Daken: Dark Wolverine #4

Issue Date: 
February 2011
Story Title: 
Empire: Act 2: Part 1

Daniel Way and Marjorie Liu (writers), Giuseppe Camuncoli (penciler), Onofrio Catacchio (inker), Frank D’Armata (colorist), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Jared K. Fletcher (designer), Jody LeHeup (assistant editor), Jeanine Schaefer (editor), Axel Alonso (group editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer), Giuseppe Camuncoli and Marte Gracia (cover art), Marko Djurdjevic (variant cover art)

Brief Description: 

At Four Freedoms Plaza, Susan Richards expresses concern of Johnny’s psyche to her husband, Reed. The next day, the Fantastic Four is attacked by two assassins. The first one is dealt with quickly by Reed and Susan but the other is discovered in Franklin’s room. Before the assassin can harm Franklin, he is killed from behind by Daken. Because he is in the shadows, Daken is attacked by the Thing and eventually Johnny. After a short while of evasion, Daken reveals himself to the Fantastic Four and proceeds to explain to them that he is trying to change his life for the better. So he can defend himself without the use of his claws, Reed provides Daken with a glove that will stun attackers. When Daken leaves, he boards a boat and it is only then that he takes a look at a device he stole from Reed. He then sees a newspaper headline that reveals that Captain America is really James Barnes, the Winter Soldier. Daken decides that he’s next on his list, but first he has a city to steal – Madripoor.

Full Summary: 

At the Baxter Building located in New York City, home of the Fantastic Four, Reed Richards lies in bed with his wife Susan. As he does, he tells her she was right. He does need to get out of the lab more often. After Sue agrees with him, Reed gives her a kiss and tells her he loves her. He knows he doesn’t say it often enough, but he does. Sue replies she knows. She loves him too.

Pulling back a little, Reed remarks that he feels as though there’s a “but” in there. Sue says no buts. She’s just worried about Johnny. Living this life hasn’t always been easy for him. He doesn’t have that many friends. Reed adds that he’s not handling Daken’s death very well. Sue states that it’s worse that the note Daken left them didn’t actually lead to anyone. While Reed tells Sue to give him time, Johnny Storm flies off into the sky. Seeing him streak by their window, Sue says she doesn’t think that will be enough. On the roof, Ben Grimm enjoys a few cold beers while wearing a Hawaiian shirt and flip-flops. When Johnny flies by, Ben tells him to burn it off, kid. It’ll get easier.

The next morning, Reed is working in his lab when he mentions that he smells something good. Entering the lab, Sue tells him that it’s some coffee for her favorite mad scientist. When she comes closer, Reed tells Sue that he was talking about her. As Sue calls him a sweet-talker and they bond over the coffee, a shadowy figure watches them from behind some equipment. Just then, the lights go out, much to the shock of Sue and Reed. Before they can react, their attacker wraps a chain around Sue’s neck and pulls her to the ground. Using her powers, Sue is able to destroy the chain as Reed begins to go after their attacker. Enraged, Sue yells at Reed to get out of her way.

Walking past the laboratory, Ben Grimm carries a flashlight and remarks that this better not be some bad joke. You live with a genius and you can’t even keep the lights on. Just then, a hole is busted in the wall near his shoulder. Looking through the hole, Ben asks Reed and Sue if they’re fighting again. ‘Cause he’s telling her, Suzie, man’s got a right to leave the toilet seat up. Looking on the ground at their defeated foe, Ben asks who it is. At that moment, an alarm goes off. Immediately, Sue, Reed, and Ben recognize that it’s the alarm in Franklin’s room.

In short time, Reed makes his way down to Franklin’s room first. Once he gets there, he sees another assassin holding his son hostage with a gun to his head. When Reed asks the man in the shadows what he’s one to his son, the man replies that he drugged him and that worse will happen if he doesn’t get out of his…

Before the figure can finish his sentence, he is stabbed from behind by Daken. After killing the assassin, Daken catches Franklin before he can fall to the ground. Once Reed realizes who Franklin’s savior is, he is surprised. Daken tells him yes, and goes to hand Franklin over to Reed. Before he can, Ben and Sue arrive on the scene. As Sue encases Franklin in a protective force field, Ben goes after his attacker. He tells him that by the time he’s done, there won’t be enough of him left to flush down a toilet. Dodging Ben’s punch, Daken tells him he’s cute and gives him a kiss on his cheek. Daken then asks Ben if he liked that as much as he did. Wait, why is he asking? Of course he did.

