With the Marvel NOW! initiative, one character has clearly gotten a better deal than the rest: Wolverine. He’s been drafted to the Uncanny Avengers, maintained his tenure with the regular Avengers, appeared in All-New X-Men, and gets two solo books, TWO! Some Marvel characters didn’t even get one! I like Wolverine, but if there’s one thing that reading years of Wolverine comics have taught me is that not everyone can write the character really well, and with two series solely about him, the odds that one would be garbage got higher.
The first of his solo books to be published is Frank Cho’s Savage Wolverine, which has presented a more fun and less serious story for the reader. Cho’s approach to writing this comic is what made it so much fun to read for me. He mixes the aesthetics of an urban noir through the mind of Wolverine and into the jungles of the Savage Land and it creates a narrative that is pretty unique and very entertaining to read. It’s pretty remarkable how similar this story is to the kind of writing you get in other noir comics, except there are dinosaurs and cavemen here.
The only problem with this type of story is that it’s plotted out so heavily in advance that while each issue might be charming in its own right, it can’t be fully realized and appreciated until the whole arc is completed. I usually take issue with stories like this, but from the vibe this first issue gives you, there will be plenty of surprises in the singles to keep you entertained and hooked for the long run. My only real problem with the writing of this issue is about one third of it is used as flashback exposition that we otherwise could have gotten if the structure were different, but that would make this a totally different story, so I understand why it was told this way.
Cho pulls double duties on the series and draws the comic as well and to a lot of success. With few exceptions, this comic has very exceptional artwork. The detail in here, especially with the amount of panels and unique layouts, is much more obvious than many other comics being put out by Marvel. Given the characters and setting of this story, there’s a lot of wiggle room for Cho to have a good time with the art and try new things, and he does for the most part.
Savage Wolverine is one of the most uniquely written comics to come out of Marvel in a while. Its story is entertaining on many levels and it has artwork that is gorgeous and nearly perfect. A few story issues and art discrepancies hold this back from being a perfect debut, but it’s a solid start for what could be a great run.
Rating : 8.5 / 10