Tag Archives: Comic Review

Totally Awesome Hulk… the Review?

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So, last time I discussed this series I was pretty content to not buy it.  Reviews began to surface – each and everyone of them positive – making me question on whether or not I should reconsider.  I decided to make my decision after reading the first issue.  So I guess the question remains, did I buy it?

Well, let me tell you what I read first.  The issue begins with Cho on the beach beating up a monster that surfaces from the ocean.  He pounds the monster and then turns for a fist-bump from a toddler.  Yes, he asks for a fist-bump.  Then a page or two later Cho is naked after another round with the monster – but, no worries, there is a large CENSORED sign over his genitals with concern over the editors losing their jobs if they showed the Hulk’s huge giant man meat.  I instantly thought “Oh, wait… so this isn’t to be a real series – this is sort of tongue in cheek bullshit.” and I started to feel a little better about it.

Reading on, Banner does make a cameo for a tick but then we get back to Cho and his hormones in full force as he fights an alien queen.  There is an obvious set-back to Cho being a powerful green giant that Pak addresses, like we knew he would, being the amazing writer he is.  Here’s one of my issues though – this is not what I wanted from the Hulk.  Never mind that Cho had his chance at comic stardom as a sidekick to The Incredible Hercules.  Granted, he was not the star of the book – but he was still a huge force in the book – one that did not last.  Now he is the star of the Hulk book, taking the mantle and joking his way through the whole thing.  To me, the Hulk’s tortured existence made his a complicated and brilliant character – not quite a hero but in no way a villain.  Cho is certainly a hero, and in that respect, not as fun to read.

This may sit well with some new comic readers but not with the veterans.  Of course, that means the one thing we old fogies don’t want to hear or admit.  Comics are no longer being geared towards us.  Marvel especially wants to attract a younger audience and this may just work.  Pak is an amazing writer and this will not be any different, I’m sure, and Frank Cho makes the book so beautiful it’s hard to deny it’s lure.  Overall, I am sure of one thing – this series may be a fun new start – but not one I am looking to take the ride with.  I chose to put the book back on the shelf and walk out of the LCS without the new Hulk issue for the first time in over 20 years.

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Catching Up With…

So… by tomorrow I obviously meant in a few days.  It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed, well, pretty much anything – so this might be a bit long (that’s what she said) buckle up and enjoy the ride here, folks!  There is a lot of ground to cover!  Let’s begin with:

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Hulk #4

W: Mark Waid
A: Mark Bagley

What can I say that hasn’t already been said (by me) with this swan song from the ultimately cut short Hulk saga from the ultra-talented Mark Waid?  Well, he left us with quite the doozy – extremis not only saves Bruce Banner but also gives us a mysterious future with Banner being maybe even more brilliant than before – who knows?  I liked the last issue – the Abomination returning (even a clone) is still a great thing to me – I just wish since the recently launched Savage Hulk also has the Green Goliath battling the age-old foe that we could have had a different baddie.  It almost seemed redundant reading the Savage Hulk.  Over all, I will miss Waid and will forever be bummed we didn’t get to see his ultimate vision come to fruition.  Grade: A-

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Thunderbolts

W: Soule, and then the Bens
A: Diaz Luque and then Barberi

What can I say abou… wait, that’s how I started out the last issue review – nevermind.  I have enjoyed the Thunderbolts and thought it hit its real stride with the Infinity tie-ins.  Bringing back Madman and the Leader (even though he was turned red – big mistake in my opinion) was fun to start things out but when Red turned the deciding missions over to the rest of the group that’s when the real fun began!  Watching these personalities clash with each other and how they never seemed to agree but still made winning a possibility was entertaining as heck.  Too bad it didn’t last.  Soule’s final issues seemed rushed and sloppy.  What began as a haunted ride down a murky swamp in search of a mystical treasure quickly turned into a “Crystal Skull” type ending.  Unsatisfactory and unfair.  Unfair to all the readers who were following this unconventional team of super-mercenaries with questionable morals and even more questionable methods.  This book made me even tolerate Deadpool – which says a lot!  The art was even getting better with each issue!  Overall, I think dwindling sales turned this series on its belly and it will end its run at issue #32.

