Daken: Dark Wolverine #15

Issue Date: 
December 2011
Story Title: 
Moonwalk: Part 3

Rob Williams (writer), Michele Bertilorenzi with Riley Rossmo (pencils), John Lucas and Riley Rossmo (inks), Cris Peter with Riley Rossmo (colors), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Jared K. Fletcher (designer), Jody LeHeup (assistant editor), Jeanine Schaefer (editor), Nick Lowe (group editor), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer), Giuseppe Camuncoli with Marte Gracia (cover art)

Brief Description: 

While Daken attempts to recover in a hospital bed after being shot in the head by Donna Kiel, Donna and Moon Knight collaborate in attempting to determine what has happened. As they do, Daken resides in limbo, sees Johnny Storm, and fights against his demons. Eventually, he is able to recover and kills some policeman as he leaves the hospital and proceeds to make his way to Marcus Roston’s estate. At the same time, Donna has decided to do her own investigative work and ends up being Roston’s pawn. He proceeds to then feed her another handful of Heat pills.

Full Summary: 

When a bullet leaves the muzzle of a gun heading for your brain, it’s traveling somewhere in the region of 2,000 miles per hour. Keanu Reeves couldn’t dodge one any more than the Wachowskis could deliver a coherent Matrix sequel.

There are eight cranial bones designed to keep your brain safe. A bullet slides through them faster than the speed at which your cerebral tissues tear. The ability to process information and solve problems is destroyed with your prefrontal cortex. Your ability to index memories fades forever with the destruction of your hippocampus. The brain tissues snap back toward the opening and overshoot their original position with the shock wave. If you’re shot in the heart, you’ve still probably got about 10 seconds of brain function for an oh-so-profound and memorable last utterance. Get shot in the brain and function stops almost instantly. Put simply… you’re gone.

At that moment, Daken finds himself wearing a business suit and sitting on a subway train, surrounded by a bunch of people of all ages, all of whom have claws like Daken. Once the train comes to a stop, Daken is one of the few to exit and looks back at the train. He remarks that’s very strange. They were all… looking at him. Just then, a voice asks “looking for him?” Yes, he was. Daken Akihiro, is he right? The man behind the voice introduces himself as Johnny Storm. It’s very nice to have him there.

On the streets of Los Angeles, Moon Knight checks on Daken’s fallen body. As the sirens ring out, Moon Knight mentions to Donna Kiel that the paramedics are coming. Thank god. Daken is breathing, but… she didn’t have to shoot him. Donna replies that she’s the F.B.I. Who the hell is he? Moon Knight introduces himself and then tells Donna that Daken was a mess. He wasn’t attacking her. He was asking for help.

Donna asks, “what?” Pointing her finger at Moon Knight, she informs him that Daken Akihiro is a monster. He’s the Claws Killer and the twisted bastard’s been stalking her and frightening the #@$% out of her for the last ten minutes. She was defending herself. Moon Knight asks her yeah? Pointing at the claw marks on his costume, he tells her that, if that’s true, then who’s been slicing him up like kebab meat for the last ten minutes? As he runs into the alley, he tells her that he thinks she’s wrong. He doesn’t think he’s the Claws Killer. She can follow him if she’s interested in the truth.

Just as the paramedics arrive on the scene, Donna follows Moon Knight into the alley. Once they get far enough away from the paramedics and police, Donna asks Moon Knight where he’s been fighting Akihiro. Pointing to a broken window many stories up in a building, Moon Knight tells her that he was tracking him. Followed him to a penthouse party, then they tangled on a lower floor when he saw him stalking a woman. Her, he guesses. He decided to take him on the express route to the street via that smashed window.

Donna states that Daken was in the stairwell with her. She chased him down to the street. Moon Knight says he begs to differ. The fact that he may collapse any second from blood loss begs to differ. Donna mentions his face. The Daken she saw in the stairwell was… perfect. But the Daken she was with at the party was beaten up all to hell. Moon Knight says that, if the Daken she shot isn’t the killer, that means the real killer’s still out there.

