Daken: Dark Wolverine #19

Issue Date: 
March 2012
Story Title: 
Pride Comes… conclusion

Rob Williams (writer), Matteo Buffagni with Michele Bertilorenzi and Andrea Mutti (pencils), Craig Yeung with Michele Bertilorenzi and Andrea Mutti (inks), Cris Peter and Rachelle Rosenberg (colors), VCs Cory Petit (letterer), Giuseppe Camuncoli with Marte Gracia (cover art), Jared K. Fletcher (designer), Jody Leheup and Sebastian Girner (assistant editors), Jeanine Schaefer (editor), Nick Lowe (group editor), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Daken has coerced the Runaways into acting as his army in his war against his nemesis Marcus Roston, who is also Chase Stein’s Uncle Eli. Spotting the Runaways, Roston downs their flying craft, the Leapfrog, but Daken leaps on him and plunges his claws into Roston’s chest. It doesn’t weaken him much and he throws Daken to the ground. The Runaways then go on the offensive. Nico creates some uranium boot to slow Roston down and then both Karolina and Victor blast him. Molly then punches him before Chase fires two rockets at Roston calls for them to stop. He recognizes them as being the Pride’s children and responds by taking each one out in turn. Acting against his instincts, Daken charges him and stabs him in the stomach. Even this doesn’t slow Roston down. It’s only when Donna Kiel lands a helicopter on him that his resistance ends. Daken leans over him and leaves him with one last kiss, along with the knowledge that he was beaten by a drug addict and a bunch of children.

Full Summary: 

(Los Angeles)

Ordinary people go about their business every day. They immerse themselves in repetition and tedious minutia. They do their best to ignore the remarkable, the infinite and the cosmic. They do this for one reason - to protect themselves, because if they opened their minds to the endless possibilities this strange and deadly world offers, they would be brutally faced with their own limitations. And that, would drive them to madness.

Marcus Roston is on the rampage. People in the streets look up in horror as the man they know as a famous actor causes mayhem. A S.W.A.T. team arrives as they run in fear, while Marcus grabs the Leapfrog and throws it into the street amidst a plume of smoke. Marcus finds the idea of a giant flying frog insane. As he is distracted, Daken leaps from the rooftop with his claws out and plunges them into his chest whilst in mid-air.

Meanwhile, the Runaways recover. Chase gasps at the sight of the burning Leapfrog. “I just rebuilt that, he sighs. Victor wonders what’s happening up there. Nico reckons it looks like Daken’s killing him. Up above, Daken is giving it his best shot, but Marcus is simply too powerful. He smiles as he tells Daken that he’s quite an angry person. He wonders aloud why that is. He imagines it’s inherited from his oh-so-sadly absent killer daddy, just like his mental illness and healing factor… which he no longer has. He lifts Daken up and slides the claws out of his body before throwing him to the ground.

Nico reacts quickly by using her Staff of One to create a spell. “Princess and the Pea,” she shouts and a pile of mattresses appears beneath Daken, breaking his fall. Daken looks up and thinks for a moment. This isn’t his world, he ponders. The rules, paradigms of normality and mental stability are shattering and straining, carcinogenic, surreal and spreading out. He looks up and sees the sheer panic-inducing nonsense of a giant… beanstalk? He looks up and sees Donna Kiel hanging off Klara Prast’s beanstalk by the tips of her fingers. Luckily, Karolina Dean sweeps by and collects her before she falls, depositing her on the sidewalk next to Daken.

Daken asks if she’s okay. Donna sees Marcus who asks, “Donna. Who is your master?” His control of her takes hold and she screams at Daken and slashes with her nails. “He will eat your eyes and bathe in your blood!” She then drops to her knees and cries. She looks at Daken with fear in her eyes, telling him that Roston’s inside her. She can’t exist like this. She begs him to kill Marcus before this spreads.

The S.W.A.T. team fires on Roston but bullets slide off him. Marcus watches their efforts with amusement. He notes the fickle nature of a celebrity’s relationship with his public. “Does this suggest my star may be waning?” he wonders. A police helicopter swings around behind him and a marksman shoots. As he leaps to grab it, he says that one minute you’re on Letterman, Kimmel, Leno and invited into every A-List Hollywood party and bedroom. The next moment the potential audience for your upcoming family-friendly sword and sorcery epic are shooting at you with automatic weapons. He imagines his agents at C.A.A. are probably going to be slightly angry with him about this tiny career faux pas.

He swings the helicopter around and hurls it away. It explodes before it hits the ground. Down below, Nico saysta Roston’s just hovering there making himself a target. What does he want? Daken replies that he wants nothing. He’s insane! Chase says he must be insane to chase the Chaseter. No one chases the Chaseter! Molly asks what that even means, but he asks her to shut up. Nico reckons no wonder their parents threw him out of the Pride. There’s no order to this. You can’t allow random inorganized crime.

Daken tells her that they are children of the Pride. “Only you have the power levels to…” Nico tells him to shut up. Did he not think that they would research him? He is a killer and every bit as bad as Roston. She turns away and says they will remind everyone what the Runaways can do. She holds her Staff of One aloft and says, “Uranium kicks!” Chase thinks they need a better battle cry. Daken almost smiles as the children rush into battle with a monstrous deity. It’s quite the ego boost for him.

