By: Frank Cho (Writer/Artist), Jason Keith (Colorist)
The Story: Hulk arrives, Wolverine tries to fight him and some kind of ancient evil is unleashed out of the Savage Lands.
The Review: I had told in the previous review I wrote about this series a theory in which I told that Wolverine was kind of inconsequential to the story. In a way, I was mildly joking and I thought myself very clever when I pointed out that besides giving us action, he did not do much to advance the plot, leaving Shanna and Amadeus Cho the luxury of actually explaining what was happening to us. While it was a bit on the nose, it did not exactly detract from the enjoyment of the story.
As it turns out, I was right, albeit not entirely: none of the characters here actually mattered. While it may sound harsh and exceptionally unfair for me to say, I dare anyone to read this issue and then to just try to see why exactly the story needed Wolverine, Shanna, Amadeus Cho or even Hulk in there to explain its concepts. Basically, there is a lot of fighting between Hulk and Wolverine, which leads to the ancient evil sealed in the Savage Lands to wake up and go out in space. The end.
I am not kidding at all, which makes it all the more unfortunate. The build up to the ancient evil was actually enjoyable, as did the growing sense of humor and the more visceral and bestial action that had been peppered up throughout this story. All that, however, has been thrown away to give us a rushed up conclusion that tease for things to come, yet cannot properly conclude the character arc or even the many reasons as to why these very persons where hand-picked to penetrate the Savage Lands.
Perhaps the reasons why some were picked are obscure, yet it is easy to see why Hulk and Wolverine were picked: popularity and action. The only reason why Hulk is even featured in this issue, which is the only thing he actually does in this issue, is fighting. While an action scene can be something entertaining to read and, let’s face it, action is what superheroes live for; it has to have some kind of meaning behind it. Here, it seems only to be padding out the issue until the conclusion arrives. Sure, the fighting is used as a reason as to how the big evil being is escaping in the first place, but it is not actually explained in details or even shown, as it is rather told to us with nothing more than a single line thrown in. I never thought I’d say that, but a comic featuring Wolverine and Hulk actually disappointed me to no end.
It’s a shame, though, as the art is as gorgeous as it ever was, with big panels and big expressive faces and action. The scale of each character is pretty good, as is the panel layout, which is still inventive, yet in an essentially minimalistic way. It’s still a gorgeous book, especially with Jason Keith giving us some very vivid colors to add to the more bombastic action and huge characters shown to us.
The Conclusion: Great art cannot save a book from having a rushed and anticlimactic conclusion. As much as the action is good-looking, it serves close to no purpose if it does not add anything to the plot, which Cho seems to have forgotten.
Hugo Robberts Larivière