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Daken: Dark Wolverine # 7

Issue Date: May 2011

Story Title: Empire: Act 2: Part 4

Staff: Daniel Way (writer), Agustin Padilla (art), Frank D’Armata (colorist), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Jared K. Fletcher (designer), Jody LeHeup (assistant editor), Jeanine Schaefer (editor), Nick Lowe (group editor), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer), Giuseppe Camuncoli and Marte Gracia (cover art)

Brief Description:
In Madripoor, Daken is able to convince Tyger Tiger to work for him. Instead of having her own crew, however, she will have a new crew which will be made up of the various gang leaders throughout Madripoor. Inside a hangar, Tyger pits the leaders of three different gangs against each other. Once they are down to three – Kobus Van Holten, Takeshi, and Param, Tyger introduces them to Captain Gui and the members of the police who will be their new crew. Entering the laboratory, Daken reveals that he has been working with Malcolm Colcord and Dr. Metzger on the mysterious experiments that Tyger has been investigating. Just then, X-23 and Gambit arrive on the island of Madripoor to find Dr. Metzger.

Full Synopsis:
In Madripoor, Malcolm Colcord presses an entry panel outside a secret laboratory. When it opens, he remarks that they have power again. Entering the lab, Colcord mentions to Dr. Metzger that should expedite things.

Without turning around, Metzger informs Colcord that this isn’t easy and pushing him doesn’t help. He pushed him to human trials ahead of schedule and look what happened. 38 children dead. For no reason. Looking at the documents, Colcord tells him there’s a reason. Those children died because he, Metzger, failed them, and him. He’s given him the sample. He’s given him a lab where he can do his work completely free of legal restraint. He’s given him an unlimited supply of test subjects. All of which makes him wonder, given his extremely low tolerance for incompetence, why he’s still alive.

Metzger tells him threats won’t work. If this can be done, he’s the only one who can do it. It’d be impossible to replace him. Colcord says nothing’s impossible. He’s a scientist, he should know that. With that, Colcord shoots Metzger in the chest with his pistol. As Metzger falls to the ground, clutching his chest, Colcord tells him not to worry. He’ll live. Provided he isolates and replicates the mutant healing factor within 48 hours. Time-released nano-virus. Something his last pet scientist cooked up. Nasty stuff. Do what he needs him to do, by the time he needs it done, and he’ll deactivate it. After Metzger exclaims that’s… that’s not enough time, Colcord says of course it is. A motivated individual such as himself? There’s no limit to what he can accomplish in even a short amount of time.

On top of a building as Madripoor burns around them, Daken tells Tyger Tiger that Madripoor is his. So let’s talk about the future. He holds the ledgers, the key to unlocking the safe holding all of Madripoor’s criminally derived money… in other words, all of Madripoor’s money. The crime families are scrambling to recoup their losses with a city-wide shakedown. No citizen is safe. He holds Captain Gui’s daughter; therefore the police are his as well. They will do nothing to improve the situation. All faith in her, this city’s guardian angel, has been lost. He can also change that.

When Tyger proceeds to ask why she would do that, Daken tells her he would do it because she wants a figurehead, someone to be the visible face of his organization so that he can remain in the shadows, unseen. He then asks her if she wants the job. It’s remarkably similar to her old job but with one very important difference. Tyger states that she answers to him, to which Daken adds and everyone else answers to her. What’s her answer?

Thinking to herself, Tyger says when she was a child, she believed that darkness was alive and would consume her. Consume… and change her. She was right. She has changed. With that, Tyger tells Daken that she concedes but she keeps her people. Daken tells her no, she doesn’t. He adds that he has no delusions about her loyalty, she’s doing this against her will, but she’s doing it nonetheless because the more rational part of her mind tells her that being inside the circle of power is better than being outside. And the more romantic part of her mind tells her that being inside greatly increases her chances of wresting control of that power. She’s not going to make that any easier for her.

Not wishing to inform her that the members of her crew are dead, killed by his hand, Daken then tells her that she’ll have new people… people who will follow her orders – given, ultimately, by him, of course – but who will do nothing else for her because they will hate her. Tyger asks who are these “people.” Daken replies that he’s sure she’ll recognize them when she sees them. They’re waiting for her actually, though they don’t know it yet.

Inside a hangar, Takeshi implores his brother, Benjamin to wake up. When Benjamin asks what happened, Takeshi tells him that they were drugged and kidnapped. Benjamin asks where they are and Takeshi says he doesn’t know yet. But they’re not alone. Just then, Param and Madhavi enter the hangar. Param states that all of the doors are locked and bolted from the outside. They’re trapped in there. Takeshi remarks that he assumed as much. Kissing Madhavi’s hand, Benjamin tells her that she looks lovely. After Madhavi thanks him, Aldo appears out of the shadows and asks ‘ow he looks. Takeshi says same as always – confused.

Kobus Van Holten steps out of the shadows and says no, he knows exactly what has happened. They have been set up. Takeshi asks who, and his answer comes from Tyger who stands above them. She says to them that they need to move on to “why.” Acting on information relayed to them by one of her agents, they have all ordered their soldiers to converge on an abandoned warehouse complex in lowtown. That warehouse complex no longer exists; it has been destroyed, along with their soldiers. The slate is clean. Now, they will rebuild.

