REVIEW: Savage Wolverine #1 (Spoiler Free)

Savage Wolverine #1, cover by Frank Cho, Jason Keith

Savage Wolverine #1, cover by Frank Cho, Jason Keith

Savage Wolverine #1

Story and Art by Frank Cho
Colors by Jason Keith
Letters by Cory Petit

$3.99 / Color

Published by Marvel Comics

As it so often happens in the wake of a blinding flash, Wolverine starts awake in a strange territory he soon surmises as the Savage Land. He retains no memory of the journey there. It’s not long before he encounters the last remnants of a doomed S.H.I.E.L.D. survey team and their guide the She-Devil called Shanna. As you may expect, dinosaurs and heavy-browed neanderthals become an issue instantly and with tremendous frequency.

Savage Wolverine is probably a misnomer. Sure it’s set in the wilds of the Savage Land, but this Frank Cho showcase doles out its carnage with discouragingly fluffy domesticity. That it doubles as a lite serving of cheesecake might’ve explained the tempered ferocity, but the curious tone is so colorless and sterile that any real appeal fails to surface. The ever-bodacious Shanna the She-Devil serves as Wolverine’s foil in this shallow, mirthless retread of, (I suppose) Romancing the Stone. Statuesque and curvy in her typically revealing animal skins, Shanna’s bombshell appearance doesn’t so much titillate as distract. As it became apparent that she’s the one bona fide instance of cheesecake in the book, both visually and tonally, I spent much of the time concerned about such unsexy things as practicality and bruising.


From Savage Wolverine #1

Cho employs relentlessly boxy layouts throughout, pages broken into an array of measured snapshots. In action sequences, each panel offers a closeup on the impact of a jab or stab. Unfortunately, the artist’s labored rendering, the bold lines and precision, detracts from the intended dynamism. It’s often quite stunning, but that pinup perfection only results in a conspicuous onslaught of grids; a stuttering slideshow in lieu of visceral movement. Logan’s frantic melee encounters with velociraptors and pterosaurs cry out for ragged edges, passioned expressions of visual hyperbole. Instead, the violence reads as not coolly clinical, but bloodless. Regardless of any plasma spurting in a given moment. This isn’t craven vice speaking either. The subject matter, even in a book published outside the MAX line, demands Wolverine present at his feral peak. Bob Barker got to him first.

That sterility extends to the writing, which sees oodles of exposition relayed in the most tired methods available. An attempt at depicting Logan’s deductive reasoning in caption boxes feels forced, veering closer to Sherlock Holmes territory. The caper itself involves the usual cursed frontiers and native shamans summoning attack dinos. There’s simply nothing to latch onto here, especially given the glut of terrific ongoings in the Marvel NOW! line, Wolverine’s pervasive appearances throughout, and a heritage of far more enticing adventures in this same locale.

Even if you’re looking for a simple plate of cheesecake, there are simply better options available.

Story: 2 / Art: 2 / Overall: 2

(Out of 5 Stars)




  1. Nothing makes me want to read a comic less than the phrase “Savage Land” it’s always a snooze.

    • This book will be cancelled soon. How many books does Wolverine need anyway? This idea of him in the Savage Land would have worked better as a mini series as far as a publishing strategy is concerned.

    • Honestly, I though I was the only one who felt like that. I’ve never enjoyed a story that had anything to do with the Savage Lands.

  2. Wow, a very interesting review. Although I’m a big Wolverine fan, I did get a vibe that this one might not be for me, and I ended up not pulling it. I’ll be curious to hear what others think about it. Is Savage Wolverine ongoing?

    Really looking forward to the Cornell/Davis title.

  3. I like Frank Cho’s art, but he’s never been on a book I enjoy enough to read for more than a few issues. Does he just pick sucky assignments? Or is he unlucky? Or am I just weird?

  4. i read 4 x-men books so i didn’t pull it might pick the first issue and go from there.i will also try avenging spiderman.

  5. The only Wolverine in the Savage Land you need is:
    Wolverine: The Jungle Adventure
    by Walter Simonson and Michael Mignola

  6. Huh. I can certainly believe the story is a thud, because Cho never cares much for a serious plot in his superhero books. Its hard to swallow that his art isn’t reasonably high quality though. Perhaps he just needs better direction (than his own) to tell a story properly.

  7. Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    The art loses major points for the sheer lack of dynamism. It’s flat. Pinup after pinup. That’s not good cartooning.

  8. Are they still on the Savage Land??

  9. I liked the idea of Wolverine with Shanna the She Devil but art:2? Cho’s art looks fine in the preview images but I was afraid the story would be thin as well as Wolverine Max and probably the self titled Wolverine too, maybe they should just put him on a shelf for awhile (lol $$$$) seeing how he’s in a few other good books, one with his name in the title and doesn’t need a solo run right now, just my opinion but know the ringmasters at Marvel will never let this happen as long as ppl buy his solo adventures no matter how poorly done. Welcome to the machine.

  10. I was considering picking this up. Guess not. The review seems accurate and we’ve got Cornell’s Wolverine series coming soon anyway.

  11. Even if this was going to be the greatest comic of all time there is no way this series is going to last. Frank Cho on anything is going to take a million years to finish, if it ever will. I give it three issues before we all ask where the hell is the fourth.

  12. I want to thank you for this review. i am a big paul cornell fan, but not a fan of this idea. Thanks again, this will keep my pull list affordable.

  13. Fred Savage Wolverine. I’d read that.