Review: The Incredible Hulk Vol. 1: Return of the Monster

The Incredible Hulk, Vol. 1: Return of the MonsterThe Incredible Hulk, Vol. 1: Return of the Monster by Bruce Jones

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Buddy read with my Shallow Comic Reading pals!

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Got this bad boy on sale and man was this a good call. Haven’t read much of the Hulk historically and I’m starting to think I’ve been missing out.

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Bruce Jones really surprised me by focusing more on the Banner half the big green guy. Might have skipped this one had I known in advance. Sorry, I like to see Hulk SMASH. In this collection, a lot of said “smashing” happens off camera and Jones frequently picks up immediately following most of the destruction. Turns out in the end that I’m glad I didn’t give this book a pass. Liked the way that Jones strung together what could’ve been a bunch of stand-alone stories into one longer cohesive tale. I wasn’t quite clear on what was up with a couple of the agents and their “powers” that were hunting Banner, but ultimately, it didn’t really matter. I’m guessing it gets addressed in later issues down the road.

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Brian Azzarello’s story was completely separate from Jones’ stuff and was more of what I would presume to see in a Hulk story. Wall to wall smashing. General Ross, Doc Samson, and the U.S. Army all make appearances while on the hunt for the green guy. As one would typically expect from Azzarello, it’s dark. Guilt is eating away at Banner and he is really at an all-time low in this one. It was also interesting to get an idea as to what Samson’s all about. Never really knew much about the guy outside of his green hair. Wonder if the carpet matches the drapes?

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I’m cool with John Romita Jr’s artwork. Typically, the inker makes all the difference for me with his stuff. He’s a middle of the road guy as far as my tastes. Lee Weeks is about the same. Just ok. Being a fan of the old school Heavy Metal magazine, I really liked Richard Corben’s unique take on the monster in Azz’s story. No mistaking his stuff. Sorta weird really, but whatever, works for me. Although, I can definitely see why others might not appreciate Corben’s offbeat style. Kaare Andrews provides a couple of covers that were off the hook. Loved the riff on the Norman Rockwell classic.

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Hulk fan or not, this one’s a good choice for the average comic fan. If you’re only looking to see the Hulk break some shit, you may not enjoy this one as much as I did.

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Review: Wonder Woman Vol. 6: Bones

Wonder Woman Vol. 6: BonesWonder Woman Vol. 6: Bones by Brian Azzarello

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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It’s official. The First Born has earned a permanent place among the most depraved villains the DCU has to offer. He is just a one fucked-up, twisted son of a bitch. Cassandra finally gets what’s coming in this one. I almost felt bad for her. What is it with all the eating each other? And I don’t mean that in the fun way. F.B. follows up by remaking Olympus to his liking and then starts his crusade to destroy the remaining Greek pantheon. Wouldn’t wanna be’em. And come on dude, she’s your half-fuckin-sister.

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Review: Wonder Woman Vol. 5: Flesh

Wonder Woman, Vol. 5: FleshWonder Woman, Vol. 5: Flesh by Brian Azzarello

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I prefaced my last Wonder Woman review with one for the guys. Well ladies, it your turn. It took me a half a roll of duct tape to pull off the tuck under necessary to sport this outfit. Enjoy.

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Azzarello’s finally starting to bring all the pieces together with this volume. In addition to the Wonder Woman issues featured, this one also reprints Wonder Woman 23.2 First Born. It’s an even more detailed origin for the guy that’s been kicking everybody’s ass over the past 2 volumes. Not sure it was really necessary, but I appreciated that it’s been included here. Certainly explains in more detail why he’s so fucked up. I think this guy had sex with a hyena.
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Review: Wonder Woman Vol. 4: War

Wonder Woman, Vol. 4: WarWonder Woman, Vol. 4: War by Brian Azzarello

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Linda Carter. The one and only Wonder Woman. Also responsible for the repeated laundering of my bed sheets in the early 80’s. Couldn’t get through another review without at least one gif of the first woman I ever loved. So how about the book?

