Review: Marvel Knights - Wolverine Versus Sabretooth

I’ve reviewed each of Shout Factory’s Marvel Knights animations and with each one I find myself saying the same thing over and over. The thing is I can’t judge the story because it’s a straight adaptation of the comic book. It’s basically just a motion comic done right and while it generally works, there’s usually a few rough spots. In the case of Wolverine Versus Sabretooth it’s the mixture of action and narration. You will be amazed by how much Wolverine narrates. It honestly becomes the most annoying thing about the story as writer Jeph Loeb recaps the previous issue each time. I remember being annoyed with that while reading the comic and so having Wolverine say all that exposition was pretty daunting. The sad truth is that there isn’t a lot of dialog or conversations in this animation; it’s all Wolvie talking directly to you. Like he’s watching the footage with you and he just won’t shut up. It’s like, “enough Logan… let’s just watch the movie.”

As for the action, Simone Bianchi’s style is probably one of the worst styles for this type of project that I could ever imagine. He’s a brilliant illustrator, but his work does not translate to animation. There’s a scene with Sabretooth scrambling to leave that they use twice and it’s ridiculous looking. He ends up looking like a paper mouse in a maze. There were times that it worked, but overall there would be these awkward moments of action that would hurt the animation more than help it.

MKA Wolverine vs SabretoothTo speak of the story, it’s terrible. It was a terrible choice because it takes place during so many Marvel events that even with Loeb’s abbreviated recap, an unexperienced comic reader is sure to be a little lost. The problem with this story is Loeb; he came on the book and did his usual Marvel twist, which is to say he broke something beyond repair because he thought it would be interesting. Well it made Wolverine not a mutant and then no one fucking cared to follow up with that bullshit so he’s mostly considered a mutant still. Sure they’ve ruined him further since, but it’s because of this story line that everything that followed was able to happen.

The reason I keep reviewing and following these animations is because I think they are actually good for comics. Every non-comic reader I show them to asks questions and wants to know more and in a way because there is so much happening in the story’s universe it helps hook them on the endless cycle of storytelling that comics are known for. The problem is that it then becomes someone else’s job to tell them where to pick up after the animation turns off.

If Marvel was smart about it they would choose titles that have a follow up. Only two of these animations have a follow up, but the others will never have a follow up. If you watched and liked Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk then you’re never going to have a follow up because the comic took a ridiculous amount of time to conclude and the landscape of the universe was destroyed by none other than Jeph Loeb.

It’s not a bad animation, but it’s not great either. The narration and Wolverine’s boring voice acting wear on you quickly and really they should have trimmed down Loeb’s original story since it was drawn out just to highlight Bianchi’s artwork which isn’t the star of this animation. There’s a lot of choices that should have been made differently on this one.

Score: 2/5

Studios: Marvel Knights Animation/ShoutFactory Price: $14.97 Release Date: 1/14/14