Contains spoilers for Marauders #6!
Since he was first introduced, Wolverine‘s son Daken has struggled to get out of his father’s shadow, but his new hero identity, forged from his father’s past with the X-Men, promises to help him do just that.
When Wolverine was introduced all the way back in Incredible Hulk #181, created by Roy Thomas, Len Wein and John Romita Sr., no one could have imagined the expansive franchise that would spawn from one angry Canadian with claws. Wolverine quickly became one of Marvel’s breakout stars, a mysterious loner anti-hero with a dark past and a chip on his shoulder slowly learning to work as part of a team. His largely-unknown history slowly being revealed has been one of the character’s highlights, and a frequent source for new plots and conflicts. One of the biggest and most lasting changes was the revelation that Wolverine has a long-forgotten son with similar powers named Akihiro but more commonly known as Daken. Daken spent years as an enemy to his father, but by the time of Krakoa they have managed to work out their differences and Daken is currently a dependable teammate on the Marauders.
The current run of the Marauders, written by Steve Orlando and drawn by Andrea Broccardo, is finally letting Logan’s son develop an identity of his own. The Marauders have recently completed a mission in Shi’Ar space, investigating a mystery that could rewrite what mutants know of their past. Daken plays a key role in these issues, helping defeat the ancient Lupak foe known as Chronicle. In issue #5, Empress Xandra holds a ceremony in gratitude for the Marauders’ heroic actions, where Daken receives a special honor. Fang, an Imperial Superguardian and also a member of the Lupak race, bestows the title and costume of Fang upon Daken as thanks for stopping a Lupak traitor. This is one of Daken’s proudest moments, as the warrior title of Fang is only won in nigh-mortal combat, and is the greatest honor the Lupak culture can bestow.
The Superguardian Fang has had encounters with Logan before, most memorably during the iconic Dark Phoenix Saga by Chris Claremont and John Byrne, where Wolverine faced off against his alien adversary and ended up “borrowing” his costume for the duration of the tragic adventure out of necessity. Fang comments on this, noting, “Once, your father stole our colors. Here, in thanks, we offer them freely.” Daken accepts the honor with humility, and as of his most recent appearance in issue #6 seems to be transitioning to using Fang as his new hero identity. This presents a unique twist on the usual Logan-Daken dynamic, where Daken has served as a darker foil to his father: this time, Daken is the honorable hero, not Logan.
Because of this, Fang might be the perfect rebranding for the troubled hero. While Darken has buried the hatchet with Wolverine, he still wants to be his own man. This is a name and outfit that he’s earned – and more importantly, one that his father has explicitly not. It fits his powers and temperament, and is a reminder that he is more than just another off-brand Wolverine. That’s the genius of this new name and costume: Daken has managed to take a moment of pragmatism and moral weakness from Wolverine’s past, and turn it into his greatest hour since allying with the X-Men.