Sunday, August 18, 2013

I Reads You Review: SAVAGE WOLVERINE #7

"Zeb not well; Mad is crazy good"


WRITER: Zeb Wells
ARTIST: Joe Madureira
COLORS: Peter Steigerwald
LETTERS: VC’s Cory Petit
28pp, Color, $3.99 (September 2013)

Parental Advisory

One of the titles to come out of Marvel Comics’ “Marvel NOW” initiative is a new Wolverine series, Savage Wolverine.  The first five issues of the series were drawn by good girl artist, Frank Cho.  Now, Joe Madureira (A.K.A. Joe Mad) is the series artist, and he is delivering some of his best work in well over a decade.

In the current storyline, Wolverine and Elektra find themselves helping Wilson Fisk – The Kingpin.  Fisk is now the head of The Hand, the notorious ninja clan.  [I didn’t know that, either.]  A faction of The Hand apparently plans to resurrect the deceased lethal marksman, Bullseye, as their champion to depose Fisk.  No one, least of all Elektra, wants that Bullseye brought back to life.

As Savage Wolverine #7 opens, Wolverine and Elektra launch an attack on a New York City hideout of the Hand.  The two (anti) heroes end up in a pitched battle against a legion of ninja and some of the Arbiters, which are particularly grotesque members of the Hand.  Nothing can prepare Wolverine and Elektra, however, for the thing known as Shikaru.

I’ll be honest and admit that I bought Savage Wolverine #7 solely because of Joe Madureira.  I was a rabid fan of Joe Mad’s art after his then original art agent gave me a tip about a hot new talent.  After finding a few comic books featuring his art, “Joe Mad” became something like my Justin Beiber of comic book artists.  I am happy to say that his art in Savage Wolverine #7 reflects what I consider the period of Madureira’s best work.  That would be the latter half of his run on the Uncanny X-Men in the mid-1990s, when Tim Townsend was his inker, into the early issues of his creator-owned series, Battle Chasers (for Cliffhanger, an imprint of Image Comics’ Wildstorm Productions).

Even without Townsend as an inker, Madureira produces art for Savage Wolverine that also recalls the influences that shaped his style:   anime, manga, and Art Adams.  Peter Steigerwald’s colors give Mad’s Savage Wolverine art a kind of futuristic and apocalyptic mood.  That is a good thing, because the art’s sinister atmosphere saves the story.

All that writer Zeb Wells is offering in Savage Wolverine is an unimaginative, barely inspired rehash of everything that Frank Miller has done ten times better with Elektra, the Hand, the Kingpin, and Wolverine.  Yes, Virginia, Savage Wolverine #7 is a catalogue of Frank Miller clichés. There is a saying that those who can’t do, teach.  In comics, those who can’t do original, do Frank Miller.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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