Tuesday, April 27, 2010



Credits: Jim Valentino (writer), Chap Yaep (penciler), Jonathan Sibal (inker), Steve Dutro (letters), Brian Haberlin & Extreme Colors (colors)

Summary: Tyrax, the inter-dimensional warlord, establishes a base in the Savage Land. Sauron joins the Savage Land Mutates as a supporter, hoping that Tyrax’s mutagenic machine will rid him of Karl Lykos forever. Wolverine arrives in the Savage Land on a vacation and is spotted by Sauron. After learning of a “master plan,” Wolverine sends a distress call to the X-Men. A freak electrical storm allows Youngblood’s Badrock to pick up the call. Badrock arrives in the Savage Land and teams up with Wolverine, one of his favorite superheroes. After helping Zabu free Ka-Zar, the heroes face Tyrax and his mutated Dinosauroids. When Tyrax insults Sauron, he absorbs Tyrax’s life energy. Karl Lykos asserts his personality and uses the mutagenic machine to force Sauron to become human again. With Lykos’ help, the Dinosauroids are defeated. Tyrax escapes through his dimensional portal, and Badrock offers Wolverine a ride home.

Continuity Notes: Karl Lykos is mistakenly called “Lypos” several times in the script.

Review: Badrock is probably the closest Liefeld came to creating an endearing character during the Image days, isn’t he? He also teamed up with Spider-Man during the 1996 crossover season, so I guess he was Extreme Studios’ default mascot. Like the Youngblood/X-Force crossover, this fails to live down to the horrible reputation Extreme picked up in the ‘90s. There is a ghastly Badrock/Wolverine pinup by Marat Mychaels in the back, but the interior art is acceptable. Chap Yaep started out with an extremely distorted manga/Image style, but he’s more subdued here. It’s pretty much on the same level as Jeff Matsuda’s later X-Factor work, if you catch my drift. This might not be my favorite style, but I can live with it.

Jim Valentino was writing for Marvel before leaving to co-found Image, so he’s a respectable choice to write the book. The story’s really just straightforward action, but it never degenerates into totally mindless violence. Badrock is presented as a likable, teen hero (he has to stay behind while Youngblood’s on a mission because he hasn’t finished his homework), and Valentino has a decent grasp on Wolverine as well. It’s not deep, but it’s not pretending to be. Thankfully, it evokes a Silver Age superhero team-up vibe instead of an “x-treme” one.

Oddly enough, Valentino is treating the crossover as if the Marvel and Extreme characters live in the same universe. In fact, Badrock is a huge fan of Wolverine and loves the X-Men’s TV show. Not only does the Youngblood/X-Force crossover go the opposite route, but the alternate reality angle is an important component of the actual story. If these books were being published years apart, I could understand the inconsistencies. However, these comics were all released at the same time, as installments of the same event. Why would some stories treat this as a shared universe and others go out of their way to establish the universes as separate?

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