Weapon H: AWOL is proof that you can give Greg Pak whatever silly, over-the-top premise you want, and he can make it work.
Clay was a military contractor who was turned over to Weapon X. There, they blended his DNA with that of Wolverine and the Hulk, giving Clay the powers of both heroes. Now, Weapon H is on the run, determined to not be anyone’s pawn ever again. But Dario Agger and the Roxxon Corporation are hot on his tail, in need of the “Hulkverine’s” special skills for a secret mission. Clay’s wife is also searching for him, refusing to believe the reports that he died in the line of duty.
The trade is out October 31st, collecting issues one through six of the series. Pak writes the story, while Cory Smith draws issues one through five, and Ario Anindito draws issue six. Terry Pallot, Roberto Poggi, Keith Champagne, Scott Hanna, and Walden Wong ink issues four and five. Morry Hallowell does the colors with Rachelle Rosenberg and Chris Sotomayor, and Joe Caramagna does the letters with Clayton Cowles. The covers are by Leinil Francis Yu, Philip Tan, and Romulu Fajardo Jr.
Let’s be frank – this is a crazy, over-the-top premise. Some might even call it “silly.” Every time someone says the word “Hulkverine,” you can’t help but giggle. There is no reason this story should work.
But here’s the thing: it totally works. This is a really fun action comic, with heart, strong characters, and good artwork.
Weapon H works for the same reasons that regular Hulk or Wolverine stories work; it’s largely a tragedy. Clay is a man on the run. He’s had a monster inside of him long before Weapon X got a hold of him, and he’s tired of other people using it for their own gain. He’s done things that he isn’t proud of, and he has to live with that. But what sets Clay’s story apart from the others is his family. The fact that he has a wife and kids, and that his wife won’t let him push them away to “keep them safe,” adds a layer of depth and drama to his narrative.
An action comic such as this is depends heavily on its artwork, and Smith and Anindito – along with their inkers and colorists – deliver the goods. The action sequences are full of explosive energy, and the way Smith draws Wendigo, Man-Thing, and Minotaur is downright monstrous. Wendigo in particular is terrifying. This is a story that really lets an artist let loose, and you can tell these guys had fun with it.
Pak is a talented storyteller, as if you didn’t already know that. He has a gift for dialogue and characters, and a natural way of sucking his readers in to his tale. And – according to Pak’s letter in the back of the AWOL trade – Weapon H was his own idea. You can feel his passion in this work – his desire to make this fun, silly idea he had into something great.
If Weapon H: AWOL slipped under your radar in single issues, be sure to pick up the trade. This is what superhero/action comics are all about – letting go of all reservations and just having fun with a crazy, over-the-top premise.