The spotlight shifted from father to son in this week’s issue of Wolverine, or rather Dark Wolverine #75 from Marvel.
Together with artist Guiseppe Camuncoli, co-writers Daniel Way and Marjorie Liu changed the focus of the series from Logan to his son, Daken. A member of Norman Osborn’s Dark Avengers, Daken is a heck of a lot more raw and primal than the old man – and that’s saying something.
We caught up with the two writers, and asked them to give Newsarama readers an inside look at the first few pages of issue #75.
Marjorie Liu: Dan and I discussed many possible story lines for this first arc, but one thing we always came back to was the need to establish Daken as someone who is uniquely different from his father. This is not Wolverine. Or rather, if Wolverine is simply a costume, then Daken is not Logan. He might be wearing the same mask, but the heart is entirely different. And that's a fundamental fact about Daken that we needed to get across early on -- both for readers unfamiliar, and familiar, with the character.
Daniel Way: For those who are curious, for this first arc I wrote the plot and outlined the scenes, then Marjorie took over and turned my notes into an actual script with art direction and dialogue. After that, we both picked and tweaked at it, along with our editor, until everyone was happy. Since this is both a first issue-which are notoriously labor intensive because so many eyes are on what's being done-and the first time either of us have worked with a co-writer, I was really impressed with how smoothly it all went, and how the issue came out. Cammo, of course, had a lot to do with that, as well.
ML: I was also impressed, and deeply appreciative, of how smoothly everything fell into place. I'm a lone wolf when it comes to my writing, and even in pre-school I was never a team player. Deciding to create something with a co-writer was a big step for me, but it's been a wonderful experience. And Cammo! I can't say enough good things.
page 1ML: So, anyway. Here we have the first page of Wolverine #75. It's not flashy, not high on action -- but it establishes the very basics of what the reader needs to know. Daken is not Logan. Daken is playing a role. Daken is not afraid of Norman Osborn. In fact, given the body language in these panels, one might have cause to question who is really on top here.
DW: Which goes a long way toward differentiating between Daken and Logan-Daken is a master manipulator, while Logan is intensely straight-forward. Expect to see a lot of back-and-forth needling between Norman and Daken-those two get along like peanut butter and gasoline. Also, I love the idea of Norman calling these little meetings, making his attack dogs heel at the foot of their master. It's such a passive/aggressive thing to do, and it both amuses and annoys Daken to no end.
ML: I hate meetings, and I dislike people who call them incessantly. In many cases it really is all about a power trip. Writing Norman's character -- and Daken, who maneuvers around him so easily -- gives me a perverse kind of pleasure.
page 2DW: All right, Page 2; the "Move, you stupid bitch!" page. Totally did not think we would get away with that. Ironically, I think the fact that we went so far with it (How old is that woman-70? And she's carrying a CRYING BABY!) is what saved us-we made Daken look like such an asshole that he kinda became a parody of an asshole.
ML: Of course, we tried to go even further than that, in other ways...
page 3DW: Page 3 is Daken's big spotlight intro. Again, it's nothing huge, but it deftly defines a good portion of his character; stylish, snobbish and utterly fearless. You might even say...Machiavellian?
ML: See, this is why I love working on this book, and why I have so much respect for Dan and his ability to create -- and invest -- characters with true, memorable, complexities. Daken is all of those things -- stylish, snobbish, fearless -- but he's also a brilliant strategist, ruthless, and filled with immense rage, which has been channeled solely toward his father. Speaking as a writer, Daken is a gem. You can do so much with him, and because of that, the quiet moments, like this one on Page 3, carry even more weight.
page 4DW: When I read Page 4 of the original script...well, that was when I knew that Marjorie Liu was born to write this character. Though it wasn't in my outline-and, crushingly, it didn't make it to the final cut-Marjorie had Daken standing on top of Avengers Tower and PISSING OFF THE SIDE. He was marking his territory, showing his disdain for both what the Avengers are and what they were...and he was showing the world his balls. Originally, in that last panel, didn't the HAMMER guy with his hand out have a different expression on his face? Asking if it was raining, or something?
ML: Aw, you're just being sweet. I must admit, though, that I was really disappointed when we had to change that scene. It summed up for me exactly how Daken feels about the world, the Avengers -- everyone. And yes, the HAMMER guy, if I recall, looked a bit...perplexed...by the sudden shower on top of his head.
page 5DW: Page 5 can be summed up in five words-shark in a swimming pool.
ML: You know, I just saw a news report about the similarities between sharks and serial killers -- in the sense that sharks don't attack at random, but stealthily stalk specific victims. Out of hunger and need, of course. Very much true here, with Daken. He stalks, he hunts -- but not randomly, without purpose. Everything he does is for a reason. Each "victim" page 6is chosen to fulfill a specific role -- one that might be played out immediately...or saved for a rainy day. Daken is a master of long-term planning. I would not want to play chess with him.
DW: Page 6 (well, it starts on Page 5...or did it start sooner?) is where we start to explain how Daken uses his less obvious (and, in my opinion, more dangerous) mutant abilities to get what he wants. Or, more accurately, how uses them to get others to GIVE him what he wants.
ML: And give they do. Whether they realize it or not.