Avengers: AOU – Gamma Grip Fists (2015)

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Since the original 2003 release of the Hulk Hands there has been a steep decline in quality.  The originals were so brilliantly conceived and sold so well that they keep trying to capture that lightning in a bottle craze while at the same time cutting costs and charging us more.  At least this time around they’ve decided to give us a little something different.  No more are they clenched fists of rage – they are slightly closed hands… of rage!

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They are called Gamma Grip Fists and while it is nice to see something new I was hoping to see a return to the original size – huge massive hands that even adults can enjoy!  Oh well, Hasbro strikes again with their cost cutting measures and has released a product that will be not as great and not as gang busters as the originals were.

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This guy just turned ONE!

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i know this really doesn’t count as a Hulk post or anything – but I thought I’d just tell you guys that this little guy, my Antone William Banner, has just turned one years old!

Avengers Hulk and Hulkbuster Iron Man (2015)

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So, I was informed that the store that sold me the Avengers Hulk I showed off last week was not actually supposed to do that.  These had a street date of February 1st – I found this out when I saw this set at Toys R Us last Monday and tried to purchase it – but was stopped at the register saying that they aren’t allowed to sell them just yet.  How odd!  But I did go back and grab these on Sunday.  Of course, I would have liked to post this earlier but we here in MA were blasted with a ton of snow!

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These figures are still the cheaper versions – and this set is part of the 2-packs (most of the figures in this series has a character and a vehicle) but of course, the Hulk/Hulkbuster set is the best!  It is the most common in the assortment and it’s obviously because they expect it to be the most popular.  The figures sculpts are really decent – but don’t expect too much out of them as far as articulation.  The IM has only two points (arms) – even his head is immobile.  The Hulk, on the other hand, boasts the 5 point articulation that the other inexpensive figure did.  The downside is the size.

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This figure is tiny – but is obviously in size with the Hulkbuster – I don’t remember the Hulkbuster suit being that much bigger than the Hulk in the comics – but we’ll see how things transpire in the movies.  The Hulkbuster figure does open up so that you can slip the smaller Iron Man figure inside. It will be good to see the Hulkbuster in action in the movie rather than the little tease we were given back in Iron Man 3.  So, I guess the real question we’re left with is “Is this set worth it?”  Well, with the Marvel Legend figures on the way that will have a BAF Hulkbuster I don’t know if people, other than the real fanatics, need to pick this one up.  Grade: C

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Read This/Avoid This – Volume 4

A new set of comics to either read or avoid altogether!  Each time I highlight a group of comics that are somewhat/somehow related.  Even if the connection is very, very thin – I make it work!  This volume has two story arcs that span a few titles.

AVOID THIS!

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Dead Man’s Hand
A 9 part mini spanning DD #307-309, Punisher: War Journal #45-47
& Nomad #4-6

Daredevil is dealing with the apparent death of the Kingpin (spoiler – he’s totally not dead) – the major problem now being that there are groups looking to lead the crime organizations that were under Kingpin’s umbrella.  We begin in Daredevil #307 and follow the exploits through Nomad 4-6 and Punisher: War Journal 45-47.  Careful though, the run has somewhat of a hiccup as Nomad #4 is Part 2 and then Nomad #5 is Part 4 – skipping Daredevil’s turn in the rotation.  It’s odd – but not a big deal.  Anyways, the entire series has Nomad, Castle and Murdock all on their own and getting in each other’s way.

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Each of the heroes are in Vegas for their own reasons.  Frank heard about the meeting of the (criminal)minds  and sees it as an opportunity to take out a whole bunch of bad guys at once.  Daredevil isn’t looking for carnage but is looking to see that no one passes the torch and builds up what Kingpin’s (apparent) death has torn down.  Nomad sort of just happened to be there trying to save his friend.  It’s a classic “wrong place, wrong time” scenario.

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There is a lot of filler in these issues to make this story line run the whole 9 issues.  A lot of the Nomad interactions don’t really seem to add anything to the plot and of course him having a child in tow makes it even more cringe-worthy.  This, mind you, was my first introduction to the character Deadpool.  You read that right – when I first read this I had never even heard about Deadpool before.  His appearance makes no sense and is of no consequence to the whole of the story – but does affect the Nomad section.

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The Punisher and Daredevil are perfectly combined here with Frank’s enthusiasm to kill and Daredevil’s resolve to not let it happen.  It’s the Odd Couple on steroids and a whole bunch of guns.  With a stronger story base the two characters may be able to pull off a better, more entertaining tale.  They are certainly the best parts of this stagnant mini but overall they can’t even save my attention from boredom.

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It doesn’t help that the bigger bad of the story is Tombstone and that character has never succeeded in keeping my interest.  One of the bigger problems may lie in the fact that each series that this arc spans has their own writer and artist and makes reading the whole run feel inconsistent.  I wish I could give a bit more of a recommendation or point to something worth retreading in these issues but it’s just not there.  Grade: D+

READ THIS!

