Tag Archives: Greg Pak

Catching Up With… Feat: Generations Totally Awesome Hulk / Banner Hulk (2017)

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Let’s get this over with right from the start:  It’s not Banner Hulk it’s The Incredible Hulk.  It’s one of the easiest and most obvious titles, yet Marvel messed it up right from get-go.  It was the first of many missteps in what should have been a glorious return of the real Jade Jaws to the Marvel Universe.

Generations are one-shots that team up the classic character with the new wave of heroes gracing the comics these days.  The Hulks issue is handled by Greg Pak – which should have been a homerun – but turns out to be a single that was picked off at first.

The story begins with Cho being transported into the past and face to face with the real Hulk being attacked by the army in the desert.  It is a missed and welcoming sight and a great intro but ultimately a short-lived excitement as the comic takes a sharp turn from there.  If you plan on reading the issue don’t read any further as this will contain spoilers like mad, yo!  The Hulk is fighting back against the army and Cho helps fight them off.  When he sees the Hulk ready to explode and hurt people Cho takes the Hulk on himself.  It’s one of the more annoying and cringe-inducing aspects of the Cho Hulk.  He’s so infatuated with the lives of innocents that he ends up screwing things up royally.  In the case of W.W.H. (if you’re reading it) he’s the reason the weapon comes to maturity, here he is the reason that a gigantic monster is woken to terrorize a small town.  Sure, you can make the argument that it was the army bombing the island but I would retaliate with “Who brought them to the island?”  Boom, Mic drop.

Now, I don’t mind the idea that Cho is looking to protect the innocent, the idea that the real Hulk had done it in the past subconsciously is one of my favorite theories.  My issue is that Cho shoves it down our throat in such an obvious manner that it literally bores me.  If you were to play a drinking game where you drink every time Cho Hulk talks about saving innocents you’d be dead.  Down before you even finish this silly one shot.

If you think I’ve scratched the surface of the problems with this issue you are sadly mistaken.  Cho begins to lose control of the monster and the real Hulk has to come to the rescue.  The following conversation is the crux of what makes this issue such a disappointment.  Before I dive in: I dare you to go back when the Cho Hulk was first being promoted and read the post where I react to Pak’s interview.  I’m way too lazy and it’s way too late for me to find it – you’re going to have to do the leg work yourself!  Anyways, Pak says that Cho ENJOYS being the Hulk and sees it as a gift – and I talk about the most interesting aspect of the Hulk character is that Banner saw it as a curse – he knew it was an accident that needed to be corrected.

Pak writes that exact thing at the end of the issue!  He has Cho realize that being the Hulk isn’t all it’s cracked up to be!  It’s a head shaking and infuriating ending for one of two reasons.  Pak is a great writer – he has written some of the best Hulk stories – but he has missed the mark since the TAH took shape.  I don’t know what was in his head when he was writing this issue but I know he’s the kind of writer who plans ahead.  To think he started writing the Cho Hulk with the intention of the two Hulks meeting and having this convo is the biggest insult.  To think it would be an eye opening moment for not only the characters but also the reader is a slap in the face – mainly because that’s what every comic reader has been saying since the beginning of this whole debacle.  If this was a way for Pak to acknowledge everyone saying this; sort of a wink, wink at the audience; well then the whole issue was sort of a waste of time.  What was the purpose here?  To reiterate the obvious?  To make Cho more likeable/relatable by making him think his stolen gamma power up was a mistake instead of his green frat boy persona?

Either way, this issue will be followed by what looks like Cho having his own Planet Hulk saga.  This combined with yet another return to “original” numbering is another nail in the coffin of the once great writer of Hulk stuff.  Rest in peace Pak legacy… it was great for a while.

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.

The Biggest Reveal Never…

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The entire 2008 Red Hulk series centered around trying to keep readers interested in finding out the identity of the new Hulk.  At first, with the teaser posters Marvel was releasing of the Totally Awesome Hulk, blacking out the Faux mo-hawked head and hand of the new Hulk, and later changing the silohetted noggin to a Thor and then Iron Fist looking head, it would seem that history was going to repeat itself.  Well, today Marvel put the theories to rest and let the entire world know what they already knew… That Amedeaus Cho will helm the jade mantle.

