Overview

Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk #1

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Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk #1

Credits

  • Words: Damon Lindelof
  • Art: Leinil Francis Yu
  • Inks: Leinil Francis Yu
  • Colors: Dave McCaig
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Dec 21, 2005

Marvel grabs yet another popular Hollywood name to write a high-profile book. Fortunately, this one knocks his premiere out of the park.

I love Lost. So, when this project was announced and I saw that Lost co-creator and executive producer Damon Lindelof (a self-professed comic fan) would be writing, I knew I was buying. Then Marvel decided to release the "money shot," which on the one hand was very cool and on the other left me wondering how the situation with one of the characters’ notoriously unbreakable anatomy was going to be rectified. Thankfully, the convincing answer came on page four--a page after said incident. And from there, I was hooked.

The story is told in non-linear fashion, starting with Logan alone atop the Himalayas in his…dichotomous condition, and jumping backward in time to when he was hired by Nick Fury to track down and eliminate the previously thought dead Bruce Banner. There, Logan learns that the Hulk has been wreaking havoc on international grounds and the cover-ups for incidents aren’t quite working. Hulk is publicly notorious for killing over 800 people in New York City, so he is effectively a terrorist…and thusly, must be stopped at all costs. With the aid of a somberly compliant Betty Ross and a concerned but certainly willing Jen Walters (which I think is an Ultimate debut), Logan gets to work on tracking the Un-jolly Green Giant. The journey takes Logan to strange places and an even stranger revelation about where the Hulk has been spending his free time.

Damon Lindelof has openly stated how much he adores Mark Millar’s work in comics. Whether this is a love letter to the Ultimates, I have no idea. However, Lindelof’s portrayal of the central characters--Logan and Fury in particular--comes off as very Millar-like, only with less over-the-top comic-style dialogue. The fantastic spoiler splash of Logan getting ripped in half occurs on the second page, and in turn ignited some internet flaming on whether or not Lindelof knew how Wolverine’s powers worked. The ensuing pages seem to answer that in a most concise manner. The pacing for the remainder of the story may seem a little pedestrian, but the reader does get to learn a little about Bruce/Hulk and how he not only has affected the world but also those who have had the apparent dishonor (with the exception of Betty, who seems to feel responsible for her ex) of being around him. There’s never really a dull moment.

All in all a great artistic combination is on hand. Leinil Francis Yu has had only one mainstream comic that I am familiar with at all--Superman: Birthright, with Mark Waid. Not being a big Supes fan, I did little more than glance through some of the issues from time to time. Yu’s artwork there was decent but not particularly noteworthy, good or bad. Here, though, with the dark nature of the story at hand, Yu shines. Looking at Birthright next to Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk, you would be hard-pressed to see the same artist. However, knowing that the two works are by the same artist makes you appreciate how Yu approaches his storytelling and the characters within. I highly doubt that the lovely art is all Yu’s doing, though. Dave McCaig does a wonderful job, too. He enlivens the story by tempering even the most lighthearted panels with a gritty and even surreal coloring scheme.

It seems there is a lot of trepidation when "Hollywood-types" get involved with comic books. Sure, they can potentially bring in new readership, but if the story is terrible these new readers are liable to leave the medium without looking back. If anyone is trying comics for the first time based on Lindelof’s first offering, I would have to venture a guess that they will be around for at least another month.

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