Phil Jimenez continues his exploration of poaching and black market trade filtered through the eyes of Logan in “Savage Wolverine” #13. Unfortunately, this issue isn’t as crisp and clean as the first issue in terms of story and art.
Wolverine confronts Tyger Tiger about the illegal animal artifact trade filtering through Madripoor and tries to make a case with his frequent ally by mutilating himself with her hand. Jimenez reaches a little far at this point, adding unnecessary shock and gore to a comic that is filled with more than enough shock in the form of piles of animal pelts, tusks and horns. At the end of their confrontation, Tyger Tiger is less than a plot device, while Wolverine becomes a desperate, rudderless character without conviction.
The story of Wolverine’s interaction with the herd of elephants throughout time is imaginative, but could too easily slip into being corny and dismissible. Weaving in a connection to Kraven, Jimenez seems to be trying to touch a number of bases or check off a list of requirements in “Savage Wolverine” #13. The writer includes an explanation of elephant communication, a reminder of other travesties and crimes against humanity that parallel or compete with poaching, an appearance by Kitty Pryde and Cypher, and the aforementioned goriness with Tyger Tiger.
On the art side, Jimenez delivers some stunning layouts and page designs, but with a quartet of assisting “finishers,” the art is inconsistent and messy. The storytelling suffers for the occasionally spectacular composition as it meanders from past to present and Africa to Jean Grey School to Madripoor. There is a wide array of subject matter and character present to entice the readers to continue on, with visual surprises along the way, but I can’t help but wish the book was completed by Jimenez as some of the finishers on “Savage Wolverine” #13 just don’t finish as well as Jimenez himself.
“Savage Wolverine” #13 attempts to deliver a message about the hazards facing endangered animals, but instead comes across as a collection of ideas that ring hollow and distinctively preachy as it falls into the dangerous area of solving real-word problems in an almost magical manner. This isn’t Wolverine curing cancer, nor is he undoing terrorist attacks, but he is waging a war against poaching that seems to stand a good chance of being successful. Instead of delivering one very focused story, Jimenez is most likely trying to seed hope and raise awareness to a cause. Instead of jamming in Kraven and Kitty Pryde and the feel good moment with the X-Men, “Savage Wolverine” #13 would have benefitted from committing to a story and fleshing it out more completely.