Sunday, 27 April 2014

Savage Wolverine, Volume 2: Hands on a Dead Body Review (Zeb Wells, Joe Madureira)

Two volumes in and I’m still not sure what “Savage” Wolverine is supposed to be - how does this series distinguish itself from other Wolverine titles? I initially thought it was because in volume one Wolverine was in the Savage Land, so the series would be a weird dinosaur themed Wolverine book, but in volume two he’s left the Savage Land behind and is onto other stuff. So is it because he behaves more “savagely” in this title? Nope, no more so than in other Wolverine comics. So… it’s basically just another Wolverine book with “savage” in the title. 

The second volume features two three-issue arcs. Zeb Wells writes the first one with art from Joe Madureira: Kingpin’s rule of The Hand, a ninja organisation, is brought into question so a tangled plan that draws in Elektra and Wolverine is set into play to re-assert Kingpin’s dominance. The second arc is written and drawn by Jock who takes Wolverine into space and throws him onto a hostile alien planet to protect a kid who also has metal claws. 

Neither arc are particularly well written. Wells’ is overly complex and could easily have been written without Wolverine - it’s essentially an Elektra storyline. Kingpin, the Hand, Elektra and the corpse of Bulllseye, all of that stuff works fine together - throwing in Wolverine is pointless and felt unnecessary. That said, convoluted plots, arbitrary twists and weird cameos do make a very engrossing read. 

Jock’s arc is a bit more straightforward in that there aren’t that many twists and turns but it’s still a really odd story. For no reason Wolverine’s in space, hurtling towards an alien planet - how, why? - and he’s given a kid to look after who has similar powers to Wolverine: metal claws/skeleton. 

Maybe Jock was influenced by Rick Remender’s Captain America series where Cap’s sent to an alien planet and forced to look after a kid and this is the Wolverine version of that? Except what happens when that kid grows up to his adult size - does his metal skeleton grow with him? No, because it’s metal! So he’d be an adult with a metal kid’s skeleton? He’d probably just die, actually. Not really well thought out, Jock. 

While the writing is pretty poor, the art is fantastic. Savage Wolverine, for all its confusion from concept to stories, remains a great looking series. Frank Cho, Joe Madureira, and Jock - that’s a helluva trio of artists! Madureira’s art for the spooky Arbiters is stunning as are his renderings of Elektra in action, Kingpin, and Wolverine when he gets riled up - really energetic and exciting imagery. Jock too does tremendous work. I get the feeling with his story that his desire to draw alien landscapes/creatures came first and then he built a story around his drawings - the story might not be all there but the art sure is. 

Savage Wolverine remains a very weak series with forgettable and badly written Wolverine stories but if you’re a fan of the artists involved, you’ll get something out of the books.

Savage Wolverine - Volume 2: Hands on a Dead Body (Marvel Now)

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