Wolves in street clothing, part 2 . . . . .

Before I comment on these latest books, I want to make a correction to my last posting 0f September 4th (DARK WOLVERINE: AN APPRECIATION). I referred to several events as happening in DARK WOLVERINE #77, when they actually took place in #76. I didn’t have my chronology in order. I even referred to some Issue #75 events as taking place in #76. I’m sorry if it created any confusion, especially if you’re seeking out these books. In the comments section I jokingly referred to this as being a purposeful error, but that’s untrue. I just screwed up.

DARK WOLVERINE #77:

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The unanswered question from issue #75 gets clarified here, right in the summary on the opening credits page : “Daken proves to be just as devious as Osborn and has carefully orchestrated a conflict between the Fantastic Four and Osborn by shooting the Human Torch in the leg with one of Bullseye’s arrows. Daken, feigning innocence, visits the FF at the Baxter Building and creates a shaky alliance with a skeptical Reed Richards, but all Daken needs is an inch to dig his claws in.” Many of us were suspecting he did it, and now we know. Now, if we can only get the other question answered: “How did Daken get past Baxter Building security?”

So, who gets “PLAYED” by the master manipulator this issue? It starts right off with Ares, as Daken shares with him what he doesn’t like: “I don’t like how you’ve subjugated yourself. . . . . . . Enslaved. To a lesser man”, and then goads him into assaulting the FF, in the building for a meeting to hear Osborn’s ultimatum (blackmail). He pulls a similar stunt (off stage, off camera to us) with Venom. Daken’s not the only manipulator in this book, and it’s fun to watch both Osborn and the FF work their games on each other, only to end in a stand-off thanks to the untimely interference of the baited Ares and Venom (as engineered by our innocent bystander Daken). And can you actually believe how much concern Reed shows for the brutalized Daken in the closing scenes, and the personal text message he sends to his hospital bed? The hooks are in very deep.

We also are treated to a little bit of the two opponents’ (Osborn and Daken) philosophy on winning and conquest. Norm Osborn: “Expect the best. Plan for the worst . . . prepare to be surprised.” Daken: “Here’s the thing that Osborn doesn’t understand. You can reach the top in an instant. You can burn and kill and lie your way there overnight. But to stay . . . to become something more than a puppet king . . . you have to build a foundation. Deep roots. Allies. Promises. Debts. Not every revolution begins with a bang. Sometimes just a whisper. The first thread of a well-laid plan. Blood doesn’t make you a prince. And it won’t build you an empire. But knowing the right people sure as hell will.” My money is on Daken. It’s hard not to like such a street-smart guy, despite his schemes to use everybody in sight. The only thing that could make me not like him is to see him attain 100% success. That would be wrong.

Of course I expect DARK REIGN and DARK WOLVERINE to play themselves out sometime. I don’t believe either of these is an infinite series. Norm Osborn should get exposed, discredited and imprisoned (surely not dead, since his character has so much story potential). Then everybody he burns gets re-instated or at least vindicated. Nick Fury won’t continue to be a fugitive working for the law but outside of the law. Tony Stark gets his status restored, and probably his position as director of S.H.I.E.L.D. And DARK WOLVERINE is a finite series, as Daken’s dark plan fails to come to fruition in the final moments of execution. DARK WOLVERINE the book gives way to just plain WOLVERINE and the return of daddy Logan. In the meantime, I’m having fun watching this.

I’m also becoming a fan of the rugged style of artist Giuseppe Camuncoli. He has a way of drawing characters, especially their faces, that almost reduces everyone to a brutal Neanderthal level. Just look at all the heavy eyebrow ridges and prominent jaw lines, toothy grimaces, and darkly lined features. It’s a different way of looking at some familiar characters and perfectly suits the devious nature of this book.

WOLVERINE: WEAPON X #4: “The Adamantium Men, Part 4 of 5”

This book doesn’t cause one to wonder quite as much as DARK WOLVERINE does. The storyline is pretty straight forward and we expect Logan and Maverick to foil the plans of the Blackguard organization. 27224new_storyimage0274907_thumbBut when the story is well-told you never mind that the outcome might be anticipated. Just enjoy it. Jason Aaron continues to deliver a gutsy, adrenaline-fueled narrative with plenty of action. Ron Garvey does a fine job of depicting all the events. His fight scene between Logan and one of the better-trained and surviving Adamantium men is not to be missed. Everything here leads to a final showdown next issue.

There are neat little touches throughout to admire and appreciate and to remind us how Aaron and Garvey make the most of these moments: the Blackguard “severance package” for employees; the phone banter between Maverick and Agent Jacks; Logan on champagne versus beer; the mercenary reading Faulkner; and the battle between Wolverine and the literate hired goon ending in a book discussion. The only thing missing this issue was an update on the paper investigation of Blackguard by reporter Alita Gardner, a new ally of Logan and Maverick.

I’m also enjoying this book - - and for my money WEAPON X and DARK are the two WOLVERINE titles that matter and the ones to read. It will be interesting to see where Aaron goes with the second story arc after this ends.

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