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Marvel Knights: Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk
Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk is one of the more peculiar titles to spring up over the last several years of comic books published through Marvel Comics. The short series was planned to be a short six-issue run that would be published bi-monthly. When it was originally solicited to be published things went fine for the first two issues, published in 2006. Then with issue three it became delayed, delayed, and, um... more delayed. It just kept being pushed back. The final issue ended up arriving in 2009. Flash-forward to 2013, and we now have an adaptation of Marvel's successful (if strangely scheduled) comic series that pitted the famous characters against each other and it should help to introduce some new fans to the comic mini-series.
The comic has a basic premise but a good one that was full of potential. The comic was to explore events following a rampage by Hulk that led to the deaths of many through some massive 'incidents'. These incidents of mass destruction left him a target of S.H.I.E.L.D., someone who was no longer considered on their team. Hulk is now a renegade from the incredible team he once resided on.
Logan (a.k.a. Wolverine) is summoned by Nick Fury to take down the Hulk. Fury agrees and it isn't long before a big dueling battle begins between the two super-forces. As the story of what happened is more explored, the story becomes more intriguing with some nice surprises, twists, and turns along the way to the big conclusion.
The project was conceived of by writer Damon Lindelof (Lost, Star Trek: Into Darkness) who began working on the comic while simultaneously show-running the pop-culture phenomenon television series Lost, which he was the co-creator of and the head writer of (along with Carlton Cuse). The comic became a back-burner project that he considered far less important to finish in comparison to focusing on his original television series. Lost was essentially taking up all of his time spent writing.
Yet it was a goal of Lindelof to be able to finish the comic, but the actuality of that goal in terms of setting dates and getting things done were unspectacular, as the comic waded around in its production limbo for years on end. Many fans wondered if the series would ever be finished. Some mega Lost fans even wondered if this would mean the writer would have difficulty finishing up the series they came to love. That's a matter some might still debate today. Regardless, Lindelof finished writing the scripts for Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk's few remaining issues and the comic production went underway after so many years of delay.
Regardless of these productions woes, working to create the comic with the acclaimed animation artist Leinil Francis Yu (New Avengers, X-Men, Wolverine), the project seemed to be one worth consideration by Marvel fans and fans of Lindelof in general. Fans indeed responded positively to the comic and were to find themselves waiting a long time to get to the conclusion of the arc, but the story does resolve, and quite well.
This Marvel Knights Animation production is a motion-comic that adapts and transforms these six issues created over a span of almost four years into a short animated film, utilizing the basic foundations of the comic's art to transform the artistry into a 'moving' animated piece, where the characters speak, occasionally move, and are voiced with dub-actors performing the dialogue of the comic.
For this production, the voices of the two main characters were voiced by Michael Dobson as the Hulk and Brian Drummond as Logan/Wolverine. Both did excellent work at bringing these giant iconic characters to creative realization. The small supporting cast did good work as well, and it helped to make the motion-comic adaptation far more effective than expected.
The big strength behind this release is the original material, though. If you enjoy the work of the writer (who remains comedic and over-the-top in some sensibilities in pop-culture lore) and the animator (who draws the characters with immense detail and uniqueness that is distinct and that capably brings the best out of the scripting), then the chances are good that you will find this as something entertaining -- worth revisiting or discovering. This was certainly a quality animated effort that managed to bring to life the comic material as best as fans of the short-run print series could reasonably expect.
The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen video preserves the original aspect ratio, and is quite good with regards to color reproduction and clarity. The transfer has healthy bit-rates that helped it look modern and impressive without glaring compression issues. The art looks great and the video, while basic by design, is presented more than adequately on this release.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio is pretty good for a standard audio mix. It is surprising immersive for a 2.0 track with good dynamics and utilization of the sound field. The dub work is really well implemented and so are the audio effects.
The lone supplement is a brief interview featuring words on the comic series by a Marvel comics producer and the artist Leinil Francis Yu. This piece is surprisingly entertaining given its brief running time and the only downside is not getting any interview material by Lindelof.
Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk was a brief comic-series that took many years to complete it's publication run. This short motion-comic delivers an adaptation of it all in brief segments that flow well together, playing out like mini-episodes for each comic. It's a good Marvel Knights Animation title, featuring excellent voice-work and good source-material. While this is no way should be considered something that can replace the comic, this is a fun and well made adaptation, featuring good animation that is presented with solid PQ/AQ. There is also a decent featurette exploring the comic's origins and creation. Fans of the characters and Marvel comics will enjoy it.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.