Tag Archives: 2013

Marvel Knights: Hulk (2013) – The Review

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Marvel Knights: Hulk
W: Joe Keatinge
I: Piotr Kowalski

I will admit to never reading Glory.  I have heard decent things about it – but have yet to pick up an issue.  That said, this is my first introduction to Keatinge as a writer – and I wish it was better.  The Hulk – for as long as I remember – has always been an American problem.  He tears up the US and then is seen in South America – even ventured north and bothered Canada for a while – but mainly stuck around the US of A.  Keatinge – according to the interview in the back of the final issue – decided to tackle the idea of “What if Hulk was set loose in other countries the way he is here?” and then wrote a lackluster 4 issue mini-series tackling that quandary.  I always enjoy the idea of seeing the Hulk starring in more than one title a month – but when they turn out like this I would rather they just save everyone some time.

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In this mini, Bruce Banner runs around Paris unsure of who he is – who is following him – and what kind of danger he is really in.  A mysterious and deadly  organization seem to be hot on his trail, killing people without a pause who get in their way or who decide to help Banner.  Trouble surfaces in the first encounter with this mysterious group after Banner shoots one gentleman – the other shoots a green glowing ooze into his neck and “Hulks” out.  I immediately thought to myself “Oh no – not another group who is after a Hulk serum” but sure enough… and even worse I got Ang Lee flashbacks as these Hulked out henchmen grew to enormous size.  Of course, it didn’t end well for them as they blew up and left a crater in the middle of Paris…

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As SHEILD tries to put together the pieces a dastardly woman named Nikoleta Harrow kidnaps Banner and injects him with the Hulk serum – which now makes Hulk enormous.  Even worse – Nikoleta now controls him.  She makes Hulk attack AIM who has come to claim the Hulk and the gamma serum for themselves.  This, of course, means that MODOK makes his appearance – working with Doom and another fellow named Midas they soon learn that Nikoleta has double crossed them.  What follows are a series of confusing and false flashbacks where there is no Hulk but Betty dies of gamma radiation.

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When they return to the site of the original gamma bomb – the spot where Hulk was created – Nikoleta unleashes her final phase, which is to become a Hulk herself.  Huge Hulk and huge Nikoleta Hulk battle it out in the midst of another AIM attack.  Nikoleta blows up and kills or knocks everyone out.  Now it is revealed that Doom and Midas were playing a game of their own (one that Doom won) and SHEILD comes to take Banner away.

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If this sounds like a terrible story – that’s because it is.  With the chance to do a Hulk mini-series you would think that maybe the writer would have some original ideas to bring to the table.  But cobbling bits and pieces from other stories to tell an awfully familiar tale about trying to harness the power of the Hulk only for it to go horribly wrong seems like a waste of time to me.  Grade: D

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Bowen Designs Doc Samson (2013)

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This is the latest Bowen Statue I picked up.  If you read my blog at all then you know I am a bargain shopper and I was able to talk the owner of one of my LCS into trading this to me for some unwanted pieces in my own collection – and a little extra.  So, in other words, I got this for a song.

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Bowen has been making Marvel collectibles for over two decades.  His pieces are easily the most accurate and amazing portrayals of the comic characters we all love.  The busts and statues look as though they have just straight off the pages of our favorite funny books and a 3-D version landed right on our shelves.  I proudly have every Hulk related Bowen piece – but could not believe my eyes when he announced that he was creating a FS (that’s Full Statue for the non-collector) of one of Hulk’s oldest frenemies.  Doc Samson started out in the comics in The Incredible Hulk #141 as a man who created a cure for the Hulk – and even helped Banner be rid of the Hulk once and for all.  But Samson’s ego proved too fragile as he had to expose himself to gamma rays to see if he could turn himself into a super-strong version of himself.  Banner could not take the attention that Betty was showing to the new and improved Samson – so after another quick dose of gamma – a battle of the ages was born.  If you’re interested, read the full synopsis here.

