Editor's Note: Wolverine: Savage #1 arrives in stores tomorrow, February 3.
With a character as ubiquitous as Wolverine, it's nice to see the occasional lighthearted take on what is really a pretty ridiculous concept (as are most superheroes, to tell the truth): a short, hairy, animalistic guy with metal claws and a penchant for violence who is nonetheless somehow irresistible to women. But since superhero comics have to be so serious and grown-up these days, he gets taken deadly seriously, always in the middle of grim, angst-filled adventures. Luckily, Ryan Dunlavey doesn't seem to take anything seriously (he famously skewered just about every philosophical concept as the artist of Action Philosophers), so given the chance to write a Wolverine story, he goes for the comedy, making it as goofy as he can without going right into cartoony mockery. It's not the greatest bit of Marvel humor or anything, but it's a pretty enjoyable diversion from the ultra-serious business of the regular Marvel universe.
The story here sees Wolvie trash a sushi restaurant while fighting the Lizard (this being a sort of old-school style story, he exposits to anybody nearby about the villain's origins), and, feeling bad about the damage, he volunteers his claws as a replacement for the cook's wrecked knives. This leads to a two-page montage of him preparing sushi, accompanied by sound effects like "slice!", "dice!", and "chop!" He then goes on a quest to find the cook's missing father, who disappeared on a trip to find some of the secret ingredient that had once made their restaurant so popular. This leads to some large-scale monster fighting and other goofy antics, none of which get taken very seriously.
As for the art, Richard Elson does a decent enough job of making things funny and enjoyable, but as with the writing, it's not really anything to write home about. His style is similar to what can be found in the Marvel Adventures line of books, kind of cartoony while still maintaining a "realistic" (that is, detailed and textured, but more light than dark) feel, and aside from a slip-up or two (the worst being when Wolverine's body obscures a "Julienne!" sound effect, ruining a good joke), gets the job done. He does make Wolverine kind of ugly, which suits this kind of humorous story, and any violence is relatively bloodless, which certainly works best in this atmosphere, and there's one monster design that's pretty striking. Taken cumulatively, the art tips the needle to the positive side of the scale.
Overall, it's pretty fun, but not so hilarious that it's a must-read or anything. If you're seeking a light-hearted romp with a character who doesn't normally do that sort of thing, this is your chance. Don't miss out; you might not get another one. Or do, it's not that big of a deal.
What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!