At first glance, Wolverine vs Blade Special #1, appears to be a Marvel fan’s dream matchup. The concept of pitting two of Marvel’s most popular antiheroes invokes fond childhood memories of debating with my friends over which hero or villain would win in countless hypothetical battles. Unfortunately, nostalgia isn’t enough to save Wolverine vs Blade from falling into the dismal pits of a lackluster story and clichéd dialogue.
The creative forces behind this issue, writer Marc Guggenheim and artist Dave Wilkens, felt out of sync and disconnected, as if they were on two separate pages creatively. Guggenheim’s script and dialogue were especially painful to get through. At times, I felt as if I were reading a rejected script from a Marvel Saturday morning cartoon. The sudden pairing of these two unrelated characters into a makeshift team after battling each other for less than four pages felt haphazardly thrown together, as if Marvel simply wanted to release this issue to fill a void in their publication schedule. The plot is centered around Blade and Wolverine each seeking a vampire cult named The Creed, who plan on unleashing their vampiric messiah who is supposed to unite the undead clans and lead the Vampires in their war against the living. Naturally, each hero assumes the other is a vampire and battle, before realizing that they need to work together to stop this undead threat.
Unfortunately, the story veers off course rather quickly and wastes an opportunity for an entire Marvel event, much like the Marvel Zombies storyline. The concept of The Creed turning mutants into vampires would have been a perfect way to incorporate the X-Men and Marvel’s darker, horror-based characters such as Ghost Rider, Morbius, and Blackheart into their current titles. In fact, if Marvel ever chose to go this route, then artist Dave Wilkins would be the perfect choice to illustrate the series. Wilkins’ ability to focus on the extreme violence that both Blade and Wolverine are capable of is both unsettling and beautiful. The images themselves are grotesque and gory, especially when each of these characters is eviscerating their undead enemies. However, the amount of detail within each panel and the stylized, painted look of each panel is some of the best comic art I’ve seen in an issue this year.
In many ways, Wolverine vs Blade Special #1 serves as a litmus test towards gauging fan interest in Blade. By making him a full time member of the current lineup of the Avengers and Marvel Studios announcing that they are working on a new Blade live action project, interest in this character is at an all-time high. However, the disappointing script and dialogue, as well as the quickened pace of this issue is a wasted opportunity on creating something truly incredible and unique.
Verdict – 3 / 5