Granted, the Ultimate Universe was made for writers like Jeph Loeb – writers who would rather create their own continuity than be bothered to learn the character’s past – it seemed like a win/win for everyone! Sort of like a DC Elseworld’s story, the Ultimate Universe was a chance for new readers to jump into a comic world that had the same basic characters as the 616 but without that pesky history that made them so… what’s the word I’m looking for? Oh yeah, great.
A few of the Ultimate storyline’s were worth the read – Ultimate Human comes to mind – but also Ultimate Hulk vs Wolverine. This is easily the most exciting mini Marvel ever released – mainly because the first issue ended with Wolverine being ripped in HALF by a cannibalistic, savage Hulk. It was gruesome, gnarly and downright awesome. Of course, waiting the years to come for the final few issues to see the light of day might’ve been even more cringe worthy – but, ultimately, the only real memorable scene from the whole story is this moment. So memorable that years later Ed McG put his own spin on the classic moment:
Hulk apparently only ranks #8 but they did not grade “powerful” in the same way Wizard used to mean powerful. They factored in things like Bankability, Design, Originality and Personality. Hulk still only ranked #8.
A sidebar also gives us a silly ranking of which superheroes would be the worst roommates. Hulk excelled at that:
Peter David, as his time as the epic Hulk writer, like to push the envelope. None was so obvious when he decided to write about the age old question: If you had a chance to kill Hitler before he became Hitler, would you?
A boy that would grow up to bring about a new genocide was targeted by the Pantheon. Aggy, in all his brilliance, sends Achilles to kill this boy before he can grow up to be an A-Hole but also sends the Hulk to protect him? Sort of?
Well all the good that does because it turns out in the end that David wrote in a fail safe ending. The boy dies but no one kills him. Wait – that’s wrong – a lot of people kill him. Actually, they don’t even kill him – and he’s not even the real bad guy. Listen, it’s a lot to explain but just read the issue and see this little boy almost get trampled to death. Man, Peter David must be a hoot at kid’s birthday parties!
We’ve all had tumultuous relationships – times when we were with someone who we just shouldn’t be with. You never had conversations – you had shouting matches. You didn’t have fight – you had all out brawls. These toxic relationships are a curse without a clear way out. We were privy to this kind of relationship in the pages of the Hulk when Joe Fixit was dating Marlo. She loved him, she hated him, he didn’t care for her… until he finally did and by then… it was too late.
When Fixit fights off Werewolf by Night and saves Marlo’s life he also realizes that she loves him. But not him.She loves the him who he is not. Does that make sense? Read it again and get back to me.
She loves the humanity of Fixit – the Banner side of Hulk. The side that Fixit hates. He realizes can’t depend on anyone or anything – it reminds me of the end of Heat with Robert DeNiro where he walks away from his girl because that’s what he HAD to do.
In today’s racially charged climate I can’t imagine this story going over very well – but back in the 90’s Peter David decided to throw caution to the wind and let the Hulk play baseball… in blackface.
The Hulk was hiding in plain sight. Banner couldn’t really play baseball wrapped in bandages (which was what he was using when this issue begins) so he and Betty use the next best thing… make up. What covers green better and easier? That would be Hulk in blackface. Maybe Peter David was trying to see what kind of trouble he could stir up (although the issue came and went without much fanfare or criticism) or maybe he really saw nothing wrong with this story at all – either way we are left with a Hulk issue in the mythos that should make even the most fervent Hulk fan’s face turn red with embarrassment.
Who would have guessed that Kid N Play would have made it to issue #9? I mean, let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want to keep up with the exploits of the ultimate 90’s rap duo Kid N Play? Those House Party movies took years in between so we needed a monthly update!
Unfortunately, the Hulk didn’t really have a run in with the authors of such classics as Ain’t Gonna Hurt Nobody, Gittin Funky and Can You Dig That?, they had some funky pizza that made them hallucinate. Now, any comic collector worth his salt in long boxes would know that truly rare comics, the hardest issues to get, are actually the last few issues of a run. Especially a pretty unpopular run – like this was – so if you are lucky enough to find this issue consider yourself lucky. They aren’t easy to find and there aren’t many out there at all!
|Hero vs. Hero
Since I’m such a nice guy – and I don’t get to blog as much as I’d like to but I still have loyal readers – I will tell you this: I have an extra copy of this super rare comic. I know it’s not really worth that much – but that’s besides the point. Here’s what I am going to do – I will give a chance to own my extra copy to anyone who comments on this post asking to be in the raffle. I will draw the name and then let the winner know here. I will draw the name on Halloween Day – so if you’d like it just let me know! Good luck all!
Another week of cringe inducing Hulk moments – What could it be this week? Sure enough, a scary Hulk storyline that I was not sure how he would prevail.
The Madman had poisoned the Hulk and he was going to die. Every issue was another battle without an answer or, at the very least, a cure. He continued to get weaker and weaker and waste away. By issue #364, the conclusion to Countdown, the Hulk was grotesquely skinny with only hours to live.
Minutes before death the Hulk still had to battle against Madman. If you haven’t read this great piece of Hulk history I won’t ruin the outcome but let’s just say, it’s a nail biter right to the bitter end!