As Daken lies on the ground, being tended to by the paramedics, Donna and Moon Knight make their way into the building’s security room. Donna thinks to herself that she doesn’t know what’s more disturbing: the thought that the Claws Killer might still be on the loose or how badly she wants that to be true.

Looking at the monitors, Moon Knight tells Donna that she was right. There’s Daken and her fighting. Donna replies that she figured any building with a millionaire’s penthouse would have security cameras. Looking at the footage of Daken and Moon Knight falling out of the window, Moon Knight remarks that his ass still has some of that glass sticking out of it. Donna tells him okay. Now go to the stairwell with Daken and her – exact same time. The duo sees Daken but the image is blurred. Donna states that it was definitely Daken. She saw him; he spoke to her. Moon Knight says someone’s there, but it’s almost like they’ve got some kind of personal cloaking device. Hey, look on the bright side… at least she knows she’s not totally crazy. Donna then thinks to herself how could he know all the things he said to her – personal things?

In limbo, Johnny Storm tells Daken that he’s gotta say, he was delighted when he heard he was going to join them there. Daken asks really? Storm says sure. This job? There’s an awful lot of work involved. It’s very time consuming. And he knows they’re going to get along great. As they continue down the street, Daken asks Storm if he’s been there long. Storm answers not really. He was with a longstanding family business before this. Times got tough, though. Sacrifices had to be made.

Entering a building, Storm tells Daken that this is him. His new workplace. Hope he’ll be happy there. He should apologize now. It’s very straightforward work. He’ll be taking all these books and inputting their contents into the computer. If he needs anything, they’re upstairs. There’s the manager’s office. He… uh… doesn’t like to be bothered though, he’ll warn him. She shares the other office with his assistant. Feel free to knock if he needs anything.

When Storm asks him if he’s good to go, Daken says that fireplace… the heat. Ascending the stairs, Storm remarks that he likes a good fire himself. He’ll get used to it. It’s really good to have him there. Once Storm leaves Daken to his own devices, Daken picks up one of the books and opens it up. He proceeds to notice that it’s in Japanese, all in Japanese. Why can’t he speak Japanese?

At the hospital, members of the police line the halls as the doctor informs Donna that there’s very minor brain activity. Daken suffered a major cardiac arrest and was shot through the brain but he’s alive somehow. Donna says he has a healing factor but it’s not working properly at the moment. The doctor tells her that she doesn’t claim to be an expert on mutants but a healing factor would explain why he’s still alive. He really shouldn’t be. It may not be working properly but it must be fighting for him. He’s not improving. He should be dead. He could go any second but it’s like he’s hanging on the edge. The bullet hole in his brain isn’t regrowing, certainly. The man’s dead in all but name. She then adds that there’s a highly unusual drug in his system too. One she’s never seen before. Large quantities of it. She’d say his body shows signs of addiction. Donna asks a drug? Tell her everything she knows about this drug.

Later, on the roof, Donna tells Moon Knight that it’s a drug that’s totally new to the L.A.P.D. and the F.B.I. She’s just been through the records. Scarily strong. Moon Knight says the man’s got a healing factor. He could freebase Gram Parsons’ ashes and still be standing. How’s this connected to their Claws Killer? Donna answers that she went back and checked. Every victim of the Claws Killer had these exact compounds in their system. A drug without precedence anywhere else on the planet. Overworked coroner missed it because he didn’t even know what he was looking at. A drug that only seems to exist in Hollywood A-list party circles. And since he was plainly at the same party Daken and she were at, she’s guessing he mixes in those circles.

Moon Knight says clever. He hates clever. He then tells F.B.I. that he’ll look into who’s dealing this. Donna adds that maybe she’s crazy and she was talking to herself in that stairwell. But something was on that security tape. They need to find out who gave Daken the drug, because it must be the same person who gave it to the victims. They find the dealer, and they find their killer.

