Tag Archives: Indestructible Hulk

My Thoughts On Waid…

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This is it – I will not harp on the subject any longer after I say my peace with this post.  I am also not going to say that if you hated the Waid Hulk run that you are wrong – I am not going to give you reasons that you should have liked it – because I agree that it could have been better.  Here’s what I will say, it started with a strong premise – a NEW premise – one that had great possibilities.  Banner is allowing SHIELD to use the Hulk as a weapon.  Banner gets to exploit his genius to help the world… finally.  He’s wanted to do something good for the world since The Incredible Hulk #1 when he created the Gamma Bomb.  He despised the fact that his creation could possibly be used to harm people – it was always about protection, about keeping people safe, with Banner.  But that’s not how things turned out.  Sadly.  Now was the time for Banner to use his brain to do what he always set out to do.  The new series was off to a great start when Waid not only had Banner address Tony about the trick that sent Hulk into space.  Then he brought back the Quintronic Man, had the Hulk deal with Atumma (a wasted opportunity when he could have brought back AQUON!) and even better – had Simonson come for a timetraveling Thor arc.  Things were going swell.

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Where the fun ride ended – and keep in mind this may have not been entirely Waid’s fault – was where the Indestructible Hulk had to tie in with the big events.  First, after the Age of Ultron story line (and the Marvel timeline was broken) Hulk dealt with it in the pretty stagnant “Agents of TIME”.  An arc that could have been amazing had the finale led to a Maestro appearance instead of the forgettable UberHulk.  Think about it – Maestro was created by the Hulk’s over exposure to gamma radiation – or hell, they went back to the original gamma bomb detonation… where the Maestro WAS at the final scene of Future Imperfect.  Either way, wasted opportunity.  Then came the even worse tie in with Inhumanity.  A story arc that completely went off the rails with Banner creating a bomb to combat the effects of the mist triggering the dormant Inhuman genes in unsuspecting citizens.  It wasn’t just a tangent in the soild story line that Waid created prior but it was a tough read in general.

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We were served with a harder pill to swallow when Marvel announced yet another re-numbering in the Hulk series.  A 5th re-start in 7 years.  Amazingly upsetting to any Hulk purists who just want to read good stories rather than Marvel focusing on the short boost in sales by slapping a #1 on the cover.  That being said, reading the first three issues of the recently re-titled “Hulk” I have to report that Waid seemed to get back into form and the issues have been stellar!  I love having Abomination back (even if it is a clone with a mysterious “driver”) but I think it was a step in the right direction.  A cool addition into the history of one of Hulk’s oldest enemies.  Could this have been what was supposed to happen next had Waid not tied into Age of Ultron or Infinity?  Maybe – would this have been the better step into this new “Indestructible Hulk”?  I think so – yes.  This would have had fans singing Waid’s praises, I think.  To me, Waid has always been sort of “slow burn” kind of writer.  He doesn’t pack every issue with action but he does set something up to have a nice pay-off in the end.  The problem, as usual it seems, is that Marvel has certain agendas of their own to keep and that includes tying into main events or returning Peter Parker back into his own body because a movie is coming out – whether you want to or not.

This has been the case for years – I know PD was constantly battling with editors who would tell him that he’d have to have a tie-in with whatever they wanted Hulk being part of.  The real problem is – it’s their character!  You sort of have no choice, as a writer, to do what you want with these characters because they aren’t yours to keep.  They are on loan from the owner, sort of speak.  You can only do what you’ve always tried to do… your best.  What was presented in the Indestructible Hulk was not Waid’s best but he didn’t become a legend in the business for nothing.  This is why I tend to believe he didn’t have full reign on what he was looking to do with the Hulk.  Of course, this is all speculated and I have no insider knowledge – except what Waid decides to tweet out.  First he said that Hulk fans were worse than Legion fans (I am paraphrasing as he never actually used the word “worse”) and then he said he was leaving the Hulk for no other reason than he wanted to focus on Daredevil.  I find that a bit hard to believe though… are you saying that if Hulk was being praised then you’d still be leaving?  I doubt it.  He then tweeted that he was making a lot of people happy by leaving the Hulk.  That last bit is interesting for sure…

