The Avengers and X-Men’s Epic Battle is over. Scott went insane. Charley took the dirt nap. Hope and Wanda made everything better. So Now what?
Well, NOW is the time for Marvel to shuffle the deck and play a new hand. It’s relaunch city as The House of Ideas brings us 20-something new #1s with all-new creative teams over the next 5 months. What will the new 23 have in store for us Marvel Zombies? Well, be sure to check out this column each week as we dissect the first issue of every new title under the Marvel Now Banner. And I don’t mean Bruce Banner…..well except when the title has the Hulk in it….you get what I mean. So sit back and relax as we check out what’s new in the 616.
Alot of folks told me they were checking out this book because it was “All Frank Cho!” That statement is not entirely true but I get what they mean. This new series about the guy who’s the best there is at what he does is both written and drawn by Cho. It was his pitch to the Marvel Now Editors. It’s his dialogue, his plot and his pencils. While that may be great to hear for others, I have to admit that that was not a major selling point for me. Nothing against Cho but his reputation for late issues leaves much to be desired. Also, I wasn’t really sure how a Wolverine story in the hands of Mr. Liberty Meadows would be. When it comes to his previous writing, most of it is laden with juvenile humor to compliment his voluptuous ladies and funny animals. I’ve never really seen the man tackle anything that was at least a bit tongue-in-cheek. At best, all I could hope for was a wild ride. And that’s what I got…..and a whole lot more.
The first three pages of this tale don’t deal with Wolverine at all but instead focus on a small S.H.I.E.L.D. shuttle craft flying over the Savage Land. On board is a plucky geological survey team that’s mapping out the area. Guiding them is Savage Land resident, Shanna the She-Devil (because there had to be at least one beautiful amizon woman. Come on, it’s Frank Cho). Things go bad as they fly over Forbidden Island where the craft drops out of the sky and is enveloped by jungle turrain. Jump ahead 8 months and something else drops out of the sky: the old Canucklehead. Wolverine lands in a field on Forbidden Island, disoriented and unsure of his surroundings. A tussle with a dinosaur sets things straight and Wolvie is now on the hunt for answers. What he finds is a near dying S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who directs him to his ship. There, he runs into Shanna, who is now the last survivor. Shortly after bringing Wolverine up to speed on how she and the crew have been stuck on the island for 2 thirds of a year, a group of pterodactyls, or “reapers”, attack. The ensuing fight shows that while Shanna knows her way around the jungle, Wolverine’s senses have dulled. But I’m sure a thousand food drop from the sky will clear all of that up.
This book was better than I could’ve expected by far. Instead of potty humor and huge tits, Cho gave us the perfect Wolverine for the given situation. As feral as Logan can get, he’s lived a bit too long in the concrete jungle. Placing him in the Savage Land truly gives him the “fish out of water” feel that is greatly taken advantage of in this first issue. His narration is also well executed as Cho goes for subtly above all else. By taking Logan back to the “only says what needs to be said” formula that used to synonymous with the character, there is great deal of room for character reveals and humor without upstaging the story at hand. The beauty is the simplicity of it all. The characters are straight forward but not cliches. The style is pulpy but updated to work in this day and age. And thanks to the research provide by Brian Overton at Marvel, the pulp style feels authentic. But lets take a look at the characters for a second. You have Shanna the She-Devil standing in for your damsel in distress, except that she’s not a damsel but a fearless warrior who’s far from being in distress. Then there’s the primitive natives who don’t seem like they’ll be too easy to outwit as they too are warriors. Finally, you’ve got the Savage Land itself which is safe to include as a character as it proves to be the greatest obstacle in this adventure. Nothing is wasted and everything makes perfect sense. The story also does a great job of working with the art so one does not overtake the other.
The artwork in this piece is phenomenal. Some may remember my less than glowing review of Cho’s work on AvX #0. That work felt choppy and rushed whereas this has the sleek, smooth style that Cho has brought to his previous work at Mavel like Mighty Avengers. This return to form is also great to see as he makes everything look like it belongs together. Wolverine, Shanna, Dinosaurs, Mermen, S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, the jungle – nothing feels out of place. It works together to give not only some pretty pictures but also a strong piece of storytelling. Add to that the work of colorist Jason Keith who really makes the images pop and the pulp style continuous throughout the issue and you’ve got a winning combination.
As I stated above, I had my doubts going into this book but they turned out to have been for nothing. Savage Wolverine #1 is a great read and is worth your time, especially if you are a Wolverine fan. The only thing that upsets me about this book is that now I have to add another monthly to my ever growing stack of comics. There are worse things to get angry about. Pick your copy of this fine Marvel Now title today!
So this 1st Issue is done but there’s plenty more to come. Check back here in the coming week’s to find out which books are worth your time which are a waste of it.
And if you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!
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