Review: The Incredible Hulk Vol. 2

The Incredible Hulk, Vol. 2The Incredible Hulk, Vol. 2 by Bruce Jones

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Hollywood buddy read with my Shallow Comic Reading pals!

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Solid follow up to Return of the Monster. This one includes the Transfer of Power and Abominable storylines. Bruce Jones ties up a few loose ends and keeps it more interesting than I was expecting. Teach me to stereotype a Hulk story. Those mysterious agents are still at it trying to wrangle the big green guy. Jones finally fills a few holes left from Vol. 1 and gives a bit more background on who they are and what their deal is. Doc Samson continues to get fleshed out a bit more in this one as well. I’m a little more interested in him as a character now and that’s after hating on him in Vol 1.

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While I did enjoy the first half of this collection, I really felt like this one picked up on the ass end. I’ve loved big-ass monsters duking it out since I sat glued to the TV on Saturday afternoon as a kid watching Godzilla take on all comers. Jones delivers just that when the Abomination steps to the Hulk and it’s ON. Liked the slow build to the final throwdown. Bruce paced the story well and certainly gave both Blonsky and Banner lots of motivation to wanna beat the piss outta each other. Jones continues to focus primarily on the Banner half of the monster in this one, but as long as he keeps it interesting, I’m cool with it. That, and Banner gets his freak on, the dirty hobo.

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Stuart Immonen provided the art for the first half and it’s not his best work. Not horrific, just seemed sorta muddy. Not my thing. Deodato, however, ends the book on a high note with his kick-ass work in Abominable. Not always a fan of Mike’s shit, but he kills it here. This really reminded of his work on Original Sin, which could be the high water mark of his career to date. For me anyway. Kaare Andrews continues to provide some great covers as well. His Where the Wild Things Are inspired cover was pretty boss.

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So Vol. 2 is a recommend. Bruce Jones’ stuff, along with Greg Pak’s Planet Hulk , is on the short list of Hulk stuff I would tell any comic fan to look up. Still some loose-ends, but overall fun stuff.

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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: Indestructible Hulk Vol. 4 – Humanity Bomb; by Mark Waid

Indestructible Hulk, Vol. 4: Humanity BombIndestructible Hulk, Vol. 4: Humanity Bomb by Mark Waid
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

***Green Theme Buddy Reads, with my Shallow homies. If I have to explain how this fits, you are what Professor HULK (ie. Jeff) would call an ‘asshat’***


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I took this out of the library months ago, but Vol. 3 had yet to be ordered…luckily, the Digital Copy in every Marvel Hardcover allows you to get a copy online thru Marvel.com…and then read in Comixology. So this was my first full volume on Comixology, and my first read on my iPad! YAY! No paper cuts! And when I dropped it in the tub, I only got electrocuted a wee bit, but there was no ruined pages!

So at the end of our last adventure, HULK had repaired time like 99% accurately…by smashing the shit out of it. This time, we’re in the Inhumanity Event, where Black Bolt had his hand forced, to release Terragen Mists on Earth, in order to repopulate the latent Inhuman population after Thanos destroyed the Inhumans? I think? So the mists target people who’s DNA has any tiny marker gene for Inhumans…so if your great great granny whored it up with one…you’re fucked.

Cue Banner, working on his Bruce saves the Earth stuff, only to see Tony ‘Asshat’ Stark (copyright Jeff) beat him to it, then Reed Richards, then the Hanks (Pym and McCoy). Shockingly, he’s ANGRY as fuck about it.
Cue up Doc Randall Jessup, one of Banner’s super-scientist lab assistants. He’s apparently a Zen master, who just tells Bruce to chew some gum and count to 120 and gives him some mumbo jumbo…turns out, he talks Bruce down from HULK-ing out!

We get a short flashback to Jessup’s sad backstory, then forward to Jessup and Banner stealing invisibility cloaks to go join a SHIELD mission that Maria Hill told him to stay out of…but of course, no such luck. Jessup again keeps Hulk at bay long enough to save everyone, and manages to impress Banner tremendously.

Next up, Banner returns to the lab to see Asshat Pym and Asshat Stark trying to figure out the Terragen Mists…Banner tells them to fuck off out of his lab, they act super condescending, before he points out that he just happens to be the expert on radiation and its effects on people (Gamma Rays…Hulk…ringing any bells there Stark?) Then Tony gives Bruce 24 hrs to finish his solution.

