Savage Wolverine (#21 – 22) – John Arcudi

3 out of 5

The Wolverine-in-war pastiche has been done before; the Wolverine-struggles-with-being-a-vehicle-for-violence is like every other writer’s pursuit with the character.  John Arcudi knows this, and, typical of his approaches, attempts to find a new way to navigate through the norms.  Also unfortunately typical of his approaches, though, the concept gets a little muddied and over-narrated to really work.

It’s The Great War, and Wolvie and another mutant are knowingly employed for their individual abilities.  Our two issues focus on a mission to protect an important bridge, and give Logan fitful dreams of a German soldier, offering him a drink.  Artist Joe Quinones is a bit too cartoonish looking (in both his line art and his choice of a lighter color palette) to sell the grit of the action I think John was hoping for, here, resulting in very weightless battles leading up to the bridge encounter.  Combined with John’s wordy voice for Logan – doing a lot of showing and telling – the needed mystery of these dreams also falls flat.

But: the duo provide a generally mature tone, and for the second issue, when Wolvie is confronted with the humanity of his ‘enemy’ – which is where John tries to subvert things, by really muting the whole good guy / bad guy / win / loss element – the setup gains some of the emotional weight issue 21 couldn’t muster, offering up a relatively resonant ending.