Friday, December 28, 2012

12 Days of X-Mas: Wolverine: The Jungle Adventure (1990)

On the fourth day of X-Mas, I got you Wolverine by Mike Mignola!

Remember when these prestige bookshelf books were a big deal? I’m sure I didn’t give this one the attention it deserved. I think I already liked Walt Simonson’s writing in 1990, but I don’t think I had the proper reverence for Mike Mignola’s artwork. 

The story is pretty simple. Wolvie travels to the Savage Land to track down the makers of a cyborg that tried to kill him. (Wolvie had a lot more free time back when he was only on the X-Men.) After beating up a local chieftain, Wolvie makes a grand discovery. His prowess in battle and gregarious attitude has won him the affection of that chief; when she unmasks, it turns out Gahck is a zaftig redhead who doesn’t wear a top. 

So Wolvie just chills in the Savage Land for months playing house with this gal, and only gets back on mission after he kills an enormous cyborg tyrannosaur. What a vacation! 

It turns out that Apocalypse had a rogue robot operating in the Savage Land and he wanted it taken out, so he tempted Wolvie up to the jungle with the attack back in the civilized world. Apocalypse’s logic seems unnecessarily complicated, and the villain is almost goofier than I think he should be, but this is still an early appearance.

More interestingly, the final panel shows Gahck holding a baby Wolvie. Has this little fella shown up in anything over the past few years? With Daken dead, I think it’s time to meet this kid again! 

Mike Mignola’s art is tremendous, as always, and he gets to channel some great pulp vibes in this one. Wolverine’s tribe is populated by hulking ape men and stocky human women in bikinis. This is John Carter and Conan wrapped into one. Mignola’s Apocalypse is more impressive in looks than in dialogue, and the blue shading on his armor is unique and impressive. The art alone makes this well worth revisiting. 


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