As much as I respect Pak and his career as a Hulk writer there are a few reasons I have chosen to not pick up the “totally awesome” new series.  I wonder how many of you are following suit?  Bear in mind that my reasons have nothing to do with the bigoted whining I see from fan boys on the message boards when they say Disney is making the MU more diverse and PC so they made Hulk Asian.  I don’t think this is a Disney directive at all – and I have no problem with anyone creating diverse characters in what we read month after month.  So, if those comments appear on my site, here is your fair warning that they will be deleted.

Here are my issues –  Hulk was an anomaly.  Plain and simple – Hulk was created from an unforeseen happenstance that could not seem to be replicated.  They said so over they early years of continuity – with countless enemies trying to create their own Hulks – and always failing.  Why?  Because how the Hulk came to be was never designed.  Not to mention, it was always stated that Gamma Radiation affects everyone differently. That’s why Betty sprouted wings while Sterns brain grew three sizes that day.

Sure, you can point out Jenn Walters, and really I have no good response – except that it didn’t change her exactly the same either.  Of course, her change came right from the blood stream of Banner – so there is that.

Even so, after Duggan spent the better part of a year cleaning the mess that Quesada and Loeb created of the  Hulk Universe, we’re now seeing the same stunt being repeated that began the problems in the first place.  We’re being thrown out of the fire and into the frying pan.  That’s why I for one will not be along for this ride. No matter how many times Pak will try to reassure readers how fun this new take will be I just can’t muster enough interest to devote my time to reading a series that is obviously meant to appeal to new readers and alienate the faithful.  Sorry to say, I am done.

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Catching Up and Saying Goodbye to The Incredible Hulks!

The Incredible Hulks #635

I know it’s been a bit since I posted last – and trust me it’s not due to not having items to post – but now that the summer is over I will be free to post a little more frequently.  But, as you guys know, I’m sure, the final issue of The Incredible Hulks was released this past Wednesday.  I have severely mixed feelings about the final issues – there are things I loved and things I was not a fan of – but overall Pak’s swan song felt a little flat with me.  I was hoping for a big finish – but what I was left with was a little more of what we’ve always seen. 

And even worse – the Hulk clan are still around.  Now, I may have forgotten – but I doubt it – have they ever explained why Rick Jones was changed into A-Bomb?  I know that MODOK used him to experiment on before they changed Ross – but why is he… what he is?  See, that’s another thing that Joey Q and Loeb never thought about.  Originally, the way gamma rays affected people were different to everyone and that is why the Hulk was such an anomaly.  Many tried but Banner’s transformation could never be duplicated because it was unique to Banner’s personality and history – nevermind his physical self.  Which, come to think of it – how is it that they made Ross look like the Hulk then?

Variant Cover A

Here, the final arc, where everyone had a wish to wish it seems that Hulk and Betty were at their kind of peace – beating the hell out of each other for eternity.  Of course that is until Hulk is needed to save the world again and they bring him back – although, in his “World Breaker” mode he could also destroy it.  But that doesn’t happen.  No.  He saves the world again.  Amazingly, he is saving the world from the one thing that created him – the Gamma bomb.  “What?” you say, “How is that possible?  All the Gamma Bombs were destroyed!”  Yeah, well it turns out that was a lie.

The story seemed to be a bit convoluted and a bit too muddled.  Was there a real reason to bring all those Hulk enemies back?  What was the point, other than giving Hulkaphiles a Hulkgasm, of having those particular foes show up?  They certainly could have been used in a better light – although I loved seeing Bi-Beast – it was a waste within this storyline.  I thought Pak would wrap it up really nicely and had faith that things were going to all be sorted out in the end with reasons for everything – but with the obvious opportunity for the character to go on – in the end we were left with innocuous cameos of classic villains.

