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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

DVD Review: Wolverine vs. Sabretooth

The motion comic by Marvel Knights illuminates the struggle of these two classic X-Men adversaries. But does it tell enough of the story?

I was excited going into watching Wolverine vs. Sabretooth. After all, it's Wolverine. I knew that this would be a motion comic, which I've had mixed reactions to. Iron Man: Extremus was really good. Spiderwoman was... meh. Both of those lived or died on the pacing and story. That is also true of Wolverine vs. Sabretooth.

My first reaction was that the art of Simone Bianchi doesn't translate well into motion comics. There's something creepy about the way Marvel Knights morphed the faces to make the emotional reactions. Maybe it's because there was already so much emotion in the original drawings, it kind of starts looking like some muscle on top of muscle steroid abuser. Putting emotional movement on top of emotional drawings just makes everything look overdone or morphed out of its humanity.

What's more, although the overall story of how Logan starts to remember where he really comes from, and how he relates to Sabretooth, is interesting, it moves forward like a grandma with the flu on three kinds of cold medicine. The action, the dialog, everything, plods along. There are only 6 episodes, and yet most of them repeat the ending of the previous one, or have flashbacks that show verbatim action we've already seen. This is made worse when watching on DVD, when you literally just heard the exact same story stem 30 seconds prior. You get the feeling this whole story could have been told in half the time, with twice the action. Perhaps this is a limitation of the motion comic medium, as many of these translations suffer from the same plodding pace. Because the animators are limited to the art available, and because comic art only offers slices of the action, letting the reader fill in the blanks, they can't really pace the stories in the way that a video really wants it. There should be twice as much art or more in a video than there is in the comic for the pacing to be correct.

What's also kind of disappointing is that the most interesting part of the story, how Logan and Creed came to be and how they are related, really isn't answered. Of course, comic book readers likely already know the answer, as it's teased by the 22 minute bonus interview with writer Jeph Loeb (and to a lesser extent Bianchi), which even shows some footage of what is presumably an imminent sequel to this story, one that puts to rest just how these two are intertwined. Spoiler: in this series, Sabretooth is killed. In the sequel, though, he comes back, and with what appears to be a pretty good explanation.

But none of that is here in this story. It just lays the groundwork for what must be a more satisfying conclusion.

If you like to be teased, or if you want to hear the voice characterizations of your favorite comic book hothead and characters like Storm, Cyclops, and others, then sure, go ahead and get this DVD. My recommendation? Wait until the sequel is released, and get them both together to see the entire story unfold.

As for the DVD itself, it's fine. Not stellar, not crappy. It does its job with just the one bonus feature, although I will say the button graphics are on the low quality side for your typical DVD. But the menu art and transitions are nice, and the packaging is standard quality for this kind of disc.

One last thing: when will DVD producers get wise to the idea of making a version of the video that skips all of the titles for the various episodes and just presents them as one long movie? This disc in particular could have benefited from this treatment, as the titles are the same for all episodes, even if this or that character doesn't actually appear until a later episode. If you're going to do that, might as well just make watching all the way through easier. You could even then skip some of the unnecessary repetition. Perhaps as more people binge watch, this will start to happen. It doesn't take up any more space, if done right, so spend the extra hour of development and day of debate with the director, and make it so we can see the story as if it were one complete movie.

Wolverine vs. Sabretooth
5 out of 10 Rawrs
Available now on pre-order

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