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From the Hoss’ Mouth 09/13/06

An all Marvel week with reviews for Hulk, Anninilation, Captain America, Ms. Marvel, and Wolverine: Origins.

What’s good and what stinks?  Find out inside!

Full Reviews:

The Incredible Hulk #98
Writer: Greg Pak
Pencils: Aaron Lopresti

Part 3 of the “Anarchy” arc sees the middle portion of Planet Hulk building to its conclusion.  Planet Hulk continues to deliver on all the hype, and the fantasy world of Sakaar so elegantly put together has given us one of the better detailed non-earth bound stories in years.  Everything about the planet, from the history to the culture is so rich and developed that no matter how long the Hulk chooses to stay on Sakaar his visit has proven well worth my time and investment.

Hulk’s story picks up exactly where we left off in Anarchy part 2.  Miek has undergone the rare and final transformation of the Native species to become a Native King like his father and he and his lost tribe have no doubt about the role the Hulk will play in the upcoming struggle.  The Hulk on the other hand isn’t swayed so easily by Miek and still doubts his purported prophetic role as the Sakaarson.  This has been the main plot point of Anarchy and it’s further developed here, but not too much as the Emperor’s Shadow Caiera suddenly appears to halt the Hulk.  Not out of duty mind you, but to stop him from becoming her replacement and to avert the terrible destruction this “changing of the guard” will cause.  This leads to one very cool battle between the two that is not to be missed.  Also if you’ve been actively keeping up with the story be sure to have your “Planet Hulk: Gladiator Guidebook” handy as not only is it the most resourceful and detailed event guidebook I’ve ever read, but the reappearance of a certain group of alien Sakaar enemies at the end may confuse someone unfamiliar with the Sakaar history.  At any case the guidebook has thoroughly covered these creatures and exactly the amount of massive devastation they can unleash.

Greg Pak’s Anarchy storyline is looking to be even better than Exile.  This may be a Hulk story but if you’re like me you’ll find yourself enjoying Hulk’s crew just as much as the Hulk.  The careful development and attention to detail of every one of Hulk’s group as well as Sakaar itself has given us a very rich world that isn’t anything at all like the traditional off world stories that largely leave off any real details outside of those pertaining to our protagonist(s).  With the recent announcement of World War Hulk as the next summer event, written by the very same Greg Pak here, I think now is an excellent time to go ahead and get yourself reacquainted with the Hulk if you wish to have a detailed back-story on what he’s been doing before next year’s shenanigans.

What can I say about Lopresti?  His art’s beautiful.  He can draw very exciting action sequences.  His crafting of alien worlds, technology, and life forms is just as detailed as their story.  He does great work.  Also the cover this week by Ladronn is another winner.  Every one of the Planet Hulk covers has been great and this week’s cover is another hit showcasing what may or may not be an upcoming relationship between Hulk and Caiera.

Verdict: Planet Hulk is great fun.  Tired of Civil War or OYL, well the Hulk is your answer to a good comic that is strictly playing to its own beat.  Highly recommended. 

Quick Reviews:

Annihilation #2: This cosmic rebirth is astoundingly good.  Although I enjoyed last issue more, this one doesn’t slack off.  This time we find that Thanos’ plans have reached even further, not only targeting the power cosmic wielders such as Galactus but also the family of one of his greatest adversaries.  Ronan, who was previously my least favorite of the four focal points, has managed to come into his own in the main series.  Now not only is he interesting but he’s downright likeable too.  This issue also sees the merging of the Super Skrull plot into the main series tying all four minis together.  The artist, Devito, is the perfect choice for this book.  His ability to draw large scale conflict keeps the action fresh as well as provides the grand scope of the very large scale battles that have permeated this series.

Verdict: An excellent choice this week.  Though I can’t recommend it if you haven’t been keeping up, the storyline is ambitious and as such past investments in the back issues are a necessity.  For those who have kept up this issue will entertain you just as much as the past ones.

