Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk #1-2 by Damon Lindelof and Leinil Francis Yu

Review by Chris Clow

Three years ago, Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk burst onto the scene and people went mad for it. By literally starting with Logan getting ripped in half, the sheer force of and power of the forthcoming fight was partially realized, and aggressively whet the fans' appetites for the throw-down that would inevitably ensue.

Then, the series was plagued by delays and was seemingly dead on arrival. After over two years of literally hearing meaningless excuses that most thought would lead to the inevitable cancellation of the series, this past year in San Diego,
the fans witnessed new life breathed into the rest of the series literally right before their eyes. Damon Lindelof, writer of the troubled series, slapped down the script to the finale issue #6 right in front of Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada. #3-5 had already been completed, and artist Leinil Francis Yu was hard at work making sure that issues 3-6 would ship on a rigid monthly schedule.

Marvel recently reprinted the first two issues in preparation for the coming March 4th release of issue 3. Not having been a huge Ultimate universe fan, or much of a Marvel fan for that matter, I picked up the first two issues completely cold and decided to read through what so many people seemed to be eagerly anticipating. The most surprising thing for me, is that I loved it. Instead of being 44-pages of fist flying action, the first two-issues gave a decent back-story to why these characters have to fight in the first place.

Lindelof explores the motivations for why certain people belive that the Hulk should be killed, why Wolverine is the right man for the job, and there's only one real reason (at least so far) that Logan decides to take the duty on. Personally, I'm hoping for more of a reason for Wolverine to accept the job, but the reason he gives right off the bat is at least in-character.

Yu's artwork does a very good job of showing emotion, it always has. My critiques of his work lie more in character designs. Other than the Hulk, the most non-Human character in this story, all the people look relatively similar. Like his wor
k on Secret Invasion, and even going back to my favorite story featuring his art in Mark Waid's Superman: Birthright, Yu's strengths are detail in action (not just fighting but even simple movement) and emotive characters. Hulk's anger is very easily visible throughout the series. Wolverine's shock, not only at the beginning of issue #1 where he sees that he's little more than a torso with arms and a head, but also at the end of issue #2 when he encounters Hulk, is very clear and almost empathetic.

The bottom line is that I recommend this series sin
ce it's a surprisingly good character study, and the forthcoming fight between two of the most brutal characters in Marvel's stable promises to be, in a word, epic.

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