I’ve kept my eye out for this title since I first saw it solicited. I fondly recall the duo meeting up in the pages of a comic that reprinted the first appearance of Wolverine from the pages of The Incredible Hulk.” Oddly enough, the issue itself was “The Incredible Hulk and Wolverine,” and the Hercules story was reprinted as filler to round out the page count. The scrum between Logan and Hercules clears out the bar in that issue and sets up a reason for this issue.
Since then (whenever then really was), Hercules and Wolverine have met at the Sign of the Lion for a brew or two (or dozen). That changes this year as Logan seeks Hercules’ counsel regarding his own apparent immortality. Logan’s mortality is called into question as he has determined to end his annual visits with Matsu’o Tsurayaba. Tsurayaba, however, isn’t going to go out without a fight; He sends a battalion of Hand ninjas to battle Wolverine (and Hercules) at the Sign of the Lion.
Santacruz’s art is uneven, with some spectacular moments, such as Hercules and Logan each holding the line in their own special way against the Nazis. In some spots, Logan looks quite a bit like Hugh Jackman, and in others he looks like a drawing of a drawing of Hugh Jackman. Some panels within the book struggle with detail and depth. Some of the figures look ill-proportioned. In other spots, the figures float on the background. Santacruz’s storytelling is good, and his framing of action is studious, but the art, as a whole, needs some refinement. Additionally, Santacruz presents Hercules and Wolverine as a visually contrasting pair, with Herc a good head and shoulders the taller of the two. The baseline talent is definitely present in Santacruz’s work; I’d just like to see a little more consistency applied through the issue.
Baumann’s colors fill this adventure with heroic bursts of color that provide stunning contrast to the shadows of Santacruz’s art. This helps the comic maintain a more light-hearted tone despite the violent nature of the story that appears once Hercules and Wolverine really cut loose. Tortolini’s lettering looks a bit pinched, as though the house font has been jiggered with, but all in all it doesn’t detract from the flow of the story.
Tieri does a good job in giving this unlikely duo a reason to get together and then turns it up a notch by giving them shared foes, although the pair doesn’t realize that before this issue’s end. Hercules has enjoyed quite a bit of popularity and frequency in the pages of Marvel comics lately, although not quite to the extent that Wolverine has. Still, the pair plays nicely one off the other and together they cross over enough to inspire fans of the other character to come back for more of this story.