Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk
|Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk|
Cover of Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk #1, by Leinil Yu.
|Publication date||December 2005 to May 2009|
|Number of issues||6|
|Artist(s)||Leinil Francis Yu|
Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk is a comic book miniseries, published by Marvel Comics. The series is set in one of Marvel's shared universes, the Ultimate Universe. It was written by Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof, and illustrated by artist Leinil Francis Yu and colorist Dave McCaig. The title characters square off after Wolverine is contracted by Nick Fury to assassinate the Hulk, who is known to be residing in Tibet. The series features cameos by other Ultimate characters, as well as the introduction of Ultimate She-Hulk.
It was originally planned as a six-issue, bimonthly series. But after two issues, the remainder of the series was postponed until Lindelof finished all of the scripts, and the series began publication again with a new issue in March 2009.
The series takes place between Ultimate X-Men issues 69 and 71 and before Ultimates 2 issue 11. The miniseries is a throwback to Wolverine's comic debut in The Incredible Hulk #180-182.
Wolverine awakens to find his lower half missing, his body having been ripped in half by the Hulk minutes earlier. Using his keen sense of smell, he finds his legs have been thrown to the top of a mountain. As he climbs up a mountain to retrieve his legs, he recalls the events leading up to his current situation.
He recounts meeting Nick Fury, Betty Ross and Jennifer Walters, and being told that the Hulk is alive and responsible for several "incidents" of mass destruction after a public "execution" by S.H.I.E.L.D. Fury gives Logan (Wolverine) the assignment to hunt down and "take care" of the Hulk. Wolverine tracks the Hulk to a small Tibetan village, where the Hulk is found lounging, surrounded by scantily clad women. Upon seeing the Hulk, Wolverine says "Hi, Bruce". (In the 2nd issue this line is delivered from another perspective as "Hello Bruce")
We see the events leading up to the fight between Hulk and Wolverine from Banner's point of view. The comic begins with Banner being left for dead on an off-shore ship, tied down to the deck with a bomb sitting beside him. He transforms into the Hulk at the last minute, and the explosion fails to kill him. The Hulk swims to Omaha Beach, Normandy, France, transforming back into Banner as he reaches the shore.
Banner finds himself drifting from one location to the next, forced to relocate every time he loses control of his temper and transforms into the Hulk. The first time, a Parisian psychologist accuses Bruce of not letting himself get angry over losing Betty, calling him impotent and unknowingly "David", drives him over the edge. The second time he is working as a farm hand and his boss mocks him for eating tofurkey, a tofu turkey substitute. The third time, Bruce musters the courage to call Betty once more, only to have a man answer the phone. He ventures to Tibet in search of the Panchen Lama, a monk along the same line of holiness as the Dalai Lama, who turns out to be a child. The Panchen Lama announces that Bruce is there to find an answer to his problem of changing into the Hulk whenever he gets angry. Panchen Lama explains that it is his duty, upon the Dalai Lama's death, to find his reincarnation, and similarly, it is the Dalai Lama's responsibility to do the same for the Panchen Lama. He then mentions an old proverb about which one discovered the other first, stating that most people know the question in modern times in relation to chickens and eggs. He then asks Bruce 'What if it is not you that changes into the Hulk, but the Hulk that changes into you?'. We then move forward to the point in which the first issue ended, where Logan says 'Hello Bruce', the first time we see the Hulk in the Ultimate Universe in a calm, rational state.
The issue opens with multiple flashbacks and flashforwards to various points during the series, then it shows the confrontation between Hulk and Wolverine from the end of issue #1/issue #2. Hulk and Wolverine have a conversation where Hulk states that he was cured of his anger, (even though as Hulk becomes angrier during the course of the conversation he becomes less articulate) but a parting comment Wolverine makes about Betty Ross enrages Hulk and causes him to tear Wolverine in half. At the top of the mountain, Hulk is waiting and ready to eat one of Wolverine's legs, but before that happens a new arrival is airdropped onto the mountaintop, Ultimate She-Hulk. When asked who she is, her response is simply, "I'm plan B."
Save for the last two pages, the issue consists of advancing flashbacks from the perspective of Betty Ross, including Bruce's attempted phone call and Wolverine's meeting with Fury, jumping to three days prior when Betty unsuccessfully attempts to convince Tony Stark and Steve Rogers to save Bruce from Logan. Two days prior, Dr. Walters has succeeded in producing a version of the Hulk serum which transforms the subject without inducing Hulk-like rage, with Betty the next day attempting to convince General Fury that Dr. Walters is seeking to sell the super-soldier serum to the Chinese. As Betty takes a S.H.I.E.L.D. jet to Tibet, Fury discovers that the Hulk serum has been stolen and angrily orders Betty taken down, but not before she injects herself with the serum and undergoes the transformation into She-Hulk. After landing and announcing "I'm Plan B", Betty reveals her identity much to the horror of Wolverine. This causes an enraged and crying Hulk to state, "Betty break Hulk's heart... now Hulk break Betty!"
The issue begins with Logan, in a dream state, encountering a Panda who claims that he is Logan's Spirit Animal. As the pair come to blows, the Panda says the fight between Bruce and Logan is personal. He also doesn't want Logan to tell the Hulk's last words to the people who cut off his head. Logan wakes up to find he's reduced to just a head on a tray. General Fury angrily attempts to question him on what happened. Logan initially claims he blacked out after the Hulk tore him in half, instead of admitting he was awake for Bruce and Betty's sexual encounter. He then accidentally reveals that he was awake when S.H.I.E.L.D. tried to drop a nuclear bomb on the Hulk. Fury, in an act of rage, shoots Logan in the head.
