In case you haven't gotten your fill of Hulk vs. Wolverine battles from the recent, highly enjoyable Hulk Vs. DVD or the plethora of comics that have detailed their run-ins, the latest episode of Wolverine and the X-Men has you covered. Aptly titled "Wolverine Vs. The Hulk", the episode follows the same recognizable formula that has dictated most of the two heroes' confrontations over the years: Wolverine is charged with putting a stop to one of the Hulk's rampages in the Canadian wilderness, the two heroes clash for a bit, they eventually come to realize there is a greater evil at work behind the scenes, and then they set about tentatively working together to put a stop to it.
The problem here isn't that the episode follows this familiar blueprint. The problem is that it's not nearly as entertaining or impressive as the Hulk Vs. animated movie, nor is it much of an X-Men story. What the episode is is a run-of-the-mill Wolverine/Hulk team-up that's nowhere near as compelling as previous stories, and in reality only delays the other fascinating plot threads running through this series. For that, the episode is more than disappointing; it's almost unfortunate.
The biggest and most recognizable difference between this episode and the Wolverine portion of the Hulk Vs. DVD is the quality of animation, which is here considerably less polished than it was in the animated movie. Any animated story as action-driven as a Hulk vs. Wolverine tale is bound to live and die based on the quality of its animation, and here the production value of the episode falls far short of acceptable. In a way, this is understandable considering the differential in the budgets of a direct-to-DVD feature and a single installment of a television series, but that doesn't keep one from comparing the two every step of the way. The Wolverine portion of the Hulk Vs. DVD was slick, dynamic, and viscerally exciting. The animation in this episode is clunky and awkward, with the discrepancies between the moving characters and the static backgrounds constantly sticking out in an unfavorable way.
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