Category Archives: Comic Review

The Immortal Hulk #16 (2019)

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Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Pencils Joe Bennet
Artist: Ink Ruy Jose
Cover Price:

Secondary Market:

$3.99

$3.99 – $120.00

Variants: 2
  • Asgardian Variant Cover
  • 1:25 Wraparound Variant
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Something odd has happened with Immortal Hulk #16.  While I am extremely glad that the Hulk is one of the hottest books on the planet I am also frustrated with how the book has suddenly taken on a life of its own on the secondary market.  People are paying wild prices for back issues – and now that has bled into pre-sale prices.  People driving up the prices of books yet to be released.  If that sounds crazy to you that’s because it is!  I have said it in the past and I will say it now – collectors can be their own worst enemies!  Case in point is the 1:25 wraparound variant for this issue.  What should have been a $12-$25 book suddenly shot up to $120 on eBay, so of course the shops followed suit and charged a premium for them as well.  I am lucky enough to have a shop charge me a little under half of the trending value.  This is also significant since the value has dropped to about $70-$80 after the book was released.

Even crazier?  There will be variants to the 2nd printings to this book!  How insane is that?  Variants to a 2nd printing is completely unheard of!  This is the biggest cash-grab I have seen in all my years of collecting.  This is collectors ruining the market for fellow collectors.  This is almost as crazy as people paying hundreds of dollars for a movie ticket to Endgame!  Can we all just get a grip here?

So, currently, from what I can count there will be the following variants released for this issue:

  • 2nd Print
  • Cover B 2nd Print
  • 8-Bit Hulk #1 variant
  • Ryan Brown variant
  • Shattered Cover variant
  • Hyuk Lee variant

So, you see, the world has gone done lost its mind!  I haven’t even gotten into the review of the book!  The issue was another solid read as the Hulk continues unwrapping the mystery of who this new Hulk incarnation exactly is.  Samson and Hulk realized that people have taken Rick Jones body – and we see the horrific experiments the scientists do to the corpse.

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I think we all know that we will be seeing Rick Jones again real soon – what will he look like though?  I don’t think even I can answer that!  The Hulk and Samson have a heart to heart while chasing down the assassin who shot Betty.  The two frenemies enter an underground lab where some terrible experiments have been executed resulting in gamma animals!  But don’t worry, this isn’t another Jason Aaron monkey poop moment that will be an embarrassment in Hulk history.

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Meanwhile, another group of government spooks are trying to track where Betty Banner has gone.  They fond something both brilliant and exciting – feathers!  Huge crimson feathers – but feathers none the less!  It will be interesting to see how the writer works in Betty’s transformation into the harpy -as she should have been in the Red Hulk title – and the inclusion of the Red She Hulk history that this series seems to have embraced in a positive way.

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Samson and Banner track Burbank into a dark room where suddenly UV lights flood the entire place and transform Hulk back into Banner.  Bruce runs to a dark corner but we leave the issue with the assassin seeking out Bruce but Bruce’s inner monologue letting the readers know that he isn’t who he seems!

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Villains:
  • Burbank (Sniper)
Grade: Bag and Board It

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Immortal Hulk #15 (2019)

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Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Pencils Joe Bennet
Artist: Ink Ruy Jose
Cover Price:

Secondary Market:

$3.99

$3.99 – $24.50

Variants: 1
  • Alex Ross Falling Cover
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Hulk is shot in the head with a bit of a brain missing.  the Hulk’s behavior is that more of Savage Hulk as he squares off against Doc Samson.  The good Doctor recounts his history of being brainwashed by the Leader and MODOK the downward spiral he was lead down with the ultimate piece where he sacrifices himself to save his friends.  This is not the end though as Doc Samson finds himself crawling out of his own grave!

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Apparently that means any Gamma induced character cannot simply die.  I’m still not sure how much I like this angle but the story itself is so entertaining I can let it go!  Moving on, the Hulk tries to “SMASH” Samson all while healing.  When the Hulk has his wits about him the two try to check out Betty’s body – only to fond a pool of blood and Betty gone.  The two “monsters” begin sharing what the Hulk is doing and really wants.  The Hulk lets Samson know that he’s unlike any Hulk personality that he has ever met.

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Samson recalls Bruce talking about the “Devil Hulk” back in the day and point blank asks him is he this personality.  The Hulk straight up says “yes”.  The Hulk goes on telling him that he is there because Bruce couldn’t handle things anymore.  He’s also there to destroy the human world.