Benjamin asks by “we,” he assumes her and the honest, hard-working citizens of Madripoor? He hates to break it to her, but the citizens of Madripoor are none of those things. And neither is she. Tyger replies that she knows what she is, and he’s wrong. By “we,” she means them, Madripoor’s new regime. Param remarks that sTyger has worked to put them out of business for years. Now that she’s bankrupted them, stripped them of their armies and are holding them all captive, she wants to… work with them? Tyger answers no. She wants them to work for her. But only some of them. She only needs one person from each of their separate organizations. Tossing a duffel bag full of weapons in the middle of them, she tells them it’s up to them to decide which one. When Kobus asks what makes her think they will do this, Tyger says because they know it’s better to be inside the circle of power than outside.

Picking up a knife from the bag, Aldo says that it occurs to him there’s another option. As he prepares to throw the knife at Tyger, he is stabbed through the chest from behind by Kobus. Once he does, Kobus states that he believes this concludes his business there. He wants to leave. Watching from the shadows, Daken remarks that was to be expected. What he’s most curious about is the resolution to Benjamin and Takeshi’s family get-together.

Putting his hand on the back of his brother’s neck, Benjamin tells Takeshi that, when their mother died, they promised to protect one another against all enemies. He intends to keep that promise, does he? Takeshi replies of course. If they are to die, they will do it together. Benjamin remarks that they very well might. There’s something he needs to tell him – he’s been having an affair with Param’s wife for over a year.

Suddenly, Madhavi attacks Takeshi while Param angrily attacks Benjamin. Kicking Madhavi in the stomach, Takeshi calls out to his brother. Easily avoiding Param’s attack, Benjamin tells him not to worry about him, worry about her. Just then, Madhavi stabs Takeshi in the chest. Before she can finish him off, Kobus kills Madhavi. In an instant, Param kills Benjamin. As he continues to attack him, Takeshi tackles him and wraps his hands around his throat.

Before he can finish off Param, Daken stops him and tells him there’ll be no more of that. Takeshi yells at him to go ahead, kill him. Daken asks him that he wants to die? Because he has nothing to live for? He’s wrong. Revenge is what he’ll live for. Nine years ago, Kobus Van Holten murdered Takeshi and Benjamin’s mother. It is a scar that runs deep. It is an act that cannot be forgiven. And it must be avenged in the most brutal and calculated way. He, Daken, should know.

Just then, members of the police enter the hangar with their weapons drawn and order the combatants inside to drop their weapons. When they do, Kobus asks what the hell this is. Tyger informs him to consider this a formal introduction. This is Captain Gui. If they need men, and all of them do, he’s the man to ask. After Param asks that the police work for them now, Tyger asks that he still doesn’t understand. Leaving the hangar, Daken remarks that everyone works for him.

Inside the laboratory, Malcolm Colcord informs his contact on the other end of the line that everything is going according to plan. As a matter of fact, they’ve just had a break-through. When the contact asks how long until he can perform the procedure, Metzger hurriedly downs the antidote and states that he’s made preliminary arrangements for delivery of the raw materials.

Entering the lab, the contact, Daken, asks how long. Seeing the body on the gurney, Daken remarks that they’ve re-created the healing factor. After Metzger replies that it was necessary, Daken puts his claws up to Colcord’s neck and exclaims that it was not discussed. Colcord says that it was necessary in order for the test subjects to survive the procedure. They both want this and they both need it to be perfect. Daken can tell he’s lying about something but that doesn’t mean he isn’t correct.

Turning his attention to Metzger, Daken asks him when he starts the next phase of testing. Metzger informs him th-there’s a… a group of subjects being transported to the docks as they speak. Daken says “so, immediately,” to which Metzger answers “yes, yes.” As soon as they, uh, get there, they’ll begin. He’s just waiting on a call to confirm that they’ve…

Just then, Metzger’s phone rings. When he answers it, the person on the other end asks him if it’s him. When Metzger replies that it is and asks them who this is, Daken covers up the phone and asks where, exactly, was he supposed to meet them? This could be a problem. At that moment, X-23 and Gambit arrive in Madripoor.

Characters:
Daken

X-23
Gambit

Tyger Tiger

Malcolm Colcord
Dr. Detlef Metzger

Captain Gui (Madripoor’s chief of police) and various unnamed policemen
Benjamin, Takeshi, Param, Madhavi, Aldo, and Kobus Van Holten (leaders of the various gangs in Madripoor)

Notes:
The cover of this issue pays homage to the cover of Wolverine (2nd series) #1.

Both Daken and X-23 attempted to make contact with Dr. Metzger back in the Wolverine: The Road to Hell one-shot. They were both thwarted in their attempt by Malcolm Colcord and the U.S. military, who took Metzger into custody.

Malcolm Colcord was once leader of Weapon X in the now defunct Frank Tieri penned Weapon X series. His crew included Agent Zero (Maverick), Aurora, Brent Jackson, Garrison Kane, Jack-in-the-Box, Malcolm Jeffries (Box), Marrow, Mesmero, Reaper, Sauron, Sabretooth, Washout, Wildside, and Dr. Robert Windsor (Mr. Sinister in disguise). He fled after a mutiny in issue #13 along with the assistance of Malcolm Jeffries (Box) and Aurora.

Tyger Tiger has been a crimelord of Madripoor for many years. Initially a law-abiding banker named Jessan Hoan, her personality was radically changed by a Reaver named Pretty Boy. Unable to return to her old life, Jessan’s path eventually led her to Madripoor, where she eventually became a crimelord, though one with a code of honor. [Uncanny X-Men #229, Marvel Comics Presents (1st series) #6-10]

Issue Summary written by: Wendigo (David M.)


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