Blank Cover

I wish I could say I liked it more but even the unnecessary prologue with Cho and Banner fell a little flat.  Everyone likes a happy ending, me included, and it was a moment of bliss for the Hulk – but how happy can we be left with Betty as an abusive, crimson, overly strong, psychotic trigger for the Hulk?  I know that Fear Itself shows Betty as She Red – so she would continue to be the character after this issue but that doesn’t mean I have to enjoy it.

A possible Sketch Idea... who likes it?!?!

They even include a cover gallery of Pak’s entire Hulk Family run and an interview with the author – while I certainly think that Pak is worthy of that kind of attention it only made me sad thinking back on how Marvel treated PD after they kicked him off the book. PD not only wrote the book for double the time that Pak did – but he certainly had a tougher job having to tie the Jade Giant into event after event.  Not to mention that he thanks Loeb for being part of the Hulk trust and that will never sit well with me as Loeb did a fantastically, historically bad job writing one of Marvel’s best characters.

There are quite a few variant covers to check out – including a “blank” cover – which may be the first issue I try to get someone to sketch on.  All in all I thank Pak for all he’s written and keeping us entertained for all this time – but I was hoping for a little more to finish his run with – not just leaving us with the status quo.  Grade: C+

Variant Cover B

Latest Reviews!

Hulk #36 - Red takes on Zzzax

Hulk #36

The Good: Why does Parker torture me so?  Why can’t he just write badly and make me want to trash the book?  No, instead he writes solid story after solid story (alright, Planet Red Hulk was pretty bad) and it makes me want to read the next issue!  Even worse, he’s writing classic Hulk stories the way no one else can – and over in The Incredible Hulks we’re getting a mess of characters weighing down the title. 

Zzzax

So, here we are – MODOK shows his “face” – if you can all that ugly mug a face – and looks to kill off Red.  He chooses Zzzax – which, as any good Hulk fan would know, is a terrible choice as Ross WAS once Zzzax – and that turns out to be the downfall.  All Zzzax does is touch Red and the two are linked once again – and Red can make Zzzax work for him – something the new MODOK didn’t factor in.  I do like this new MODOK – as Red mentions – it’s a more sadistic being – one that isn’t always just calculating on how to dispose of his enemies – but actually enjoys seeing his plans go into action – watching the killing!  The art really works in this issue – Zzzax especially looks amazing!  Red really shows a soft side for Annie – and it seems more and more that Zeno was right. 

The Bad: Mostly, just the Cap variant cover.

Hulk #36 Cap Variant

The Ugly (Truth): Buy this book.  Buy the hell out of it and read it and enjoy it.  Pretend the Green Hulk stars in it and you may even enjoy it more!  Parker’s last storyline was forced and pretty crap – but he makes up for it with “one of” issues this good.  Grade: A

The Incredible Hulks #632

The Incredible Hulks #632

The Good: I will just say that the Hulk has never been so visually astounding!  Pelletier knocks it out of the park EVERY time!  It reminds me of the days when Keown first took over the art duties and you picked up the issues just to see who he was drawing and making look cool!  The Hulk has never looked better.

Hulk's a little angry...

Now, if you’ve been waiting for Pak to cut loose and let the Hulk be the full on Engine of Destruction he is – this is the issue for you!  Hulk cuts loose!  Armeggedon – still sour on the way that the Hulk killed his son… twice – begins pummeling his kin-folk… and Rick.  Hulk doesn’t stand for it for even a moment and just beats the living hell out of Ole’ Lefty.  Get it?  His right arm ain’t too useful grasping anything – just saying.  Anyways, the Hulk doesn’t just hurt him – and I won’t say how – but we aren’t going to be hearing from Armie anymore.

The Bad: I am not sure whether having the “World Breaker” Hulk is such a good thing.  I mean, before WWH the Hulk’s strength was considered limitless – but with the World Breaker it’s sort of like now we have a limit.  Of course that limit can rip an entire planet in half – and that’s nothing to shake a stick at – but still.  This, of course, means that the Hulk, in his most rage-full should be a good match for pretty much anyone.  Getting him to that limit may be the real trick – but still, it can be done.

