Tuesday 23rd December 2014,
Comic Booked

Review: Savage Wolverine #1

Comic Booked 01/16/2013 Reviews

Savage WolverineSavage Wolverine #1 is the first issue of a brand new Wolverine series, featuring Frank Cho in charge of both the written and the visual art. It’s not his first rodeo with the character, but how will things look with him running the whole show?

Right off the bat, I just can’t help but wonder how the pitch meetings went down for this. Did editorial decide they wanted a Wolverine title with an adjective first? Although I assume the Savage Land aspect is only for the first arc, because that idea can’t go on forever, it also makes me curious about Frank Cho’s involvement. Cho is well-known for sword & sorcery/boobs & bronze type stuff like Red Sonya and Jungle Girl. There’s also his association with Shanna, the She-Devil to consider. Cho is obviously all over the pre-historic jungle world concept, so did they approach him because he’s the best person to execute this idea, or was he available for the job and happened to bring these characteristic leanings and inclinations with him? The snarky letters page doesn’t really clear up my questions, but I can handle a little mystery for now, speaking of which. . . .

Savage Wolverine 2I’ve written before about how central to the character Wolverine’s memory loss is, and ever since they fully restored his memories they’ve been trying to chip away at them again. Their first real shot was through his history with nemesis Romulus, and then again through the machinations of Dr. Rot. I guess that’s just part of the cyclical nature of comic book storytelling, and Savage Wolverine also tinkers with the trope. Wolverine wakes up in the Savage Land with no idea how he got there, but is immediately presented with survival situations to overcome before he can start truly tying to piece it all back together. Cho gives Wolverine a noir inner monologue (think Sin City style) which I think really suits the character. I’ve always likened Marv to Wolverine, and I think his story in the Sin City movie is a perfect blueprint for how a Wolverine solo movie should go down. While we’re on the topic of movies. . . .

The whole thing can easily be compared to the situation the main characters face in the somewhat recent movie sequel Predators. Wolverine and his co-star Shanna are the alpha male and alpha female counterparts who have to survive together in and hopefully even somehow escape from a nasty jungle environment in which everything is trying to kill them. The action is all rendered here in a precise and detailed manner. Cho’s exceptionally clean visual art style brings elegance to the savagery, and refinement to the animal. The character design in this issue allows for trademarks such as Wolverine’s claws and mask to be emphasized but not exaggerated, and Marvel NOW! has left his costume relatively unscathed. When I was first presented with the initial premise for the Savage Wolverine book I cringed and thought it sounded incredibly gimmicky, but they’ve embraced the idea with a restraint that has made the final product fun without being obnoxiously goofy. It remains to be seen what if any emotional core will be reached through this adventure, but Savage Wolverine #1 was a solid start to the journey.

Savage Wolverine one

Frank Cho seems to have found a nice balance between his personal style and the demands of the character – I will certainly stay tuned for more of the Savage Wolverine comic book!

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  1. jeffhillwriter 01/17/2013 at 2:26 am

    My brother picked this up today. I'll have to read his copy and see if it's worthy my money. The art looks fantastic! But I'm still on the fence about the script.

    • Scorp_Moonopoly 01/17/2013 at 3:53 am

      Everyone seems to generally agree on the quality of the art in this one.

  2. Tony_Cal 01/17/2013 at 5:41 pm

    Frank Cho is a damn good artist. This sounds interesting. I will be picking up this book this weekend for sure.

  3. kcassidy 01/18/2013 at 2:20 pm

    I enjoyed it. The monologue comment was dead on, and Wolverine being in his element in the Savage Land was great. I only picked it up because of Frank Cho (and I am truly sick of Wolverine in everything) but this was a fun story. The use of Shanna (and her comments about Ka-Zar and Zabu) show that Cho knows those characters well. The book at times went over the top without going TOO over the top.

    • Scorp_Moonopoly 01/18/2013 at 4:19 pm

      I think that's what I appreciated most about this book. The comic book world is a crazy one that shouldn't be restricted to street-level storytelling, but I would have been disappointed if Savage Wolverine had gotten lost in the nostalgia for Silver Age silliness.

  4. christofbogacs 01/19/2013 at 7:28 am

    great review! had such a good flow to it and really liked the speculation about how Cho came to be in the book. Will be sure to check this one out.

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