They show up early, and bring Hank #2 with them (McCoy, Beast). Hank 2 isn’t an asshat, he’s just cautious, and I like that Waid didn’t give him the same personality of a phallus that he did to Pym and Stark. Beast would relate more to Banner on the effects of changes to the self than the other 2.

Of course, the name of this volume is Humanity BOMB…so yes, Bruce has built a BOMB to save HUMANITY from INHUMANITY! See how easily that works? If Waid comes up with his own titles, he deserves a raise. Of course the asshats overreact and that leads to HULK freaking out and running off with the BOMB.
Way to go Iron McAsshat!

So the Hanks and Asshat chase him, and Pym breaks his arm trying to wrestle the bomb from Hulk, and Hulk gets it back…amidst all the chaos, Hank #2 asks the simplest question: Tony, what if the bomb works?
Then goes on to cry Mea Culpa, that he and the Asshats were arrogant not to trust Bruce, and leaves it up to Iron McAsshy to decide what to do…or not do…

So…ya. Long story short, Bomb goes off, freezes time to see if the Terragen Mists will dissipate or lose their effects…turns out…it doesn’t work…but only because it was made by Black Bolt and not on Earth, so different physics and such. In the aftermath, there’s some explosions, and Hulk and the 3 musketeers save as many as they can, and then they all pseudo apologize for being dicks, but I think only McCoy can be pardoned for this one.

Remember Jessup? ya…things don’t go so well for him…Terragen Mists and whatnot…turns out his Zen powers end up counteracting the Hulk’s Anger…which is difficult for Banner when shit goes south…he has to resort to more basic methods…

Then there’s a run in with some super evil scientists experimenting on Terragnen Mist victims…including trying Jessup, but Hulk and the team won’t stand for it…SMASH, team up with Jessup’s Inhuman Monster form, yadda yadda yadda…people die, no more team for Banner at SHIELD, Hill says she might have to “Terminate” Him…he smirks.

Cue Cliffhanger Ending involving Bruce Banner!!!!

Then there’s the Annual, which has Tony and Bruce going after a mad scientist on an island in the middle of nowhere that’s been totally weaponized…this guy was big on influencing both of them to go into weapons work with the military (the way for smart dudes to get $$) even though he wasn’t a nice dude. It’s a decent enough team up, even though Tony is an asshat to Bruce most of the time, they’re actually closer than many think…

This takes place BEFORE the events in Vol. 4 I believe…

So all in all, a solid volume, but it focuses more on the lab people and Jessup, but I think that’s to show how Bruce holds himself responsible for everything bad that happens, even though he can’t be. The stuff with the Hanks and Asshat is the stronger stuff in the volume, and the art is a step in the right direction after volume 3, but it still doesn’t compare to Yu’s volume 1 work.

Sadly, this is also the end of the series…WAHHHH!!! HULK SAD! I’m guessing there’s another one to pick up, but…Waid had a great handle on Banner and Hulk, and I hope that’s not it for him writing it. I also love the interactions with others, epsecially Daredevil and Iron Man and the Hanks.


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Review: Indestructible HULK Vol. 3: SMASH Time, by Mark Waid

Indestructible Hulk, Vol. 3: S.M.A.S.H. TimeIndestructible Hulk, Vol. 3: S.M.A.S.H. Time by Mark Waid
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

***Green Theme Buddy Read #3…for not one, but TWO HULKS! GREEN! Oh and a Green Dinosaur and Green Dragon!***


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Indestructible Hulk SMASH Time is both the title and a full description of the events in Volume 3. In addition, it is time for Hulk to SMASH things…the thing(s) being Time itself.

This is not as strong as the previous volumes in my opinion, and the second half of the book is bogged down by what I feel is bad art. It feels like it was drawn by someone who had too many Red Bulls after watching a Dragonball Z marathon. That might work for some, but I didn’t enjoy it as much.

Premise is actually pretty sensible…for a bit…the Marvel U has been running roughshod on over through and back and forth in time…as a result, it’s fucking the space time continuum up worse than cheap Taiwainese Smack and Maker’s Mark.
I’m glad that Waid acknowledges how many time travel shenanigans are going down in the Marvel U. Theory follows that, because of this, time will fall apart, and there are also Chronoarchists running around like inside traders, making use of the time changes to tweak for their own purposes.

All of this is explained by Zarkko, “The Tomorrow Man” who’s locked up by SHIELD in a top secret division called T.I.M.E. Director Hill explains that it’s so ultra super duper secret researching into the wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff that even Tony Stark doesn’t know about it (and tells Banner to enjoy that he knows something Stark doesn’t…which is both hilarious, and perfect for the rivalry between the 2, as has been going on through the history of Marvel, and in this particular series).

