Comic Review – The Immortal Hulk #2 (Marvel Comics)

Our pal Kit reviews comics for us! This is one of those reviews.

Warning: minor spoilers.

“All that a man hath will he give for his life.” – Job 2:4 (also the opening quote to this issue)

The Hulk has never been a hero I’ve properly engaged with. Too often it seems that his stories are more about how invincible he is and watching him beat people up rather than anything of substance. I figured this was a good time to try to engage with big green a little and see what more he had to offer, especially after reading the premise for the new ‘Immortal Hulk’ series. It turns out that originally it wasn’t anger that set the Hulk off, it was night time. Bringing this idea is bought back for the modern Hulk with an interesting twist – the Hulk comes back at night. Every night, even if Banner is dead (explaining how he recovered from a vibranium arrow to the face). This comic is bought to us by:

  • Writer – Al Ewing
  • Penciler – Joe Bennett
  • Inker – Ruy Jose
  • Colour Artist – Paul Mounts
  • Letterers – VC’s Cory Petit and Travis Lanham

The tone of this comic isn’t what I would have expected from a Hulk storyline. We’re presented with an internal horror tale, of a man trying to survive the beast that will come out at night, leave a trail of destruction, leave him with nothing only to start again the next evening. Banner is a man running from the inevitable desperately trying to do some kind of good with the beast inside him, while trying to keep under the radar.

There’s a lot of internal monologue during the issue while we’re dealing with Banner and not big green. I really enjoyed this as it built the atmosphere, seeing his internal battle and getting to know the guy a lot better. Banner comes off as very human and as a man very much trying to do the right thing in very difficult circumstances. When the Hulk does rear his head he comes off as monstrous and scary more than anything else and this is something I very much enjoy.

Art by Bennett, Jose and Mounts

By his very design the Hulk is meant to be monstrous though, however this side of him seems to be even more emphasized in the way Bennett, Jose and Mounts have done the art. His stance is consistently unnatural and beast like and his piercing eyes seem to leap out of the page (very good work by Mounts for that!). Hell, the villain of the issue spends much more time terrified of the Hulk than the Hulk is of it. Additionally with such a monologue-heavy issue, a high calibre of lettering was required. Petit and Lanham team up well to weave the reader’s eye through the pages and keep them engaged.

Final Verdict

I’m glad to have picked this story up, I’m a fan of horror and it’s a great way to get to know a character I’m a little unfamiliar with still. The villain of the issue feels like a bit of a throw away, and the way the antagonist is shaping up could either result in a very interesting reflection of the Hulk, or feel a bit like an unnecessary inclusion for the sake of it. That’s the thing though, the real antagonistic force in all this is Banner’s lack of control over his life and struggle to cope with the Hulk, coming out every night like clockwork and even death cannot stop it.

Final Score – 8.25 Simple Pleasures out of 10

Comic Review: Avengers #675 (Marvel Comics)

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Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Then he reviews one every other week.

This week I picked up Avengers #675, also numbered as issue #1 of Avengers: No Surrender, a new event that sees the current disparate Avenger-affiliated titles Uncanny Avengers, U.S. Avengers and Occupy Avengers combined into the main title into a 16-part weekly series. Avengers #675 was written by Mark Waid, Al Ewing and Jim Zub, with art by Pepe Larraz, colours by David Curiel and lettering from VC’s Cory Petit, with Mark Brooks drawing the cover.

Cover art by Mark Brooks

Someone has stolen the Earth (and the Moon apparently). In an instant it disappears, leaving Captain Marvel and Alpha Flight adrift in space, scrambling to find out what has happened. Meanwhile, the planet is wracked by earthquakes, tidal waves and all manner of other weather-related disasters, and the variously prefixed or suffixed Avengers teams (including the plain ‘Avengers’), along with every other hero, fight to simultaneously save lives and figure out what is going on. Then a bunch of them inexplicably freeze, and the remaining Avengers, considering active or reserve, are called together by a mysterious figure to save the world.

This issue is all set up, stopping in on various characters only briefly as they battle this latest calamity. But the three writers deliver a tight script and a compelling kick off to this event, and the premise is promising. With a few key characters benched early on in the event, I am looking forward to some lapsed Avengers taking centre stage. I’ll admit, when No Surrender was announced I was a little worried that it was going to be yet another cross over (so soon after the last one between Avengers and Champions), but I was happy that the various titles were consolidated into a single book (even if my wallet won’t be happy about it being weekly!).

Art by Larraz, Curiel and Petit

Larraz’s art is very well suited to the frenetic action here, and he does a great job of juggling so many heroes and so much action. Falcon’s opening pages are particularly impressive, as is the scene of the Human Torch battling a tidal wave. Rogue’s hair is weirdly very big, but I think it may have been for a while so that isn’t really on Larraz. The bold lines are fleshed out with deep colours from Curiel with a clarity that helps to distinguish the various costumed characters.

Avengers #675 (or Avengers: No Surrender #1) is off to a good start, and with the writers involved and the art so far there is a lot of promise for No Surrender. Hopefully the weekly format will allow for it to remain interesting, unlike the often delayed big events that lose steam over the course of the months they take to play out. This is well worth your time, so pick it up at your LCS now!

