By Marc Strom
Daken, the son of Wolverine, strikes out on his own beginning June 17 with DARK WOLVERINE #75 from writers Marjorie Liu and Daniel Way and artist Giuseppe Camuncoli.
Since Daken joined Norman Osborn's Dark Avengers, he's experienced a new level of exposure within the Marvel Universe. But according to Liu and Way, his new, more public status only serves to give him a larger playground in which to run wild.
"He's a big, dangerous, brilliant psychopath of a wolf who has found himself in a candy shop filled with sheep—even, occasionally, a super-powered sheep," remarks Liu. "It's fun for him messing around with all the blunt-toothed bleating bottom feeders, herding and manipulating them, right to their faces,
without them realizing it. He's gone public, but he's still wearing a mask, and playing a game."
"Remember, Daken has been kept in the shadows his entire life," adds Way, the character's co-creator. "This is his time in the sun, so to speak. But at the same time, he's still hidden—behind his father's mask. So he can do whatever he wants, which will almost never have anything to do with what Norman Osborn wants."
Even though he may wear his father's old costume, fans shouldn't expect Daken to change his villainous ways too much. As Liu sees it, Daken's the type of character who will "only [act heroically] if he has a good reason for it—and the last time I checked, being self-serving was decidedly un-heroic.
"On the other hand, it's the results that count, and if Daken saves lives and does good, no matter what might be behind his actions, then perhaps that's all that should really be important."
Nonetheless, Daken has an awareness of the more heroic mold Osborn has cast him into, and Way comments that Wolverine's son will soon face just what that means.
"There will be a moment in the near future when Daken realizes that this whole 'hero' thing is harder than it looks," he elaborates. "For all his capability, Daken has never defended anyone in his life—he's always been on the attack. Loathsome though it may be, he may have to take a page or two from [his] old man's playbook in order to get what he ultimately wants."
As DARK WOLVERINE kicks off, the opening three-part storyline will see Daken testing his boundaries and even coming face-to-face with the Marvel's First Family, the Fantastic Four.
"Daken is testing the waters, and learning just how easily manipulated the people around him really are," Liu relates. "Of course, with an ego that big, you're bound to make some mistakes. Maybe. Or perhaps he's just that brilliant."
Riffing off of that, Liu remarks that other heroes' reactions to Daken will "depend on how [he] wants them to react."
"He's an unknown quantity," Way reminds us. "So the wiser heroes—Reed Richards, for example—will treat him as such. Those who assume they already know Daken, [and assume] that he is identical to his father, are making a tactical, and possibly a fatal, error."
Closing out, Liu pays compliment to the series' artist, Giuseppe Camuncoli, while also giving readers incentive to pick up their debut issue:
"Cammo's art is hot. And I do believe there's some sex, violence, and racy innuendo in the first issue. Good times!"
"We're definitely pushing the boundaries with this one," Way chimes in. "Prepare to be unprepared."
DARK WOLVERINE #75 claws into stores on June 17. You can also check out Daken's early appearances in WOLVERINE: ORIGINS on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited right now!
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