The writer/artist book seems to have become popular again with the big two publishers. Marvel has enlisted Frank Cho to create a Wolverine book…..which puts Wolverine on the sidelines for most of the issue.
If you read Frank Cho’s Dynamite book Jungle Girl, you already have an idea of what to expect here. It takes place in the Savage Land, and all hell breaks lose rather fast. Cho hasn’t hidden his love of Shanna the She-Devil, and it shows in his writing. She gets some good dialogue compared to the other characters in this book. Granted, most of her dialogue is explaining the trip that the reader just saw themselves. Savage Wolverine #1 isn’t written well, but it shows a lot of potential. It could be a fun and outlandish book. Cho misses a great opportunity for humor, instead going for straight seriousness. The recent Avenging Spider-Man arc in the Savage Land used the absurdity of the land rather well. Wolverine can’t stay in the Savage Land forever, so Shanna will have to make a trip to the Jean Grey School sooner or later, which is a situation ripe with humor.
Wolverine doesn’t fare well in this issue. It’s clear from the start that Cho wanted this book to be a Shanna ongoing, but Marvel thought it wouldn’t sell. So Cho threw Wolverine into it so that it would sell. He barely speaks, and narrates every little thing he does. The reader doesn’t need to be told he just killed someone when we saw the head flying across the panel. The narrations go away once Wolverine bumps into Shanna, which betters the issue. If the next few issues have the same problems, maybe Marvel should bring a cowriter aboard for a while. Help Cho get his ideas out more effectively. If I had any control over the books Marvel published, they would have turned this into a Shanna book instead. Wolverine has enough books, and Marvel has been succeeding recently with B and C lister books. If the book is good, it will sell. Also, this would be a MAX book. Cho could pencil the nudity that he terribly wants to pencil.
At this point in Frank Cho’s career, everyone knows what to expect from his books. Lots of dinosaurs, cavemen, and scantly clad women. Every other shot of Shanna has her standing in a provocative position with her boobs almost hanging out. With the story being serious in nature, the amount of boobs sticks out that much more (no pun intended). If Savage Wolverine had been more lighthearted and over the top, the boobs would have felt natural (I seriously didn’t mean that pun either). Savage Wolverine is one great looking comic though. Every character is very expressive and detailed, and the lush jungles are beautiful. The contrast of wide screen panels and small panels is used well to convey the fighting. Cho’s amazing art is going to be the big draw on this book for some time.
Savage Wolverine is going to be a bubble book for some time. If the writing can improve, and the tone can shift a little bit, we have ourselves a great book. But if not, we have a dud.
Savage Wolverine #1 gets 3/5.