DAKEN: Page 3 of 5

Publication Date: 31st Jan 2022
Written By: Douglas Mangum and Monolith.
Image Work: sixhoursoflucy and Gremlin.


Angry at having lost his ultimate weapon, Daken became desperate to replace what he had lost. If he could not have the Muramasa blade itself, it stood to reason that he might be able to replace the blade with a new sword forged by the same man who had created it in the first place: Muramasa himself. Journeying to Japan, Daken sought out any who might know the location of the fabled swordsmith, but was instead found by a man Daken had killed some months before: Frank Castle, the Punisher. In a twist of fate after their previous fight, the dismembered Frank Castle had been reanimated via the power of the Bloodstone into a Frankenstein’s monster-like creature. Though Daken had won easily in their first encounter, he found the undead “Franken-Castle” literally impossible to kill and was only saved from being killed by the intervention of Wolverine. With his father involved, Daken found an opening and managed to remove the Bloodstone, which kept the former Punisher constantly rejuvenated. Believing at first that he had found something which could supercharge his already prodigious healing factor, Daken soon learned that it did so to his physical detriment. Daken’s wounds healed in the form of monstrous welts to the point where he was incapacitated by them. After Wolverine removed the Bloodstone, however, Daken’s physiology returned to normal and he fled before he could be captured. [Dark Wolverine #88-89, Franken-Castle #19-20]

Shortly thereafter, Daken became aware of the Red Right Hand, an organization of people who blamed Wolverine for the loss of their loved ones (accurately or otherwise). Crashing their meeting, Daken mocked their lack of planning to accomplish their goals against Wolverine. To their surprise, Daken offered to assist in their revenge. [Wolverine (4th series) #11, Dark Wolverine #90]

Identifying Wolverine’s current girlfriend, Melita Garner, Daken arranged for Mystique to disguise herself as Melita. She then lured Wolverine into the site of an arcane ritual in which his soul was cast down into the depths of Hell. Though she had had no ethical conflicts with literally damning Wolverine’s soul, Mystique balked when Daken explained that he had completed another task of the Red Right Hand: locating five known bastard children of Wolverine. Though they had banished him to Hell, Daken and the members of the Red Right Hand had anticipated Wolverine’s escape and intended to put the “Mongrels” between Wolverine and his vengeance, thus tricking him into murdering his own children. Horrified, Mystique moved to warn Wolverine’s allies and thus betraying the Red Right Hand. When asked by the group’s leader as to why he did this, Daken gleefully explained that he wanted it all, which was only possible by making sure that no one else has anything. [Dark Wolverine #90, Daken: Dark Wolverine #1, Wolverine (4th series) #1]

Despite the objections of the leader of the Red Right Hand, Daken refused to eliminate Mystique to ensure their plan’s success. To the contrary, Daken invited her to dinner, which is where he and Mystique were cornered when the demon-possessed body of Wolverine arrived, sent by the Red Right Hand’s leader to kill them both. Though Mystique escaped, Daken was burned beyond recognition by the “Hellverine”… but not killed. Having its own agenda, The Hellverine allowed Daken to live. Though Daken was not present when the plan of the Red Right Hand succeeded and the restored Wolverine was tricked into killing his other children, Wolverine saw the unmistakable hand of Daken in the horrific plot. [Daken: Dark Wolverine #2-3]

Believed dead by the authorities and the general public, Daken was given an opportunity to proceed earlier than expected with a plan he had already been making. Though Romulus’ empire was lost to him, Daken sought to recreate it anew and use the same tactics as Romulus had used: building and ruling from the shadows. Having already adopted an original costume which could not be connected directly to him, Daken sought out the Fantastic Four at the Baxter Building and revealed that he still lived. Despite his tenure with Osborn and the public record of his violent nature, Daken had somehow managed to retain good ties with the FF and was actually considered a close friend by the Human Torch.  Explaining that he intended to start over with a new identity, Daken noted that he needed a weapon aside from his easily identifiable claws to defend himself. As it happened, Mister Fantastic had designed a techno-glove capable of generating an energy claw which could stun, but not otherwise harm, an opponent. Daken accepted the gift and departed, but not before stealing a device from Reed’s laboratory. With both items, Daken departed for the island nation of Madripoor to begin building his empire. [Daken: Dark Wolverine #4]

Daken arrived in Madripoor with an already intricate plan in place. Sometime prior to arrival, Daken contacted Malcolm Colcord, former director of the most recent Weapon X project, with an offer. In the nigh-lawless Madripoor, Daken would fund Colcord’s experiments and research, the ultimate goal of which was to imbue Daken with power “beyond Weapon X,” taking him to the next level. [Daken: Dark Wolverine #8] To that end, Daken provided subjects on which Colcord could work, which in turn indirectly attracted the attention of the island’s top crime lord and de facto leader, a woman named Tyger Tiger.