The World Breaker is Back!

The Ugly (Truth): I am here to say – that Pak is in full swing for his swan song – it took a bit to get me really hooked – but now I am!  I want to see more – I want it now – I want what I want when I want it!  Anyways, Buy this book – totally worth it!  Grade: A

Double Shot Thursday Reviews!

The Incredible Hulks #631

First up – The Incredible Hulks #631 – Heart of the Monster Part 2

The Good: Here begins the Hulk smack down!  The entire issue has the Hulk smashing his way through the new villains that showed up when Cho “wished” for some help.  This issue is dedicated to taking out some of the biggest bruisers of the bunch – FFF gets a bit of a butt whopping – but the main event is Hulk vs Wendigo and Bi-Beast.  The fight has quite a bit of smashing – as it does humor – I swear the theme for the Three Stooges was going through my mind as I read it.  Especially the part where Hulk takes Wendigo’s tail and passes it through Bi Beast’s mouths. 

HULK! Don't splash the pot!

We also see the Hulk coming back to being a hero for the innocent people caught in the middle of his battles – and even have the President coming to thank the Hulk – I felt like the Hulk was getting another “pardon” for his past crimes.  Like the President was saying “Yes, I know you hijacked NY and sort of threatened the lives of everyone who stayed behind, not to mention causing millions of dollars of damage to the city – but the past three months you’ve really shed those bad habits and done some good stuff!  Good on you!”  Which we all know would never happen… but these are comics – so let’s move on!

Wendigo has Kool-Aid mouth!

The powers of the wishing well are interesting – I like what Pak is doing with it.  Each wish is going to be impacted by the original wisher.  Also, I have a real soft spot for the writers who can add a good balance of humor into the story – which Pak does really well here.  I found myself laughing and cheering a few times.  Then looking around to see if anyone was watching me.  Thank goodness there was not!

I so wanted the Hulk to yell out "Wakka-Wakka-Wakka" after this stunt

The Bad: Now, – again you can correct me if I am wrong here – wasn’t Bi-Beast already a HUGE monster – it wasn’t until way later that PD shrunk him down.  So, why was he normal sized to begin with – only for the Hulk to make a silly wish for a real fight and have him grow larger.  But – and this may be just me – but the fight after Bi-Beast and Wendigo became larger than life seemed WAY easier.  But hey – if that’s all I am picking on – then it must not be that bad…

Oh... There WILL be blood!

The Ugly (Truth): Pak seems to be having a real blast with his final Hulk arc.  He’s using the classic monsters that the Hulk has fought in the past and cutting them loose.  the issue ends with a great cliff hanger – the only thing I question is where Pak is going with it?  How is he going to leave things with Hulk and Betty?  Can things really go back to normal with them?  Has it ever been?  Grade: B+ 

Hulk # 35

And now – Hulk #35 – Red Planet Hulk Part 2:

Charge! And,,, get me a tissue - I am all slimy

The Good: It started off as a strong storyline – with Pags on the pencils – what could be better?  I mean, Planet Hulk was such a memorable part of the Hulk’s history, what would make more sense than try to re-live it with the Red Hulk?  One of the best recent threats the Hulk has to deal with is the Omegerex – and the recent trip into another universe was just an attempt in keeping the Red Hulk from having to face the destroyer – at least until the female Watcher could warn him.  It’s good to know that there are ramifications to Red’s ramifications of striking the Watcher.  A feat that should not have happened in the first place – but now that it is in the continuity (what?!?! Continuity in Red’s series?  Wow – that’s crazy talk!  Loeb’s head must be spinning!) it has to be dealt with.  

Boo-YA! Take that you Grimace wanna-be!