Zarkko apparently has been a time travelling villain from the 23rd Century and mostly a foil for Thor, which Banner alludes to, but he serves his purpose here as the “expert”. No one could possibly survive going through time at this point, because of how unstable it is (we see in the introductory pages a poor SHIELD op, and what happens to him when the fabric of time tears through his protective suit…it’s an intelligent way to kill him off, and establishes just how crazy bad things are). But of course, HULK isn’t just anyone…however, the Bruce Banner part couldn’t survive it, but HULK could…assuming he stays angry and Hulked-up the whole time…

So that brings us to one of the cooler parts of the volume…Bruce’s consciousness is uploaded/copied into a ROB (the tiny SHIELD robot babysitters that follow HULK around on his missions). That way, Banner can go back and make sure HULK does what he needs to, and not have his human part destroyed. It’s a far more literal exploration of the duality/Jeckyll-Hyde nature of Banner/Hulk, but is also a pretty cool one. In addition, Banner gets to insult HULK a lot, and have an out of body experience watching HULK do what he usually does while trapped inside. The insults of course, are instrumental to keeping HULK MAD, and when HULK MAD, he’s STRONG, and gets stronger and can therefore SMASH more…including…TIME!

Follow me so far? Ya. Waid pretty much throttles back away from the time travel explanations other than to show instead of explain, and that’s a wise decision. Focusing on HULK SMASH rather than the intricacies of the science or the paradoxes lets us see HULK the way we want to…SMASHING the shit out of things.

The things here are the best part: Dinosaurs in the Wild West (alongside cowboys); Dragons in Camelot (alongside the Black Knight – yes the Avenger one, but way back before he was one – and Arthur and Merlyn); and the best of all? HULK SMASH HULK himself!!!

Banner, of course, laughs hysterically when Zarkko tells him what to do, as he explains how stupid it is, the ultimate Bull in the China shop idea…Hulk playing around with the fabric of time? Are you all morons he says? See it’s the little things like this which make Mark Waid such a good writer…common sense things the reader would notice and think about, but not enough to derail the whole story.

When HULK makes his third “time jump” to battle a Chronarchist, it is at the very moment before the Gamma Bomb test that made Banner into the Hulk…talk about your paradoxes…so we see that someone is manipulating events to that Hulk will never exist, and therefore…WHOA!!!! Trippy!!!

So as events play out, Banner drives to the test site to save Rick Jones, and just as he’s pushing Rick into the ditch, BOOM, Time Travel HULK shows up and pushes Puny Banner into the ditch…! At the same time, the explosion blows up the ROB robot with Future (our Banner) Banner’s consciousness, which is thrown into past Banner’s body…whew…this is where things get either really convoluted and ridiculous, or totally bitchin’, depending on your POV…
So if Banner didn’t get GAMMA irradiated…who did??? Why HULK of course…and what happens? He pretty much turns into UBER-HULK SUPER SAYAN…ya.

HOLY FUCKBALLS JEFF! So Banner re-assesses his situation and says forget this noise, I’m just going to live in the past with all my future knowledge, since I’m not HULK, I can marry Betty and live happily and UBER HULK ain’t my problem! Only one issue…the timestream has been altered…and there is no Betty Ross here…Of course…Which only makes Bruce ANGRY! And you wouldn’t like him when he’s ANGRY…
So he goes after the Chronarchist, and starts punching him, which the baddie laughs at, but turns out of course, Banner’s smart eh? So he’s studied the timesuits that they wear, and he’s not just punching, he’s damaging, and at the same time, pushing back minutes through time…ya…apparently…and I’m not sure at all what happens next, but somehow Bruce punches back far enough to get to the point of the Gamma explosion, and puts himself directly in the centre of it…so boom! Banner is HULK again! Except there’s still the matter of UBERSUPERSAYAN-HULK…so Banner gets ANGRY ANGRY ANGRY…and punches so hard, he puches through time, destroying the other HULK, and kinda fucking time up too…but SMASHING TIME!!!

This being comics, of course, some how, instead of shattering like a mirror and giving him 7 cosmically bad years of luck, he’s safe back in the present…but with a nagging feeling that he missed something…which of course, we as the readers get to see in 3 panels just what was missed…setting up a whole bunch of possibilities…

OK so…after I read it last night, I was kinda bummed, and thought it was a let down…then I read some reviews, slept on it, read the title again, realized that SMASH Time is possibly the cleverest name ever for this book…and wrote this review. HULK is all about SMASHING, Indestructible HULK has been about Banner’s legacy and HULK, and somehow this book combines both, and gives us Banner smart, HULK SMASH, and funny shit. It also has HULK SMASHING:World War II Airplanes, Dinosaurs, Dragons, Uber-HULK, and Time itself. So all in all…AWESOME!

