Friday, April 4, 2014


Writer & Artist: Frank Cho | Colorist: Jason Keith | Letterer: VC's Cory Petit
Assistant Editor: Jennifer M. Smith | Editor: Jeanine Schaefer
Group Editor: Nick Lowe | Editor-in-Chief: Axel Alonso
Chief Creative Officer: Joe Quesada
Publisher: Dan Buckley | Executive Producer: Alan Fine

Yes, I titled the post "Kill Island" but I listed the story's title as "Savage". Don't ask me to explain it. The story is clearly titled "Savage" within each of Cho's five issues of SAVAGE WOLVERINE, but Marvel's hardcover and trade paperback editions were both published under the title "Kill Island" -- which is a blurb on the cover of issue #3. I agree that "Kill Island" is a much cooler name, but the confusion over the story's actual title seems odd.

Anyway, moving on. I was shocked and pleased to find that there's an actual story here! The adventure begins with Shanna (the real Marvel Universe version of the character) guiding a group of SHIELD agents on a mapping expedition in the Savage Land. Their aircraft crashes on a mysterious island. Eight months later, Wolverine is teleported to the island and teams up with Shanna, the last survivor of the expedition, in an attempt to get off the island. Amadeus Cho, a supporting character in the Hulk's comics from recent years, arrives as well, and then eventually the Hulk himself shows up.

The story ends with our heroes battling a giant alien which was imprisoned on the island millennia before. Unfortunately, the group is ineffective and the alien escapes to inform its master that it has found a new planet for him to conquer.

Now, doesn't this sound much more exciting than Shanna running around and killing dinosaurs for seven straight issues? There's a real plot here, as our heroes learn that an energy dampening field surrounds the island, and later find out -- too late -- that the field's purpose was to imprison an alien visitor. Cho even sets up a sequel. I'm curious if and when Marvel will give him the opportunity to follow up on this tease, as I found "Kill Island" to be a very fun story, and I'd be happy to read a potential follow-up.

Cho's Shanna is as sexy as ever, and he draws a fantastic Wolverine, as well, depicting him in his modern day costume -- though I don't understand why he has to wear laced boots instead of the cool "winged" boots he used to sport. Those matched his costume. The blue military boots here look out of place with the rest of the outfit. I also question Cho's choice of having Wolverine lose the upper part of his costume, but not his mask. I've seen other artists go this route over the years. The character just looks weird bare-chested but masked.

Much as I enjoyed the story and art, however, I do have a few minor complaints. One is -- just as with Cho's previous SHANNA THE SHE-DEVIL series -- a lack of backstory. We get the origin of the island, which is nice, but there's very little explanation for Amadeus Cho. He apparently wears a nice suit which has an artificial intelligence built into it. I'd never read a comic featuring the character before now, however, and after reading this series he remains a cypher. I knew of him in passing and I thought he used to be a teenager? Cho draws him as a twenty-something to my eye.

Anyway -- essentially I feel as if Cho wrote Amadeus's appearance here with the intention that readers would say, "Hey, it's Amadeus Cho! I love this guy from all the HULK comics I read which featured him, and I already know all about him!" My response was more along the lines of, "Hey, it's Amadeus Cho! I've heard of him but know nothing about him! I hope this series will enlighten me." Which, obviously, it didn't. Though I did learn that he's a Forty-Niners fan, so that's cool.

Also, the explanation for how Wolverine, Amadeus, and the Hulk were teleported to the island was glossed over. The island's natives have a theory that the imprisoned alien occasionally stirs in his sleep and does it subconsciously, grabbing people it thinks might be able to free it. I assume we should take this theory as fact since it's never debunked -- but it's not exactly confirmed, either.

Lastly, Cho's scripting is a little stiff in places, and Wolverine's inner monlogue is way off from how the character is normally written. But it's fairly easy to ignore those caption boxes and not lose any of the story, so I'm okay with that.

All of the above are really pretty minor quibbles though, in an otherwise fun story. Cho even manages to throw in some humor with Shanna expressing surprise when Wolverine uses one of his belt pouches to actually hold something, and later when she says she always thought he'd be taller, like that movie star, Hugh Jackman.

Every so often I find something from current Marvel which I enjoy, but they tend to be one-shots and mini-series rather than ongoings. "Kill Island" -- esentially a mini-series within an ongoing -- is such a story. I can enthusiastically declare that it is not terrible, and I would be willing to read the sequel if it's ever created and if it ever finds its way to Marvel Unlimited.

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