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Diana and her crew have finally come together like one big happy family. At least until she threatens to rip Orion’s nuts off. I’m wondering if the kids can pull it together long enough to face off against the First Born and have them all make it out in one piece. The gods continue to conspire against one another high atop the Mt. Olympus office building while sunning and sipping wine like a bunch of mob wives. It’s still up in the air as to where any of their loyalties lie.
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Review: Wonder Woman Vol.3: Iron

Wonder Woman, Vol. 3: IronWonder Woman, Vol. 3: Iron by Brian Azzarello

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Iron is Azzarello’s 3rd Wonder Woman collection and I haven’t been disappointed yet. This Volume starts out with a nifty little throw-back issue that’s half tribute to early Wonder Woman comics and half a recounting of Diana’s history with the Greek god, War. When I first opened this issue I was skeptical, not being a fan of old school comics, but don’t let that first impression fool you, it fits right in with the rest of Azzarello’s previous stuff.

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Review: Wonder Woman Vol.2: Guts

Wonder Woman, Vol. 2: GutsWonder Woman, Vol. 2: Guts by Brian Azzarello

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Azzarello’s Guts picks up right where Blood left off without missing a beat. Brian continues to mix it up by stirring in even more Greek mythology with Diana’s origin. This one starts out with Wonder Woman meeting up with Hephaestus “The Smith”. Really dig this guy. Diana comes to him for some help preparing for her road trip to the Realm of Hades. She also has a surprise in store for her when she discovers a little secret about home sweet home, Paradise Island. And this one shocks the hell outta her.

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Review: Wonder Woman Vol.1: Blood

Wonder Woman, Vol. 1: BloodWonder Woman, Vol. 1: Blood by Brian Azzarello

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Reviewed this one earlier on in my Goodreads career and I’m currently rereading the Azzarello run so I felt this book deserved a more thoughtful review.

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Azzarello’s run grabbed me pretty quick. I really dug how he brought in the Greek gods and went a totally different direction from the rest of the New 52 stuff DC has put out. Brian avoided what I would consider the low road of having Superman, Batman, or any of the other Justice Leaguers drop by just to sell books. I’m actually surprised how many people bought into this version of Diana. Azzarello not only ignored the rest of the DC universe (for the most part), but messes with Wonder Woman’s origin, pours on the violence, and doesn’t have Diana running around in a thong the entire time. Yet he still manages to tie in a healthy portion of Diana’s canon beginning with a return to Paradise Island and her Amazon heritage. Love the way Brian depicts the Amazons as being similar to the Spartans of Miller’s 300. Not necessarily all that original, just fond of that portrayal.
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Release Day Review: Wonder Woman, Vol. 5: Flesh by Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang (Illustrator)

Wonder Woman, Vol. 5: FleshWonder Woman, Vol. 5: Flesh by Brian Azzarello

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wonder Woman is still continues to a solid title, and if you’ve been enjoying Azzarello’s run on her, you won’t be disappointed with this latest installment.
If, however, you weren’t that enamoured to start with, this is just more of the same, so keep on moving.
I fall somewhere in-between the love-it vs hate-it groups. I think it’s getting more interesting as it goes along, but I’m still not willing to fall down at the feet of this particular version of Wonder Woman.While I enjoy the mythological side of WW’s persona, it’s never been my favorite thing about her. I love her super-heroine side more, and I can’t help wishing that there was a bit of the Justice League Diana in these volumes.
Not that I’m crazy about her portrayal in the JL comics right now, either.

It starts with an insider’s peek at the events that shaped First Born, through the eyes of three hookers turned into Oracles via Apollo.
And, yes, you read that sentence correctly.
Apollo really wants to understand what makes First Born tick. By learning this, he hopes to stop First Born’s prophesied ascendance to the throne (which is currently being held by Apollo). Once he feels he’s got a bead on his big brother’s personality, he embarks on a crazy torture ‘n dominate scheme.
Shockingly, it backfires.
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