REVIEW: Ultimate Wolverine vs. Sabertooth
Are they father and son? Brothers? Clones? It all depends on which incarnation of Wolverine and Sabertooth you are reading or watching. Their battles have been so frequent that it takes a lot these days to get you to pay attention to the banter and slashing.
Don’t let the title fool you since this is not the Ultimate Universe version of Wolverine but the Marvel Universe incarnation and the story is taken from Wolverine #50-55, one of the first stories written by Jeph Loeb when he returned to Marvel. Set at a time when there were just under 200 mutants on Earth, Sabertooth had been taken in by the X-Men but as one would expect, the Xavier Mansion is not big enough for the two bruisers. So they fight. And fight. And flashback to other fights through the years. And they fight. And they fight Black Panther and get lectured by Storm. And in the end, Sabertooth dies. For a little while anyway.
Loeb and artist Simone Bianchi crafted a fine fight for the duo that fans adored and inspired Marvel to turn into a Motion Comic. Now that conflict is being collected on Blu-ray by Shout! Factory, being released on Tuesday. The resurrection of Sabertooth took place some five years later, pretty long for a dead villain.
As with the other motion comics that have come from Marvel, they have been as dependent on the motion technology as they are with the artwork used as source material. Jae Lee’s fine work didn’t translate well in Origin and Bianchi’s similar work made me question how successful this could be. Thankfully, his dark, painterly style works far better – not great, but better.
The 66 minute slug fest faithfully adapts the story although once more, the vocal casting leaves something to be desired. The score helps a lot.
The disc also comes with a 24:00 retrospective as Loeb and Bianchi recount how they partnered up and struggled to find a fresh way to have these two engines of destruction fight one another without boring the reader. Both speak well and it’s a well-done piece that relies too heavily on clips and has Loeb practically begging you to take Motion Comics seriously.