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‘Savage Wolverine’ Solidifies Crucial Function As Continuity-Free Artist Spotlight With Jock Takeover In September

Marvel confirmed this week in a USA Today piece that following Joe Madureira and Zeb Wells’ two-issue stint, Savage Wolverine will feature a three-part arc written and drawn by Jock, the great British artist known for his work on Vertigo’s The Losers, DC’s Batman: The Black Mirror, and numerous covers illustrations throughout the entertainment business. Beginning in September, Jock’s story will find Wolverine marooned on an alien world in the distant future. The premise is totally disconnected from the way the character’s being presented elsewhere in the Marvel line, and that’s one of the reasons we’re really looking forward to it, and why the Savage Wolverine book is emerging as one of the publisher’s most important titles.

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Savage Wolverine launched earlier this year with a lavish five-part serial created by Liberty Meadows cartoonist Frank Cho, who used the always popular stage of a Wolverine comic to express the ideas and images that fascinate him as an artist and tend to bring about his best work, like exotic settings, ferocious animals and lusciously rendered human figures (particularly female figures). Next week the title welcomes longtime fan-favorite Joe Madureira, who with writer Zeb Wells will turn in a wholly different sort of Wolverine story — but one that, like Cho’s, is designed less around propelling the title towards any specific editorial goals beyond giving the artist a platform to do what he does best.

In the case of Madureira and Wells, it’s something to do with ninjas and magic and enemies rising from the dead, doubtlessly depicted in a super-flashy, highly kinetic style. In the case of Jock, it’s a science fiction story about a man who literally can’t change trying to survive in a world that’s changed irrevocably.

“Logan has the power of regeneration as we know, but he’d only ever be able to regenerate his own cells,” Jock told USA Today. “So what if thousands, maybe even millions of years in the future, the world around him has continued to evolve, and he’s left literally, a Neanderthal man?”

The news speaks to our hope that following Cho’s departure, Savage Wolverine would reimain something of an auteur spotlight, where creators like these can indulge themselves without the limitations of the editorial edicts and narrative/stylistic continuity applied to most of Marvel’s line. It’s a fabulous format not just for creators but also for their fans, who if they’re like us just enjoy seeing these talents cut loose on familiar characters. It’s an approach that DC Comics made the most of for years with its classic Legends of the Dark Knight series, which has found renewed success as a digital-first series along with the similarly structured Adventures of Superman.

Savage Wolverine editor Jeanine Schaefer would seem to share a similar vision for her title, telling USA today that she “wants the book to be a project where creators with very distinct points of view can come in and stretch their legs.”

It’s apparently an ideal scenario for Jock, so’s quoted as saying, “As Jeanine put it: ‘Come in, tell the story, drop the mic and leave.’ ”

Joe Madureira and Zeb Wells’ first of two issues of Savage Wolverine go on sale next week in local comics stores and digitally. Jock’s arc begins in September’s issue #9, which can be pre-ordered now at finer comics shops.

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