Posted on Saturday, May 10, 2014
by Paul in x-axis
With this issue, Savage Wolverine drops its format of rotating creative teams with each arc, and brings us a standalone story by Jen Van Meter and Rich Ellis. Van Meter’s a name I haven’t heard in quite some time – she’s best known for the Oni series Hopeless Savages, but that was a good while back.
Savage stories don’t have to take place in present day continuity, which gives the freedom to do stories set throughout the twentieth century. That’s clearly something that attracts a lot of writers, and here we have another historical story. It’s 1963, and there’s tension in a small town because the local bigots want to stop some people who aren’t white from going to a rally. Logan is passing through and sorts it out. Boil it down and that’s basically the plot.
Stories like this may be set in the mid-twentieth century, but they cast Logan in the role of a quasi-Western wandering lone gunman. It’s a slot that his lone-wolf persona fits quite nicely, but that doesn’t stop the result being a fairly generic story in which the hero happens to be the future Wolverine.
At the end, this story tacks on some rather weird additions which are evidently supposed to raise it beyond that generic plot. First, it turns out to be the day of the Kennedy assassination. And granted, the story goes against the cliche of showing Kennedy’s death as a loss of innocence, instead playing up the idea that Kennedy-era America was not very innocent at all. But the bottom line remains that this turns out to be a story about the Kennedy assassination as told from the perspective of characters who were busy doing something else that day, which really doesn’t work.
Second, there’s an awkward last-minute attempt to turn this into a Wolverine story and making it about him. The story really wants us to buy into the idea that Logan learns from this the importance of having friends and decides to hang out with some bikers (who were barely in the story itself at all).
What does that have to do with anything that preceded it? Er, not a lot, except that apparently if you stay isolated from society you might end up by Lee Harvey Oswald. (“That’s what dangerous and alone look like after too long. That what you want?”) This isn’t even particularly historically accurate – Oswald had a family and a job. Granted that the characters watching the TV news wouldn’t know that, it still undermines whatever point the story thinks it’s making here.
This is a fairly standard fill-in issue which tries to go for something bigger in its last few pages, but ends up missing the mark and looking forced in the process. It doesn’t work.