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We leave this issue as they arrive at their destination.  We think they are heading out to find Betty but instead we are faced with the now dug up grave of Rick Jones!

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Villains:  

  • Burbank (Sniper)
Grade: Bag and Board It

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The Immortal Hulk #14 (2019)

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Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Pencils Kyle Hotz
Artist: Ink Kyle Hotz
Cover Price:

Secondary Market:

$3.99

$7.99 – $19.99

Variants: 1
  • Spider-Man Villain Variant
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Betty Ross has seen a lot of death in her life.  In fact, she’s losing count of how many times her father has passed.  At the latest memorial it’s a test in awkwardness as Tony Stark tries to sound sincere about Thunderbolts contributions to the greater good.  When offered up to the rest in attendance to say something it’s General Fortean who steps up.  Much to Betty’s dismay.

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As everyone leaves the funeral Tony tries to suggest to Betty to have Bruce turn himself in.  After he destroyed the Avengers in issue #7 it seems they have taken to trying just asking nicely.  Let’s see how that works out for them.  Tony offers Betty a ride to her destination but she declines.  When she arrives at a cabin in the woods Bruce is waiting.

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He looks terrible – Betty heard he was dead.  He was dead – he just got better.  Betty greets him with a kiss – and a warning.  They are not alone.  Fortean has a sniper waiting in the woods to take Banner out.  Betty is a smart lady – she’s taken precautions to make sure she and her husband has a moment to talk.  Bruce throws himself a pity party and cries about all the lives he’s ruined.

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Burbank, the sniper in the woods, is taking his best guess at who he has in his heat vision scope.  Fortean demands that he stand down as the sun has set but Burbank takes his shot anyways.  Betty, mid apology, gets a bullet through the noggin.  Burbank’s mix up unleashes the beast and the Hulk comes tearing out of the cabin!  The sniper does what he can to try and take the Hulk down – but it’s kind of difficult to kill something that just won’t die.

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Even after a head shot the Hulk advances!  It’s only when one of Hulk’s oldest friends steps in does the Hulk stop.  He sees Samson standing there ready to talk to his old friend.

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It makes sense after al the blubbering Bruce was doing over all the lives he’s ruined that he would be taken back seeing Doc before him.  Betty doesn’t seem down for the count so it will be interesting to see where they take that part of the story.  Not sure how jazzed the Hulk will be since the last we saw Doc he was trying to make amends for betraying the Hulk after being brainwashed by the Leader and MODOK.

Villains:
    • General Fortean
    • Burbank (Sniper)
Grade: Bag and Board It

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Hulkverines #1 (2019)

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Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Pencils / Ink Ario Anindito
Cover Price:

Secondary Market:

$4.99

$3.59 – $49.99

Variants:
  • (Keown) Skrull Variant
  • Cory Smith 1:25 Variant

 

Publisher: Marvel Comics

With this tag line it seems like Marvel is kind of begging us to like this comic:

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I’m not looking to tear anyone down.  That being said, Weapon H isn’t the worst idea Marvel has had in the last few years.  Silly?  Sure. A total waste of time?  Surprisingly – no!  The series has been pretty entertaining but we all knew it was just a matter of time before they had this new hybrid character face off against the originals!  Picking up from the last issue of the Weapon H where Agger is eager to have Wolverine and Hulk meet up with Clay for a little chit-chat.

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This issue picks up at Shadow Base where they have had the Leader incarcerated or some time.  That is until an agent comes calling for help from Sterns in locating the Hulk.  With the Hulk’s most recent re-emergence they realize that nothing they’ve used before is working as this Hulk is nothing like they’ve dealt with before.  Using just the report the agent gave to Sterns he dispatches both people and escapes the holding cell.

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Clay and his family are peacefully existing without incident until they’ve returned home one day with Clay sneezing.  The problem with that?  Weapon H doesn’t sneeze – or get sick – at all.  The whole family knows something is up and the wife and kids get ready to leave.  Clay books it into the woods where he meets up with an exhausted Bruce Banner.

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Thinking he is there to hurt him and his family Clay goes to attack the weary doctor.  Only, the sun is going down and the Hulk is due to come out.  The two behemoths begin pounding each other with Hulk ready to take his stolen gamma power back.