I just felt that the art let us down in the second half, and the frenetic, kinetic nature of it and too many lines just wasn’t my cup of Tea. That and Time Travel is a dead horse at Marvel right now…which even Waid acknowledged…that and this book is the equivalent of a Jason Statham movie…if you want to watch ass kicking at a high velocity, and you don’t want to think too much, and you have no problem knowing what you’re going to get…it’s a great movie. It’s never going to win an OSCAR, but you don’t want OSCAR you just want…SMASH TIME!


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Review: Indestructible Hulk: Gods and Monster, by Mark Waid (& Walt Simonson)!!!

Indestructible Hulk, Vol. 2: Gods and MonsterIndestructible Hulk, Vol. 2: Gods and Monster by Mark Waid
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Not quite as knock-it-out-of-the-park as Vol. 1, but a very cool solid collection.

First off, No more Francis Leinil Yu…

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However, he’s been replaced by the legendary Walt Simonson!!!

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Oh…and he’s drawing THOR! with HULK!

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The story has Banner and his team use a portal to the realm of the Frost Giants to gather elements for Earth, and of course, the Frost Giants show up to attack…luckily Thor arrives and he and Hulk make short work of them.
However, Thor doesn’t remember Banner…or Hulk…so Banner discovers that they must also have gone back in time to before Thor ever crossed paths with the Hulk.

It’s very cool to see Banner and Thor before they met, and Hulk having the knowledge that Thor is a friend. So it’s not in depth story-telling but it’s very cool for geeks like us.

The second story has a different artist, and reveals who the secret contact Banner had from the first volume; the one who was to release sensitive info if Banner ever failed to report in. That person is not a spoiler…but it’s…Daredevil/Matt Murdock!!!

It makes perfect sense for Murdock to be Banner’s lawyer, and the relationship between the 2 men is done very well, there’s mutual respect you don’t always see. What’s even cooler is that Daredevil and Hulk work so very well together as well.

This probably works best for me because Waid also has been writing Daredevil, so he’s got a great grasp of MM, and his Banner/Hulk work is strong too. The only mis-step is an unnecessary super-villain (B-list) appearing.

I really loved the interactions between the 2, and how Daredevil could calm Hulk better than most people, purely due to tone of voice, and the recognition that DD was a friend.
There’s one scene in the midst of battle/explosion between the 2, and the grown man me had tears in my eyes because it was so…sweet? perfect? loyal? friendship at it’s best? Pure instinct, and I loved it.

More solid work from Waid, and I love the work he’s putting out for Marvel the last few years. Long may he run!

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The Essential Incredible Hulk, Volume One

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Writer – Stan Lee

Artists – Various

Three stars

This is prehistoric Hulk written by Stan Lee. The Hulk character was a tough one to draw a bead on and make compelling and most importantly, marketable, which is why the number of different versions of the Hulk in this volume alone will make your head spin. From brute to toddler brain to communicative lummox – does he sound like he grew up in Brooklyn or Iowa – is he gray or green? The only thing consistent is his pants – always purple. He even sports a pair of ugly-assed shorts for awhile. It’s no surprise that the original Hulk run lasted only six issues.

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Review: Indestructible Hulk – Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Vol. 1 by Mark Waid

Indestructible Hulk, Vol. 1: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.Indestructible Hulk, Vol. 1: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. by Mark Waid

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’d been wanting to read this since I first heard about it; Mark Waid (one of my favourites, who really looks at heroes in a different way – Incorruptible/Irredeemable is a fantastic mirror series for anyone who’s never read it), Indestructible!, and Agent of SHIELD!

Sadly, I rely on my local library (support your local library peeps, there’s all kinds of great stuff there, and I can’t tell you how many people are shocked when I tell them the library has comics! Current Movies! CDs! eBooks, you name it! I have saved SOOO much $$$ thanks to a library 1 block from my home) for most of my comic/graphic novel reads, and this has not shown up on their buying list as of yet (though, oddly, they already have Volumes 2 & 4…). However, I ended up with a gift card to a bookstore (yes, a store that sells books and it’s NOT Amazon!) and spent a good hour debating what to buy in the comic section, and since I’m writing this review…well you know what I got.

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