As head of all crime, Tyger had possessed only two unbreakable rules: no drugs and no slavery. The second rule had been broken by a member of the powerful banking cartel, which had supplied some slaves for Daken's experiments but had also used the opportunity to bring back the sex slave trade. As this threat to her authority played into his end goals, Daken sought out Tyger Tiger once she learned of the betrayal. Though he appeared in his new costume, Daken revealed his true identity to Tyger and offered to assist with the cartel’s downfall, whether Tyger wanted the assistance or not. With her men, Daken staked out the location of the cartel’s yearly meeting, in which each would have their fabled ledgers containing the only written record of their illicit activity. However, after the operation to steal these ledgers succeeded, Daken double-crossed Tyger and stole the ledgers for himself. Before she could react, however, Daken dealt his more powerful secondary blow, by activating the device he had stolen from the FF which created an EMP that blacked out the entire city. [Daken: Dark Wolverine #5-6]

With the city in chaos and all faith in her as its guardian angel lost, Daken offered Tyger Tiger another deal. Tyger would return to her old job of running the city, with one exception: she would be a figurehead, answering to Daken, who would rule from the shadows. Reluctantly, Tyger accepted, realizing it was better to be close to power than completely outside of it. Tyger immediately saw Daken’s influence when he not only forced the other crime lords to swear allegiance to her, but also the entire police force, after Daken kidnapped the police captain’s daughter. Madripoor was her's again, but all that was her, was Daken's. [Daken: Dark Wolverine #7]

Into Daken’s carefully laid out plans arrived Gambit and X-23. They had come to Madripoor searching for Colcord, having learned that he was attempting to recreate Weapon X on the island. Learning of X-23's connection to Wolverine, Daken confronted her in the street and, after a rather bloody fight, offered a place for her at his side. X-23 refused, however, but not before voicing her opinion at Colcord’s true plans, forcing Daken in turn to confront Colcord. Colcord denied the accusation and explained that his unapproved experiment to recreate a healing factor was to ensure their test subjects would survive. Colcord then noted that X-23 would be the perfect test subject, due to her own healing factor and thus eliminating the need for any others. Suspicious of Colcord, Daken arranged the capture of X-23 but for his purposes, not Colcord’s. He soon arranged for her escape, after which he doused her with her trigger scent, which he learned about from Colcord’s files, and directed her toward Colcord’s mutate experiments, killing them all. Faced with ruin, Colcord detonated a bomb, destroying the facility. The devastation convinced X-23 that Colcord was finished, and she soon departed Madripoor. In fact, Colcord survived the bomb thanks to the artificial healing factor he created. Daken kept him alive and imprisoned in order to further the experiments he funded, only with Colcord as a test subject now instead of a researcher. [Collision crossover]

Daken continued to consolidate his control over Madripoor, with each of the remaining criminal bosses accepting Daken’s rule. The final holdout was an elderly Taiwanese man named Tan Kim Seng, who refused, despite knowing it would mean his life. When Daken finally confronted him, Kim Seng explained that Daken was akin to Akki, the Taiwanese god of destruction. All Daken did was destroy, he explained. He was capable of creating nothing. After terminating Kim Seng and completing his takeover, Daken decided to prove the old man wrong. He would create a criminal empire, beginning in Los Angeles. [Daken: Dark Wolverine #9.1]

Arriving in Los Angeles, Daken at first maintained a low profile, assessing the status quo of the criminal underworld. Ever since the criminal Pride had been deposed by their children some years before, there had been a power vacuum in LA, which seemed to have been filled recently by an as yet unknown individual. Still formulating his plan, Daken was at a party hosted by movie star Marcus Roston when he came across a new designer drug called Heat. Much to his surprise, the drug beat his healing factor, allowing Daken to truly feel pain and injury.  Additionally, the drug played havoc with his senses, providing him a high and altered sensory perception which he had never before been able to experience. Waking up from a blackout, Daken found it was the next morning and that he was about to be thrown out by Roston’s two bodyguards. However, Daken made short work of them and then made a pass at Roston, which the movie star did not find unwelcome. [Daken: Dark Wolverine #10]

When Daken soon learned of an emergency summit of disparate crime families meeting on Catalina Island to discuss who exactly was taking over the city, he decided to crash it. After killing their guards and making a rather ostentatious entrance, Daken explained that they needed him, and he would prove his worth by robbing a Durrant armored car, something which had not been accomplished for almost two decades. Assigned one senior man from each family to assist, Daken succeeded in stopping the convoy, but in the ensuing firefight all of the men assigned to him were killed. Worse, Daken had become obsessed with the Heat drug and before the attempted heist took a large dose of the drug, which not only affected his perception of reality but scrambled his healing factor. When the mercenary known as the Taskmaster burst from the armored car and was soon joined by the LAPD, Daken seemed sure to be captured, or worse killed. However, Daken ultimately managed to slip away in the chaos, along with the tens of millions in cash. [Daken: Dark Wolverine #11-12]