As Reed holds Sue back, she tells him that if he doesn’t let her go right now… Reed tells her no, it’s not what she thinks. Upon hearing the attacker speak, Sue realizes who it is. While Ben continues his assault, but missing with every blow, Daken tells him that he thinks their first date should be in Central Park. They’ll snuggle on a bench. If he doesn’t break it, that is. Just then, Johnny comes flying in and punches Daken across the face. Continuing his attack, Johnny angrily asks him that he thinks he can come into their home and hurt his nephew? As Johnny engulfs the figure in flames, Daken tells him to wait, it’s not what he thinks. Once he pops his claws, Johnny realizes who he is and stops his assault. Looking down at him, he remarks that it can’t be. Removing his burning mask, Daken asks the members of the Fantastic Four if they missed him.

Later, inside the med ward, Daken tells them that they can’t imagine the trouble he went to in order to get his uniform. It’s designer. He looks over at the members of the FF and asks them what. Did they really think he would be that easy to kill? Johnny angrily yells at him and calls him a jerk. He let them think he was dead. Why? Why didn’t he just say something, anything? He thought he trusted them. Daken says he’s there now because they’re the only ones he can trust. Reed asks him about the warning he gave them, the note. Daken tells him poor planning. He didn’t expect to find himself deceased in the manner that he did. And he didn’t intend for people to think he was dead but once it happened, it was the perfect way for him to start over without the Osborn legacy.

When Ben remarks gimme a break, Daken states that he’s made mistakes. He’s not a good person. He wants to change that. It’s hard though, when people look at you and see only one thing. When they judge you, before giving you chance. This is his opportunity to prove that he can be someone different. Eventually, when the time is right, he’ll come out as himself. Then, maybe, people will finally accept him without the past hanging over his head. They’ll see him as he is, instead of what he was. Ben says pretty talk, but what was all that craziness that went down tonight. Seems like trouble is still following him. Daken says he’s dead, remember. Obviously, they all have other problems. Thank goodness he has impeccable timing. Ben replies timing, shiming. He didn’t hafta break in. Daken answers well, no. But he wouldn’t really expect him to knock, would he?

Later, in Johnny’s room, Daken puts on a pair of his jeans and a Fantastic Four t-shirt. He remarks to Johnny that he’s being very quiet. He then tells him that he’s sorry, he really is. Johnny tells him that when he thought he had died he was sorry, more sorry than he knows. He felt terrible that he wasn’t there for him. Daken thanks him and then tells him that he has a confession. He had another reason for coming there. He needs help with something. After Johnny replies that he figured as much, Daken tells him that he didn’t know how to ask. Johnny tells him to ask. It’s not hard. Even for a dead man.

Inside the lab, Ben tells “Stretch” that he’s not happy ‘bout Daken being there. Reed tells him too bad. He thought the two of them looked awfully cute together. Ben laughs and adds that he’s telling him, he’s a real bad apple. And those other guys who ran off before they could I.D. them? Real convenient. He’s got some reason for being there that’s got nuthin’ to do with making nice with them.

At that moment, Daken enters the lab with Johnny and tells Ben he’s right. He needs a weapon. After Ben exclaims he knew it, Reed tells Daken that he’s not in the business of weapons. Daken says he knows but the minute he pops his claws, the game is over. If he wants to hide his identity, he can’t use his claws. Even if people don’t know it’s him, they’ll tie them back to Wolverine. And he needs to defend himself, somehow. Ben tells him his ugly mug’s enough to do that. Daken responds by telling him not to fight his feelings. He knows he’s not.