The Leader stands some distance away watching the fight unfold – taking delight in his plan working out.  In fact, he isn’t even concerned when Shadow Base catches up with him.  They go to inform the Leader that the Hulk can drain gamma out of people and Sterns happily replies that he is aware.  Just then the Hulk uses said power but ends up absorbing the virus that Sterns infected Clay with.

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Weapon H is able to get the better of our hero now that the Hulk is weakened.  With the Hulk laid out Clay is ready to leave but the Leader isn’t satisfied with that – he reveals his presence and instructs Weapon H to kill the Hulk.  Clay just wants to know who the hell the Leader is.  The Leader gets testy until Clay pops the claws and Sterns realizes he’s pushed too hard.  Too late – the Leader flees with Clay in pursuit.  Just as Clay is ready to land the killing blow Logan shows up to get some answers on who Weapon H is.

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As fine as this initial issue is I must say I think Pak’s use of the Leader is way off base.  What a flimsy plan – Sterns didn’t see the possibility that Clay would be upset with him threatening his family?  There was no plan put in place in case Weapon H turned on Sterns?  Which is exactly what happened!  I mean, maybe the Leader hasn’t been the same since his bout of crimson and re-invention of self – but this whole issue comes off a bit flat.  Hoping the series picks up in the next issue.

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Villains:
    • The Leader
Grade: Bag and Board It

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Defenders: The Best Defense (2019)

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Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Pencils / Ink Joe Bennet / Belardino Brabo
Cover Price:

Secondary Market:

Variants: 4

$4.99

$3.89 – $289.99

  • Arthur Adams Cover
  • Sal Buscema Cover
  • Valerio Schiti Cover
  • Skottie Young Cover
Publisher: Marvel Comics

The Defenders, Marvel’s greatest Non-Team!  It has been way too long since we’ve seen the original lineup take on a force threatening the world.  Truth is, The Defenders biggest problem is that they truly have the most powerful team in the entire MU.  Can you name a team with more powerful members? I bet you can’t.  Go ahead and try!  You have Marvel’s mightiest powerhouses banding together – not because they want to, mind you, but because if they don’t then worlds will end!  That’s right, this team, comprised of Hulk, Namor, Strange and Surfer, had a problem being a monthly title because how do you continue coming up with villains – or threats – big enough to give these powerhouses a worthy foe?  They did the only thing they could, really – they changed the team.  Over and over and over they added members and lost members on the regular just so that the writers could write believable stories where the members were being challenged!

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One thing that I’ve always looked forward to was that Marvel has continues to bring back the original members every now and again to tackle a new threat.  This time a parasitic type ghost named Nebulon has infected the Conductor of the Train.  The Train is hurtling through space picking up planets, using them as fuel.  Nebulon has taken control of the train and re-routed it to the Sol System.  Lucky for us the Surfer has met this enemy before and engages in some chit chat.  He hears Nebulon’s plans to snuff out the Earth and, unfortunately for the Surfer, has powers far greater than he remembers.

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Meanwhile, the Hulk and Strange are getting re-acquainted.  Strange needs the Hulk for his part of the plan, only Hulk doesn’t exactly understand the complexity of the situation they are in.  Strange breaks it down as simply as possible – Earth will die.  Maybe Hulk will survive but it won’t be any fun – so just help save the world.

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We now see two leopard brothers acting very Trading Places as they bet on the outcome of Nebulon after they gifted him with this upgrade in power.  Nebulon, on the other hand, is having nothing but success speeding up the train and torture Norrin Radd.  All of this is going swimmingly until Silver Sub Mariner shows up to surf his way through Nebulon’s hold on the Conductor.  If you want to know just how Namor became the new Surfer you have to buy a precursor issue that features just him and, truth be told, is quite freakin’ boring.

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The Hulk shows up to see the feline Duke brothers and even beheads one with his face hole.  It’s pretty disturbing – but let’s remember, its a pretty dark Hulk we’re dealing with here.  When the souls of the brothers move to Nebulon, dosing him with additional power, he flings Namor into the void of space.  Now Surfer has a choice to make – save the world and beat Nebulon or save a former teammate, grumpy sea king.  How is this even a choice?

Actually, Norrin doesn’t even need to weigh the pros and cons because the Hulk shows up and takes charge once again!  He hurtles the Surfer at Namor while appropriating his board to bitch slap Nebulon.