The great thing about Bowen Designs is that you really get to see unique and rare characters that most other collectible companies would never take the time to produce.  There are a few other collectors out there that know how this Samson statue came to be.  It started on a forum called the Statue Forum where one of the people on the forum called Al begged and pleaded for a Samson statue.  When things went south on the boards between Bowen and the people in charge (and some of the regulars) Al created a new forum for statue collectors – a site called Statue Marvels.  A while later, maybe even as a thank you (and because there seemed to be a bit of interest from other collectors) Bowen finally announced he would be doing a Samson FS.  I know I was one of the people ecstatic over the news.  I mean, we had a mini-bust – but a full sized statue?  I never thought I’d see the day!

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As usual Bowen didn’t disappoint. Samson, and his long green locks, are on full display on this statue masterpiece.  Every detail, including the lightning bolt shirt, the yellow boots and the tough-guy mugging. As usual, the base is very similar to the other Hulk statues – that way displaying the characters together makes it look better – more aesthetically pleasing.  I feel as though this is one of the things that really sets Bowen Designs apart from the other collectible companies – of which there are many now – and mostly due to Bowen getting the ball rolling.  It seems as though a lot of forethought goes into the design and idea of how these statues may be displayed.  This is certainly one for the ages!  Pick it up today! Grade A-

Avengers Assemble Gamma Fist Hulk (2013)

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So, this must be the line taking over for the MU series.  This Hulk figure is leaps and bounds better than the one I posted Saturday.  Like I said – I think the other was geared more toward kids while this one certainly is more toward the collector’s liking.  It has way more articulation – 12 points in all (including the ball joints at the legs) and the sculpt is a lot better as well.  I wish I could say it was better in all facets – but the paint application is still pretty dull and cheap looking.  Overall though, this figure gives me great hope for the future of the Avengers Assemble line.

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While I was out I did find the latest wave of MU figures and picked up not only the newest Rhino but the really great Mysterio figure.  I am really hoping to be able to find the last few figures in this line – like the Abomination and the Leader – this is a line I will miss.  It’s too bad that Hasbro’s choices sort of nose dived the whole series.

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You should absolutely pick these up if you are lucky enough to find them – especially the classic Rhino figure which is a lot better than the Rhino we got in the Spider-Man 2-pack.

Grades:
AA Hulk – B-
MU Rhino – A-
MU Mysterio – B

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Here’s a quick comparison:

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Avengers Assemble Smashing Hero Hulk (2013)

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Man, I have been busy.  Since deciding to retire this blog – and then deciding to un-retire it – and trying to find a good way or time to start posting things I have been picking up a bunch of new, cool Hulk items!  I think the frustration comes when I saw so much Hulk merchandise making it’s way out and the prices getting heftier and heftier – there is no real way to realistically keep up!  I moved forward though – deciding to focus on the things that really matter to me, what I enjoy the most in the collection.

One of the things I like the most are the action figures – the little sculpted plastic characters are, most of the time, outdoing the last release.  Marvel Universe continued to up their game… that is until Hasbro decided to drop the line altogether.  So, we have 2 new lines out – both called Avengers Assemble – one is an obvious continuation of the MU line – the other (the figure in this post) seems to be a more kid-friendly and more affordable line.  Each figure is priced about $5.99 – but for this new, cheaper price we sacrifice quite a bit – like articulation (this figure taps out at 5 joints) and paint application.  The sculpt is just fine but the paint job makes it look cheap and dull.  If you like your new Hulk figures then pick this little guy up – but if you like ACTION figures then leave this one cooling on the pegs.  Grade: C+

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Catching Up with Tuesday!

Another homage to a Hulk cover... freakin' Spawn...

Another homage to a Hulk cover… freakin’ Spawn…

Yes – it has been a very busy few weeks – for both work and comic readers – but I am happy to say I have caught up and am ready to give off a few of my opinions. Strap yourself in and get ready for them!  So, what’s been happening?  Well, Nova got “Loebed” (I am totally copy writing that term!) while Hulk is making the blue chicks feel all sexy.