Score: 7.5 secret Frozen Heroes out of 10

Comic Book Review – Rocket #1 (Marvel Comics)

Our pal Kit reviews comics for us! This is one of those reviews.

Warning: Minor spoilers.

“When the vault door blew, Rocket knew it was all up” Narrator

Another Marvel film, another tie-in. With the outstanding Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 now out Marvel are naturally cashing in on its success with a new series of comics of the beloved characters. Rocket naturally picks up Rocket Racoon’s story, Rocket’s character arc in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 is truly great so I wasn’t able to say no. This was bought to us by:

  • Writer – Al Ewing
  • Artists – Adam Gorham
  • Colourist – Michael Garland
  • Letterer – Jeff Eckleberry
  • Cover – Mike Mayhew

Cover art by Mayhew

So what’s Marvel’s take on the lovable trash-panda? Naturally a heist. With the Guardians currently disbanded Rocket finds himself in a hive of scum and villainy in some far off planet full of low lives. Who does he meet? The ex-love of his life who got him locked up in jail a while back when he used to make a living cracking safes, relaxing on a beach, rinsing and repeating.

The issue is written in the style of a heist movie, with the quirky band of people with very specific skill sets… and an egg… pooling their talents to bust into a high tech facility and bust open an unbeatable safe, with a few unexpected twists thrown in. There’s also a narrator who provides an insight into Rocket’s inner thoughts, adding a touch of additional humour to the issue. We get to see a glimpse into Rocket’s past as well, seeing what he was like before he became a…. hero? Needless to say, he hasn’t exactly changed too much over the years.

Art by Gorham, Garland & Eckleberry

The art fits the tone of the issue. There’s a weird and wonderful cast of background alien characters, Gorham has done a great job of creating an almost fantastical setting in these weird and wonderful worlds. With the Narrator’s input a significant portion of the issue is given over to that as opposed to the regular comic panels. There’s a risk with these sorts of tropes that too much blank space is used and it detracts from the story. This is not the case in Rocket. Eckleberry manages to present the text in a simple but effective way which only adds to the story.

Right, important questions. Can Gorham draw hands? Define hand. With so many weird and wonderful aliens throughout the issue there are plenty of hands, claws, paws and everything else. Where conversations are had Gorham has done a good job of communicating through body language and adding depth to the characters. 8.5/10 for hand drawing skills!

Final Verdict

This is a lot of fun. I wouldn’t expect this to reshape the foundations at Marvel but for something different and an enjoyable read I’d highly recommend it.

Score: 8.75 Raging Chicks out of 10

 

Comic Review – The Ultimates #6 (Marvel Comics)

Our pal Kit reviews comics for us! This is one of those reviews.

Warning: Minor spoilers.

“If you say so, Lifebringer. Good luck… and don’t stop pushing” Molecule Man

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Cover by Kenneth Rocafort

Yes, I’m starting on issue #6 of something this week. This isn’t a series I’ve been reading and I didn’t look up the plot beforehand. Why? Well there wasn’t much new out this week that grabbed my attention I had time I read (coursework and being an adult etc.) But I spotted a passing reference to things being a bit shaken up for Galactus in another comic I read (his cameo in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #7) and it seems they’re kicking off a new arc in the The Ultimates (written by Al Ewing, art by Christian Ward) about him. I figured why not?

What’s going on for Galactus these days then? It seems the Ultimates defeated him recently, by reversing his hunger. He is no longer the devourer of worlds; he is the ‘Lifebringer’. A planet seeder who is creating planets and life throughout the universe. There’s a problem though. He’s also learnt of a problem with well, everything. Eternity, the physical manifestation of the multiverse has been bound and chained. He needs to somehow free it.

With the fallout of Doom’s Secret Wars still causing reverberations around the universe, and Galactus’ new role, there are cosmic entities out there who do not care for the new state of play and want to put Galactus back in his place.

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Variant Cover by Christian Ward

Ward’s art is colourful, I’m not so used to the golden Galactus we currently have, but the art was vibrant and made things seem extra dimensional, for lack of a better term. The scenes with cosmic beings and the high level entities stood out.

There’s an on-going metaphor throughout the comic, likening Galactus’ eternal struggle with the legend of Sisyphus, the man cursed to eternally push a boulder up a hill forever and somehow his newfound life-giving powers are part of this. This piques my curiosity. I’m not sure where they’re going with it but it has a lot of potential.

 

Final Verdict

If there’s one criticism I’d give this comic, it’s the lack of Ultimates for a comic called The Ultimates. They’re in there, very much as a cameo appearance though. Otherwise, the dialogue maybe felt a little clunky at times, but these are beings significantly more evolved than I am, maybe that’s the way we’ll all talk when we’ve ascended to gigantic, godlike talking heads?

Otherwise, if you’re curious about Galactus, his history and understanding his role even more in the bigger Marvel picture this is a great comic for you.

Final Score – 8 Stuffs out of 10!