Wednesday’s Reviews: Something Incredible

As I mentioned last week, I was off to Toronto’s ComicCon this past Sunday. Unlike other comic conventions, Toronto’s are really “mini” versions of ComicCon’s until the FanExpo in August. Needless to say, since last August, this has probably been the smallest thus far. I had intended on getting a Silver-Age X-Men comic – but there weren’t any pre-issue #20 in decent condition and price.

Alas, the earliest issues I grabbed were Bronze-Age X-Men #88, #138, #159, and #165. The rest were mostly Modern Age X-Mens from various lines of Astonishing, Volume 2, a couple of Annuals, and a Giant-Sized Amazing Spider-Man #21. (Expect an O.M.I.T. comparison soon!) I was happy with the event overall, but disappointed with the lack of selection for my specific needs. [/loser]

Unfortunately after the Con, I became ill and quite frankly, could hardly keep myself energized. In result, I totally failed at putting reviews out for all of the comics I wanted to this week. I could only grab enough strength to bust out my favourite one. By next week, everything should be hunkey dorey.

Incredible Hulks

Incredible Hulks #622
Greg Pak (writer), Paul Pelletier (pencilers), Danny Miki & Crimelab Studios (inkers), Paul Mounts (colours), Simon Bowland (letters), Paz & D’Armata Pagulayan (cover). $2.99

Post-Chaos War, Hercules restores order to the Marvel U, and rebuilds Mount Olympus on to Earth. With people like Alpha Flight and, well, the entire world being saved and healed, the Hulks were left out. Bruce Banner went to Hercules and asked about the Hulks – A-Bomb is gravely injured and needs healing, while Betty has gone insane and needs to be cured. All Hercules can do is apologize and feel terrible for Bruce. Bruce decides to let Hulk take over and ask get Zeus to help. He beats up various gods on Olympus – making him angrier – and works his way up to Zeus. (this was all in last-ish – Ed.) Now at Incredible Hulks #622, Zeus and the Hulk duke it out for Bruce’s last chance at helping his friends!

And as writer Pak puts it in the introduction to the book: “Zeus won’t have it.” And indeed he doesn’t. Most of the book is Hulk and Zeus battling it out, while She-Hulk, Betty, Skaar and Korg fight off monsters as they try and get to Hulk in his battle.

Ever since Planet Hulk, and excluding Jeff Loeb’s odd-run on “The Hulk,” we’ve seen Banner be pretty much impossible to defeat. He has battled every creature from here to kingdom-come and win. But it was this issue, where Hulk fights the the god, and is finally beaten. Yes, the Hulk loses. And it’s bad. After his defeat, Hulk is left tied down and fed to vultures for three days to learn a lesson. He is also unable to fully heal due to being fed on – meaning he cannot fight back. We see Hulk go through hell, and as Zeus puts it, it is so Hulk realizes not to battle Zeus again. Fortunately, his friends do make it to save him, but not without a massive lesson learned to Banner. And as an epilogue, we’re given a nice segue into the next chapter of the Hulk series – bringing out another “survivor” from the Chaos War. As always with the Hulk, this battle has just begun.

As for the story, I love how Pak has practically reinvented the Hulk into a family man. At first I was terribly weary of it because Hulk has always wanted to be alone. But here, he’s been redefined and it’s been so gradual that it feels normal for the Hulk now. To top it off, having the Hulk beaten so badly really humanizes Hulk that much further. Not to mention watching Hulk fight for something other than being a monster-bashing machine really makes Hulk a respectable character. Mixing in with brilliant colours – blues from Zeus and greens from Hulk – and great epic fist fights with Zeus, it really is a battle worth watching.

My only major problem with the story was how most of it was literally pointless bickering. Dialogue was not really all-important as the majority of the story was physical fighting up until the last two pages.And while I love the art within the story, Hera was portrayed over-the-top sexually – which is funny given how She-Hulk and Betty were not.