Following the heist, Daken managed to convince the various crime families to work with him, but he now had other, more pressing issues. It had quickly become apparent to Daken that he was addicted to the Heat pills and that they were adversely affecting his healing factor. Additionally, it was causing blackouts, during which Daken had no clue what he had done. Since his arrival weeks before, a series of grisly murders involving claw marks had shocked Los Angeles and the so-called “Claws Killer” had attracted the attention of FBI Special Agent Donna Kiel. After being confronted multiple times by Kiel, who admitted to having no real proof, Daken became concerned about his possible lack of control and wanted answers.

After inspecting the scene of one of the crimes and finding no clues, Daken proposed a trap and invited Kiel to an upscale Hollywood party, as all of the victims had left one prior to being killed. Letting his guard down due to the Heat drug, Daken indeed found that Kiel had been abducted and set after her. However, he ran into Moon Knight, who was also investigating the Claws Killer murders and suspected Daken. Weakened by the Heat drug, Daken fled Moon Knight, only to be shot in the head by Kiel, who was now convinced that Daken was the Claws Killer after being confronted by the murderer, who had the same face and voice of Daken. [Daken: Dark Wolverine #13-14]

Though his healing factor remained compromised, Daken survived this mortal injury and eventually recovered and escaped. However, during his time in the hospital, Special Agent Kiel had been forcefully addicted to the Heat drug by Marcus Roston, who was not only a shape-changer but the true Claws Killer. Daken quickly found himself on the run from all forms of law enforcement, being directed by Roston via the addicted Kiel. Evading them all and being easily trounced by the powerful Roston himself, Daken decided to investigate Roston through his drug. To his surprise, it contained blood which analysis indicated was related to the fallen Pride gang, which in turn led him to the children of the Pride, who were hiding out in Los Angeles. Counting on their naiveté, Daken attempted to lure the super-powered children to his side and learned from them that Roston was actually their “creepy uncle,” who had been banished from the Pride due to his insanity. Though they distrusted him from the beginning, the Pride kids accompanied Daken against their uncle and, with the intervention of Special Agent Kiel, managed to defeat and incarcerate Roston. [Daken: Dark Wolverine #15-19]

Having defeated Roston and weaned himself from the Heat drug, Daken found himself drawn to Donna Kiel, seeing in her a woman with tendencies similar to his own. He suspected that, like him, Kiel was a psychopath, a person who feels no empathy for others and could kill without a moment’s inner torment. To prove this, he brought Kiel to a location where he had hung and tortured three men guilty of murder and human trafficking. Though she clearly felt something for Daken, Kiel found the offer disgusting and attempted to turn the handgun Daken had given her on him, hoping his lack of a healing factor would kill him. However, Daken was too quick and sliced off her hand. Rejected, Daken began to realize that Tan Kim Seng was right, and all he was good for was destruction. He attempted to return to his mission of locating the secret crime lord of Los Angeles and soon learned that it was Count Nefaria. Instead of making an actual plan to bring about Nefaria's downfall, however, Daken gave in to his nature and half-heartedly fired off over a dozen rounds from a high-powered sniper rifle, which of course had no effect on the ionically-indestructible Nefaria. Conceding his quest of creation was a failure, Daken declared to himself that some people were simply born to destroy. [Daken: Dark Wolverine #20]

Returning to New York, Daken sought out the aid of Mister Fantastic. After analysis, Daken was informed by Reed that he was dying. Though the Heat was now gone from his system, Daken’s healing factor was now attacking his own healthy blood cells, leaving him only weeks to live. Convinced of his impending death, Daken literally wanted to exit with a bang.

Breaking into the Jean Grey School, Daken poisoned Wolverine while he slept with a concentrate of Heat and led him on a chase into Manhattan as the drug began affecting his senses. To sow chaos and attract attention, Daken then detonated bombs outside headquarters of the city’s superheroes, such as the FF and Avengers. With the bombs facing outward, passersby rather than the heroes were hurt, helping to turn public sentiment against the heroes, while attracting the attention of all to stop him. Ingesting a handful of Heat pills, the most he had ever taken, Daken made his final stand in Times Square against the assembled heroes. To Wolverine’s shock, however, not only did Daken apologize for his actions so far, but he confessed to planting a larger bomb on a timer in the school. A moment later, Daken seemed to explode, leaving no trace behind. With his son gone, Wolverine raced back to the mansion, but instead of a bomb found a Wolverine plush toy, Daken’s final joke. [Daken: Dark Wolverine #21-23]