Since the dawn of the Silver Age, legacy characters have been a staple of superhero fiction, and having a new character step into a well-loved role can open up new opportunities for writers and artists to tell different kinds of stories. In The Replacements, we look back at the notable and not-so-notable heroes and villains to assume some of the most iconic mantles in the superhero genre.
This week we're looking at the characters that have attempted to claim they're the best there is at what they do. These are the replacements who have followed in the footsteps of the legendary Wolverine.
Dark Wolverine (Daken Akihiro)
Created by Daniel Way and Steve Dillon (Wolverine Origins #5)
Logan never knew that his son Daken survived the murder of his wife Itsu, as the villain Romulus took the child away and oversaw his upbringing to make sure he fostered an unhealthy hatred for his father. After discovering he had bone claws similar to his father’s, but two above the knuckles and one from the wrist, Daken was set on a path to find and kill his father.
Daken was given the Wolverine name by Norman Osborn as part of the first team of Dark Avengers, and while working for Osborn he was responsible for the execution of The Punisher. He escaped justice after the Siege of Asgard and went solo again as Dark Wolverine, setting up a criminal empire of his own on the west coast.
Daken was killed by his father, who drowned him in a shallow pool based on information that his son would one day slaughter the students of the Jean Grey School. However, he was resurrected by The Apocalypse Twins as one of the four new Horsemen of Death, and later joined a team of "Wolverines" to locate the body of his now dead father.
Gorgon (Tomi Shishido)
Created by Mark Millar & John Romita Jr (Wolverine #20)
Gorgon was a child prodigy who developed the mutant powers to turn people to stone with just a glance. He joined a terrorist death cult before defecting to The Hand as a young adult. To prove his dedication to their cause, he killed himself in front of his master, knowing that The Hand had the means to resurrect those they deemed worthy.
Gorgon was responsible for the capture and brainwashing of Wolverine, but the hero later broke out from The Hand’s control, and later killed the villain by using the reflection of his claws to turn Gorgon into stone before shattering him.
Gorgon was later resurrected to join the new inner council of HYDRA and murdered Ares’ son Alexander AKA Phobos the God of Fear.
Gorgon was briefly Wolverine as part of a later incarnation of Norman Osborn’s Dark Avengers, after Osborn’s HAMMER struck a deal with HYDRA. He later resurrected the giant dragon underneath the city of Madripoor and went to war with The Avengers, but was defeated by a giant Shang-Chi.
Introduced by Charles Soule & Peter Nguyen (Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy #7)
Following the death of Wolverine, a group of escaped Weapon X patients led by Shogun kidnapped Daken, X-23, Sabretooth, Lady Deathstrike and Mystique and forced them to track down Logan’s adamantium-encased corpse in the hopes that Wolverine’s healing factor would hold some secret that could stave off the Weapon X survivors’ impending deaths.
The Wolverines had “control words” implanted in their minds that could manipulate, sedate or even kill any of them, should they step out of line. Together, they infiltrated Mr. Sinister’s base looking for the corpse of Wolverine, but the survivors sold the Wolverines out to the villain in exchange for a cure for their condition.
Mystique was able to play all sides against each other, following a plan laid out by her departed lover Destiny. Transporting the team to the Nexus of All Realities, she followed Destiny’s instructions, but discovered that her plan was not to reunite the couple, but to resurrect Logan to help save the world from an incoming threat. Mystique destroyed the apparatus, choosing to let the world burn over bringing Wolverine back to life.
Wolverine (Laura Kinney)
Created by Craig Kyle & Chris Yost (X-Men Evolution)
After twenty-two failed attempts to clone Wolverine, a final attempt was made using two X chromosomes, which resulted in the successful creation of X-23. Raised to be an ultimate killing machine, she was subjected to torture in order to bring her mutant abilities out early, and a “trigger scent” was developed that would turn her feral and vicious if her senses detected it.
Rescued by Wolverine and taken in by the X-Men, Laura Kinney found it hard to adjust to this new life, and felt most comfortable as part of the black-ops X-Force team. Eventually, she learned to suppress her darker side, and rejected the life of an X-Man to make her own way at Avengers Academy.
After the death of her mentor and father figure, Laura took on the mantle as the All-New Wolverine, and found that Alchemax had cloned four more female copies of her. Although three of them died, she was able to save the youngest, named Gabby, and together they live in Logan’s old apartment with their pet wolverine, Jonathan.