Dark X-Men: the Beginning #2

Issue Date: 
September 2009
Story Title: 
<BR>The Temptation of Cloak and Dagger (1st story)<BR> Weapon Omega (2nd story)<BR> I Am Daken (3rd story)

1st story: Paul Cornell (writer), Leonard Kirk (penciler), Brian Reber (colorist)

2nd story: Marc Bernadin & Adam Freeman (writers), Michel Lacombe (penciler), John Rauch (colorist)

3rd story: Rob Williams (writer), Paco Diaz (Penciler), Guillermo Ortega (inker), Edgar Delgado (colorist)

Rob Steen (letterer), Jae Lee & June Chung (cover), Anthony Dial (production), Daniel Ketchum (assistant editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (Exec. Publisher)

Brief Description: 

1st story.

Norman Osborn is hired by a South American druglord to take care of the problem of Cloak and Dagger who are destroying his poppy fields. Instead of killing them, Norman offers them a job on his X-Men team, partially via persuasion, partially via threats. Reluctantly, the two young heroes agree and Osborn destroys the poppy field himself.

2nd story.

Michael Pointer is doing construction work when Norman Osborn comes to offer him a job. Pointer isn’t interested till Osborn reveals that Mutant Growth Hormone has accidentally been released nearby, making Pointer a danger to everyone close by. Once Pointer sees that he speaks the truth, because his coworkers are already falling sick, he asks Osborn for help. He is unaware, however, that Osborn and the evil McCoy actually released the MGH themselves, planning to make Pointer their warden.

3rd story:

Osborn takes Daken to the opera and condescendingly orders him to join his X-Men.
Daken, in essence, proves to Osborn that he may be saner than the other man, but nevertheless accepts.

Full Summary: 

1st story:


Aboard a helicopter are Norman Osborn, clad in his Iron Patriot armor, and his Colombian host, who tells him to remember he was invited here. He feels it’s important to stress that. Two US citizens are destroying property and threatening lives. But rather than summon his own super-powered options, he called him. Not something he could have done via the State department. But with HAMMER in play, those of hem who value orders have more options. Osborn is in this to get paid.

Osborn silently smirks at him, then looks down. There they are. He’ll take it from here.

They are Cloak and Dagger (with a flamethrower), trying to make short works of a poppy field (and being fired at by the guards). One minute, Dagger warns Cloak. One minute to extraction, he replies. Ready…

Suddenly, someone walks towards them through the flames. It is the Iron Patroit. He addresses them by their given names: Tyrone Johnson and Tandy Bowen? He’s such a fan, he assures the young heroes as he stops in front of them.

The head of the armed guards waves the others back.

Does he think he can take them? Cloak asks. Well, Osborn replies, taking off his facemask, actually he thinks that would be really hard. First, he has no leverage. There’s nobody he could threaten. Second, if they don’t like the game, they just take their ball home. Third, why would he want to (he takes away Dagger’s flamethrower)?. They are the good guys. And he’d like to give them an opportunity to go beyond that… to be role models, too. They know, with great power there must also come great responsibility…

Weasel words! Cloak shouts at him. They are he good guys. Osborn is not! He engulfs him. Would he enjoy some time in the dark dimension? Alone with his thought? Just him and Cloak?

Well, that’s just it, Osborn replies, he wouldn’t be alone. He grabs a device from out of the cloak. He has people everywhere. Including the Dark Dimension. He said it would be really hard to take them. Not impossible. Now please listen to his offer. They don’t want to be turned inside out.

Cloak and Dagger share a look. Tell them, Dagger announces. Putting aside the device, Osborn explains he is putting together a team of X-Men. To represent the mutant community in the new order. He’d like them to…

Tandy interrupts, pointing out they are not mutants. Oh, he knows that, he replies. But to the public? They are principled, put upon, and a bit scary. So, of course, they are mutants! They may ask why he wants them. He really likes their war.

Narration accompanied with pictures, showing Osborn meeting with the president.

He’d like to be able to say to the daylight side of the US government that his people are making major advances in the “war on drugs.” He’d like to show them that when one sets aside law and gives order its due, then “wars” which were previously hypocritical gestures can be fought for real. And won.


Again Cloak and Dagger share a look. “Ty,” Dagger begins, her eyes downcast. No, he refuses. They have no choice, she insists. She takes Osborn’s hand. Call them hypocrites if he wants to, but for all the benefits he offers that’s how they’d like to enter into this arrangement: having no choice.

Osborn assures her he doesn’t call them anything at all. They all do what they have to. Or what they’d like. And speaking of which, let him show them what this is really for. He takes the device he threatened them with and presses the button. Around them the poppy field blows up. As he walked over it he sowed the field with bomblets, Osborn explains. That’s what one gets for taking him granted. He could turn them inside out any time. He just doesn’t need a device to do it. So if they are finished here, any chance of a lift back to Alcatraz?

The mercs attack again. He knows he can trust them to get him there. And he can’t wait to show them their new base. Their new community. Their first real home. And Cloak teleports them away from the battlefield.

2nd story:

An office building is being constructed. One of the construction workers muses that a building this size will have around two million bolts, give or take. Before they are done here, he will personally have set and tightened bout 2,200 or approximately one bolt for every person he killed.

