Monthly Archives: January 2015

Hulk #10 (2015) – The Review

CCF01182015_0005

Hulk #10
W: Duggan
A: Bagley

When the Red Hulk came on the scene, in the premiere issue in fact, we lost one of the oldest Hulk villains that there ever was.  The Abomination met an untimely end, riddled with bullets from Ross’s over-sized gun.  The biggest chasm that the death left was the Hulk not having a foe that can’t have a strength vs strength bloody beat down battle.  The Red Hulk was there to fill that gap in a way – but his immediate mishandling really destroyed that idea.  Loeb’s weak grasp of Hulk lore lead to even weaker battles between the two Hulks.  A confused idea of how the Red Hulk’s powers are handled led readers down an unsure road of which Hulk was the bigger powerhouse – when Abomination always was the stronger of the two monsters – until the Hulk grew stronger.  Even the final Hulk/Red Hulk fight where the Hulk beat the Red Hulk with a thunder clap was a baffling and ultimately dissatisfying finale.

With Duggan taking over the mantle and we already seeing the new and meaner Hulk take down other gamma monsters I knew we’d be in for a treat when the Red Hulk made his appearance.  I mean, we have almost an entire issue of the two Hulk’s beating each other bloody – even after we learn that Doc Green is holding back – the battle becomes so much better!  This is what the Red Hulk should have been created for – a new villain that could really lay into the Hulk and give him a run for his money.  We are even left with the knowledge that this was just round one between the two as the Red Hulk is left being dropped into a volcano.

CCF01182015_0006

Next up, from the cover image, is the de-powering of Lyra.  We will see how that goes.  I do see one issue here that I thought I’d bring up now.  How is it that the gamma serum can’t de-power Bruce – so shouldn’t it also not be able to de-power his children?  They weren’t just dosed with a more gamma like Rick Jones, Betty and her Dad were – these are beings who were created from Bruce’s DNA.  Maybe Duggan with address this – but I also think that explanation might not be coming.  I had this thought with the end of this issue with the She Hulk being warned of Doc Green coming – but her affliction came straight from Bruce’s blood!  If the cure doesn’t work from him – it certainly shouldn’t be able to effect her!  But I guess we’ll see…

Bagley’s art continues to impress and the book is better than it has been in years.  Tell your friends to pick up the Hulk – tell your grandmother!  Tell everyone!  We need to let people know that the Hulk is worthy again!  Hulk fans had to suffer through the Loeb years with high sales, further infuriating true readers, there is no reason that this series shouldn’t be in the top ten every month!  Grade: A

Zeno Takes it Down!

CCF01132015_0001

Congrats to Zeno for correctly identifying the above panel is from Captain Universe #1 starring the Incredible Hulk.  I guess that makes it 0-Ratchet / 2 – you guys.  I will have to step up my game!

CCF01132015_0000

CCF01132015_0001 - Copy

But Huh? eBay? Part 5

ebay

I’m all about customizers… but this artist says in the description “THE FIGURE HAS BEEN CUSTOMIZED WITH MORE VIVID COLORS ….COOL CUSTOM PAINTED FIGURE FROM THE MARVEL UNIVERSE!” but… the Hulk never wore colors like that.  The colors may be more vivid – but he also looks like a clown now!

Read This/Avoid This – Volume 3

Back again for another round!  Two comics (this time two entire series) that you should read – like, right now, and the other to avoid like the plague.  Back in the 90’s Marvel handled series in a few ways and we’re going to explore two very different approaches.  One that I think they handled amazingly well and the other… not so much.  Let’s begin:

Avoid This!

CCF01132015_0006

Ghost Rider & Blaze: Spirits of Vengeance (1992-1994)
W: Mackie, Hama, Quinn
A: Kubert, Giarrano, Manley, Martinez, Williams,

Earlier in the year I highlighted “Spirits of Venom” an absolute blast of a Spirits of Vengeance/Web of Spider-Man crossover event that used every character, including Ghost Rider, Blaze, Spider-Man, Venom, Hobgoblin, DemoGoblin and the Doppleganger, to absolute perfection.  Mackie weaved an amazingly fun, hilarious and exciting story about the two world colliding as Ghost Rider and Blaze trying to stop the reincarnation of Deathwatch run into Venom and ultimately their paths cross with Spider-Man trying to protect/turn in Hobgoblin.  This event was so much fun that I decided to collect the rest of the series and make my way through it seeing if the entire run was as entertaining as this 4 issue mini.