The Bad: Having to wrap up in just two issues the storyline was rushed and disappointing.  It’s also the fact that the end of it is left up to your discretion on whether it actually happened or not.  I am SO not a fan of the “dream” sequence ending.  Not only is it a cop-out but also it feels like after you’ve finished reading it… it was a waste of time.

The Girl Watcher - letting him know how it be!

And the Ugly (Truth): The fun part of this series so far is seeing how Parker makes up for Loeb’s continuity issues and his frivolous writing style – but the last thing we want is more non-sense storytelling.  I mean, I get WHY the issue ends the way it does – but it doesn’t make it any easier to swallow.  I would have liked to see this storyline last a little longer and maybe have the Omegerex track Red down on this planet.  Why couldn’t the Watcher-et have sent Red to the new planet, warned him of what was coming, Red still becomes king and has his new army trying to take down the Omegerex?  That would at least be more interesting than “Just kidding – it was all a dream… maybe!” Grade: C-

It did Happen... maybe... whatever - I hate that crap!

The Incredible Hulks #630 (2011) Heart of the Monster Part 1 – The Review

The Incredible Hulks #630

The Positive: So here it is – the final arc in Pak’s run – and the title.  You know what’s funny?  They relaunched TIH with it’s “original” numbering in December of 2009 – only to end it not even 2 years later.  I’m sorry – did I say funny?  I meant pathetic.  The major issue being that people will still buy into the new Hulk title – whatever that may be – Marvel will have further proof that slapping a #1 on a book will always produce sales – and then in a few short years they will do this all over again. 

The Hulk... Smashing

So, let’s talk story… well, there isn’t too much story to talk about yet other than Betty has gone mad with power, it seems, with a wishing well.  I like Cho’s foreshadowing diatribe about wishes coming true – but the Gods not letting get what you want for free – only for it to be him to screw up and send “help” in the form of monsters Hulk has faced in the past.

The art – the art is superbly fantastic and I can’t wait to see if Paul Pelletier & Danny Miki can keep up the fantastic job throughout – but other than that – let’s talk negs…

I just threw up...

The Negative: It’s pretty much confirmed here that Betty and Tyrannus did it – which, for one reason or another, disappoints and dismays me.  I mean teaming up with him to do villanous acts is one thing – but to actually have a sexual relationship with an arch-nemisis is… well, unforgivable in my book.  Not to mention – the fountain of youth has mystical qualities – I get that – but to somehow change into a “wishing well”, well, – look I know these are comics and we’re talking about a guy who turns into a green muscle-bound engine of destruction – but COMEON!

The discovery wasted...

Who picks the monsters that come back, by the way?  Anyways, let’s move on – Betty surely has become one of the Hulk’s most terrible enemies – much like his sons were for a time – an enemy that the Hulk doesn’t want to just smash to get rid of.  The idea is fantastic – but the execution… not so – not so far anyways.  At least we’re not still in the days of Loeb where these characters would appear with no rhyme or reason and leave the same way – never really having a point being in the story anyways.  Man, I am so happy Loeb isn’t writing any Hulk stories anymore.  I still blame the masses for making his books so popular in the first place.

Can you BE any creepier Betty?

The Conclusion:  I say, since we’re talking the end here – and it’s Pak’s end – we stick it out these remaining issues.  Pak can still knock it out of the park in the end.  Remember – he had a lot to overcome – first having to work WITH Loeb’s ridiculous plot points and then having to work with the aftermath.  Some things were just left forgotten and never explained (I am looking at you, not LMD Talbot) and other things were wrapped up too quickly (The powerful Red Hulk being beaten by… a Thunder Clap…) but Pak at least gives a story behind what’s going on – and things lead from one thing to the next with explanation and real ramifications.  Unlike a few years (years?  Really?) ago where Banner was in Vegas for no reason and never really explained why he was there or for what reason – and then Fixit showed up for half an issue… again – for no reason.  So, you might be able to take that reason alone that I am sticking with the idea that Pak might be able to close things out nicely here.  I mean, it’s better than the alternative that we were handed for an excruciating two years… Grade: B-

The Dream Team...