Blade and Wolverine are pitted against one another because neither of them are very good at understanding prophecies. Vampiric shenanigans ensue!
While the idea of seeing how these two would play off of one another is an exciting one, the problem here is that neither character feels much like themselves. Blade is kind of a posturing, one-liner-spewing action movie hero, while Wolverine just comes across as a bit of a lunkhead, charging into battle with little to no provocation. Sure, Wolvie’s never been the most even-tempered fellow, but there’s a difference here. He seems to have no patience for even the answers that he seeks, like when he essentially tells Doctor Strange that he’s bored of listening to the Doc explain what he came to the Sanctum to ask. Meanwhile, Blade has seemingly lost all of his instincts, attacking Wolverine without assessing the facts. It just feels like a thin justification to have these two slice on each other for a little bit.
Speaking of which, the highlight of this book is actually the juicy gore. I’m honestly not the biggest gorehound, but the fights here are done in a very heightened, almost grindhouse fashion that worked for the tone of the story and the two characters. It felt like some of the more out-there moments in the Blade movie trilogy — disgusting and over the top in ways that are both silly and fun. These are the moments when Dave Wilkins’ art really comes alive (so to speak). Despite what Wolverine says, none of these monsters get cut up the same way, and it’s pretty wild to see.
And maybe that’s all this needed to be: a disposable one-off action story with Blade and Logan taking down their enemies (and occasionally one another) in wild, violent ways. Unfortunately, the story is pretty thin and the characterizations feel off. Not to mention, a lower-tier X-Force and New Mutants villain is killed pretty gruesomely and casually, which just feels like an odd choice. We already have Wolverine running around in his X-Force suit and writer Marc Guggenheim has mentioned that this issue has taken years to come together. I guess the question is … why? What held this story up? And does that mean we shouldn’t worry about the canonicity, especially in regards to characters killed in the book?
I’m not usually a big stickler for continuity, honestly, but this issue really just kind of floats in the ether, feeling both non-essential and somewhat confusing in its place in the grand scheme of things.
I know I’m being pretty harsh on what is clearly supposed to just be a fun special issue, so I should mention that there are a few things that really worked for me. Despite the characters feeling a little off to me, much of the dialogue is still rather entertaining, with the kind of silly jokes that would fit right in with a buddy cop movie. The moments where Blade and Wolverine’s inner dialogues sync up are fun, showing that the two have more in common than they’d be willing to admit. Doctor Strange is always a delight to see in a supporting role as the fellow who understands what no one else can.
The surprise villain of the issue is a cool idea, seemingly inspired by a classic What If? Issue (I wonder if that’s intentional). The final showdown is a little anticlimactic, but I appreciated the bizarre nature of the villain and the challenge it posed the two leads.
All in all, this issue has some fun moments to it that make it worth a read. I just wish the two guys on the cover acted a bit more like themselves.