It’s no secret that Wolverine is one of the most popular comic characters in the world. So, when his son steals the spotlight, it’s going to make for an interesting story. Dark Wolverine: The Prince, written by Marjorie Liu and drawn by Giuseppe Camuncoli, follows Daken as he usurps his father’s identity in Norman Osborn’s Dark Avengers. I remember collecting the single issues of Dark Wolverine when it first came out and it turned Daken into one of my favourite characters. It was good to come back to the series after so many years and relive the story with fresh eyes.
The story takes place among the Dark Reign event, where Norman Osborn has taken power away from Tony Stark and has set up his own version of the Avengers. Daken has become his Wolverine, but it becomes clear he’s not a team player from the moment he’s introduced. ‘The Prince’ is a reference to Niccolo Machiavelli’s book and it’s the perfect way to describe Daken. He manipulates his team mates and sets them against each other, with a particular focus on Bullseye and Venom.
Daken is able to do this by using his pheromone ability to alter the emotions of people around him. In an early scene, Daken baits Bullseye into getting angry enough to skewer him with an arrow and make it seem as if he’s unstable and irrational. In another scene, he confuses Venom and flirts with him repeatedly. The character’s pansexuality is a big part of what makes him entertaining. It’s another weapon in his arsenal that he uses to his advantage.
Daken’s manipulation extends towards the Fantastic Four and he manages to convince them that he’s working to bring Osborn down from the inside. His interaction with the Thing and Human Torch stand out the most. This climaxes in him earning their trust and making it seem as if Bullseye and Venom are unable to do their jobs properly. His true motivations remain a mystery and it adds to the appeal of the character.
There’s also a random Wolverine story thrown into the graphic novel, which I feel was added in as a filler. That’s the only down side, as the story feels disjointed at that point. Liu’s writing is strong, giving Daken new depth and presenting him as a Machiavellian manipulator who shrouds himself in mystery. Camuncoli’s art is sharp and pretty, making Daken look like an elegant predator.
Dark Wolverine: The Prince is a great introduction to Wolverine’s son and by the time you’ve read it, you’ll want to find out more about him. You can purchase it on Amazon.