So apparently Wolverine had a son who’s a total bastard. I’ve probably read a couple dozen comics with Daken (the first Dark Wolverine) in them, and that’s really all I managed to glean about the character from them. For the sake of this review I read his Wiki article to see if Daken had any really redeeming characteristics, but that does not really seem to be the case. So whereas I’ve previously reviewed characters I don’t really care about like Madame Masque and Thunderball from Marvel Legends Series 2, this is the first time I’m reviewing a figure of a character I straight-up hate. But I’ve said before that the mark of a truly wonderful action figure is that it makes you want to like the character it portrays, and to my amazement, this Daken figure is so outstanding it makes me want to give the character another try…
First and foremost, I want to start with the positive aspect of Dark Wolverine that shocked me the most: I was absolutely certain that no figure in Marvel Legends Series 2 would be more loaded with articulation than Future Foundation Spider-Man, but Dark Wolverine has proven me wrong. Daken has an insane 36 points of articulation including a hinge neck, ball-jointed head, ball-jointed shoulders, swivel shoulder blades, swivel biceps, double-jointed elbows, swivel forearms, double-jointed wrists, upper torso ab crunch, swivel waist, ball-jointed hips, swivel thighs, double-jointed knees, swivel calves, double-jointed ankles (with ankle rockers!), and hinge ball-of-the-foot joints. 36 points!! That is completely incredible. With all the articulation in this figure, I literally cannot think of a single point of flexibility that I would have wanted added. As far as articulation goes, Dark Wolverine is impeccable.
I’m reviewing the unmasked variant of Dark Wolverine, which is presumably the shorter-run version (although I haven’t heard of anyone finding the masked version yet). I’ve heard some criticism of the mohawk on this figure, but I really like it. Looking at the reference material I have for Daken, I feel like the mohawk is actually extremely accurate and I love how it looks. Daken’s face is pretty emotionless, which works well for what’s a pretty stone-cold killer.
There are two “add-on” pieces of costume in addition to the basic body. The first is Daken’s Wolverine mask, which looks fantastic and hangs around the back of his neck (although I have to wonder how Daken gets the mask to hold down his mohawk?!). A lot of “unmasked” variants of figures are lacking a cool detail like this, and I think having it adds a valuable element to the figure. Dark Wolverine’s belt is also a sculpted piece, but unlike figures like Drax and Madame Masque where the belt is hopelessly too big and flops around endlessly, Daken’s belt is the ideal width to be pushed into place around his waist, where it fits perfectly.
Paint applications can break a great figure, but that’s not the case here at all. Daken’s paint deco has all been applied cleanly and neatly. There are no uneven lines, no paint slop, no missed spots–nothing. Even the swirly tribal tattoo on Daken’s arm (which is the main feature besides his head setting him apart from his father) has been painted precisely and without flaws.
Dark Wolverine doesn’t include any weapons, per se, although he (obviously) has his claws which are part of the mold. Wolverine’s genes must have been diluted by Daken’s homo sapien mother, because Dark Wolverine only has two claws on each hand instead of three. The claws themselves have been nicely textured to make it obvious that they’re bone instead of metal, like Wolverine’s. And with the double-jointed wrists Daken is sporting on top of a ridiculous amount of arm articulation, he can pose his claws in any which way you could imagine.
Dark Wolverine has a couple of bonus items that come with him related to Series 2′s Build-A-Figure, Arnim Zola. The first is the left arm of Arnim Zola, which is fitting since the right arm came with other Marvel Legends Series 2 figure, Fantomex. I’ll talk about all of build-a-figure pieces of Arnim Zola in-depth when I review Arnim Zola.
In addition, Dark Wolverine comes with a unique fold-out piece of paper with a “Tale of Arnim Zola” featuring Captain America on one side (instructing collectors on what comic they can read to continue the story), and a checklist/diagram for how to build Arnim Zola on the reverse side. Daken’s mother was murdered by Bucky (when he was the Winter Solider), so I guess that’s the connection between the characters–it works for me. It’s no replacement for the full comic books that Hasbro Marvel Legends included, but it adds an air of important to the BAF and it’s still worlds better than the awful “collectible comic shots” Marvel Universe figures are including in 2012.
Finally, the generic packaging blurb. I’ll be brief: I love the 2012 Marvel Legends packaging. It’s bright, vibrant, and character-specific. The huge artwork on the front and back of the card depicting the character you’re buying is engaging and a real treat to look at, and it’s a shame you have to utterly destroy the packaging to get at the figure inside. The only thing I’d like to see improved is slightly more text about the characters on the cardbacks, as most of Series 2 is made up of new or obscure characters like Fantomex and Daken. But in general this is some of the prettiest packaging on the market today and it absolutely blows the Marvel Universe 4″ line’s packaging away.
One and only one thing about Dark Wolverine grates on me: the cheap rubbery material used for his claws. My Daken’s claws warped in the package, and no matter how much I try to force them straight, they always revert back to being a little bit curved and awkward. I know Hasbro is capable of making claws from hard plastic that won’t break easily, and I wish they’d stop releasing Wolverine figures with these rubbery claws that distort so easily.
“Where Can I Buy It!?”
Dark Wolverine Unmasked is part of Hasbro’s 2012 Marvel Legends Series 2. He’s packed at one-per-case only in the variant cases and is very likely going to be much more difficult to find at retail than the regular, masked Dark Wolverine. As of writing, I’ve only seen this series of figures at Toys R Us, where they retail for $17.99, although I have heard that others spotted them at Target as well.
Ebay is always a great option for looking for deals on new-release action figures, especially rare variants like the unmasked Dark Wolverine, as ebay tends to have listings for figures literally the day they turn up in any store and long after they’re sold out at retail. Click here to check out the current ebay listings for Marvel Legends Dark Wolverine!
Amazon currently has Marvel Legends Dark Wolverine in-stock from a variety of sellers with free shipping, although prices and availability on Amazon change rapidly.
BigBadToyStore stocks virtually every Marvel product Hasbro releases each year, and have the set of 7 containing all of Marvel Legends Series 2 for $119.99 as well as Dark Wolverine available for $19.99 individually.
Overall: I’m pretty stunned to say it, but I love this Dark Wolverine action figure. I thought Piledriver was a shoe-in to be my pick for the best figure in this set, but Daken has swept in and stolen that honor away from him. Dark Wolverine features the most points of articulation of any 2012 Marvel Legends figure so far, perfect paint apps, great mask and belt costume add-ons, and the coolest-looking mohawk I’ve ever seen on an action figure. Daken earns my absolute highest recommendation and a rare ‘A+’–Unless you have absolutely no interest in owning a toy of this figure, there’s no excuse for passing on Dark Wolverine.