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We live in an age where information is spread so quickly.  Before the internet Marvel had to wait for letters to pour in to see the fans reaction to whatever was happening with their characters.  Not to mention, if you wanted your letter published you had to be diplomatic about any of your grievances and word it appropriately.  Now, reactionary fans go onto message boards, facebook, twitter and other social media sites to voice their opinions… most of the time more crudely than they ever would to someone’s face.  I’ve always hated that.  Ever hear the saying “The squeaky wheel gets the grease”?  Well, it seems that the squeaky wheels were the complainers this time around because they were heard loud and clear.  Granted, I am not talking about the posters from this site – the people here always seem respectful even when they don’t have anything nice to say.  I thank everyone for that.  Truly.

So here we are, and almost like a karmic bitch slap for how much complaining about Deadpool I do, the writer of Deadpool will be helming the Hulk series with issue #5.  I can nothing but hope for the best.  As always I will keep you updated.

– Ratch

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Wow… A Series Relaunch… Again?

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How has Marvel continued along the same path for years now without keeping in mind that readers are going to tire of all the ridiculousness.  What am I talking about exactly?  Well, Marvel is re-launching the Hulk title… again.  Since the events of Planet Hulk (and including the Red Hulk series which served as the sole Hulk title at the time) the Hulk has been re-numbered and re-launched four times.  FOUR TIMES!  Since 2008.  That’s four times in 7 years.  While it should be something that most people over look I may take this time to stop collecting.  Stop reading.  I have read the Hulk every month since 1991.  23 years of my life has been dedicated to the jade giant – and yet this type of business practice is truly getting to me.  I maybe done.  We still have a few issues of the Indestructible Hulk to go.  Let’s see how they wrap up this series.  Click on the image for the link.

Catching Up Thursdays – and Happy New Year!

Wow – the beginning of a new year!  Let’s catch up with a few new issues – annuals of my favorite comics to be exact:

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Indestructible Hulk Annual #1 (2013)

W: Jeff Parker
I: Mahmud Asar

Parker has a real knack for writing interesting and fun stories that intertwine perfectly with continuity.  History is as important to the fan boy as costume preciseness and power accuracy – a fact that some new writers (and even a few veterans) miss out on.  That being said, I am still not sure where to place The Indestructible Hulk.  I mean, I know he has the where with all of decimating city blocks and destroying small towns as the Hulk – fighting heroes over the year – being shot into space, etc.  But which parts of history should remain – and what is being asked to be forgotten?  Here we have Stark and Banner tracking down an old Professor named Zadian who has an entire island that he has turned into a living, breathing weapon.  Everything is susceptible to destroying anything that he views as his enemy – including his former students – everything including the sand on the beach and the air that they breathe.  Watching Stark and Banner’s personalities bounce off each other, seeing them prodding each other over who has the superior intellect, is like watching old friends banter over long standing feuds about ex-girlfriends.

The only thing that bothers me, still to this day, is how Banner (and the Hulk, for that matter) don’t mention Stark’s part in the idea to shoot the Hulk into space.  We can all see that they had plenty of chances in the chattering amidst the two about “turning space travel into a weapon”.  Over all though, watching Banner and Stark facing a foe who can match, and sometimes defeat, their mental prowess was a real thrill.  Overall, Parker shows that he could be handling the Hulk’s monthlies without a problem.

Grade: A-

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Thunderbolts Annual #1

W: Ben Acker and Ben Blacker
I: Matteo Lolli

Not sure why this didn’t hit me right away – I think I will chalk it up to the fact that I just don’t pay attention sometimes – but I found it pretty hilarious when I linked the fact that this new version of the Thunderbolts are called that because they are lead by… General “Thunderbolt” Ross.  Again, I know that I am probably really late to the party on this one but I still found it funny.  So, I wish this Annual was just as fun and entertaining as the regular series but I am sorry to report that this issue, which features the team collecting mystical items to battle a troll posing as Dr. Strange, falls pretty flat.  The only real joy was the somewhat predictable ending where Castle saves the day when he can’t be cheered up.  It’s still worth the read if you’re following the series – but don’t let this be your first exposure to the usually more entertaining team.