The first thing to note is that this series was just part of the Midnight Sons line of the Marvel Universe that included Ghost Rider, Spirits of Vengeance, Morbius, Night Stalkers, Darkhold and even some issues of Dr. Strange.  Trying to read Spirits of Vengeance without reading the other titles is like an exercise in futility.  You just read small parts of a story that continues, and most of the time ends, in a different series – so you have NO idea what the hell is going on.  Something that Marvel was very aware of and used to pump up the whole line.  Unfortunately, this was a failed experiment as the most people read just the titles they want to read and don’t like being forced to have to buy extra books just to understand what’s going on in their series.  Case in point, I have come across Spirits of Vengeance #1 more times than I can count – and issue #23 (the last) I have seen exactly 3 times.  That counts the one I own.  I can remember more than one instance of reading a story line where Ghost Rider and Blaze were taking on a big bad only to have the story complete in another series and the boys were off to the next adventure in the following issue – leaving me scratching my head on what the hell just happened.  Because here’s the rub – I don’t want to read Nightstalkers, or Morbius.  I have no interest in Darkhold or even Dr. Strange.  I just wanted to read Ghost Rider and Blaze’s adventures in the pages of their own comic.  The other thing to note is how hard the whole run is to find.

CCF01132015_0007

In a recent post I expressed frustration with how reboots and relaunches sort of punish the loyal readers and how I loved the good old days of straight numbering.  Marvel has pretty much destroyed their numbering system and to make heads or tails of it you need a doctorate in Marvel Continuity.  I think most readers are just as much to blame as Marvel though as #1’s sell through the roof and the last issues of a series are actually more valuable than most of the series as they are rarer and harder to find due to low print runs.

Now, it’s not all bad news for this series – in fact, the original 11 issues or so are really fun and entertaining with fantastic art provided by Adam Kubert.  The art from there on out can be hit or REALLY miss.  Kubert, before his departure, did create what I consider the ultimate 90’s character, Vengeance!  his look was Ghost Rider – just more Ghost Ridery.  Spikes?  Yup – but bigger.  Did I say bigger?  I mean – bigger than what could be reasonably expected to actually work!  Flaming head?  Yup – with SHARPER TEETH!  And blacker!  Yup – a black skull!  This was 90’s exaggeration spewed all over your eyeballs!

CCF11092014_0001

I know some people will say that Marvel doesn’t care about back issues – as they sold whatever issues they did back in the 90’s – they make nothing off of back issue market.  While that is true I sort of look at the bigger picture.  Let’s just say I picked these up on the cheap and really enjoyed them – it may persuade me to check out what’s going on in the current series.  But this mess of a series not only turned me off of checking any other Midnight Sons titles – I have zero interest in picking up any new adventures starring the flame head.  Grade: D

READ THIS!

CCF08192014_0001

Venom Mini-Series (1993-1995)
W: Various
A: Various

The other way Marvel went in the 90’s was to release shorter mini-series that continued the stories told previous.  It was a brilliant move as they could decide to eliminate the upcoming series if the sales weren’t there or keep them going is people keep buying.  Fortunately, for them – and us – they continued.  After the events of Amazing Spider-Man #375 where Venom and Spidey spark a truce and Eddie Brock head to San Francisco and start a new.  He is pursed by Spidey for the first mini titled Lethal Protector but also, Eddie becomes acquainted with an underground society of homeless people (who technically aren’t homeless) and tried to protect them from an evil mogul.  The guy also took bits of Venom and made an army of little Venomites – who were pretty easily beaten.

CCF01132015_0004

Then, The symbiote inflicted ex-reporter crosses paths with The Punisher in The Purge, gets poisoned and battles the Juggernaut in The Madness – also meets up with Hobgoblin and Morbious in The Enemy Within.  Each mini-series has something really worthy of reading.  My personal favorite is The Madness showcasing Venom with the snaked out tiny Venom heads coming off the costume.

CCF01132015_0003

This was a brilliant move by Marvel.  Instead of making a whole new series that they might cancel in a few years they continued to release 3 issue story arcs that showed off a new Venom adventure.  If readers lost interest they didn’t have to cancel a whole series – AND, to boot, even easier to read!  Back issue bins are filled with these minis that, most of them, are easy to find a complete run for every series!  That’s sort of a big deal only because you don’t have to search everywhere for that rare final issue!   So, if you’re looking to spend a bit of money on some 90’s comicy goodness check out these great stories.

CCF01132015_0002

Lethal Protector: B
The Purge: C+
The Madness: A-
The Enemy Within: C+
The Mace: B-
Separation Anxiety: B

CCF01132015_0005

Guess That Panel!

CCF01132015_0001

Here it is!  Another round!  Maybe this one will be a little harder than the last… but with the Hulk-o-philes on this blog I bet you guys are going to knock this one out of the park.  Remember, series and issue # – and – GO!

