Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk #3
Writer: Damon Lindelof
Artist: Leinil Francis Yu
Colors: Dave McCaig
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Cover artists: Leinil Francis Yu (regular)/Adam Kubert (variant)
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $2.99 US
It’s been so long since the original publication of the first two issues of Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk that the series has taken on almost a legendary status in the world of delayed super-hero comics (though Kevin Smith’s perpetually unfinished Daredevil: The Target will no doubt be seen as the King of Comics That Never Were). The biggest selling point of this study in excess was that it’s penned by Damon Lindelof, co-creator of TV’s Lost. When the series began, the show was at its zenith of popularity, and while it’s still going strong, the bloom is off the rose a bit. As a result, readers and retailers are left with loud comic book set in a shared continuity that’s in the process of being dismantled in Jeph Loeb and David Finch’s poorly received Ultimatum. There is some entertainment to be gleaned from these pages, but I can’t help but wonder what the point of the exercise is now.
Struggling to maintain consciousness and focus after the Hulk tore his body in two, a legless Wolverine nevertheless faces off against his gamma-irradiated target. But the Hulk isn’t the same monster Wolverine was expecting. Now the green-skinned giant is intelligent and cunning, though Wolverine finds a way to bring out the Hulk’s inner monosyllabic, smashing self. Little do either of them know that a new player is about to enter the fray, one with an apparent connection to the Hulk.
Yu’s art for this comic book is much stronger than what we saw from him in some issues of Secret Invasion. I can only assume this is due to the fact that this title boasts a much more management cast of characters. I like that Yu conveys a newfound level of intellect in the Hulk’s face, especially when it’s contrasted with his emotional and cognitive meltdown later in the issue. Still, even Yu can’t make a legless Wolverine look cool; his stumpy face-off with the Hulk looks laughable.
Lindelof’s story is all about presenting the most over-the-top, incredible notions on the fringe of the super-hero genre. Thus, Wolverine torn in ‘twain. I realize this is meant to convey the intensity, strength and endurance of the characters, but ultimately, it just comes off as silly. It was one thing for us to watch Wolverine crawl up a mountain to find his lower half for the better part of a previous issue. It’s another to keep dwelling on such a ridiculous notion in this subsequent chapter. The achronological approach the writer takes with the script is probably meant to convey Wolverine’s trauma and confusion, but instead, it’s the reader who’s left dazed, confused and hurting. Honestly, the disjointed flow of the plot and the frustrated tone in the narration seem purposely symbolic of the audience’s understandable frustration with the clusterfuck this project has become after such a long delay.
Despite the problems with clarity, there are some interesting ideas at play here. Lindelof’s introduction of “new” character — new to the Ultimate universe, anyway — is intriguing, mainly because I find I’m curious about how he’s retooled and changed this familiar character. Furthermore, an intelligent Hulk who devolves into a mindless brute when he loses control of his emotions work well. The madder Hulk gets, the stupider Hulk gets. No one is stupider than Hulk!! However, what Wolverine hopes to accomplish by pressing those buttons isn’t clear at all. Facing off against Hulk-sans-brains doesn’t prove to be any sort of an advantage. 5/10