World War Hulks: Captain America vs. Wolverine (#1 – 2) – Paul Tobin, Brian Clevinger

3 out of 5

Lo, there was a mini-Marvel event in which some gamma rays exploded from somewheres, allowing multiple non-Hulk characters to become ‘hulked’ and have cute, Hulky names.  But of course, more importantly, it allowed for some miniseries / one-shots that highlighted these hulksters, with Paul Tobin and Brian Clevinger handling the two part Hulk Cap vs. Hulk Wolvie edition.

More succinctly, Tobin writes the title entry, while Clevinger does a backup that features snapshot bits and bobs of other brawlers: War Machine, Human Torch, Agents of H.A.T.E., and the Thing.

Reading the publication indicias, it’s likely this was a weekly or bi-weekly book, and based on the loose similarities in the two writer’s contributions, we’ll suppose there was a general guideline: that gamma rays make you hulk out and fight, and then your brain is meanwhile running on its own plane, cycling through memories that maybe tie in to whatever’s going on in your hulky reality.  Supposing that, Tobin rather clearly shovels a narrative layer onto his Wolvie / Cap scuffle, and without looking up whether Wolverine’s (narrating) memory of a previous scuffle with Bucky (who was Cap at this point in time) was previously established canon or not, it’s a huge jump from punches exchanged in New York to his remembrance of some kind of mobster takedown in Chicago.  But: because the foreground premise of this is just punches, illustrated with bulbous intensity by (mostly) Jacopo Camagni, you can ignore the forced connection for the tale’s forward momentum, which it does maintain.

For Brian, he does what he seemed to do with most of his brief Marvel work: he takes the piss out of things without actually pissing on them; i.e. he has fun but, hey, he still likes comics.  Guri-Hiru’s work on these bits is similarly animated as Jacopo’s stuff; Brian has his tendency to write choppily, but it’s grounded in humor and readerly savvyness (he’s on our side; we’re laughing with him), which makes us chuckle even if some of the jokes are a bit too rapid fire panel-by-panel to effectively land.

Certainly not required reading, but at least these guys seemed to have some room to play with the silly concept, giving the books more worth than your usual event spin-offs.