Grade: B-

Catching Up Thursdays…

Let’s catch up on some comic book reading!  I usually only read two comics a month – not because of anything other than the two comics I read are the only ones I am interested in.  So, What has been happening in:

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The Indestructible Hulk Issues #11-15 – Agents of T.I.M.E.

W: Mark Waid
I: Matteo Scalera, Kim Jacinto, Mahmud Asrar,

Wolverine destroyed the timeline in Age of Ultron.  He didn’t just destroy it – he decimated it – and now the heroes are feeling the effects.  Bruce Banner, who is now working for S.H.E.I.L.D., is frustrated with the unfortunate timing of his newest discoveries – things that will help humanity – except he is a bit too late.  Every time!  Stark, Reed and the other intellectual heavyweights keep beating Banner to the punch.  But with the threat of the timestream destroying the universe, and chronarchists using the broken time as their playground, it’s up to Hulk and robot Banner to save the day.  Hulk has to stay furious, though, because traveling through the timestream will rip his fragile alter ego’s fleshy covering apart.  Waid’s handling of this story line is at times hilarious, confusing and exciting – but always a fun read!  Watching the Hulk travel to mid-evil times, chasing the baddies Khotto and Zarko, trying to stop their meandering ways is wonderful.  Hulk battling Abomination on the moon and fighting Fin Fang Foom on the high seas are pretty enthralling – and then back to the beginning… the Hulk’s beginning that is.

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This time jump leaves the Hulk rescuing past Banner as he rescues Rick Jones.  The Hulk takes the brunt of the gamma bomb (again) and is turned into uberHulk… which is a just as silly as it sounds.  I thought it would be fantastic to see Maestro at ground zero again, like we did at the end of the Future Imperfect, but we can’t have everything we want.  Zarrko and Khotto’s motives aren’t exactly clear and the story does get wordy toward the end with Banner trying to explain it all – but still, Waid’s handling of the Hulk thus far has been a fun ride.  I am happy that this particular storyline is over though as it was getting a bit long in the tooth – of course – we have now moved the Hulk’s story into the latest Marvel event “Inhumanity”.  I am not sure if this is part of Waid’s plan or if it is being forced upon him by the higher ups at Marvel to have the Hulk title intertwined in the events – but here’s to hoping this next arc really wraps up better than this one did.

Grade *** out of 5

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Thunderbolts Issues #14-18

W: Charles Soule
I: Jefte Palo, Terry Pallot

I have followed the Red Hulk from his inception.  Every article leading up to the premier of his own title (Even though Marvel really dropped the ball when coming up with a name for this character. Something a little more original would have been better) I read – and bought the title, even under protest upon learning that Loeb was writing this character into the gutter of the Marvel Universe.  As the inconsistencies and continuity issues continued to rise the sales (and people’s interest) began to falter.  By the time the Red Hulk’s identity had been revealed no one cared anymore.  His titled was turned over to his as equally crimson daughter and Red moved to this group title, now sharing the spotlight with The Punisher, Flash Thompson’s Venom, Elektra and Deadpool.  While I can’t stand Deadpool as a character I do like this book.  The art can be hit or miss (IMO mostly miss) but the stories have been worth the ride.

They continue to bring back forgotten Hulk villains, the first was Madman – and lest we forget that a ruby reincarnation of his brother, the Leader, is along for the ride – they also have Mercy, who was released inadvertently by Ross and now keeps her close until he figures out a way to destroy her.  While the original arc began with the “team”  doing Ross’ bidding on a secret mission it is now the other members turns to choose the mission.  Up first is Punisher – who has a simple request – kill the mob family that all the other scum on the streets answer to.  The thing is, with Infinity happening, an alien invasion is occurring just at that moment, making completing Castle’s request a bit more complicated.

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The thing that makes this comic so enjoyable, for me anyways, is that the group never seems to stay together and each member, even if they are working with other teammates, have their own adventures to follow.  This is an unexpected, consistent good read month after month.  I say to pick it up!

Grade: **** out of 5

“Catching Up With” Wednesday!

