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May 10

“That One Fella, He’s Trouble” – Savage Wolverine #18

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.

Bring on the comments

  1. Joe S. Walker says:

    That usage of adjectives as nouns (“dangerous and alone”) is anachronistic for 1963, too.

  2. ChrisKafka says:

    I almost thought they tacked the ending on just to prove it was the early-1960s. The story really didn’t have anything about it that set it at a specific point in time.
    I think it could easily be read as a modern-day plot. Nothing about Wolverine set him apart from some thing you’d see today, it would just have to be during a phase where Logan was a loner. The events of the story could take place today.
    The ending really didn’t work for me on many levels, not least of which was that it was a sudden change that was wholly unnecessary.
    It almost makes you wonder why the author felt the story had to be in 1963. If the whole point was the ending, that didn’t work as intended.

  3. Reboot says:

    Wot, no Eurovision round-up?

  4. Brian says:

    In Origin III, it will be hinted that Eurovision Round-Up is Sabretooth!

  5. Cory says:

    Love the reviews, but this marks the fourth Wolverine centric review in a row. *dun dun dun*

  6. Nu-D says:

    “That usage of adjectives as nouns (“dangerous and alone”) is anachronistic for 1963, too.”

    Norman Mailer published “The Naked and the Dead” in 1948.

  7. Jamie says:

    “Norman Mailer published “The Naked and the Dead” in 1948.”


  8. Zach Adams says:

    I believe Nu-D is arguing that that title, which uses words in the same way, shows that the use in-story is less anachronistic than Paul thinks.

  9. Nu-D says:

    @Zach. Yes, thanks for explaining my point; I should have connected the dots. Except that it was a commenter above, rather than Paul, who felt that using adjectives as nouns was anachronistic.

  10. Joe S. Walker says:

    I haven‘t read Mailer’s book but I doubt anyone in it says “naked” when they mean “nudity”.

  11. Nu-D says:

    Then there’s the King James translation of the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the poor…blessed are the meek…blessed are the…”

    The point is, adjectives have been serving as nouns at least since modern English has been written.

  12. errant razor says:

    Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
    Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

  13. Jamie says:

    Yes, I’m sure you can find plenty of exceptions on the internet.

    They don’t disprove the rule.

  14. Nu-D says:

    @Jaime — how so? If the assertion is that people did not use adjectives as nouns in 1963, and there are literally thousands of examples of uses of adjectives as nouns, dating back to the 1500’s, how is the assertion not disproven?

  15. errant razor says:

    And what rule?

  16. Jamie says:

    “If the assertion is that people did not use adjectives as nouns in 1963”

    Except that assertion only exists in your desperate mind.

    Move on.

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