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How, you ask, how is Surfer supposed to save Namor without his board?  Well, if you guessed becoming the board himself then you’d be right and I’d be witnessing one of the most ridiculous moments in 2018 comic history!  With Hulk’s continued onslaught on Nebulon it gives Strange the chance to distract the Conductor – freeing him from Nebulon’s control – just for a second.  It’s enough to save a planet of Atlantean’s from becoming fuel and even more so, enough to knock the train off course a fraction of a degree and right into the hands of Mephisto.

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Our story concludes with Namor feeling good about saving the world of his kind.  Surfer back with Galactus, feeling used and misunderstood, Hulk back on Earth and Strange, now a prisoner of Mephisto. smiling devilishly because things went just how he expected.

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I love a good Defenders story – and this one is pretty damn great!  Don’t forget to check out the 1-shots that were all pre-cursors to this.  Especially the Immortal Hulk one which is just SO good!

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Villains:
    • Nebulon
    • Borss
    • Mog’Rys
    • Mephisto
Grade: Bag and Board It

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Immortal Hulk #1: Best Defense – The Variants

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This past week the Hulk’s portion of the new Defenders story was released. If you haven’t read it you totally should!  The story is amazing!  Anyways, there were 5 variants released including a brilliant Jack Kirby 1:200 cover.  See below:

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As you can see in addition to the regular cover we were also given an obligatory Skottie Young cover!  The list below is as follows:

  • Regular Cover by Ron Garney
  • Skottie Young Cover
  • 1:25 Cover by  Joe Bennet
  • 1:50 Cover by Adi Granov
  • 1:200 Cover by Jack Kirby

If you have yet to read this issue then take a moment right now to crack open this book!  It’s just awesome!   They use snippets from past stories and it was seriously flat out exceptional!

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Don’t forget to pick up Namor: Best Defense to continue the story

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Pulls From the Short Box 5.23.18

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What is the point of comics if you don’t read them? Don’t be one of those CGC slabbing comic book “collectors”! Make sure to read them over and over again! Here is a list of what I’ve been reading from my collection:

Spider-Man 2099 (1992)
W: David / A: Leonardi
Issue I’m Reading – #5-8
Total Issues in the Series: 46s20997
One of the things I remember best about the Ghost Rider series from the 90’s was how every issue seemed to introduce a new villain who Ghost Rider would then dispatch shorty there after.  He literally killed everyone who he went up against.  Spidey 2099 started off sort if the same way where the Specialist is killed in issue#5 after battling Miguel for just a few issues.  We meet a pretty great but sick new villain in the Vulture but he doesn’t stick around for all that long after it’s revealed what he likes to chew on.  Thankfully he and his Freakers crew is beaten by issue #8.

So Far: B+

Warlock and the Infinity Watch (1992)
W: Starlin / A: Medina Almond
Issue I’m Reading – #6
Total Issues in the Series: 42Warlock6
I’m not sure how to take the beat down that Warlock takes at the hands of one his oldest arch-nemesis but I do love a great story where the hero, outmatched by strength, has to use his cunning to defeat the bad guy instead.  Next up?  Infinity War cross-over issues!

So Far: B

Catwoman (1993)
W: Duffy/Dixon / A: Balent
Issues I’m Reading – #10-11
Total Issues in the Series: 94Catwoman10
Leading up to Knightsend Selina takes on a mad genius with a knack to building bad ass weaponry.  These issues have some of the best fight scenes and showcase Catwoman’s undeniably great fighting style!

Thankfully I did track down all off the Knightsend issues – but it’s a 10 issue storyline and Cat has just two installments!  The worst part of it all is watching Jean Paul continually lose his mind while Bruce Wayne keeps walking to the edge and then backing off again.  I’m sure when I get to the issue where he finally leaps it will all be worth it!

Also read: Batman #509, Shadow of the Bat #29 and Detective Comics #676.

So far: B+

Batman and Catwoman: Trail of the Gun (2004)
W: Nocenti A: Sciver
Issue I’m Reading- #1-2
Total Issues in the Series: 2Batman_Catwoman2
Written a little heavy handed this tale hardly really starts Bats at all.  Truthfully, most of the time we follow Catwoman through a pretty blasé search for a perfect killing machine – bullets that are heat seekers and can hit it’s target without even being aimed right at you.  Too much preaching to make these issues hold up well.  I wouldn’t even consider myself too bold in saying that you wouldn’t miss out if skipping ever reading these issues.

Issue: C-

Anyways, what are you guys reading from your collection?