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Part of my new design – the reviews will now be called “Catching Up With” – They may not always fall on Wednesdays – but it will be a few different series as I have picked up and dropped a few different titles.  For example, I dropped the Red Hulk series when it became Red She Hulk, and this has nothing to do with the writer, Parker is still one of the better writers writing funny books these days, I just have no interest in reading about that character.  Hulk has joined the Avengers – so of course that is now on my pull list – and I have even given the new Thunderbolts series a chance.  The Red Hulk has joined that team (I think it’s hilarious that Thunderbolt Ross now leads the Thunderbolts) and the line up looks interesting enough for me to check it out – even if Deadpool, who is still considered the worst character ever created, in my opinion, is on the team.  But let’s “Catch up”!

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First Up is the second installment of the Waid’s Indestructible Hulk.  Stan Lee once said that when Marvel had heroes fight each other the writers intentionally had the battles interrupted or had the heroes dead locked so that there was no clear winner.  That way fan boys would be able to argue over who actually won the fight and be clamoring for another match up, this time with a clear winner.  Of course, in the early days, they never got their wish.  But now, with comic readers being older, and writers aiming the story lines toward an aging demographic, they give us a bit more concrete and literal winners and losers.

That being said, Indestructible Hulk #2 (W: Waid, I: Yu, $3.99) has an old timey feel of two battling heroes.  While Hulk is obviously more powerful, Iron Man has enough gadgets and tricks up his sleeve to make the fight more than a mere beat down.  This time around, the Hulk takes Stark to a desolate mountain top to work out his anger issues from everything in the past.  For which infraction we are not too sure but take your pick… (I still say Stark never accurately paid for shooting Hulk into space).  There are some great moments in this issue and some  funny ones too.  I have liked Waid’s writing in the past and this series still has me on board for more, unlike, if you can recall, Aaron’s try which lost me at issue #2.  Grade: B+

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I will admit I have not read the Avengers in a while.  I haven’t really has a desire to – but with this new creative team (and the Hulk on the roster) I have now picked up the series.  So far I am pleasantly surprised with what is going on in Avengers # 1 & 2 (W: Hickman, I: Opena, $3.99).  I am even more surprised that I don’t hate the obvious “new” line-up inspired by the very successful movie.  Hulk is used as the heavyweight pawn pretty early on – a trick that has been used many times over but still works well here as he is used to take Thor out (TAKE THAT THOR FANS!)  The big baddie, Ex Nihilo, is scary enough to not know what will happen as he calmly plays with the super teams attempts to disrupt his plans of evolution.  The first two issues have dealt with Cap and Iron Man collecting a bigger team of heroes together – a emergency team – of heroes in case anything dire is facing the planet.  Lucky for them – the Earth is in trouble… AGAIN! Grade: B+

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Now onto a team book I thought I would drop immediately but have found myself intrigued to continue buying past the initial outing.  I didn’t feel that the first issue of Thunderbolts #1 & 2 (W: Way, I: Dillon, #2.99) was a flat out fantastic, stellar, jaw dropper of an issue but I did like seeing Ross recruiting some of the seedy “heroes” for a team together.  Going back to Loeb’s horrible “Code Red” story line from his abysmal Hulk series where the Red Hulk collected some pawns to take out Domino for seeing something people should have figures out from issue 2 but due to Loeb’s horrible mis-leading writing didn’t come out until issue #24.  This list included some of the heavy’s here like Elektra, Punisher and Deadpool – I guess they couldn’t get Thundra and the Crimson Dynamo to join so they replaced them with Venom (who I am not even sure who he is anymore but I am sure I will find out) – the first issue mostly focused on Ross talking the Punisher into joining… and by talking I mean threatening.

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The second issue takes the team on the mission of taking down a tyrant but shows more and more of the team dynamic.  Ross lets the whole crew know he is in charge – but does not want to be called sir – and that everything is volunteer, so they can leave whenever they want.  Venom is a team player displaying team colors but is volatile at best when confronted.  Deadpool (who may be the sole reason for me dropping this title) is still annoying and useless.  This title will hopefully pick up more steam soon – other wise you won’t be seeing it in the “Catching Up With” section in the future!  Grade: C

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I’m not going to look – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t!

Here is a first look at the new Hulk title coming in November!  I want to wait until the book it out to read any of it – I am not into spoilers – but check it out – click on the image above to be brought to the sneak peek!