The following is my review of Savage Wolverine #6, which was posted on PopMatters.com.
Here’s something that a number of media properties haven’t figured
out yet. Are you ready? Here goes…it’s not always necessary for the
lead male character to have a love interest. Shocking, I know. Take as
much time as needed. It’s also shocking how writers have such a hard
time of telling a compelling story that doesn’t involve some guy trying
to hook up with some girl or vice versa. I’m all for romantic sub-plots.
Heck, I even write them myself. But I also understand that it’s not
always necessary to tell an awesome story. And that’s where I come in
with Savage Wolverine.
This series takes Wolverine away from being an X-man, an Avenger, and
a guy who occasionally does some solo heroics so that he can get in
touch with his true nature. And for him, his true nature involves him
being a snarling, violent, ill-tempered brute that you still want to
love, hug, and have a beer with. That has always been part of his
mystique. What’s more, there are already plenty of stories about
Wolverine tempest-tossed on the waves of relationships. Going all the
way back to Chris Claremont and Frank Miller’s Wolverine. And
some of those stories are pretty good. But there’s nothing essential
rescuing the damsel in distress when it comes to Wolverine. So it
shouldn’t be the case that only these kinds of stories are told about
The first arc of Savage Wolverine succeeded in telling a simple,
gritty Wolverine story where he interacted with a beautiful woman
wearing nothing but a bikini. Yet there were no romantic or sexual
undertones. Wolverine and Shanna the She-Devil toiled in the Savage Land
to find an alien artifact and while they failed miserably in the end,
they did it without it turning into a bad porno. This arc ended up
establishing one of the best Wolverine series I’ve seen in recent
memory. It’s Wolverine without the emotional baggage that turned him
into an Edward Cullen wannabe in the movies and that’s the Wolverine
that we all know and love and love to hate.
But now that arc is over. Now Savage Wolverine #6 begins another arc that involves another hot female co-star. Elektra, she of Daredevil and more recently Thunderbolts
fame, is the new alpha female of this arc. She’s also the one that sets
it into motion by revealing that whoever was hired to guard Bullseye’s
dead body needs to be fired. Like Shanna, her presence in this comic
adds a nice blend of estrogen-powered awesome to a series based on
someone who has more testosterone in his pinkie finger than most men
This issue also highlights just how different Wolverine is from his
fellow Avengers. Like the first Savage Land arc, there’s a nice bit of
internal narration that helps offer some unique perspective into
Wolverine’s thought process. Without it, he would just be another
snarling beast who got hacked off because someone other than Cyclops
handed him his butt. He knows that he’s a killer. He knows that he’s not
a hero on the same level as the Avengers. And that sort of thing often
gets lost in the whole spectacle of having such a diverse cast in books
like the Avengers or Wolverine & the X-Men. Sure,
Hawkeye may have an attitude, but Wolverine has both an attitude and
serious issues that no amount of therapy could treat.
This sort of perspective on Wolverine is compelling. What isn’t so
compelling is how Spider-Man is shoehorned into the story. Reading this
issue gives the impression that the events of Superior Spider-Man are
being completely ignored. That may be music to the ears of those who
utterly despise what Dan Slott has done to Peter Parker as of late, but
in this comic it’s a distraction. So when Elektra shows up asking for
Wolverine’s help, we get an entire page of Spider-Man making a total
fool of himself. If this was meant to add a touch of humor to the book,
it failed miserably.
The conflict that Elektra drags Wolverine into is deadly serious. The
Kingpin may now be the leader of the Hand, but for whatever reason they
question his strength. Now I have no idea why they would question the
strength of a crime lord whose pants are probably stronger than any of
his predecessors. I guess it must be a ninja thing. But the Hand’s
snooty lawyer (every evil organization has to have one) says that he
must face some kind of twisted ninja arbitration. It sounds like an
extreme version of Judge Judy, but it’s apparently a big deal and the
Kingpin has never taken challenges to his power lightly.
It sets the stage for some interesting challenges and some more
interesting insight for Wolverine, but it falls short in the end when
the nature of Elektra’s mission is revealed to him. Even though
Wolverine is a killer and a brute who doesn’t think things through, even
he has to understand why this mission is bound to be a painful failure.
The setup of this issue is compelling. The characterization for
Wolverine and Elektra is spot on. But the details are what’s lacking.
And an entire page was wasted on Spider-Man. Moreover, there’s still no
romantic overtone between Wolverine and Elektra. While he refers to her
as a “kindred spirit” that understands what it’s like to be a killer,
he’s just fighting alongside her without without even the suggestion of
romance getting in the way. It’s a refreshing take on Wolverine that
shies away from clichés and as much as it does misogyny.
Final Score: 7 out of 10.
Thanks again PopMatters.com!