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Marvel Legends
by yo go re

We keep saying there are no bad characters, just bad stories. This guy really tests the limits of that theory.

Dark Wolverine lives in the shadows, trapped between evil temptations and his heroic bloodline!

In 1946, Logan was married and living in Japan, and his wife was pregnant. The Winter Soldier was sent to kill the woman, and her unborn child was given to a wealthy couple who named him Akihiro. However, everyone else called the boy Mongrel - or Daken (駄犬). After leaving home he was trained by some of the world's most vicious killers, became a highly skilled assassin, and eventually ended up working for Norman Osborn's Dark Avengers as their version of Wolverine. Yeah. Thus, this costume.

Dokken Daken is built on the Bullseye body, which means there are two figures in this series that use it - four if you count the variants. He's wearing his dad's old brown costume and gets a few new pieces to complete the look - namely, new shins to create his winged boots, and a big red belt around his waist. Of course, this is the Hasbro Bullseye body, so the crotch is already larger than it should be, and now you're throwing a giant belt around it, too. It makes the whole thing look worse than it already did. Plus, he's got these really weird, big, flat feet

We mentioned variants, and Dark Wolverine has one. Allegedly. According to the package, the normal release of this figure will have the traditional Wolverine mask, just like he wore in Dark Avengers. The "variant," which is incredibly more plentiful and easy to find, gives us Daken unmasked. For us, this is a good thing: if you don't get Daken with his mask off, showing off his stupid, stupid mohawk, then you've basically just got Wolverine with a d-bag tattoo and the wrong number of claws, right? Besides, the face is good, and he gets a new "draped mask" piece around his neck.

Like Wolverine, Daken has three claws. Unlike Wolverine, he has two claws on the top and one on the bottom. Because whoever created him is stupid. The figure only gets the top two, which is fine, and they're sculpted with a pitted texture to show that they're not solid adamantium. Unfortunately, they've been painted sort of a bone color, when they should be closer to black. Yes, apparently Daken's claws are (sigh) naturally metallic. God, could this character get any worse? Yes, yes he could: he also has pheremone powers. Ough.

The paintwork is good. His brown is dark enough that you can barely see the black stripes on his boots, and his yellow is a rich, mustardy color. His belt is red, but the buckle gets its own gold apps. The swirly tattoo on his left arm may be silly, but it's painted crisply all the way around. The articulation is mostly fine, but he has swivels in his forearms and in his wrists - we're all in favor of putting as much articulation as possible into a figure, but when two joints duplicate each other's range of motion, there's no point.

Daken has no accessories, just the left arm of the Series 2 Build-A-Figure, Arnim Zola. It's got the billowing orange sleeve, the purple glove, and good lord why are the colors so ugly? The modern Zola dresses the same as the old one, but his colors are more muted - greys, rather than eye-stabbing hues like this.

Daken is a garbage character. He was introduced in 2007 and just died (for real) in the past month or so, which means he was around for five years, and in all that time no one did a single worthwhile thing with him. Wait, we take that back: at one point, he coated his third claws with the healing-factor-negating metal from the Muramasa Blade; then Logan cut his arms open and pulled those claws out, leaving him down to two and bearing large scars; that's at least a little bit interesting, right? Daken is a cheap Wolverine knockoff in a world of cheap Wolverine knockoffs, and the world is better for him being gone from it. The figure is okay, but a few weird choices mean that unless you're building the BAF, he's not really a must-have.

-- 05/28/12

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