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Lifeform
A 4 Part mini spanning The Punisher Annual #3, Dardevil Annual #6, Incredible Hulk Annual #16 and Silver Surfer Annual #3

This mini is so much better for a few reasons.  Mostly because you’re looking for just 4 different issues rather than 9 – and they are Annuals so you just don’t get the part of the story of the mini but extras in each!  My personal favorite is The Hulk’s extra stories, of course, but the Silver Surfer’s extras come in a close second.  Each issue’s added stories is really fun to see – you get into Frank Castle’s arsenal and Daredevil yelling at some children.

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The story is a fun, gruesome and violent ride about a man who let the desire to please his father take over his better common sense.  A decision that eventually costs him his life.  Of course, dealing with AIM you know that you’re life may be at stake.  This story begins with the Punisher dealing with a wealthy family who is stuck a little too deep into there dark dealings.  The choices they make ultimately costs most of their lives.  The Punisher, thinking he has dealt with the problem in his own special way, actually lets loose the creature that lurks into Daredevil.

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What could possibly be the only real filler issue of this 4 part mini – a sort of waste where nothing of consequence happens – Daredevil deals with the monster in a different way.  You sort of can’t blame Matt for thinking that this problem ends with him.  It does not though as it seeps into the pages of the Incredible Hulk.  This it the most action packed issue and my personal favorite.  It involves a unassuming Hulk villain that I was sort of shocked to see – Mercy.  As it turns out, this man who was infected with the biological weapon isn’t having any fun.  The monster he is becoming continuously more and more dominant and the man inside is begging to be killed.

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The Hulk has no problem granting the wish – but the monster inside isn’t ready to go.  The battle that ensues is both violent and hilarious.  Overall though, Hulk is unable to fulfill the death wish – even though he is unaware of that – and Lifeform continues to eat people/grow into the pages of the Silver Surfer.  The final installment of this epic is both entertaining and heartbreaking.  The Surfer’s resolve to never destroy a life is put to the test when the man inside the monster keeps asking to be killed.  Ultimately, the Surfer has to live with his choice in the cold vastness of space.  Read for yourself what happens.  Grade: B+

Guess That Panel!

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I am not one to let a few losses shake me down – so here it is – another round of Guess That Panel with one that I think might actually stump you guys… man, will this be embarrassing if the someone gets it in the first hour that I post it.  But, as always, the Issue and # – GO!

Aaron Lopresti World War Hulk Commission (2012)

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I just looked through my site and have found that I have perpetrated a huge travesty.  A few years back I was so excited that Aaron Lopresti was gracing us with his presence at the Boston Comic Con – a man who shared the penciling responsibility with Carlo Pagulayah for Planet Hulk!  I, of course, was thinking about getting a piece from him – and was Aaron and George Perez – those were the two big “gets” of the BCC for me that year.  Well, lucky for me Aaron accepted commissions early to be picked up at the Con.  I was hoping to strike up a conversation but the man was concentrating on something else / not very friendly / not interested in talking that day.  I don’t mean to say he’s ALWAYS this way – and his somewhat dismissal of me wasn’t totally rude or anything but it wasn’t great either.  I introduced myself, he said hello, I told him that I commissioned him, he asked what I wanted.  I reminded him and he went through his folder and pulled out my piece.  He handed it to me and asked for payment.  I handed it to him and started to gush over the piece.  He said thank you without looking up from what he was busy doing.  I stood there awkwardly for a moment and then walked away.

Like I said, he might have been busy so I decided not to take offense.  But the piece I walked away with is beautiful and I can’t help but focus on the fact that I left the con with an amazing Planet Hulk illustration.

Thanos vs The Hulk #2 (2015) – The Review

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The second installment was released a few weeks ago to this mini series and while I appreciate seeing my favorite character facing off against the biggest bad in the Marvel U – this series is seemingly going no where pretty fast.  Let’s get into it, shall we?

Thanos vs Hulk #2 (2015)
W/A: Jim Starlin

This issue has plenty of back and forth blows between Thanos and the Green Goliath – but it’s technically not a real fight.  It takes place, we are led to believe, in a computerized containment center, of sorts.  We are waiting to hear what Annihilus is planning to do with the Hulk – but we’ll have to wait even longer because there is nothing to let us know what it is exactly – just that it is going to be big.  Huge in fact.  I mean Annihilus says that the “limitations of the flesh are about to be surmounted.”  Which doesn’t sound good…

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Thanos does make short work of Hulk in the beginning – but when Banner combines his brains with the Hulk’s strength Thanos gets blasted back.  Amazingly, a decent battle is brewing when Annihilus buts in and threatens Thanos – which he balks at – but still decides to leave and not engage the ruler of the negative zone.

Meanwhile, Pip the Troll is still, as usual, a wild card who is now feeling bad about turning over the Hulk to Annihilus.  What is going to happen?  Who knows – a lot of stuff happened in this issue while at the same time – nothing really happened.  It’s crazy, right?  With an action packed issue like this you’d expect the story to really move along – but it doesn’t.  Jim Starlin does do a fantastic job in the art department though – and while the story, in the second issue, is moving along at a snail’s pace, it is pretty to look at!  Grade: C+