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Comicscape: Savage Wolverine

Beauty and the Berserker

By Joel Rickenbach     January 23, 2013
Source: Mania.com

If you were to poll the general comic book character loving populace (Read: Not just comic readers), on who their favorite comic book character is, I would put dollars to adamantium filled doughnuts that Wolverine would come out on top. Yep, more than Superman, Batman or Spider-Man, the king of the Canucks resonates with your everyday citizen harboring a serious case of claw-envy. The dude was a member of Alpha Flight, and even that hasn't damaged his image. Personally, I like Wolverine, but he's never been my favorite hairy-chested Canadian (that would be Cory Haim), but there's no denying he brings the business when he pops up (and pops claws) in a book. Currently he's in a somewhat unique situation-- he's  the new Professor X, while his old "buddy" Cyclops is running around acting like Magneto part deux (he's also running around with Magneto, so... yeah). Good 'ole Weapon X is also running things at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, so he's not exactly the freewheelin', cigar chomping runt we all fell in love with anymore. When you accept the title of "Headmaster" it sort of declaws you a bit, no? If only there was someone who could just randomly transport Wolverine from all this responsibility, and throw him in a dangerous and exotic location for some classic berserker rage... oh, hey, look- It's Savage Wolverine #1!

 

You think I'm joking, but I'm not- Wolverine literally gets teleported into this book from who knows where, but we'll get to that in a minute. Marvel must have realized Wolvie needed some fresh air too, because they've handed superstar Frank Cho the reigns to a classic "Men's Adventure" type comic, that puts Wolverine in a situation that's more "fight dinosaurs, and solve mysteries" than "worry about the fate of mutantkind", and that's OK by me. The set-up is sorta simple- Shanna (the she-devil) and a group of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents are trying to explore some of the uncharted portions of the Savage Land, unfortunately they get a little too close to a land mass off the coast known as "Forbidden Island", and their ship-plane-thingy loses all power, and crash lands on the remote isle. Eight months later, Wolverine mysteriously materializes on the island, and quickly gets into fights with dinosaurs, Reapers and Neanderthals. He also finds a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent on death's door, and runs into his old pal Shanna. Apparently there are many strange things afoot on Forbidden Island, and it looks like Wolverine and Shanna are going to spend some quality time uncovering the island's mysteries, and decapitating its inhabitants. Fun times!

 

Let's get something out of the way- Frank Cho is one of the very best artists in the medium, now or ever. He also is known for drawing women, and when I say women I mean statuesque goddesses that are not helping the warped sense of image most females are forced to deal with thanks to our male dominated culture. It's true, he even pays attention to the fact that breasts are subject to the same laws of gravity that all other body parts are. Yes, dear reader- his books have boob physics. Here's the thing- despite the perfection of anatomy, and attention to um, detail, Cho's art owes more to classic pin-up and cheesecake than anything dirty or degrading, and the actual art is absolutely fantastic. Cho's line work is the stuff of legend, you will never see a book so detailed and clean. So, yes, Shanna wears a leopard skin bikini, even when she's flying around in a S.H.I.E.L.D. plane. I'm at peace with it, judge me as you see fit.

 

 

So, is the book any good? Yes, it's a whole lot of fun after one brief issue, and that's exactly what it aims to be. As I mentioned earlier, it owes a lot to the classic pulps such as Wildcat, Escape to Adventure and True Men. Thrilling Adventure! Wild Women! Exotic Lands! these are the ideas at the core of Savage Wolverine. Of course, this is all told with a modern edge- We follow Wolverine's brusque internal monologue, and the plot is inspired more than a little bit by LOST. Using a character's thoughts as your narrative structure in comics is always a slippery slope. Far too many writers fall into the habit of having the character describe what's happening in the panel, as if the writer forgot comic books are a visual medium. Cho walks the line a bit, sometimes falling into over-explanation, but he makes up for it with some evocative lines, like when Wolverine first comes to on the island- "Humid. Tropical Pollen. Volcanic ash. Polar breeze... Smells like the Savage Land" It's thoughts like those that remind us why we like our mutants laced with adamantium.

