Still in shock that I like a Hulk book this much. I wrote a little about this comic when it debuted and how I was impressed by Ewing & Bennett’s initial issue, but now that we’re six months into Marvel’s Fresh Start, I can say that this is by far my favorite thing the company is putting out.
Al Ewing really won me over to his storytelling sensibilities with The Ultimates but for some reason I thought that would be more of a one-time thing. He just seemed more attuned to that cosmic grand scale story. But Ewing proved me wrong with The Immortal Hulk.
This Hulk story reminds me of old EC horror comics. Morality tales of humans and being judged by some sort of supernatural being. They never have happy endings and always leave you with a bit of incoming dread. That’s exactly what Al Ewing and artist Joe Bennett accomplish with their first arc in The Immortal Hulk.
Ewing weaves together different morality tales with each issue and somehow moves the ongoing story of the Green Door onward. Is the Hulk an avenging devil? A gamma detective dispensing justice?
I really like Ewing’s strategy of making Banner and Hulk secondary characters in their story. You hear more about them and their impact through other characters. Everyone treats them as larger than life figures so when they make an appearance, they really pop.
Continue reading The Best of Marvel’s Fresh Start #1 – The Immortal Hulk
The Hulk has always been a character that I’ve been iffy on. While I’ve enjoyed the acclaimed runs from Peter David and Greg Pak, they never fully got me onboard with the character. The truly horrifying nature of being turned into a rage-filled monster never hit home with me with in those runs.
Enter Al Ewing. I don’t know why I’ve never seen Hulk tackled from a horror perspective. It seems like the most obvious connection in the world, and that is exactly what Ewing manages to do with his debut issue on The Immortal Hulk. The sense of looming dread that hangs over this book feels more in line with an EC Comic than a traditional Marvel book. The Hulk truly feels like a scary otherworldly force that is here to judge humankind. He’s not just a dumb big brute but rather the best authority on the evils of the everyday person.
Continue reading The Immortal Hulk #1
The first of ten one shot Generations titles hits stands this week, The Strongest by Greg Pak and Matteo Buffagni. Our all-new, all-different, totally awesome Hulk, aka Amadeus Cho, is mysteriously pulled into the middle of a desert standoff between the military arsenal of Thunderbolt Ross and the original Hulk, Dr. Bruce Banner. This could have been just about any Hulk comic from the 60’s through the 90’s, save for the porting in of a confused Amadeus. And to add to the confusion, this early incarnation of Banner/Hulk hadn’t even met Cho yet, and is distantly removed from the reality in which the young super-genius successfully removed the green monster from his original host, taking the Hulk persona upon himself.
On the surface, this could have been any annual, back-up feature, or goddam Contest of Champions issue featuring the two Hulks in their first full-rage team-up, bashing tanks and each other’s faces. Buffagni’s art is a treat, and you know he, like any other comic book artist growing up with superheroes and super-battles, relished the opportunity to illustrate this book in all its explosive Hulk Smash glory.
Continue reading Generations: The Strongest
The Justice league makeover in the aftermath of their latest mini-event continues as more B-list characters who have rarely been in the spotlight get prologue stories. DC fans may be familiar with the villain Killer Frost, having seen her go up against Firestorm and other members of the Justice League, but current JLA architect Steve Orlando and Jody Houser aim to reinvent and reintroduce Frost, as they did with Vixen.
Frost’s reinvention has stretched over several books. She first reappeared in Suicide Squad, then she became a power player when writer Joshua Williamson reevaluated Frost’s vampiric need to feed. During a pivotal moment of Justice League vs. Suicide Squad, Frost absorbs and utilizes the powers of the JLA to battle the demonic Eclipso, demonstrating the utility of her power, but also making her character more sympathetic. Frost nearly kills herself in the fight, but her willingness to sacrifice herself is part of a tidy redemption plot that carries her into the new Justice League.
Killer Frost Rebirth finds Dr. Caitlin Snow in her final days at Belle Reve before being released into Batman’s custody. Amanda Waller doesn’t want Snow released and aggressively tries to manipulate Snow into acting like Killer Frost, tempting her to suck the life out of fellow inmates, thus proving that she is unfit for release. Orlando and Houser rely on Frost’s inner monologue to move the story, but for a character that’s just undergone a reinvention, her POV helps build a connection to the character. The “prison drama” tropes, like confrontations in the yard and late-night ambushes, are handled really well, though nothing ends too unexpectedly. The writing team builds a great sense of tension when Frost is most tempted to lash out, and the prisoners she encounters are cool to look at.
Continue reading DC Rebirth – Week 36
All New Inhumans
Charles Soule & James Asmus
I’m definitely disappointed that the Inhumans are basically the new X-Men. At least the Inhumans have pretty much the same back story now, which is still compelling, but I don’t know how much I’ll attach to the characters. Crystal seems to be heading in a different direction than she’s been before, and I like Gorgon’s complicated existence, but I hope the don’t run the wheelchair thing into the ground. Hopefully that Xavier comment punctuates it and he can have stories where people aren’t constantly pointing out that he’s semi-paralyzed. It’s a pretty-looking book; the elemental stuff in the riot scene is particularly cool. I will read more to see if the new direction these characters are going is as endearing as the X-books. – RF
First collection: All New Inhumans, Vol. 1: Global Outreach (May)
Gerry Duggan & Mike Hawthorne
I haven’t read much Deadpool; he always seemed very gimmicky, but I really enjoyed this book. It does seem weird that in order for current super heroes to be successful, they have to embrace capitalism and some form of bureaucracy, making them somewhat less super. But the concept of using Deadpool – a powered, ultraviolent gunman – to finance super-heroic operations is tasty irony. I’m a sucker for a good mystery plot, so I’ll definitely finish this first arc. – RF
First collection: Deadpool, Vol. 1: Millionaire with a Mouth (May)
Continue reading Ranking the All New All Different Marvel: 40 – 31
This is the biggest week yet in Marvel’s relaunch initiative. Seven premieres, combined with the same number of continuing books, account for fourteen four-color forays into the All-New, All-Different universe.
Among the new series making their debut in week nine: Dan Abnett returns to the cosmic team book he helped make famous with Guardians of Infinity; Frank Cho is illustrating the hell out of a legitimately new and different Hulk (who also goes by Cho, as a matter of fact) in Totally Awesome Hulk; and Charles Soule and Ron Garney bring Daredevil back to the grim and gritty world of Hell’s Kitchen while also bringing Matt Murdock back to the bench, this time as a prosecutor.
All New All Different premieres
All New Inhumans #1
All New X-Men #1
Guardians of Infinity #1
Red Wolf #1
Totally Awesome Hulk #1
Continuing and related titles
All New All Different Avengers #2
Doctor Strange #3
Extraordinary X-Men #3
Howard the Duck #2
Invincible Iron Man #4
Continue reading All New All Different Marvel – Week 9