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From the Hoss’ Mouth 11/01/06

I do my best Pat Lee impersonation this week by coming in a day late and a dollar short.  This week I cover The Incredible Hulk, Fantastic Four: The End, Superman Confidential, Blue Beetle, and What If?

Full Review:

The Incredible Hulk #100
Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Carlo Pagulayan; backup by Gary Frank

Once again the best book of the week.  I’m all Hulked out over what a great ride this story has been so far.  Between Planet Hulk and Annihilation I’ve all but forgotten about Civil War.  Let’s take a step back and look at exactly all the bright points this book has.  Great plot…check.  Great art…check.  Interesting characters…check.  Beautiful action scenes…check.  A huge imaginative world that sucks you in immediately…check.  Plenty of Sci-Fi elements to make this off-world adventure a thing to remember…check.  Wow looks like it’s got everything.

Moving on, for the low low price of $3.99, you’ll be receiving a full size Hulk story, a nice backup (the importance of which is not to be overlooked), a short Hulk origin reprint, and reprints of the old Hulk 152 & 153.  That’s a lot of fine reading for $3.99.  In the main Hulk story our ragtag band of Hulkamaniacs barely have time to catch their breath after last issue’s Spike attacks.  The warfare from the Anarchy arc continues right into Allegiance as the beginning of the third act for this series starts immediately.  It’s a good thing Pak already had his footing by the time he got to this point because the entire issue is almost entirely head smashing Hulk action making it a great way to start the finale without having to worry about continued character or plot development.  Speaking of which Hulk’s warbound crew has probably been my favorite part of this entire series.  If you had asked me a year ago if I’d ever find myself secretly rooting for a Brood warrior I would have though you’d been smoking crack.  Not now though, which says a lot about the lengths Pak has gone too to flesh out the supporting characters as well as to endear them to the reader.  The art continues to shine in this story specifically with Miek who looks quite menacing in his King form.

The backup (also by Pak) is something not to be missed.  We, the readers, already know at some point the Hulk will come back to Earth and that next years big event will be “World War Hulk”,  this little story is the beginning of all that.  Amadeus Cho, not new but certainly not recognizable, is the catalyst for all of this and he’s got big plans that Reed Richards and Tony Stark certainly wish he didn’t have.  Times, they are a’ changing.  Don’t skip this story!

Next up is a 3 page Hulk origin reprint, a nice bonus but nothing to go crazy over.  This is followed by Hulk 152 and 153 where the Hulk goes on trial.  Not only that but both Stark and Richards come to his defense and essentially help the Hulk escape.  This of course was back when heroes stood with each other and decided to not have their actions dictated by knee jerk reactions to faux “real world” events.  But that’s not all, when you get to the very last page of this 2 part story it actually backs up Reed’s Civil War/Hulk actions, as well as provides a motive…honestly…and here I thought the idea of continuity was lost on Civil War.  Nope, maybe I should reconsider.  An excellent choice for a reprint.

Verdict: $3.99 for pure unyielding comic bliss.  You’ll be sorry if you pass up this issue.

Quick Reviews:

Fantastic Four: The End #1:  I’m just not buying it.  Marvel is 0 for 2 this week on “alternate reality” tales.  This like the other “The End” stories is out of continuity and therefore they straddle the fence in importance.  You’re not missing anything if you don’t pick them up because they’re not connected to the mainline continuity, thus they have to be really really good stories for me to bother with them…such as the “Hulk: The End” which stands as the best “The End” book to date and even though the events in it won’t come to pass it was such an excellent read that I didn’t even care.  This Fantastic Four story on the other hand is just too cliché specifically with how it handles Reed, Sue, and Ben.  On top of that it’s just plain boring and much like the dud that was “X-Men: The End” this one (as a 6 issue miniseries) is going to be stretched out way too long.

Verdict: If I bother with this story at all it’ll be as a trade much later when I’m hard up for something new to read.  Pass.

Superman Confidential #1:  Not really a bad story but I was completely under whelmed once I considered the level of talent involved here.  Darwyn Cooke, a guy who had a hand in the DCAU, won an award for New Frontier, and helped bring Catwoman back to relevancy is paired with Tim Sale probably most famous for all his great DC work with Jeph Loeb though his Marvel work is not to be overlooked either.  So two superstars coming together should make this book a huge hit…right?  Well not exactly.  Although nothing’s really wrong, the story itself is just boring and although Sale’s art is good, it just doesn’t possess the kind of shoulders needed to carry the ho-hum plot.  Also the book has more advertisements than any comic I’ve bought in recent memory.  From 3D glasses to a huge Teen Titans kid’s story stuck right in the middle.  It’s got so many advertisements that it actually makes the book difficult to read.

Verdict: Not a good start, but the possibility of a turn around makes this book one to watch.

Blue Beetle #8: Surprisingly I’ve actually enjoyed this series.  I don’t think it’s worth the death of Ted and all, but still for what it is it’s kind of fun.  This issue in particular is nice as Jaime and crew go to visit the granddaughter of the original BB Dan Garrett.  There’s not much in the way of revelations as we saw in issue 6, but the plot does advance in regards to tying the 3 Beetle’s and their stories’ together.  The art’s cartooney and fun, which is nice because the book is aimed more for the teenage audience along the same lines as Ultimate Spider-Man.

Verdict: Just shy of being a filler issue yet still there’s enough going on here to keep things fresh.  Recommended.

This week’s loser:

What If? Featuring Avengers Disassembled:  Usually I’m a fan of What Ifs, but not this one.  For $3.99 the alternate event breakdown and in particular the other half of Wanda’s disassembling just didn’t do it for me…at all.  In fact I was sort of mad about it.  Even in out of continuity stories there’s just a certain way you should treat A-List characters, which in this instance is Captain America, and the said treatment this book provides is just plain stupid not to mention that it grotesquely overreaches.  A classic example of going for shock value at the sake of story. 

Verdict: Even if it was $2.99 it would still be a rip.  Run as if your life depended on it.

The Rundown:

The Great:

Uncanny X-Men #480 – Vulcan vs. Shi’ar Imperial Guard with Brubaker at the helm. Nuff said.

She-Hulk #13 – This series’ continues to work the funny while maintaining a serious edge. Excellent.

Detective Comics #825 – For a fill-in, McGraw does a wonderful job and really shows his stuff.

The Good:

52 Week 26 – Halfway there and still a bit slow.  The addition of the Sivana family to the story this week proves to be a nice surprise.

Outsiders #42 – All around good, but not enough to be great.

Nightwing #126 – See Outsiders.

JLA #3 – The all too quick dispatch of the Reddy army really disappointed me.  Also why is the BIG 3 still picking names when the JLA is obviously being assembled without them.

The All New Atom #5 – Some good moments here and there but we’re 5 issues in and I still haven’t really taken a liking to Ryan.

The Irredeemable Ant-Man #2 – This guy really is an asshole. 

Street Fighter Legends: Sakura #3 – A solid book but at a $3.95 price point I’d like a little more story.

The Filler:

Army of Darkness #11 – All that buildup and the arc gets wrapped up in 3 pages.

X-Men: Phoenix Warsong #3 – Now I’m just confused.


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