Nico’s spell works by creating large cumbersome boots made from uranium that bind themselves to Roston’s feet. He tumbles as Victor Mancha zaps him with powerful jolts of electricity, to which Karolina quickly follows up by blasting him with her alien energies, sending him flying into a van which explodes. As he climbs from the wreckage, Molly approaches and calls him a bad man. She smashes him in the jaw but he still stands. Chase, meanwhile, has climbed back into the Leapfrog and he fires a couple of rockets at Roston. “That’s right ya murdering doof!!!” he cries. “These’re jerk-seeking missiles!!!” Marcus Roston is lost in the explosion but manages to call on them to stop.

Daken can’t deny that it’s thoroughly entertaining to watch Roston experience pain in this way, but, like the majority of his utterly vacuous and facile movies, all these pyrotechnics lack substance. Marcus remains standing. He uses his mental skills to delve into their minds and says he can see and feel it in their power set. They are Minoru’s, Stein’s, Hayes’ and Dean’s. He calls the Deans terrible actors. He never rated their work. He says they are the children of the Pride, the idiots who banished him from Los Angeles just because he liked to have a little fun. He grabs Nico by the neck and asks what’s so wrong with a little fun. At her age he’d be out hitting the Viper Club. They look like they’ve been playing Dungeons and Dragons. “Really,” he adds, “Youth is wasted on the young.”

Marcus blasts Victor, giving him a taste of his own medicine. Daken looks on, biding his time until he sees a proper opening. He tries to lock away his rage and use his intellect instead. He waits for the children to weaken Roston as he rips them to shreds. He is cerebral, a strategist, descended from nothing and no one. So, he will let his sickly ‘my little pony’ alien dilute him a best she can.

Karolina’s blasts bounce off Roston and he hits Nico across the face and then Molly, too. Daken thinks that rage is letting go. It is weakness. Rage is madness. It is… is… He decides to *%&$ it and charges towards Roston, thrusting his claws into Roston’s stomach

His claws draw blood but Roston laughs. He asks if all Daken’s anger comes from them having slept together. He’s sensing some minor passive-aggressive tension. He throws Daken away with ease, calling him weak. It was his animalistic sheen that attracted him in the first place, but then he discovered his… nuanced contradictory mind. He explains that he honestly felt they had a connection. When you’re as extraordinary as he is, he adds, not many people interest you. But, Daken was actually worth playing with. He reckons Daken is mad, like him. “Insanity. The triumph over society’s meek subservience.”

Roston smashes Daken in the face and tells him that infatuation only lasts while the challenge is there. So, he asks Daken to prove his worth and stop him. Stop him if he can. He continues punching him until he becomes bored. He tells Daken the fling was fun while it lasted but now there’s no drama, no challenge. It’s so dull. He thinks they should see other people. “It’s not you darling,” he adds, “It’s… me…” He looks up as a shadow moves quickly across his face. A police officer on board a descending helicopter asks Donna Kiel if she’s crazy, a moment before bailing out. Donna lands the helicopter on top of Roston.

Daken stands up and asks Donna if she’s okay. “Just kill him,” she replies. Marcus laughs and says this is priceless. Daken grabs him by the hair and readies his claws. Marcus asks him to wait. Daken leans towards him and tells him he wants him to remember two things. One, he used children and a drug addict to beat him and leaves him a live to suffer with that knowledge. Two, he isn’t insane. “Only the weak are insane, darling,” he says before kissing Roston one last time.

He stands and turns to the Runaways. He tells them that Roston is theirs to do with as they please. As he helps Donna from the chopper, Molly tells him she doesn’t like him. He’s nothing like Wolverine. “No” grins Daken as he walks away. “I’m not.”

Characters Involved: 


Donna Kiel

Marcus Roston

Karolina Dean, Molly Hayes, Victor Mancha, Nico Minoru, Klara Prast and Chase Stein (all Runaways)

S.W.A.T. team and police officers

Los Angelinos

Story Notes: 

This Leapfrog isn’t the same one as they took from a lockup in Runaways (3rd series) #13 after damaging the original. This looks like the actual original Leapfrog. It seems Chase has repaired it and swapped the original ‘heart’ back into it. It could also possibly be a very similar Leapfrog, as there were several to choose from in the lockup.

The Princess and the Pea is a fairytale written by Danish author Hans Christian Anderson. It tells the tale of a princess who endures a sleepless night in the home of a prince because the prince’s mother places a pea under the twenty mattresses on her bed. In the morning, the mother is delighted as only a true princess would be sensitive enough to feel a pea through twenty mattresses. The two marry.

C.A.A. is Creative Artists Agency, a rather well known and prestigious sports & entertainment agency.

David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel and Jay Leno are American talk show hosts.

The Viper Room is a club on Sunset Strip, Los Angeles. It became infamous as the place where the actor River Phoenix died in 1993.

Energy appears to come from Klara Prast’s hands as she grows some plants in the big battle with Marcus, something that hasn’t been seen before.

Youth is wasted on the young is a phrase coined by writer George Bernard Shaw.

Issue Information: 
Written By: