a whole history of being hated on as the minority scapegoat, but I’d rather see the X-Men defeat bad guys than rise up as a minority power. As in, aren’t they superheroes first and mutants second?

      Especially after AvX, the X-Men are seen as villains. So, Havok merely stated that the mutant community should be seen as working with the other heroes instead of against them. Superheroes first, mutants second — and simply that by calling them mutants, their heroism and good intentions are being sidelined by a pre-judged “label.”

      I agree with Remender, but I also tend to be a suck up. What’s your opinion, Anthony?

  2. Jason says:

    Well it’s one way for Daken to die. Not particularly satisfying for me, but then I never liked the character as I’ve already said.

    I’ve been away from my computer for a week so give me some time to have Frost beat up Daken. Daken at his best that is, none of this half dead Daken. Of course is even full power Daken a match for a guy who is comparable to original Superman (that is back when he was simply stronger than a locomotive and able to leap buildings in a single bound, prior to Mary Stu Superman who could move planets and had a new super power with every issue)?

    Well, it might be fun to write anyway.

  3. Randy Montante says:

    I didn’t expect it to end like that. I didn’t mind it.

  4. jimmy says:

    No this is wrong, Daken in EVERY other incarnation is a sociopath but he likes being one. He isn’t down on himself he glorifies his predatory existence. Here they made him a whiney bitch. It’s almost a reversal of his personality. And drowning him in a puddle?!?!? Aside from anything else Daken is one the best SELLING characters marvel have come up with in the last ten years. The Daken comic outsold the wolverine comic for most of it’s run. Portraying him this way and then Killing him this way, is bad story telling and a terrible business decision. Rick Remender’s should NOT have been allowed to do this. It was also WAY too soon after his last “death” bringing him back without explanation just to drown him in a puddle is a slap in the face to everyone else who wrote the character, and they ALL did it better than this.

  5. […] Wolverine did have a son. He had a profound mother in 1946, nonetheless their wedlock was cut brief when she was killed by […]

  6. […] Wolverine did have a son. He had a profound mother in 1946, nonetheless their wedlock was cut brief when she was killed by […]

  7. […] Wolverine did have a son. He had a profound mother in 1946, nonetheless their wedlock was cut brief when she was killed by […]


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