Pointer! somebody calls him. The worker, standing on an upper level of the construction of the Northpole Children’s Hospital looks up.

It took him a year to learn the exact body count. Of the people who died because some extraterrestrial bastard used him to cut a bloody swath across Alaska, Northern Canada ad Cleveland. Two thousand, two hundred and nine.

The foreman who called him coughs and apologizes. A sudden wave of crappy just came over him. There is a guy downstairs who wants to talk to Michael. He’s wearing a suit. Watch your wallet, he suggests jokingly. Michael Pointer thanks Chris and hopes he’ll be better soon. He walks down and off the site, taking off his hard hat.

And so he builds, he muses. Creation from Destruction. Something from nothing. Alpha from Omega.

Michael Pointer? The man waiting for him asks. It’s Norman Osborn. Osborn continues that he assumes Pointer’s self-imposed handyman exile hasn’t precluded him from paying attention to the world.

He knows who Osborn is, comes the curt reply. Used to be crazy. And he knows who Michael is, Osborn shoots back. He knows what he did. He knows who he killed.

Michael’s fist begins to glow. He informs Osborn they are done and warns him to walk away while he can. He wants him to play this Imax size for his workerbee buddies? Osborn asks. The glow fades. What does he wants from him? Michael asks. His help, Osborn replies. He’s forming a new team. He’s secured his Avengers. Now he’s building his X-Men and he wants Michael on the team.

He doesn’t want him near other mutants, Michael points out. They die if he stays too close for too long. In his current state, yes, Osborn admits, but that’s where he’ll help Michael. Help so he doesn’t inadvertently kill any more innocents. Speaking of which, that is why he is here now. Michael is going to kill everyone on this site.

Osborn’s story:

A HAMMER strike team attacked an illegal shipment of Mutant Growth Hormone heading to Vancouver. They didn’t go peacefully and were shot. In the firefight there was a breach… and the MGH went airborne. The construction site is downwind. That makes everyone here for the next twenty minutes a mutant. And he knows what that means….

They need to… they need to evacuate the site, Michael replies panicked. They don’t need to evacuate the site, Osborn corrects him, they need to evacuate him. This is where Osborn comes in. He asks Michael to let him help him.

Help him? God help him…he’s been offered help like this before. From men with money and resources, who wanted him to join their personal cause under the guise of atoning for his sins. He steps close to Osborn. It never comes without a price. He turns away. The blood on his ands is his to clean. Osborn would just replace it with the blood of his enemies.

Let them be clear about something, Osborn clarifies: there will always be blood. This is the world they live in. The question is whose blood will it be.

Michael runs back to the site and shouts up to the foreman, Chris. He’s calling it a day, Michael informs him. He’s nor feeling well!

However, Chris falls down, sick himself. He’s gotta get out of here! Michael mutters in panic while a colleague shouts for someone to call 911. Yet another colleague begins to cough. As he falls down unconscious, he hits the lever of the crane which whirls around, almost hitting two more men. Michael shoves them to the ground.

He runs away to get some distance between him and his colleagues. On the road before him stands Osborn, backed by a helicopter. There is a school two blocks away filled with temporary young mutants, Norman informs him.

They each know something about demons. They each know what it is like not to be in control. Let Norman help him gain control of his destiny. If he will join him, they will solve this problem together. Hank McCoy himself will devote every waking hour to ensuring that Michael will never unwittingly harm anyone ever again. Welcome to the X-Men. They shake hands.

A little later they sit in the helicopter. In the back, Michael mutters despondently he just wants… he just wants to… He knows, Norman assures him. They’ll fix it. They’ll fix him.

He enters the front where the evil Hank McCoy from the AoA is piloting. How much MGH did they use? McCoy asks. Does it matter? Osborn retorts. They can always make more. If Pointer works out, it was worth it. That man’s no hero, but he’ll make a hell of a warden.

3rd story:

Wearing only in a towel around his hips, Daken looks at himself in the mirror before dressing in a tux. He is Wolverine. And he is not his father.


He recalls a training session, fighting alongside Norman Osborn’s team of Avengers. Deftly he kept off the robot foe’s attacks with his claws ducking, evading and blocking.

Impatiently, his teammate Bullseye (dressed as Hawkeye) tells him his foe ain’t going to beg Daken to cop a feel. He gotta get in there like his daddy would. What is he waiting for?

Riposte. That, Daken replies as he elegantly cuts off his foe’s head.


Daken meets Osborn outside who praises him for being punctual. He should always be punctual for a job interview. Joining Osborn in the limousine, Daken reminds him sourly that he already has a job. He’s the sane one on his One flew over the Cuckoo’s nest version of the Avengers, remember? That’s why he values Daken, Osborn replies smoothly. He knows he can always count on him.

He offers Daken a drink, which the younger man ignores. And that’s why he wants to invite him to… He has no interest in joining Osborn in any of his power-hungry machinations, Daken announces. So whatever he has planned for tonight, he’s wasting his time.