Digging in his drawers, Reed pulls out a device. Holding it in his hands, Daken says bluntly it’s a glove. Reed apologizes that it’s not designer and tells him to put it on. As he attaches a wire, Johnny says it looks totally useless. Reed states that it was going to be a present for Tigra, but he never finished it. Needs some streamlining, but the basic concept is strong. So, yes it’s a glove, but not just a glove. After Reed pushes the button, the mechanical claw glove lights up. Taking a swipe in the air, Daken asks how much damage he can do with it. Reed tells him that it won’t kill. He won’t give him anything like that. But it will stun anyone he touches. Daken asks anyone, and proceeds to touch Ben in the chest with it. Looking down at Daken, Ben tells him that tickled. Reed remarks that Ben is an exception to a lot of things. He then tells Daken that he’ll make some enhancements and hide all the loose wires. It won’t take him long. Daken thanks Reed and tells him he really appreciates it. When Johnny asks him if he needs anything else, Daken smiles and tells him no, he has everything he needs.

Later, on the roof, Ben enjoys a beer while Johnny looks out over the city. As he does, Ben mentions that was some night. He heard Daken saying good-bye to Reed and Suzie. He guesses that means he’s leaving. Real short visit. Got what he came here for, right? Just then, Daken makes his way to the roof. When he asks Ben and Johnny if they mind if he joins them, Ben says yeah. After asking if he minds if he has some of his beer, the answer is again yeah. Daken then asks Ben if he minds if he snuggles up on the chair with him. Ben responds by asking him if he minds if he throws him off the building. Daken replies only if it doesn’t mess up his shirt.

Standing up, Ben tells Daken that he’s a little nuts. Daken responds that obviously, he needs more hugs. Shaking Daken’s hand, Ben tells him that he guesses he’s not so bad, punk. Daken says that’s a shame. With that, Ben tells Daken to take of himself and leaves the roof. Once they’re alone, Daken asks Johnny if he comes up there often. Johnny answers that it’s peaceful. When Daken asks him if peace is hard for him to come by for him, Johnny tells him sometimes when he thinks too much, how about him. Daken answers that he’s still looking for his version of peace. Looking out over the city, Johnny tells him he’ll find it. It’s a beautiful world. Daken says yes, he supposes it is.

Inside, Ben asks Johnny if he’s gone. When Johnny replies that he is, Franklin asks his mom if they are talking about the man with the funny hair. As Franklin runs over to Johnny and gives him a hug, Susan asks her brother if he’s okay. Johnny tells her not to worry about him. Leaving Franklin with Johnny and Ben, Susan makes her way over to her husband who is staring out the window. She mentions to him that he’s been quiet ever since Daken left. Reed tells her that he’s just thinking. Something doesn’t add up. Last night’s attack was planned by someone very sophisticated. So sophisticated, that he finds it strange the men who attacked them used such rudimentary weapons. A chain? A gun? Susan asks if he thinks they were a distraction. Reed answers that he thinks they had two distractions last night. Daken was right. He does have impeccable timing. But what did he really want?

Sitting on a boat, wearing a disguise, Daken looks into a small box holding an unknown device and tells Reed sorry but he doesn’t have the stomach to put it to good use. Just then, Daken sees someone reading a newspaper and notices that the headline is “Trial of Captain America. Cap revealed as soviet assassin Winter Soldier.” Grabbing the paper, Daken stares at it intently. He wonders if this can be true. Right under his nose the whole time… Captain America. James Barnes. He’s the Winter Soldier – the man who killed his mother. Crumpling up the paper and dropping it into the water below, Daken remarks interesting, very interesting. He’s next. As the boat pulls up to the island of Madripoor, Daken states that right now he’s got a city to steal.

Characters Involved: 


Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, the Thing (all Fantastic Four)

Franklin Richards

Two unnamed assassins

Various unnamed visitors to Madripoor

Story Notes: 

Daken was believed to have been killed by Hellverine last issue at a Miami restaurant.

Daken made contact with the Fantastic Four back in Dark Wolverine #76-77.

Daken was a part of Norman Osborn’s Avengers (Dark Avengers) and also as a member of his team of X-Men (Dark X-Men).

Daken’s mother Itsu was killed by the Winter Soldier. This was revealed in Wolverine (3rd series) #39-40.

At the end of this issue, Daken makes his way to Madripoor. Madripoor is where his father, Wolverine, spent a lot of time. Especially early on in his (2nd series) and in earlier issues of Marvel Comics Presents (1st series).

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