Hulk Classics Absorbing Man + Variant (2003)


gammapup 009 gammapup 007

Another quick look at the bounty that had befallen me this past weekend – Mike made me aware that there were actually two versions of the Absorbing Man figure from the Hulk Classics line.  I wasn’t aware of this before – the US version had a bulky Hulk arm while the European version her a skinny Hulk arm.  Both versions are pretty similar – except for the Hulk arm and the top of the package where the peg holder is.  The L shaped US version is drastically different from the oval with a bubble style that the European version has – but either way it seems the US version is a little rare and a little more sought after.

gammapup 008

It makes more sense, to me, that the Hulk arm would be bulky rather than skinny so in essence it makes total sense that the large arm variant is more coveted.  Of all the Absorbing Man figures released this one doesn’t have the bulk that the ’96 version has – but I do prefer this one to the Marvel Legends version.  He sort of has a Vulture vibe to him but I think that works in his favor.  It’s truly a fantastic and creepy looking figure.  If you haven’t been able to track one down yet even having an open version of this guy is worth it!  I love these figures – and still think this Hulk line tops any other.

gammapup 010

Something Special for a Monday

gammapup 001

A lot the best reasons for keeping this blog going is the friends that I have been able to “meet” over the years.  Hulk fanatics like myself who not only like to collect but converse with like-minded fellows who share an affinity for the green goliath.  All stemming from the people who come here to post, and comment about all things Hulk I’ve become what I consider friends – albeit “online friends” – with at least a handful of people out there.  There’s joefixit, and Fiddy, 465, JG, Dave, Hulk Smashing, Zeno.  These are the people I have had the pleasure of talking to and even some have helped each other out when looking for a Hulk item – there’s been too many times to recall when Steve sent me Hulk goodness through the mail or when he was looking for a figure I was able to locate one and sent it to him.  I remember sharing my good fortune with Fiddy when I came in possession of two display boxes for the Superhero Squad Hulk figures.  Each of these times we did not ask for anything in return, we just helped each other out because we wanted to.

gammapup 002

Well, there is another Hulk fan on this site that I consider a friend.  Someone who had already given me one of the biggest pieces of the collection – this Hulk wall plaque – and it was already a very generous addition which I was super excited to get.  Now, Gammapup, aka: Mike has outdone himself.  Before I delve into what transpired this weekend I have to take a little aside here.

gammapup 003 gammapup 005

About a year ago I had to sell off a chunk of the collection to finance a few renovations that needed to be done to my house.  As you know, if you follow this blog, I had a son about that time.  Before he was due I needed to replace a dilapidated carpet and the vintage washer and dryer we had in the house.  The money we needed for both exceeded the total we had in savings.  My only choice, with Antone William Banner on the way in a short time, was to let go some of the pieces in the Hulk collection.  I hated to and I had to mentally prepare to do it – which wasn’t easy – but when all was said and done I had released the Hulk Classics and Marvel Legends Hulk line.  I had made peace with the decision but everyone once in a while still mourned the loss of those beautiful figures.  Some of my favorites.  I knew they would be impossible to replace as they have now become expensive and pretty rare.

gammapup 007 gammapup 009

Like I said, it was a hard choice but did so willingly for the betterment of my family (if you saw this carpet you would understand – you can’t have an infant crawling around on that!)  Well, on a trip to NJ and a visit to one of the greatest comic shops known to man, Zapp Comics, Gammapup came in.  He walked over and we struck up a conversation.  We had met before, of course, but never had the time to really have a decent back and forth.  As we were discussing life and what we were up to he mentioned he was turning in some figures to see what he could get for them.  He said he had some Hulk figures if I wanted to take a look.  Always interested in seeing what green pieces fans have I headed out to his car and saw that he had the entire Marvel Legends Hulk line – as well as almost every Hulk Classics figure – just missing War Hulk and Smart Hulk.  Excitedly I asked what he was looking for them.  He then said something that I will never forget.

gammapup 006 gammapup 011 gammapup 014

Very rarely in this life are you presented with an opportunity to see true selflessness.  Mike said that they were mine if I wanted them.  I couldn’t believe my ears.  A true generous move by a Gammabro I consider a friend he gave me something I never thought I would have the chance to own again.  When I originally picked up the set I paid retail – and now quite a few of them are insanely priced – to the point that I didn’t think I could spend the money to replace the figures and justify it.  Also, what Mike did was give me a feeling, an excitement about collecting I haven’t had since I sold off the chunk I did.  It really gave me a rejuvenation of sorts about my collection.  I couldn’t stop taking about it the rest of the weekend.  My wife must have heard me mention what an amazing moment this was about a thousand times!

gammapup 017 gammapup 020

If I didn’t convey it properly at the time, Mike, I want to thank you again.  Thank you so much for giving me back a piece of the collection I never thought I would have again.  You truly did a nice thing for me and I will be forever grateful. Hopefully, one day I can do something for you that is just as nice.

gammapup 021