Excellent! A fitting end, or was it a beginning?
Will contain SPOILERS
Wow. Sometimes I feel like such a crazy fanboy because my two favorite characters are 1) Spider-Man, and 2) Wolverine, I know liking them as much as I do is cliche, and un-hip, but this story really brings it home for me, and I wasn't sure I would even like it until I put down the final issue. It was the kind of arc that inspired me to sit down and write about how great it is, but honestly I'm at a loss for words, it was that good. Let's just get down to part five, and give it a review, eh?
Part four ended with Prof. X getting hit with a psychic booby-trap which knocked him out, and just when you thought Daken was going to deliver the killing blow, Wolverine shows up and the chapter stops with them face to face and the readers expecting one hell of a bloody mess in part five. Okay, that in itself sounds like it could be awesome, but no depth to it, and all the best Wolvy stories are really as much psychological dramas as they are hack and slash, and this one delivered in spades.
So, Daken's looking for a fight, in fact (for those who're familiar with the character) it's the fight of his life, all he ever wanted, but Wolverine doesn't want it so Wolvy puts his claws away, but Daken's come out. Wolverine even antagonizes Daken telling him how he killed his mother (which he didn't really, but we'll get to that later.)
Daken goes to town, ripping into his father, while Wolverine fights off his rage by going to his "happy place" a grove of trees full of cherry blossoms where he is spending time with Daken's mom. He says he is the happiest he's ever been, but he is always nagged by the inevitable end, she goes into the house and is killed. Wolverine races to the house to stop the inevitable from happening. when he finally gets to the cabin expecting to see his worst nightmare, but all he finds is the Prof. standing in the room.
Let's take a break here and talk about Deodato's art. I personally was first introduced during his time on Amazing Spider-Man, and I loved it. This guy does great work, and I'll buy books based solely on the fact that it has his name printed on the cover. The way he draws the Professor is what I enjoyed most in this particular book. He came off as such a calm presence and really anchored the intensity of the Howlett family well. Deodato does an expert job of capturing the emotional content of this book too, and the characters just seem to leap off of the page.
Back to the story. Wolverine and the Professor have a little pow-wow and go over the reality of what happened on that fateful day back at Jasmine Falls, Charles apparently is trying to convince Wolverine that he's not responsible for the death of his beloved Itsu. Wolverine is confused why X is recanting his old memories, since he now has his full recollection back, but he soon discovers that there is a third presence in his head, Daken is there too, he had been there the whole time. Charles wasn't replaying the old memories for Wolvy, but for his son.
Okay, I admit the first time I saw Daken I immediately hated him. I thought, here we go again another Wolverine clone, oh joy! And I have continued to hate him since, until now, this issue was the turning point. There are some really great scenes where Daken is reacting to the memories, which really helped me to finally understand his rage. He's kind of like a lost boy. When he reaches out for his mother it is an especially great moment for the character. The peaceful moment is interrupted by Daken needing to tie up a loose end or two back in the real world, and there is a slightly cheesy moment with Wolverine thanking Charles for letting him become a superhero.
The story ends up with a direct juxtaposition to how the issue began, with Daken and Wolverine standing side by side, ready to begin a new quest to extract their revenge from the mysterious Romulus (a character powerful enough to turn Wild Child into a badass,) with the little tag at the end "Next: The Family Business"
I really liked this story, a lot, but it made me think about both of the characters parts in their respective Avengers teams. I know I've seen artwork trying to paint them as oppositional forces, but I really can't see that happening now. I'm excited to see how well they team up, but I'm anxious to see how far it goes. I'm thinking now that Daken joins the Dark Avengers with Wolverine kind of pushing him to do it, thinking that his son might find salvation while working with a team the same way he did. I really hope they don't bring X-23 into the mix, but could see a kind of funny 'What if' or holiday special with the "happy" family having some sort of get together. I would REALLY be excited if Daken was put on X-Force, although that would be directly against what I said earlier about not having the entire family on one team.
I guess now that I think of it, it might be a little interesting to see if Daken and Laura would bond over their similar tragic pasts. I wonder if Romulus had a hand in what she went through too.
Needless to say, my opinion of Daken changed drastically after reading this story, and it left me very excited about the future of Wolverine. I know there are a lot of haters out there, but I'd really like to hear anyone else's take on the story, which I would highly recommend.