19 Jul 2013

Cover To Cover: SAVAGE WOLVERINE #7

SAVAGE WOLVERINE #7
Writer: Zeb Wells
Art: Joe Madureira & Peter Steigerwald
Marvel $3.99

Stewart R: If we were to undertake a study of Marvel characters appearing in multiple titles simultaneously over the course of a year, we could pretty much assume that the Canadian killing machine known as Logan is going to be comfortably in the top five, probably top three and may even make a fight for top spot depending on the schedule. With that many appearances we get to see a wide range of writers’ takes on the adamantium-infused furball, all based around a shared and agreed mythos and with a certain understood voice in mind. Let you in on a little secret guys and gals; when reading Savage Wolverine this week, I actually said to myself ‘Now that is actually and precisely the portrayal of Wolverine that I see and hear in my head when I think of that character!’

The direct internal dialogue of Logan through this latest issue cuts right to the heart of the beast within this all too familiar puckish killer, as he explains the inner workings of his berserker rage, the point at which it awakens and even his occasional misunderstandings and misconceptions about his abilities. Zeb Wells also nails the actual voice of Wolverine, the narrated musing of his personal workings delivered shortly, sharply and coloured by plenty of g-dropping. It’s the perfect Logan dialect without finding the need to drop in the constantly overused ‘Bub’ to punctuate the fact. Wells even manages to get all of this Wolverine focus in while at the same time delivering a pounding script that rather strangely has the titular character involved, but more or less just in for the ride while the plot drives onwards and without him on occasion.

That could be seen as a problem, yet Wells’ plot simply oozes golden ingredients everywhere from Hand ninja to resurrection schemes and mystical nasties; it’s the perfect backdrop for a Wolverine team up and that menu is arguably how you get the very best out of Joe Madureira as an artist and, to be honest with you, I think this is pretty much the very best that we’ve seen from Madureira in many a year. This is only a guess, but I’d swear that he seems to be having fun with this story as it plays to all of his strengths with visceral action, strong character design and brooding darkness the order of the day. The highpoint of this latest issue sees a great Wolverine moment conjured up by Wells - involving Shikaru the Mute -  which truly works because Madureira paces and delivers his panels impeccably well and captures the most subtle of expression changes on all involved to add a superb moment of levity to a threatening moment.

My first read through was exhilarating and I didn’t notice much of a drop off for my second and third time back through the pages. Wells, Madureira and colourist Steigerwald - who deserves special mention for some effective and muted colour work - all combine here to produce a superhero action comic that bounds along at high speed and yet manages to fit plenty of neat character work in whilst doing so. Wells recently said in a recent CBR interview that this comic book project ranked in the three he’s truly proud of - he’s certainly a hard critic of his own work it seems - and from my position sat in front of a copy of that work I can easily understand why someone could feel proud of producing a comic of this quality. I’ll admit that I’ve not read a great deal of solo Wolverine comics, but Savage Wolverine #7 is one of the finest I’ve certainly read to date. 9/10

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