So far the Punisher vs Thunderbolts story line has delivered some great moments but nothing worth real mention – the magic seems to have been dropped from the book – and they are even recycling earlier events back into the fray.  The Punisher shot the Leader… again.  Haven’t we been here before?  I liked when the Leader allowed Red to berate him all the while plotting to take the entire team down – but even that has become tiresome since nothing ever comes of it.  Soule had a real knack for making these characters interesting – but we’re seeing more clichés of these characters rather than the hilarious “Odd Couple” scenarios that made the earlier issues so much better.  Grade: C-

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Original Sin:

W: Aaron
A: Deodato

Everyone said to read other Aaron works – to just turn a blind eye to his ill-suited Hulk run and read his other stories – and I did.  I read his Wolverine Omnibus – fantastic, I read some of his Punisher – great stuff.  This Marvel event, though, takes the cake. It’s fast paced, exciting and the best part – thus far it actually makes sense.  Every issue delivers a great “What the-?” moment that makes you want to pick up the next issue!  Not to mention, I have not picked up every variant, only the Hulk ones and the “Eye” variants, but there are two sets that actually look really decent together!  The Art Adam’s variants combine to create a huge mural type scene and the “Eye” variants look amazing displayed together!

Grade so far: A-

This mini may fizzle in the end – but with two issues left and the story still going strong – I have high hopes for a “blow me away” kind of ending.  I can’t even tell you how refreshing it is to read an event comic that isn’t making me roll my eyes.  It’s been a while – I loved AvX but even that one had its moments that didn’t keep my attention.  Age of Ultron was a disaster from the get-go – and I didn’t mind Infinity but it really crapped the bed with the “homage” ending.  Even World War Hulk, coming off of one of the greatest Hulk stories of recent memory, was a bit of a let down.  We all knew the ending before it even began.  Original Sin, on the other hand, has even served up a pretty thrilling tie-in series with:

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Original Sin: Hulk vs Iron Man

Let me begin with the idea that I never usually enjoy the idea of going back to origin and changing status quo.  Hell, it usually opens a can of continuity worms that the writers explain by saying “It’s just a fun story – don’t worry about the history” and that never sits well with people.  When this series was announced I was immediately thrown back to the Hulk: Gray moment when Iron Man showed up when everyone knows the first time the two powerhouses met was Avengers #1.  Of course, Loeb has never been one for continuity – it takes a more skilled writer to care about such things (let’s face it, he’s no Jeff Parker) – but I was worried that this was just another Marvel moment.  You know, just write a story and see if people have a god memory or not.

With all of that in mind this new (awkwardly numbered) mini-series promises to serve up an interesting take on what went down that fateful day the green Goliath was created.  So far all we know is that Stark was acting like his pompous self and, thinking he knew best, let his clouded judgement take president over what Banner’s ultimate vision was for the gamma-bomb.  Stark knew how to make it into a more destructive weapon which is exactly what Ross always wanted.  This series still hasn’t let the car out of the bag just yet of what Stark actually did – but it is shaping up nicely.  Grade: B+

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Savage Hulk

W: Alan Davis
A: Alan Davis, Mark Farmer

For all the people who have griping that Waid didn’t bring back the classic Hulk stories that they thought he would – I give you – Alan Davis.  There is only one Hulk guest-spot issue that I had a terrible time finding.  eBay not withstanding, I’ve only seen this issue once – The Uncanny X-Men #66 – and it’s the one in my collection.  With Xaiver is real trouble he needs Banner to help him heal.  The X-Men go to retrieve Banner but have to deal with the Hulk first.  It’s a fun issue with Banner coming out victorious in saving the Professor.

Davis brings us back to that point of time and we re-examine the super-hero battle and it is truly a blast from the past.  The classic Hulk that graced the comics (and television to a lesser extent) is back in full form here.  For everyone hoping for that 80’s child-like Hulk back in action – it’s finally here!  The follow up issue gives us a wild gamma-romp with the real Abomination tearing up the desert in a classic tussle with our favorite Jade Jaws!  This is an entertaining series so far – let’s hope they can keep this train chugging along at a great speed!  Hell, they ended the second issue with the Leader in his original color!  What a refreshing sight!  If only current times were the same!  Grade: B+

I’ve also been asked what my opinion is on the recent news that Thor is being turned into a woman.  Well, it turns out that he isn’t.  Thor isn’t worthy of Mjolnir anymore – and this new chick is.  Thor now battles with an axe.  If you’re wondering what I think about that – well, I haven’t read it.  In fact, no one has – because it’s not out yet – and I remember not too long ago that people were freaking out because Doc Ock was going to inhabit Peter Parker’s body – and look how all of that turned out.  So, let’s be patient – it may turn out kind of cool.  If not, no worries, these are comics – nothing lasts for ever.