In limbo, Daken climbs the stairs and knocks on Johnny Storm’s office door. Opening up the door, Daken sees Johnny and a young woman in a tender embrace. As he backs out of the door, the head boss asks if there’s a problem. Moving over to his door, Daken tells him that he’s… uh… sorry to trouble him but… there’s been some kind of mistake. He’s new there and… well, all the books are in Japanese and he doesn’t speak…

The boss tells him that he speaks Japanese fine and that he can read it, too. Take a breath and look at it again. Daken replies that he really doesn’t… oh. They’re names. People’s names. Filling the books. All the books. Who are these people? The boss informs him that they’re the names of all the people he, Daken, has murdered. Just then, there is a large fiery explosion and Daken sees the form of Wolverine before him. Daken says he’s sorry but he’s told that it’s a little late for that. As he falls through the fiery floorboards, Daken comes face to face with a number of the people he has killed in his lifetime. Upon facing them, he continues to say he’s sorry…

In the hospital, a team of nurses rushes to the side of the ailing Daken. One of the nurses exclaims that he’s crashing and that he’s beginning to charge the defibrillator. The doctor tells him not to bother. This man’s brain is destroyed. He’s already suffered multiple cardiac arrests and his condition isn’t improving. Plus he’s a mass murderer and a cop killer. If he does have a “healing factor” she’d say it’s losing this battle. Sometimes people get what they deserve in this world. She can’t say she’s sorry about that.

In limbo, Daken continues to repeat over and over that he’s sorry. Just then, he sees Donna’s face in the crowd. Donna tells him that he’s making him look like a fool. He’s laughing at him as he dies in a hospital bed like an ordinary person. He thinks he’s smarter than him. He thinks he’s weak. The orphaned baby in his mom’s belly. And he’s proving him right. So, she has one final question for him… Is he sorry? Really? With that, Daken is able to free himself from his demons and changes from his business suit into his normal costume. He then proceeds to exclaim NO!

In the hospital, Daken sits up from his hospital bed and kills the police stationed in the hospital. As he does, he says now isn’t that interesting. He does believe his healing factor has healed him and purged the Heat from his system. As if he’d be the “Claws Killer.” Such a gauche sobriquet. Someone’s been playing him for a fool and he thinks he may know who it is.

Standing outside Marcus Roston’s estate, Donna recalls that this is the place she first met Daken. What was it he said at the time about Marcus Roston? “They’re lovers and he is my drug dealer.” Less shocking and more informative than he may have liked. Looking down at her ringing phone, Donna ignores the incoming call from Moon Knight. She says thanks, but she thinks she can deal with one vacuous little Hollywood playboy.

On the other end of the line, Moon Knight has hung a man upside down outside a window to get the information he needed. He yells into the phone for her to pick up. He’s got her a name and it’s a big one. Looks like their killer is the Marcus Roston.

Inside his estate, Roston sits shirtless on his coach with Donna sitting next to her. On her lap is a large plate of Heat pills. Marcus proceeds to tell her that she is an intriguing one to play with and offers another handful of Heat pills.

Characters Involved: 


Moon Knight

FBI agent Donna Kiel

Marcus Roston – the Claws Killer

Various unnamed police and paramedics in Los Angeles

In Limbo:


Johnny Storm

Various unnamed individuals who Daken has killed over time

Various unnamed individuals

Story Notes: 

Donna Kiel first met Daken in person outside Marcus Roston’s estate back in Daken: Dark Wolverine #11.

Daken first met Marcus Roston back in Daken: Dark Wolverine #10.

Daken and Johnny Storm became friends during the time that Daken worked with the Fantastic Four. [Dark Wolverine #76-77, Daken: Dark Wolverine #3-4]

Johnny Storm, the “Human Torch,” seemingly perished in Fantastic Four (1st series) #587. He would subsequently return, however, in Fantastic Four (1st series) #600.

“Keanu Reeves couldn’t dodge one any more than the Wachowskis could deliver a coherent Matrix sequel” is an obvious reference to the Matrix film series. In it, Keanu Reeves played the main protagonist by the name of Neo.

Gram Parson’s was a famous American singer who lived from 1946-1973. He died at the age of 26 from an overdose of morphine and alcohol.

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