Despite the fighting, it was an excellent moral at the end for the Hulk – one that was a long time coming.

Grade: 7/10

As a complete side note, doesn’t Steve Epting’s version of Sue Storm on the cover of FF #1 look a lot like Creepy Chan?

FF

So, until next time, keep on Space Truckin’!

Wednesday’s Reviews: The Incredible Widow Maker

This week wasn’t a big week for comics. Neither will next week. January lull, I assume. Then again, come the 26th, I’ll be overwhelmed with comics. Until then, this week we have Chaos War continuing in The Incredible Hulks #620, while the identity to Ronin is revealed in Widow Maker #3.

Incredible Hulks

The Incredible Hulks #620
Greg Pak (writer), Paul Pelletier (penciler), Danny Miki (inker), Paul Mounts (colours), Simon Bowland (letters), Paz and D’Armata Pagulayan (cover). $3.99

Chaos War crushes on in The Incredible Hulks story. In last issue, the Hulks took on Abomination, Demon Zom, and the Hulk’s father as the Chaos King rises the dead to kill A-Bomb’s ex-wife, Marlo, as she recently gained powers of Death (long story). Fortunately for the Hulk, he has people in life who come back, thanks to Marlo. Doc Samson, Glenn Talbot, as well as his ex-wife Jarella appear to aid in the fight.

Surprisingly, with all of the action happening in this comic, there is a great amount of relationships between every character. Although the primary story is focused between Hulk and his father, little snippets of feelings from A-Bomb and Marlo, to Hulk with Jarella, and Betty with Talbot, all get attention in the story. Albeit minor, the dialogue they share is significant enough to really generate some empathy from the readers. Pak’s balance of characters really shines through. A powerful scene with all of the Hulks lined up against Hulk’s father stands as a powerful statement that Hulk really does have a family now.

Pelletier makes good use of full-page spreads with many scenes of action taking over multiple pages and generating a feel of strength with the Hulks. And I do not mean physical strength. Tied in with Mounts’ excellent mixes of greens and “death” red colours, this book was a surprise hit – tackling a lot in one book.

Grade: 7/10

Widow Maker

Widow Maker #3 of 4
Jim McCann (writer), David Lopez (penciler), Alvaro Lopez (inker), Nathan Fairbairn (colours), Cory Petit (letters), Phil Noto (cover). $3.99

With the first two stories leading a tremendous build up of who Ronin is, this story does not disappoint. Our three heroes, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Mockingbird, with mercenary Dominic Fortune, finally discover the secret of Ronin. Not only that, our dynamic relationship duo – Hawkeye and Mockingbird – seem to be on good terms again. Near the ending of the book, Ronin’s identity is releaved, and as are his ultimate plans for domination. Leaving the book with our heroes entirely overran with villains, it’ll be interesting to see how the story concludes itself.

Despite the surprise twist with Ronin’s identity, the story ends up falling a bit flat on a few different levels. Firstly, the characters, while all having a history together – never touch upon it. You would figure the first part of the book featuring Hawkeye and Black Widow alone would feature much more interesting dialogue. Dominic’s only place in the book now, it seems, is to be comic relief as he only adds in funny dialogue when there seems to be nothing else to say – which is surprising, considering Hawkeye is supposed to be the funny one. By the end of the book, Ronin also gives away his “ultimate plan” in a stereotypical villain rant which we’ve seen in every cartoon series known to man.

But despite the books short-comings, the Lopez’s and Fairbairn pick up the pieces with nice colours and tons of action. Albeit, there was a few panels which were questionable: Some faces changed in quality depending on the panel, while one particular scene with Black Widow has her suit zipped right up before battle. The very next panel, her suit is zipped down, suggesting cleavage helps fighting gifted ninja girls. Yes, I did say that. But all aside, the art was solid and the story definitely only needed to be four issues long.

Grade: 5/10

Until next time, keep on Space Truckin’!