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

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- 

Looking Back Friday!

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I don’t usually read any of the “event” comics but a set of circumstances lead to my owning the Avengers vs X-Men collection (2012, #75.00).  Pretty simple really, a friend of mine ordered it off amazon – and amazingly – he was sent 2.  They came a day apart and he offered me one for half price.  I told him I wasn’t interested as I didn’t really care to read the series.  Then he came up with the best solution.  He told me to take it and to read.  After I finished it, if I didn’t want it, to give it back.  If I wanted to keep it to slip him $20 and it was all mine.  So, even with a ton of other things on my plate I took this home and cracked it open.  Two things happened:

The first, I loved it.  I seriously couldn’t put it down.  I thought it was really well done – even with the lack of Hulk in it!  The second thing was – it made me want to read more – that’s sort of a big deal because I have never been into reading the X-Men or any other mutant title.  This, of course, isn’t a regular title though.  This matched hero vs. hero, which seems to be a new, constant battle that Marvel keeps dipping back into the well for stories.  It does work well here though, better than Civil War, IMO, where you are not exactly sure who to root for.  It became abundantly clear who should be stopped by issue #2 or #3 – the mutants were out of control.

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The Avengers had their work cut out for them facing opponents that were pretty unstoppable.  It was a fun ride where your loyalties were with a certain team – or you were hoping one of them would give and realize that they were doing more harm than good in battling back and forth.  I never read the original Dark Phoenix tale – but I did know how bad ass it was – and what it could do.  I found the whole saga a page-turner.  I even enjoyed the ending… but there were some issues with the whole saga.

No, no, Hulk - I said "Will you hide my STASH for me!"

No, no, Hulk – I said “Will you hide my STASH for me!”

Why did the Hulk even make an appearance?  He didn’t show up until Round 11 – and even then he didn’t do much – as insignificant as that might be to anyone who is not a huge Hulk fan – to me that was a real let down and yet another reason why having a new Hulk in the Marvel Universe is just a bad idea.  Early on they used the Red Hulk – who was also pretty ineffective in the story – but, to tell you the truth, I can’t remember him doing anything of real importance.  So, why was he there?  Either of them?  They used to bring Hulk into these stories to at least do something noteworthy – hold up a freakin’ mountain, crack Onslaught’s armor – hell, even in the Infinity Gauntlet he got close enough to Thanos to land a few blows!  Here, though?  The Hulk disappears just as quickly as arrives – and is really no use at all.

Most of these events move pretty slowly – having to pace the issues out to fill a full trade that Marvel can over-charge us for later.  This event actually moves rather quickly and doesn’t have a whole lot of filler.  I found the end rather decent and complete, unlike some of my friends who thought that the finale was a cop-out.  I mean, how else could this end?  The Phoenix gone but with it’s destruction there is an undoing a mutant massacre from House of M back in 2005.  Like I’ve stated before, I am not a fan of the X-titles and haven’t really read up on them but reading this made me want to read more (which is sort of the point in doing these events).  I did pick up the AVX: Consequences 5 issue mini to follow up on what happened next.  I liked it – Scott Summers playing the Ozymandias role – making his actions, no matter how despicable, justified for the greater good.

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The only other wish I had (other than more Hulk) was that Marvel would make continuity a priority again.  The Hulk that appeared in this series was not the same Hulk that was in his own series – he acted differently and look different.  I miss the days when everything connected in the MU – nowadays, with writers and their egos, Marvel sort of seems to let them have the freedom to write whatever they want in whichever vain the choose with the incarnation of the character they wish to use (especially Loeb).  It makes it very confusing for the reader who still reads everything.

The Follow Up is totally worth the read!

The Follow Up is totally worth the read!