Captain America #21:  Brubaker can do no wrong.  The conclusion of Twenty-First Century Blitz is great.  Watching Cap and the Winter Soldier fight side by side, although brief, is still one of those moments that just can’t help but be great.  Although this is a concluding point the main plot, namely that of the actions of Red Skull/Lukin, Crossbones, and Sin is just starting to heat up.  Cap’s co-stars for this one do a great job of helping with the action, though I feel a little more face time for Union Jack and Spitfire wouldn’t hurt.  Still I’m quite pleased with the overall result of this arc and namely the action packed finale.  Epting’s art chores are put to the test here and he succeeds.  There’s a lot going on from panel to panel and he’s able to put it all together in a way that’s easy to follow as well as making it look good.

Verdict: Another great effort by Bru and crew, don’t miss it.  Even if you haven’t been following you might want to grab this one just to get a taste of how good it is, not a bad jumping on point albeit it’s one issue before a new arc. 

Ms. Marvel #7: I haven’t really enjoyed this series much, but this one wasn’t bad at all.  I particularly liked how the Civil War Pro-registration side gets a bit of face time that isn’t blatantly negative.  They still don’t come off as angels but it’s a nice reprieve from the constant vilifying Stark and team see in most of the other CW tie-in’s.  Also we’re given an inside glimpse into the beginning of what I imagine will be Carol’s new role in the Marvel Universe, that of a mentor to young Arana.  The rest of the story consists of the hunt for the newly nicked Arachne and Shroud, who despite their good intentions don’t play so nice.  De La Torre’s art is good, his facial proportions can be a bit off at times so as eyes don’t line up, etc. but he still does an overall good job here.  The David Mack cover on the other hand didn’t do anything for me.  It’s so bland I almost hesitated to pick up the book.

Verdict: A fine tie-in issue for you Civil War aficionados.  The outcome of this book may not be as important as others such as the Thunderbolts for example, but it’s slightly more positive portrayal of the Pro-reg side is a nice change from the other tie-in series with their doom and gloom approach to Stark.

This week’s loser:

Wolverine Origins #6: The story for this issue wasn’t so bad, so Way’s off the hook this week.  Instead I’ll be focusing my nerd fueled rage squarely on Steve Dillon.  I HATE the art on this book.  It’s just terrible, there’s no detail, there’s no life, everything is too bright, and everyone looks the same.  Imagine staring at panel after panel where the only difference in each character is hair style.  Think I’m kidding?  Grab a copy and look at Wolverine then find Jubilee.  A little lipstick, some earrings, and a lack of chops is all that separates these two.  I don’t know whether he’s rushed or not but a little extra effort could go a long way here.  Although I said the story’s not bad that doesn’t mean it’s great. Way manages to improve on his last arc but still leads the book down the path of mediocrity and when you add in the terrible art this book’s entirely passable.

Verdict: Having a verdict for this section is redundant.  Pass.

Little Hoss on the Prairie:

Well it turned out to be an all Marvel week this week, but on the DC front there were some winners.  Namely “52” which has been on a back to back role now and is really starting to kick off, “Legends” wasn’t bad either though I feel the story is losing a bit of its momentum, “Green Lantern” had a good concluding story arc that gave a lot of action and also began hinting at a much larger storyline guaranteed to involve “52”, “Corps” was a good old Guy story, that proved to be mostly fun though also passable, and Martian Manhunter continues to intrigue despite my growing reservations of the “new” J’onn.  On the Marvel side, New X-Men was exciting, but honestly I liked the old dynamic of school teams, inter- and intra- team competition, and romantic drama better than the kids running off to be “X-Men lite” also no one dies this issue, hooray!  New Excalibur is much better under the helm of Tieri, though I wonder if he wouldn’t be able to tackle more pertinent issues if he was made the regular writer.  Last but not least is Civil War Files, I haven’t read it yet but it looks to be worth every penny of the $3.99 as it seems quite resourceful giving us the lowdown on all the major players in Civil War from Stark’s perspective with the usual hyper-detailed bios you’ve come to expect from Marvel’s handbooks and event guides.

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