Graphic Novel Review: Savage Wolverine: Kill Island

Savage Wolverine by Frank Cho

Savage Wolverine by Frank Cho - Credit: Archant

Dinosaurs, jungle women and ancient aliens - all in a day’s work for Wolverine...

(Panini Books)

IF there was ever a comics character who didn’t need further exposure, then it’s probably Wolverine, who features in more monthly titles than any other superhero, from various solo books to his appearances alongside different teams of Avengers and X-Men.

But then can you really have too much of a good thing? Marvel obviously don’t think so, hence the debut of a new series starring the clawed Canadian, with a rotating team of artists and writers offering their own interpretations of the character over the course of a specific story arc.

We kick things off with a five-part adventure by Frank Cho, who handles both the artwork and the scripting, an illustrator perhaps best known for his beautiful women following his work on Liberty Meadows and Shanna the She Devil, but also building up a reputation for precise detailing and realism even in fantastical settings.

Cho combines all these elements in a quirky tale which takes Wolvie to the Savage Land, a jungle preserve hidden in the Antarctic and home to dinosaurs, cavemen and other prehistoric beasts. Created centuries ago by a race of aliens as a hunting ground, it is famously home to Tarzan-wannabe Kazar and his wife Shanna, and has been frequently visited by the X-Men over the years.

Waking unexpectedly on a mysterious island in a remote region of this dangerous realm, it isn’t long before Wolverine joins forces with Shanna, the sole survivor of a SHIELD research expedition brought down by a power-dampening device originating on the island.

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But little do they know that the device is actually maintaining an ancient prison for a being known as a “Dark Walker”, sealed in stasis on the island by one of the giant Celestials, and if the field is damaged in any way then there is nothing to stop this ancient evil from escaping.

Add into the equation the 7th smartest person in the world, young genius Amadeus Cho (no relation to Frank!), and the unexplained presence of a Man-Thing native to the Savage Land, and this is far from your average Wolverine story, but the X-Man is truly in his element when engaged in no-holds-barred fights with velociraptors and Neanderthal warrior tribes, free to unleash the full fury of his deadly claws.

Whether the epithet “Savage” is truly deserved for this title will only be seen in future story arcs, as will the decision to launch another ongoing Wolverine book instead of various mini-series, but Cho has managed to deliver an entertaining debut adventure which actually has deeper implications for the wider Marvel Universe than first impressions might have suggested.

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