This week, Marvel released the newest in their run of Marvel Now! relaunches with Frank Cho’s “Savage Wolverine.” Arguably the most recognizable of the X-Men, and certainly Marvel’s most popular adamantium-blade wielding mutant, Wolverine was primed for his return as leading man. After “Avengers vs. X-Men” left Wolverine challenging his allegiances, Frank Cho creates a new arc for the character that is less drama and more pulp. Here, Wolverine is back to being the primal loose canon, the savage anti-hero fans desire.
“Savage Wolverine” begins when a non-aggressive S.H.I.E.L.D. mission leads to a heli-transport crash that maroons its crew on a small island in the Savage Land. The S.H.I.E.L.D. agents are on a geological cartography mission when they come across the Forbidden Island, an island Savage Land natives have mythologized to be a place of black magic. At the center of the island sits a bulbous mountain with a creature carved into its peak that looks nearly 100% the likeness of the masked aliens from Prometheus. The story propels 8 months into the future and a flash of light delivers an unconscious Wolverine (in the classic blue and yellow spandex) to the edge of the Forbidden Island.
Working with the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents on the heli-carrier was a classic Marvel character perfectly suited to team up across this arc with Wolverine. Shanna the She-Devil (here just called Shanna), the violent and sexy jungle queen from the Savage Land meets up with Wolverine shortly after he appears and quickly these two vicious loners butt heads. Wolverine and Shanna have equally explosive tempers. They’re each savage in their own ways. Cho previously wrote a Shanna story for Marvel that almost ended up published under Marvel’s adult comic imprint. Shanna is a busty blonde bombshell known for wearing her trademark leopard print bikini. In “Savage Wolverine” she’s Marvel’s sexier answer to Tarzan’s Jane. Cho’s decision to set this new series in the Savage Land is itself perfect. The Savage Land is a prehistoric preserve within the Marvel Universe ruled by dinosaurs, sea creatures, neanderthals and various other threats. Savage all around.
Its these pulpy elements that work best in “Savage Wolverine.” The story is loose and pretty non-descript, but style is certainly abound page after page. This isn’t heady sci-fi by any means. This is Weird Tales for 2013 and that’s why it works. If you’re looking for tangled drama and high-stakes continuity this series might not be for you. If Wolverine fighting raptors and scantily clad warrior princesses sounds more your speed, look no further. Oh, and a bonus for Cabin in the Woods fans, there’s even Mer-People in “Savage Wolverine.”