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I always like to begin with the latest Hulk because, unlike the last two series, this one is not only readable but it seems to heading somewhere.  I am all for when they bring back some B-Lister enemy and Waid is really pulling out all the stops with the Quintronic Man and now the old FF villain Attuma.  I am going to confess that I was REAL bummed that they didn’t bring back Aquon – this story line was ripe for it! Although, the finale of these issues wasn’t too bad either.  The Indestructible Hulk #5 (W: Waid, I: Yu, 2013, $3.99) has the Hulk’s  presence affected the Rebel Army’s female soldier Mara to the point she was ready to knock boots with Jade Jaws and not ask any questions later.  Attuma’s whole plan was to use magic to control the huge underwater beasts to victory – but the Hulk has never met a huge beast that he didn’t give his best beat-down.  Ultimately, both Hulk and Banner win this one as Bruce leaves with the recipe for a liquid weapon.  Grade: B

Chris Steven's Variant

Chris Steven’s Variant

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And then I read Nova #2 (W: Loeb, I: McGuinness, 2013, $3.99) which sucks all the excitement out of the first issue because we are given what seems like a filler issue. The cliched second issue is filled with a young man just given new powers and he does a lot of yelling and exclaiming as he makes mistakes and explores what his new found powers are.  In the end he sees the Watcher… watching.  Not much to it at all.  Grade: D

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I’ve always liked the idea of the Savage Land – a place that is so  dangerous and primitive that the pampered people (including heroes) dare not take a step onto it!  Of course, rules like that isn’t something Wolverine usually follows.  Many things have happened to Shanna in Wolverine in just 2 short issues (Loeb should call him to ask how to write a compelling, action filled story) and Savage Wolverine #3 (W/I: Cho, 2013, $3.99) is yet another great issue!  The beautiful artwork makes reading the constant battles and bloody action all that much more enjoyable!  Amadeus Cho is on hand in this issue once again to try to help a rare Shanna mis-step.  Only Wolverine does not know it yet and he is ready to guy the whole island!  Grade: A

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Maybe it’s a second issue thing – but Marvel loves to stretch out a story line if they can!  Especially when it’s an “event”.  So Age of Ultron #2 (W: Bendis, P: Hitch, I: Neary, 2012, $3.99) follows in the same vain.  A slower paced issue that gives as a glimpse at a few more living heroes, a look at the severity and brutality of Ultron’s army and a look back at how Spider-Man came to be where he is.  Oh, yeah – and Cap finally stands up.  Hopefully the next issue will pick up the pace!  Grade: C

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I do like how things are progressing in Avengers #8 (W: Hickman, I: Weaver, 2013, $3.99) with the “White Event” creating a new weapon called Starbrand.  A once forgettable, geeky kid who is now responsible for more than 3,000 deaths with his inception.  Right out of the gate he knocks the Hulk into orbit – although the Hulk gets his revenge.  With Captain Universe and Nightmask’s help the boy discovers where he came from.  It comes full circle from where the series started – pretty damn great issue – makes me interested for future issues! Grade: A- 

Acquisition Tuesday!

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I am a bit muddled these days… I ordered a small batch of comics that says it was delivered to my house… yet it was not. Trying to track this down is a little more curiously difficult than it should be!  Anyways, I am also working on a few posts looking back on classic stories as well as reviews for the latest issues – but since none of those are done just yet – I will post “The Best of” Mini-Mates, Hulk and Loki 2-pack (2013, $9.99).  This is a brand new Hulk Mini-Mate – not that we needed a new one – but it is probably one of the best ones to come out!  You can also take the Banner head and turn it into a Bruce Banner Mini-Mate.  Make sure, as you transform the little figure that you say lots of things like “You won’t like me when I am angry!” and “Get away!” or “Aaaaauuuurrrggh!”  It makes it WAY more exciting!

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Acquisition Monday!

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I gave a quick glimpse of this figure before – but here is a more detailed look at the Marvel Legends Red-She Hulk (2013, $19.99).  The card says “Hulkettes” on it and that’s because the variant for this figure (when it hit shelves) will be Lyra – the daughter of Thundra and Hulk.  I am sort of glad they are splitting this wave between the two rather than flooding the pegs with both ladies in the same wave. I know some of you have already commented on the fact that you are not picking this up because you don’t like the character but, to me, it is a part of Hulk history so I did.

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Red She Hulk (real quick side note – I am amazed that fan boys who still call the Red Hulk “Rulk”, as annoyingly ridiculous as that sounds, never started calling this character “Shrulk”) comes with a huge-ass sword that’s almost as tall as she is.  The sculpt is quite good – I see the articulation is just as good as it is on pretty much all ML lately.  Overall, this is a decent figure to add to the collection – only if you’re as die hard as me – or an actual fan of the character.  Grade: B-

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