This book isn't going to light the comic elite on fire, and it's not supposed to. My hope is Cho (and fabulous colorist Jason Keith), continue to bring the big time adventure- let us escape to an exotic isle, bring us action, bring us beasts, bring us mystery, bring us wonder, and most of all- bring us fun. Let everyone else worry about being serious.

 

 

 

ATTENTION MANIACS! Comicscape is moving to Thursdays! Here's why- we unfortunately don't have access to all the new comics each week in advance, so most of the columns deal with books from the previous week. We thought it would be more valuable to you, our dear readers, to make Comicscape more timely. Here's how it will work- On Tuesday or Wednesday we'll post a "Pull List" that highlights what books to look for when you hit the shops on Wednesday, then on Thursday we'll publish Comicscape proper, which will take a more in-depth look at a few selected books from that week. There will still be more editorial style columns peppered throughout, but talking about new books will be the focus. We're gonna give this a go starting next week, so please let us know what you think! Your feedback is incredibly valuable. Believe it.

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COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 9 of 9
1 
Dazzler 1/23/2013 4:10:16 AM

I only read Marvel with a few odds and ends like Walking dead, Batman, Superman. 

I would like to see a top 100 list of comics.  I can't seem to find a monthly list of one if you can manage that. 

jedibanner 1/23/2013 5:17:47 AM

I really liked the new Wolverine book. Sure Frank CHo's art helps but the story seems intriguing and kind of brings back Wolerine to what he's good at and that is more fun then see him being a ''teacher'' at some school.

Comicscape on Thursday? Sounds ok...the idea to still bring the ''what's out today'' on Wednesday is good too.

Bryzarro 1/23/2013 7:25:05 AM

 Im all for the change in format if it keeps reviews current.  The pull list is okay but i've been using the  Comixology app to manage days my comics come out.  I mostly come here for the main article.  

stonedtodeath 1/23/2013 7:59:20 AM

I use the Comixology app as well and I love it.  I also only read Marvel, as I have for most of my life, with a few exceptions.  I like the Wolverine comics and I'mnot going to judge this new direction? they are taking until a few more comics.  It is not my favorite Marvel publication at this moment and since Marvel Now began, I've only found three I consider must reads: Avengers, Thunderbolts, and Punisher.  This Punisher arc has been great.  Dealing with the consequences of the last arc, it describes not only Frank's new direction, but how every Avenger feels about vigilantism.  You know how some of them are going to react, but there have been a few surprises.  A human being with no powers versus the super human Avengers, really interesting.

blankczech 1/23/2013 10:11:00 AM

 Superheroes never seem to change their outfits.  Those synthetic fabrics don't breath.  They must stink.  One can only hope that while they are battling monsters and villains they get thrown into some water for a while or like some animals at the zoo, it would be wise not to stand down wind of them.

hanso 1/23/2013 2:46:10 PM

 Bull!  Batman wins any poll he's in.

jedibanner 1/23/2013 7:42:27 PM

Mmmm, Hulk smashes all poll's he's in...

millean 1/24/2013 1:27:18 PM

Yeah, I gotta agree with Hanso.  I'd bet Bats is more popular to the comic reading public than Wolvie.  But it really doesn't matter.  (Hulk might would win, but since he smashes all of his polls, we can't tally the results).

FYI, those Eaglemoss Batmobiles are AWESOME!  I got mine yesterday, and I suggest getting them if you can swing it.  They had released some earlier in the UK and they ebay for 4 or 5 times their value.  Besides, they are a pretty decent size and the detail is great.  Definitely adding to my Batmobile collection!

 

joelr 1/25/2013 10:25:24 AM

@ Dazzler Do you mean a 100 list in terms of sales?

@Bryzarro I appreciate that you come here for the article, thanks man! There will be articles spread throughout in the new format.

@Jedi What was I thinking? Of course Hulk always wins.

@Hanso etc. Bats may win at the moment due to Nolan's films, but Wolverine has tipped the scales for almost the last 20 years. Either way, I just wanted to frame the review by saying i've never been a slave to the Wolverine hype, but I do like the haracter when done right, and so far I think Cho has. Honestly, I thought you guys would be harping on Shanna's boobs like every other website! Good on ya!

1 

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