Savage Wolverine #1 Review
By: Rob Gruszecki
On a perfectly standard S.H.I.E.L.D geological cartography mission into the Savage Lands, a transport vessel comes across a strange rock face on the side of a mountain. Upon this discovery, computer and system malfunctions ravage the ship’s interface and it is brought down to the jungle floor like your average heap of metal attempting to hover in the sky of its own accord without the training wheels of thrusters or stabilizers or any other number of technical jargon that keeps imaginary ships suspended in mid-air so well. Amongst the unfortunate crew is a number of cannon fodder S.H.I.E.L.D agents and Shanna the She-Devil, dressed ever so appropriately for a routine mapping operation. 8 months later we find ourselves much deeper into the mysterious Savage Land as natives perform what I could only imagine is tradition amongst the indigenous tribes of a dinosaur-infested island when a mysterious beam of light explodes off in the distance.
Enter everybody’s favourite Canadian with sharp claws. Bereft of explanation, Wolverine wakes up on the ground with no recollection of what brought him to the Savage Land and any attempt to piece together events is rudely interrupted by a raptor not interested in pleasantries. After a brief but violent altercation between the two, Logan makes his way around the lands to get a grasp of what could be the reason behind his arrival and the possibility of friendly faces along the way.
Savage Wolverine #1 is another new series launched under the Marvel Now banner that we see along the bottom of most Marvel titles, cluttering up the cover like a parental advisory sticker over top of a CD’s intended album art. Written and drawn by Frank Cho, Wolvie is taken on a romp through the woods to fight dinosaurs, meet up with babes and most likely refer to someone as ‘Bub’ along the way. I’m sure there will be many surprises down the road but so far what you expect to get from this new book is exactly what it delivers. Warriors attack the yellow and blue spandex clad Canuck in droves and things get messy real quick, jungle girls appear with some of the most over the top fan-service I have seen since the last time I cracked a book with Greg Land on pencils, and of course we get some snikts delivered in full force and brutal efficiency to rampaging beasts long since extinct from our world and honestly I couldn’t ask for more.
As much as I am a fan of the exposition heavy, philosophically waxing and high-minded sci-fi you would get from a Hickman or Morrison book, it really is great to have a simple, pulpy, over the top, brawler to just relax and enjoy without fear of being drowned in complexity or emotionally heavy drama. That isn’t to say that Savage Wolverine is in any way ‘mindless’, but instead just very fun and straightforward. This book in no way (or at least as far as I’m aware) connects to anything of real consequence in the Marvel U and it knows it. If Savage Wolverine is anything, it’s self-aware. Wolverine is found in the Savage Land and has no memory of how he got there… Why? If there even is a reason, it really doesn’t matter and if it plays a role later on, I’m sure it wont be that important then either. All I know is that we get to see Wolverine release his claws and let loose on bloodthirsty dinosaurs in B movie glory and it’s really all this book needs to be.
With awesome visuals organized in unique and small but effective panel layouts from Cho, the storytelling is swift, throwing fast-paced action in rapid succession that makes the comic a real blast to read. Cracks about superhero belt pouches and their function are great and even the absolutely ridiculous depiction of Shanna (her sword belt is made of more material than both pieces to her bikini combined and I’m pretty sure it’s the same belt I bought the other day at Wal-Mart) elicits nothing more than a snicker and an eye-roll but one that the book seemed like it was trying to achieve and frankly pulled off. And really, it’s not like the wildly hyper-realized Shanna is any more ludicrous than the gargantuan muscles barely contained in the costume of the x-man and for that matter any more absurd than the fact that there are talking dinosaurs running wild on this strange island.
Savage Wolverine won’t be the next All-Star Superman or Watchmen but it certainly wasn’t trying to achieve that. Instead in the enjoyable, tongue and cheek slugfest that it’s going for it hits every mark.
Rob Gruszecki is a writer, musician and Wednesday warrior
Follow him on twitter @Ghost_Factory
Listen to his music www.ghostfactorymusic.com
Read more of his comic reviews (Dear, Ghost Factory. What Should I Read?) or listen to the Comics Round-up weekly Podcast both found at www.flashfact.org