Overall, though, these problems did not really impact my enjoyment of this event.  I mean, I am not going to start reading the X-Men now but I think having the collected edition is worthwhile – especially if your friend gets an extra copy and you just have to slip him a $20 to keep it!  Grade: A-

Catching Up With – Saturday!

I know what you’re thinking – A Saturday post?  With reviews?  What did you do to get such a treat?  Well, the honest truth is I am spending a little extra time in the Hulk room today because – my Bowen Hulk variant came in today and I can’t stop admiring it!  I will be posting my review of this statue on Monday!  But here I need to catch up with a few titles that I have been reading.

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First up is the conclusion of the first story arc from the Marvel Now! rebooted Avengers.  I am one of the people that had been enjoying the new book – really excited over the prospect of seeing the Hulk in a team dynamic – something that has been impossible for writers to accomplish for a while.  It seems that people just did not know how to write the Hulk as a team player.  And for good reason – he is not one.  Whedon showed the world at large that, in the right circumstances, the Hulk could be one of the greatest weapons any super team could have on their roster.

Unfortunately, instead of seeing the Hulk cut loose and take on any baddie – the villains had, early on, took control of Hulk’s brain and had him take out Thor.  My hopes were that we would see the Hulk come back and give some much deserved lashings – but instead, issue #3 sees much of the same, the Hulk is told to take out Hyperion and the two battle it out.  Hyperion bests the possessed brute and Banner re-surfaces.  Ex Nihilo, who I thought would be a titan-type baddie, an almost Thanos type threat, turned out to be a villain who could be easily swayed when faced with a false God.

It started out real interesting – but ultimately Avengers #3 (W: Hickman, I: Opena, 2013, $3.99) stalemated at the finale.  Grade:

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In other comic news – but not so different – Avengers Assemble has been an enjoyable read for it’s first year’s worth of stories!  I haven’t really covered any of the issues as of yet – but the Thanos battle was pretty fun and brilliant!  If you didn’t read it… shame on you!  But in Avengers Assemble #11 (W: DeConnick I: Caselli, 2013, $3.99) the team is faced with trying to calm an infected Hulk – that sounds vaguely familiar – but Spider-woman is up to the task of helping our jade giant!  The real issue at hand is that Yun Guang Han is trying to create an army – and he wants the best – luring the Avengers to his lair.  Thankfully the team makes short order of him – read it if you want to know how – and off they flew back to NY where the Hulk and Stark held their very own naked parade!

The humor injected into this book is really well done – the team dynamic, almost everything I have been reading of late, is trying to mimic the tone and feel of the Avengers movie.  It reminds me of when the Batman movie came out in 89 – all of the Batman comics went dark and gritty.  It’s not necessarily a bad thing – but a little variety would be nice too.  Hulk doesn’t just have to come in to throw the bad guy around.  Grade: B+

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Also, for anyone interested, I have taken my chances on a non-Hulk book – something I have not done in years – I started reading Savage Wolverine #1 (W+I: Cho, 2013, $3.99) and I have to tell you, I have been a Cho fan – but really didn’t follow his work to closely, the series is off to a pretty great start!  Of course, Cho made it easy on himself – he has one of the most popular characters in comic history and then he puts him into the Savage Land where Cho gets to draw Shanna and Dinosaurs.  Two things he is exceptional at!  The book is worth the read so far – Grade: B

Catching Up With Thursday!

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Granted, we are coming off of one – scratch that, including Loeb’s rubbish – TWO  of the worst Hulk runs in history, Waid’s Indestructible Hulk is off to a welcome start!  Last issue’s beat down of Iron Man was a long overdue sight!  Now, of course, in the latest issue ( Indestructible Hulk #3 – 2013, W: Waid I: Yu, $3.99) the Hulk is asked to keep his deal with SHEILD by taking out the Quintronic Man.

I can’t be the only one out there who sees the major flaw of the Quintronic Man is that you need 5 operators – take one of them out and BOOM – it is beaten!  Yet, for some reason AIM has decided to dust this relic off. But, let’s give Waid’s some credit for bringing back a Hulk villain from the 80’s… a villain that I didn’t even know I missed!  Waid is absolutely off to a great start… Let’s keep this train a Rollin’!  Grade: A-

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