Daken vs. Taskmaster, Moon KnightPosted: 07/14/2013
For a character a little over six years old, Daken (or Akihiro) surprisingly surged in popularity. Especially for a supervillain. He took over the Wolverine title for a year and then received his own solo series for two years — very impressive for a new character to star that long in a comic before being canceled. But his success hardly surprises me, because the guy’s spun from a winning creation formula. First, make him Wolverine’s legitimate son — add in anger from his father’s abandonment and a genetic psychopathy. Next, add some diversity, like Daken being half-Japanese and bisexual. Give him a cool mohawk, neat tattoos, and a brilliantly scheming mind. Finally, create a humanizing, ambitious personality mixed in with deep-rooted inadequacies and insecurities leftover from his father’s popularity and heroism.
But today, in Daken: Dark Wolverine #11-14, written by Rob Williams and drawn by Matteo Buffagni, Michele Bertilorenzi, & Riley Rossmo, we’re going to watch him claw stuff.
Currently, Daken (pronounced Dah-kehn) lives in Los Angeles, where he figures the city could use a new crime boss. The city certainly lacks the hundreds of superheroes running, flying, and web-slinging around New York City anyway. First order of business? Show his usefulness, of course.
Simple enough. Daken and six skilled henchmen will ambush a truck (and its small army protecting it) to steal the $26 million inside. But unfortunately, he stumbled upon a little problem during his time in Hollywood.
Heat. The newest, coolest recreational drug on the market. Like most drugs, heat induces euphoria. For a sixty year old man (born right after WWII), you figured Daken would know better than to initiate highly dangerous plans while loopy on drugs. But y’know how supervillains are — living for the moment and all that. Unfortunately, in the current moment, he’ll have to deal with him:
Taskmaster trains the supervillains/does mercenary work using his photographic reflexes. For more information on him, you can see my previous Taskmaster article. The dude’s bad news, though delightfully charming.
See? Charming. To be fair, Taskmaster isn’t super strong or durable or anything. Taskmaster can mimic any abilities he sees (like Captain America’s shield throwing, Hawkeye’s archery, Black Knight’s swordplay, etc.), but besides that, the guy’s a normal human. Daken shouldn’t have much difficulty taking him down. Y’know, if not for that massive amount of Heat he ingested.
Yes, things go bad. Sure, Daken’ll massacre police officers, but not in his current condition and definitely not with Taskmaster nearby. So, he does what Wolverine would do in this situation: guns blazing towards a painful death.
His failing healing factor pretty much drives the next year of stories, but that’s for another time. So now that impalement’ll hurt. Permanently. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.
He survives, as you imagine. His healing factor takes a few more issues before it disappears completely. And the twist he mentions? Well, I’m not going to tell you, but his quest to become leader of the LA underworld certainly heads in the right direction.
Luckily, Los Angeles can rest easy, because watching over their large, complicated city lies the watchful eyes of the local superheroes. I mean superhero. They have one. And it’s Moon Knight, the schizophrenic, all-white Batman. Though to Moon Knight’s benefit, his other personalities are Spider-Man, Captain America, and Wolverine — not a bad batch of crazy imaginary alternative personalities.
What happens next — with Daken even more warped from Heat overdose — begins one of the oddest fights you’ll ever witness in Marvel comics. Because you know how one of Moon Knight’s schizophrenic personalities is Wolverine?
Oh yes, you get to witness an insane Moon Knight thinking he’s Wolverine go up against an insane, Heat-crazed Daken. You deserve this.
Moon Knight should get more love just because of his awesome costume. I love the hood.
Ultimately story-wise, Daken’ll have to be brought down by his father, simply because of the poetic nature of their relationship. Wolverine brought him into this world and inadvertently caused Daken to become a monster, so he’ll need to clean up that mess. And he does. Twice. But first, Daken has to deal with Moon Knight Wolverine. Thank god too, because the art should inspire your awe and jealousy.
Like his father, Daken possesses the “berserker” state, where he gains increased speed, power, and fury at the cost of any strategy or tactics. Think of a cornered, desperate animal. Also, Moon Knight picks a fantastic time to snap back to reality.
Okay, so Daken loses again. An uppercut shouldn’t be enough to defeat the man, but Heat this and Heat that. Drugs are bad, you know that.
He’ll survive to fight another day, if only because Wolverine spawns tend to be practically invincible. Except when the death is bathed in symbolism — no one escapes that.