Part of my new design – the reviews will now be called “Catching Up With” – They may not always fall on Wednesdays – but it will be a few different series as I have picked up and dropped a few different titles. For example, I dropped the Red Hulk series when it became Red She Hulk, and this has nothing to do with the writer, Parker is still one of the better writers writing funny books these days, I just have no interest in reading about that character. Hulk has joined the Avengers – so of course that is now on my pull list – and I have even given the new Thunderbolts series a chance. The Red Hulk has joined that team (I think it’s hilarious that Thunderbolt Ross now leads the Thunderbolts) and the line up looks interesting enough for me to check it out – even if Deadpool, who is still considered the worst character ever created, in my opinion, is on the team. But let’s “Catch up”!
First Up is the second installment of the Waid’s Indestructible Hulk. Stan Lee once said that when Marvel had heroes fight each other the writers intentionally had the battles interrupted or had the heroes dead locked so that there was no clear winner. That way fan boys would be able to argue over who actually won the fight and be clamoring for another match up, this time with a clear winner. Of course, in the early days, they never got their wish. But now, with comic readers being older, and writers aiming the story lines toward an aging demographic, they give us a bit more concrete and literal winners and losers.
That being said, Indestructible Hulk #2 (W: Waid, I: Yu, $3.99) has an old timey feel of two battling heroes. While Hulk is obviously more powerful, Iron Man has enough gadgets and tricks up his sleeve to make the fight more than a mere beat down. This time around, the Hulk takes Stark to a desolate mountain top to work out his anger issues from everything in the past. For which infraction we are not too sure but take your pick… (I still say Stark never accurately paid for shooting Hulk into space). There are some great moments in this issue and some funny ones too. I have liked Waid’s writing in the past and this series still has me on board for more, unlike, if you can recall, Aaron’s try which lost me at issue #2. Grade: B+
I will admit I have not read the Avengers in a while. I haven’t really has a desire to – but with this new creative team (and the Hulk on the roster) I have now picked up the series. So far I am pleasantly surprised with what is going on in Avengers # 1 & 2 (W: Hickman, I: Opena, $3.99). I am even more surprised that I don’t hate the obvious “new” line-up inspired by the very successful movie. Hulk is used as the heavyweight pawn pretty early on – a trick that has been used many times over but still works well here as he is used to take Thor out (TAKE THAT THOR FANS!) The big baddie, Ex Nihilo, is scary enough to not know what will happen as he calmly plays with the super teams attempts to disrupt his plans of evolution. The first two issues have dealt with Cap and Iron Man collecting a bigger team of heroes together – a emergency team – of heroes in case anything dire is facing the planet. Lucky for them – the Earth is in trouble… AGAIN! Grade: B+
Now onto a team book I thought I would drop immediately but have found myself intrigued to continue buying past the initial outing. I didn’t feel that the first issue of Thunderbolts #1 & 2 (W: Way, I: Dillon, #2.99) was a flat out fantastic, stellar, jaw dropper of an issue but I did like seeing Ross recruiting some of the seedy “heroes” for a team together. Going back to Loeb’s horrible “Code Red” story line from his abysmal Hulk series where the Red Hulk collected some pawns to take out Domino for seeing something people should have figures out from issue 2 but due to Loeb’s horrible mis-leading writing didn’t come out until issue #24. This list included some of the heavy’s here like Elektra, Punisher and Deadpool – I guess they couldn’t get Thundra and the Crimson Dynamo to join so they replaced them with Venom (who I am not even sure who he is anymore but I am sure I will find out) – the first issue mostly focused on Ross talking the Punisher into joining… and by talking I mean threatening.
The second issue takes the team on the mission of taking down a tyrant but shows more and more of the team dynamic. Ross lets the whole crew know he is in charge – but does not want to be called sir – and that everything is volunteer, so they can leave whenever they want. Venom is a team player displaying team colors but is volatile at best when confronted. Deadpool (who may be the sole reason for me dropping this title) is still annoying and useless. This title will hopefully pick up more steam soon – other wise you won’t be seeing it in the “Catching Up With” section in the future! Grade: C