Oh, Osborn smirks, so he won’t be interested in joining the X-Men then? Daken looks at him surprised. That’s the first time he has ever seen him at a loss for words, Norman observes. They drive on in silence. Osborn smirks and sips at his drink. Daken glares at him.

So he thinks that’s it, he muses. Osborn believes that Daken thinks this will kill his father. So he crawls, says Thank you, sir. And suddenly he’s Osborn’s clawed little lap dog? Osborn thinks he can count on him? Translation: Osborn wants him in his X-Men because he thinks he can control Daken. He thinks that his… relationship with his father is all that he is. Does he think Daken is so easily defined? Does he think that his hatred – his wish to see Wolverine dead – overrides his reason?

They arrive at the Metropolitan Opera. What are they doing here? Daken asks. Enjoying a little culture, comes the reply. It’s what distances them from the savages. They are welcomed personally and led past the. Osborn explains he thought he’d remind Daken of the perks of working for him. Does he know how much exactly a ticket for tonight’s performance costs?

Does he think he cares about – Daken begins to snarl. Of course not, but look around at the crowds. These people are New York’s elite. Yet they wait patiently in line. They do not. Daken scoffs. There is not a building on this planet he couldn’t get into if he wanted.

He is missing the very obvious point, Osborn chides him. Which is? Daken asks. They arrive in a private box. Chilled champagne is already waiting. This is all about power, Osborn informs him smiling. Daken scowsl at him.

As they sit down, Daken takes up a program. It’s Stravinsky. Oedipus Rex, Osborn informs him. He thought it would appeal to Daken. He doesn’t know if he is aware of the story it is based on. It’s about a man who kills his own father and becomes king. He then goes on to marry his own mother, however, which… heh… of course Daken won’t be doing. Welcome to his X-Men.

Daken crumbles the program and unsheathes his claws. Why does Norman want him on the X-Men? The mutants need a Wolverine as one of their trust figures, comes the reply. And every X-team needs their troubled, edgy, dumb berserker. Well, every super team period, it seems. Berserker? Daken asks. Does he think he’s like Venom and Bullseye? Does he think he’s insane?

Osborn laughs out loud. Daken abhors his father, yet seems blissfully unaware of the irony of his becoming Wolverine. He dresses up like his father just so he can twist a knife in his guts. He’s a killer who is entirely driven by hatred, revenge and a brutal need for validation. Of course he’s insane! Now put on the silly mask and stab a few people for Norman Osborn like a good boy!

Claws still unsheathed Daken rises, no standing over Osborn. Sophocles, he states. What? Norman asks. Daken retracts his claws. Oedipus the King was written by Sophocles. An Athenian playwright who lived between 500 and 400 B.C. Stravinsky’s oratorio was first performed 1927, he thinks. Jean Cocteau, the French surrealist filmmaker and poet wrote the libretto, before it was translated into Latin. At the story’s close, Oedipus realizes that he has killed his father and married his mother and goes insane, stabbing out his own eyes.

He’ll join Norman’s X-Men, but he is not his father. Osborn does not know him and he is not insane.

As Daken walks away, he proclaims that insanity is putting on a goblin outfit and laughing like a lunatic when throwing exploding pumpkins at strangers, wouldn’t he say? Enjoy the culture. He hears it’s what separates them from the savages. Left behind, Osborn seethes.

Characters Involved: 

1st story:

Cloak & Dagger

Norman Osborn / Iron Patriot

Drug baron

His guards

2nd story:

Michael pointer / Weapon Omega

Norman Osborn

Dark Beast

Pointer’s coworkers


Corpses of Guardian, Sasquatch, Puck, Shaman and other Alpha Flight members

3rd story:

Daken / Wolverine II

Norman Osborn

in flashback:

Daken, Bullseye/Hawkeye

Story Notes: 

1st story:

Cloak and Dagger, from their very beginning, have focused on the war on drugs, as they themselves are victims of drug dealers.

Are they or aren’t they mutants? Cloak and Dagger were considered both latent mutants whose powers were activated when they were injected with an experimental illegal drug in earlier appearances. In fact, at one time their series was even called “The Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger.” Later on, they were considered mutates, but on the other hand there are several recognized mutants who needed external stimuli to awaken their powers (e.g. Polaris, Sunfire). At the moment, they are apparently not considered mutants.

2nd story:

Possessed by Xorn's consciousness, Pointer (as the Collective) went on a rampage across North America, killing over 2000 people and most of the original members of Alpha Flight.

3rd story:

One flew over the Cuckoo’s nest is a famous novel by Ken Kasey about a mental institution. The novel was also made into a movie starring Jack Nicholson.

Sophokles is one of the greatest ancient Greek playwrights, next to Aeschylos and Euripides. Oedipus Rex, « King Oedipus », is one of his most famous tragedies.

Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky was a Russian composer, pianist, and conductor, widely acknowledged as one of the most important and influential composers of 20th century music.
Jean Cocteau was a French poet, novelist, dramatist, designer, boxing manager, playwright, artist and filmmaker. His work was played out in the theatrical world of the Grands Theatres, the Boulevards and beyond during the Parisian époque he both lived through and helped define and create. His versatile, unconventional approach and enormous output brought him international acclaim.

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