When Logan wakes up again, this time fully restored, he escapes with the aid of Forge. Instead of thanking Forge for the rescue, Logan demands the mutant make matching his and hers restraint collars to subdue the Hulks. He then lets slip that the Hulk is going to meet Logan again in Casablanca, unaware that Fury is listening in.
Wolverine goes to Casablanca with the collar that Forge created for him and confronts Betty, who had just taken a shower. He tells her to put it on but she refuses, turns into She-Hulk, and the two fight. She gouges out one of his eyes, but he stabs her in the spleen and kidney, and forces her to tell him where Bruce is. She agrees, and then turns back into Betty, and Logan leaves her.
Logan goes to the airport where Bruce is, gets on the same plane, and sits next to him. Logan puts the collar on Bruce, telling him that if he turns into Hulk while the collar is on him, he will choke to death. Bruce asks why Logan simply won't just kill him and get it over with, and Logan says that he doesn't want to kill Bruce, he wants to kill the Hulk. Bruce says that he won't change, and then jumps out of the airplane emergency exit in mid-flight. Logan jumps out after him screaming at him to turn into the Hulk or the fall will kill him. Bruce says that he will only change if Logan cuts off the collar, or else Logan will have to deal with the fact that he simply let "Bruce" and not the "Hulk" fall to his death. Logan, not wanting to be responsible for Bruce's death breaks the collar. Bruce changes to Hulk, holds Logan, and lands on his feet with no harm to either of them.
Nick Fury shows up and tells them that they are free to go. Hulk, confused and angry, grabs Fury and threatens to kill him. Fury says that Hulk is free, because they now have She-Hulk in their possession, and are trying to reverse-engineer what she did to herself. But as long as they have Betty working for them, they know that Bruce will not hurt them, and will always have an incentive to come back and work for S.H.I.E.L.D. Hulk lets Fury go, and Fury leaves. Hulk and Logan talk calmly about how they are going to get back to civilization now that they are in the middle of nowhere. Logan asks if Hulk can pick him up and jump to the nearest town, and Hulk agrees.
Delays in the series
The release schedule of the series met with many delays, starting with Issue 3. It was originally solicited for April 19, 2006, only to be resolicited for May 17. That date came and went, and after about a week with no word on the issue's fate, Marvel announced that it would be released July 12. Further delays caused the issue to be bumped to August 9, then September 20, then October 25, then November 1, November 8, and December 27. Finally it was announced in mid-November 2006 that the third issue of the series had been officially canceled until all of the remaining issues of the mini series are completed.
At a panel at San Diego Comic Con 2008, Quesada and Lindelof announced that all of the remaining issues had been scripted, with Lindelof handing Quesada the final script in front of the audience, and that once Yu had finished his work on Secret Invasion, he would provide artwork for the remaining issues.
In Joe Quesada's weekly blog, he showed a bit of a script from an upcoming issue in the series. In the preview, there is a scene where Ultimate Hulk is making Wolverine choose which leg he would rather Hulk to eat. Quesada also wrote in his blog that Leinil Francis Yu was excited to get started on the series again, after Secret Invasion. The first two issues were rereleased in February 2009 in preparation of the release of the concluding issues. The third issue was finally released on March 4, 2009 with the fourth and fifth issues getting their release in April, and the sixth and final issue released in May 2009, three and a half years after the release of the first.
References in other comics
- In Ultimate X-Men #97, after a fight with Colossus in which he rips off one of Wolverine's legs, Colossus and Wolverine are in the X-Men's sick bay talking over their fight when Wolverine makes reference to when he and the Hulk fought. He explains to Colossus that the Hulk had ripped off the lower half of his body. He says to Colossus "after I healed from that, you should have seen what I did to the Hulk... it was epic."
- The Ultimates 3 #5 makes an oblique reference to the series' unfinished status when Wolverine is caught in combat with Ultron's android copy of the Hulk in the Savage Land. During the fight, Wolverine comments "I kinda wish you were the real Hulk. Me and him got unfinished business."
- In Ultimatum #4, the Hulk and Wolverine finally meet once again - this time in a devastated New York City. The Hulk says "Hulk knows you. Hulk tore you in half!", To this Wolverine replies, "Yup. I was kinda hopin' we weren't going to go through THAT again..." They did not fight, however, as Jean Grey intervened and telepathically convinced the Hulk that he did not want to fight Wolverine, but instead needed his help.
References to Other Works
- Jennifer Walters pays ten thousand dollars to buy a bootleg copy of the new Star Trek film which Lindelof produced.
- Wolverine asks readers if they have seen the film Sophie's Choice, he admits that he has not.
- Banner is called, in different scenes, "David," and later, "Bixby" referring to the Incredible Hulk TV series.
- Tony Stark jocularly suggests the idea of a superhero registration program which Captain America thinks isn't a bad idea, while Stark says the idea is preposterous, both taking opposite stands on the issue compared to their mainstream counterparts, as seen in the superhuman Civil War.
- When Wolverine is having Forge design the collars for Hulk and She-Hulk, Wolverine is very clearly eating from a box of pretzels from the Dharma Initiative. The Dharma Initiative is one of the central parts of the Lost universe which Lindleof co-created.
- Ring, Robert. Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk (review of trade paperback collection), The Sci-Fi Block, April 30, 2010