Archive for the 'Reviews' Category

06
Jul
08

Hulk #1 Review (Retro)

As promised, I’ll begin my retro-reviews with Hulk #1 (expect #2 and #3 in the next week… and I will continue current reviews from Hulk #4 where I ended up beginning… eh, confused yet?). Enjoy, and be sure to check out the ‘Comic Reviews’ section to check for updates. Oh, and as always, these reviews contain many SPOILERS, you have been warned!

Rather than beginning in real time, the issue starts with Doc Samson recounting the story of a murder, specifically the murder of the Abomination. First of all, Samson has short hair now, wears a black shirt instead of his trademark red, and has sideburns (his hair is still green)… Playing the role of Sherlock, with She-Hulk as Watson, the two act out the events of the murder, the “story” shows a green hulk, or more accurately the flashbacks are in shades of green. Apparently this Hulk attacked the Abomination head on, beat him to a pulp, and then finished him off with an extra large revolver type weapon! He also leveled the surrounding village (this all take place in a town named Dimitri, Russia, 100 miles from Odessa).

At the end of the flashbacks we go to back to Samson, surrounded by She-Hulk, General Ross, Iron Man, and one Commander Hill from S.H.I.E.L.D. Ross scoffs at the theory at first, but Samson reminds everyone that this creature is also leaving a trail of Gamma radiation, and is so hot his footsteps are turning the sand into glass (!). The decision is made to exhume the remains of the slaughtered Abomination, when…

The Winter Guard shows up! As a fan of Iron Man, especially the Busiek era, I always loved this nationalistic, Avengers-esque team of Russian superheroes. Consisting of (this time around at least), the Russian Captain America copy – Red Guardian (even has the shield!), Ursa Major the giant bear… thing, Darkstar, and my favorite the armor suited Iron Man rival – Crimson Dynamo. By the way, She-Hulk does ask why Darkstar and Red Guardian have come back from the dead, and Iron Says they’ve been replaced (Eh… what?). McGuinness does do an outstanding job depicting the group though. They have come to retrieve the body of the Abomination, Emil Blonsky. Of course the S.H.I.E.L.D. party and the Winter Guard can’t get along, and after Samson get’s into it with Red Guardian, he  starts the ensuing battle with a punch to Red Guardian. Ursa Major and She-Hulk square off, Iron Man is paired with Crimson dynamo, amd Samson takes on the Red Guardian. The fight is about even with, and I say that cautiously… the S.H.I.E.L.D. group does appear to have the advantage but the combat ends abruptly with Ross shooting his gun into the air, and announcing that there is a lone survivor, a witness of the murder, and it is a child. To everyone’s shock, the kid repeatedly says “Red” in Russian!

Flash to Alaska, where a post-transformation (shredded pants, no shirt) Rick Jones is struggling through the snow, only to come across a heavily damaged  oil pipeline, to which he says “Rick Jones… What’ve you gotten yourself into this time?!”

Back to Samson, who is now alone with Ross in a Jeep and entering Gamma Base, (take note that they are both are required to pass several retina/body/etc. security scans to get into the Base).  The checkpoints end at…  the cell of Prisoner #113, Bruce Banner! “I was wondering when you were going to ask for my help…” is the final words of the issue, coming from Banner of course. He looks great, especially the round glasses, and he is in a glass cell, so you can see the reflections of Ross and Samson on the final page. It then ends with a “WHO IS THE RED HULK?” and “To Be Continued”.

Ratings

  • Writing 8/10 (A mystery is a great, even if commonly used by Loeb, idea.. Samson makes a great detective)
  • Art 8/10 (EDEX, or McGuinness and Vines… are just a great team, the perfect collaboration for a new Hulk!)
  • Cover 10/10 (A PLETHORA of variants are available, five at my last count, plus ten originals from an auction at Wizard World, great for collectors, and all the artists do an excellent job with their various interpretations)
01
Jul
08

Hulk #4 Review

I thought I’d start things off with a review of the latest issue (I will be posting reviews of the first three over the next few days, as well as a checklist to include all known variants for those of you who are as obsessive as me!). First of all, let me say the covers are great…! I love a 50/50 printing like this with matching covers, especially for display purposes. Check them out below –

While I’m on the subject of covers, it was recently announced a second printing will be taking place, to go on sale 7/30/2008, check out this link for more information from the Comics Bulletin. It will feature a wrap around cover that will use artwork from inside the issue (specifically, the part where the Watcher gets sucker punched!).

Now, on to the review! WARNING: my reviews will contain many spoilers, please be aware! The issue starts off with the Watcher announcing his role in the Marvel Universe, now I don’t have anything against the Watcher, but his attitude always seems a little… “holier than thou” if you know what I mean? Halfway through his little speech about how it is his sworn duty to bear witness to the “critical moments” of the various races across the galaxies, Big Red does what we all knew was coming, and sucker punches him good! After beating on him for a few panels (and I mean beating, it’s not a fight… the Watcher just goes DOWN) the Green Hulk finally steps in to defend the fallen Watcher (bad idea). As the two titans clash, Red Hulk mentions how he’s “waited a long time for this” (remember, this IS a mystery and that could be a clue as to who we’re dealing with here), and the brawl commences. The Red Hulk must think he’s doing the world a service (or maybe it’s revenge?), as he mentions how the Green Hulk has been ruining other peoples lives for years. The fight goes back and forth, until Red breaks Green’s arm, after which he puts him in a sleeper hold and chokes him out. Now this appears to be the Green Hulk that gets stronger the angrier he gets so I don’t really have a good explanation for why he seemed to be getting weaker all throughout the melee, I would have expected him to just go ape%*$@ after his arm was broken… but I’ll just have to have faith that Loeb knows what he’s doing here.

Flash to New Jersey – where Iron Man is being told that Clay Quartermain is now dead. Immediately thereafter one Commander Hill informs Iron Man that a coat has been found belonging to none other than Leonard Samson! The coat is shredded and covered in Gamma radiation, obviously we’re meant to believe whoever was wearing it is the one that turned into the Red Hulk. Considering the way Loeb is pushing the readers to believe that Samson is the Red Hulk, I highly doubt it will turn out to be him. It’s just too simple… I have a feeling a BIG twist is coming in the next two issues, hopefully #5 gives us some more clues, I’d really like to be able to make an accurate guess before the identity is revealed (issue #6 I believe), I mean isn’t that the point of a mystery, to put the clues together yourself BEFORE the writer tells you the answer?

Anyways, we go back to the Red Hulk who is now standing above the Green Hulk, having dragged him to the top of the Golden Gate Bridge, ready to execute him with his pistol (?!) but before he gets the shot off Greenie wakes up and bites (ouch) the gun in half. The two go at it some more, with Red Hulk coming out on top once again, this time throwing the Green Hulk off the bridge while declaring “there’s a new Hulk in town”. It appears after the unsuccesful execution a few panels back, Red Hulk has satisfied himself with just proving that the old Hulk is no longer the strongest. “There’s no one that can beat me!” he proclaims, and in classic comic book style, the next page has the Thor pop out of no where to contest that statement! Next issue looks like it’s going to be Thor vs. Red Hulk, I wonder if San Francisco will survive…?

Ratings

  • Writing 7/10 (Still too many loose ends Jeph!)
  • Art 9/10 (McGuiness and Vines… I’m always impressed)
  • Cover 10/10 (Gotta love a matching 50/50 printing)