Wolverine heads to Africa to take on poachers in "Savage Wolverine" #12 from Phil Jimenez with a writing assist from Scott Lope. In this issue, Logan snuggles up with an elephant, encounters some poached rhinos and makes a return trip to Madripoor, complete with a visit from Tyger Tiger.
The frustration about comics like "Savage Wolverine" #12 is that they seem ultimately futile. A world with a Superman may have averted 9/11. A world with Wolverine devoting time to the cause might not have a poaching presence at all. On the flipside, however, they do bring a certain amount of awareness to a cause that readers might be unaware of and, with talent like Jimenez, withstand the test of time, proving to be enjoyable reads beyond the time in which they're published. Topics like poaching are sure to reach a much smaller audience through "Savage Wolverine" #12 than they would on a national news article, but some comic readers might be ignorant to the plight or the cause, which seems to be what Jimenez targets as he loosely layers a comic book adventure overtop the plot of Wolverine's quest to shut down a poaching ring.
On the art side of things, Jimenez is as detailed as ever, even though the inks are rough, gritty and almost messy. That provides a nice contrast to the ever-sleeker, more digitally polished work filling comic books on the stands today. Jimenez isn't afraid to pour details into his artwork and knows when to dial it back to let the setting rest as the characters carry the story. The artist seems to be making the most of his opportunity to draw Wolverine and fits in panels with Patch, in costume and even in jeans, tank top and a hat. Colorist Rachelle Rosenberg matches Jimenez stroke for stroke, with gorgeous gradients that make the world shown in "Savage Wolverine" #12 pretty beyond the subject matter.
As a fan of the Heroes for Hope concept, I'd love to see that same effort pushed in other directions, get a little press and some publicity in other media prior to orders and make a difference. Let Wolverine be the best at what he does and let's make what he does make a difference. Give comics like this a chance to reach beyond the tight-knit comic reading community. Until that happens, comic books like "Savage Wolverine" #12 will continue to offer equal parts entertainment and frustration. At least with Phil Jimenez on the creative chores, comic books like this favor the entertainment factor.