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Slash into Savage Wolverine with Phil Jimenez

The writer and artist details his plans for a different kind of story featuring Logan!



Savage Wolverine #12 cover inks by Phil Jimenez

By Ben Morse

While Phil Jimenez may not have indestructible claws or a healing factor, he does share one key quality with Wolverine: passion.

The creator brings an intensity and dedication to his work tantamount to the vigor with which the mutant hero safeguards his ideals and allies. When Jimenez steps in as both writer and artist for a two-issue arc of SAVAGE WOLVERINE beginning in November with issue #12, he’ll take Logan on an adventure exploring a cause very important to each of them.

We spoke with Jimenez about the origins of his SAVAGE WOLVERINE run, his relationship to the character, and what to expect from the story. How did this project come about?

Phil Jimenez: This project came about literally because my editor Jeanine Schaefer sent me a text message at San Diego Comic-Con asking if I'd like to write and draw two issues of SAVAGE WOLVERINE. We met at the Marvel booth and five minutes later the deal was done. I've known Jeanine for a decade now, and worked with her years back on a couple of mega crossover events, and I adore her. So I rather jumped at this chance because I mean, really, who gets offered the opportunity to write and draw Wolverine, one of Marvel's most popular and important characters? Let alone with an editor who has such a good reputation of supporting her artists/creators, and someone who will take my work and make it better. I need an editor like that, who can bring out the best without just completely changing everything. Jeanine is one of those editors, and I'd have been a fool to turn her down.

Uncanny X-Men #109 What's the gist of the story you're telling and where did the inspiration for it come from?

Phil Jimenez: Our story is called "Come Conquer the Beasts" and the gist is simple: for some very personal reasons revealed in-story, Wolverine is gonna tackle the poaching trade in the Marvel Universe, and he's going to find out that some key players in the MU are supporting the senseless slaughter of exotic animals in Africa and Asia. So Wolverine has to tackle politics, culture, and the very, very deep pockets of some international baddies on his personal quest to end this gruesome practice, which is driving many endangered animals to extinction. 

The inspiration for the story will be woven into the prologue; namely, an old series of panels from UNCANNY X-MEN #109. There, Wolverine says he's going hunting, and Storm is appalled that he'd kill innocent animals for sport. But Wolverine sharply corrects her: says he said nothing about killing, and points out that there's a big difference between hunting an animal—communing with it to get close enough to touch it—and just killing it, which takes no skill at all.

That was one of those mind-bending comic moments that literally shaped the way I see the world and the way we navigate through it, and I've always wanted to tell a story with Wolverine based on these few life-changing—for me—panels. What other characters are key to this story?

Phil Jimenez: The story focuses mostly on Wolverine, but expect to see a few other X-Men popping up, namely Kitty Pryde, as well as a few cameos from other Marvel Universe characters past and present. Oh, and we might even see Patch! What locations in the Marvel Universe will you be exploring?

Wolverine and the X-Men by Phil Jimenez

Phil Jimenez: Much of the story will take place in south Africa and southern Asia; Madripoor, particularly, will be an important locale in the story, and Wolverine's historic connections to that country will be a key element of the arc. You're a huge X-Men fan in general, but has Wolverine been among your favorite characters?

Phil Jimenez: While I'm generally a fan of the X-Women—you hear that, Coipel and Lopez?!—I have to say, I'm a big fan of Wolverine, which might surprise people, because he's so not my kind of character, in theory. But Wolverine is one of those wonderful characters who's rich enough and deep enough to tell dozens of different kinds of stories. In this arc, I get to do some hardcore, gritty action; international intrigue; as well as some deeply emotional stuff too, which is always what I'm interested in in stories. I'm shocked at how quickly I was able to "channel" him. I hope fans agree and take a lot from this tale.  

Plus, let's face it, this guy is incredibly fun to draw.

Wolverine by Phil Jimenez Who else is working with you on this story?

Phil Jimenez: This story would never have happened if it wasn't for my friend Scott Lope, an animal welfare activist who has been rescuing exotic animals and placing them in sanctuaries for years. He's also an enormous comic book fan, a huge X-Men fan, and when Jeanine offered me this job, I immediately turned to Scott for help. The story fell into place almost instantly, something that hasn't happened to me in a long time. Not only has he helped me with important plot elements, but he's been an invaluable asset providing information on poaching and its ramifications, which are worldwide. 

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