Battles, Hiei Battles, Hulk Battles

Hiei vs Hulk

Suggested by Random This is a slam dunk win for Hiei. The Hulk is incredibly strong and his durability should not be questioned either. However, he is not very fast while Hiei is known for his high levels of speed. His sword can absolutely pierce through the Hulk and his Dragon of Darkness Flame attack would deal a lot of damage as well. The Hulk’s regenerative abilities will prolong the fight to an extent, but it will only buy him some time. The Hulk still has no way of injuring Hiei and that will present him with a fatal problem. Hiei wins.

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Alpha Flight Classic Volume 3 Review

It’s been quite a while since I reviewed a comic hasn’t it? I admittedly read this a very long time ago at this point, but better late than never. The Alpha Flight has always been a fairly obscure team in the grand scheme of things and I can see why. I like just about all of Marvel’s retro comics and this one’s no exception, but it’s not exactly a page turner either. You’ll read through the adventures, but at the end of the day, a story about just about any other character would be more interesting. The team needs to either make the characters cooler or they should just add some new members. Either method would help to improve the comic series I’d say.

There are quite a few plot points here. One of them I had actually seen already. Due to the Hulk getting everyone mad at him once again, Dr. Strange banished him to the Crossroads. He was not thrilled, but at least he can’t hurt anyone there. Unfortunately, Box (Member of Alpha Flight) decided to help Sasquatch since he needed a new body but the probe brought back the Hulk, which lead to a devastating battle against the beast. As always, Hulk basically humiliated Alpha Flight, but I’ll give them some props for the effort. They gave it their all after all.

One of the big arcs is the one from the cover. The interesting part is that the cover spoils the big twist about the Guardian not really being the genuine article. Even I thought that he may have been real for a few seconds despite that, but it’s still odd. That was the best arc of the collection for sure. Omega Flight are the main villains and you can tell that there’s a lot of history between them and Alpha Flight. Their members seem fairly interesting as far as there abilities are concerned. I can’t say the same for their personalities, but that’s another story altogether. These guys were out of their depths, but they gave Alpha Flight a good fight and spiced up the collection a little. I’m always ready for a villain group that can be a nice counterpart to the heroes. Just look at the Crime Syndicate of America, even if Forever Evil really dropped the ball on this one by not letting the JLA fight them. Come on, the whole point of a group like that one is to watch Ultraman get to fight Superman. You’re throwing away easy money by not having that fight on screen!

Let’s talk about the characters. For the most part, each one gets a plot during this adventure, but most of them aren’t really interesting and don’t add much to the experience. Shaman is the wise member of the group whose mystical abilities let him get the team out of a hard spot once in a while. That being said, he loses his motivation after Talisman calls him out for tricking her into being a hero and who can blame her? There’s little reason to feel sympathy for Shaman and he’s under the weather for almost the whole collection. He’s just not a good character and if it wasn’t for the Beyonder, Talisman would be dead. Talisman got thrown into her Alpha Flight life and wasn’t prepared the way that the others were. She probably could have handled the whole thing a little better so lets not sugercoat things here, but she’s not a bad character. She can be a bit hard on Shaman, but he did permanently change her life and involved her in a game where the stakes are lethal, the superhero game. There’s little time for her to become a truly interesting character.

Puck is probably my least favorite member of the group and that’s saying something. It seems like he’s always looking for romance or at least pretending too as one scene hints that it’s all just an act. Either way, it’s an act that won’t help his character arc and his abilities are basically pointless in a fight so this guy needs an upgrade and fast. Heather is the new leader of the Alpha Flight since Guardian is gone, but I can’t say that she does a great job of it. She panics when Guardian appears out of nowhere and faints during a crucial moment which allows Omega Flight to fully infiltrate the base. The other members don’t respect her authority so she needs tyo find a way to get them in line. One problem with this is the fact that she has no powers and isn’t exactly at Batman’s level of hand to hand combat. I feel like the leader of a team has to at least be decently strong so maybe she really isn’t cut out for the job. At the very least, she needs to get over the Guardian’s passing and get a grip on the situation before it’s too late. Box can’t walk so he has to rely on a robot suit, which is definitely a rough deal. I’ll give him credit for never complaining about it and accepting the risks when in combat. If his robot body were to break, there’s a good chance that his psyche would as well so entering every battle can be dangerous.

Snowbird finally became a super powerful figure in these issues, which was interesting. Unfortunately, it also came at the expense of her personality as she became a little more distant and cold towards the other members. It’s hard for them to team up anymore because it’s hard to even trust Snowbird. Her new abilities are useful though and now she can attain the strength of the creatures that she turns into. She would really help the team now, but she quit right away so that she could learn what it means to be human. It’ll be interesting to see if this helps her to act more like her old self or if the new personality is here to stay. I’m fine with a distant Snowbird, but she may become a villain if she’s not careful.

Sasquatch gets a subplot with Aurora, but it doesn’t do anything for either of them. Sasquatch seems decently reasonable, but he should realize that Aurora barely cares about him as she’s always flirting with everyone else and really seems to have no class. Sasquatch can be a little mopey at times, but he’s not a bad member. I just feel like he made the wrong choice here. Aurora has a split personality so she’s almost like two characters. The problem is that none of them are likable. We have the really independent and free persona who is really terrible and then there’s the super timid form who can’t make any decision on her own. Both of them are annoying in their own right and she can’t really fight all that well. Her powers actually stop when she makes contact with Northstar due to an “upgrade” that she got so fighting solo is her only option now.

Northstar is portrayed as the rebel of the group. He quit the Alpha Flight and hasn’t looked back since. He likes his new status, but the Alpha Flight find him anyway and basically force him into some new battles. Aurora even calls him out for a crime that he committed over a decade ago. He really can’t get any peace. Northstar can be over the top sometimes, but I definitely have to say that he’s a lot more likable than the other Flight Members. She’s not a part of the group, but I have to give a shoutout to Pink Pearl. She has no super powers except for the fact that she is massive so she has the physical power of someone like the Blob. It’s hilarious to see her beat down the Alpha Flight. Just when I thought that the team couldn’t call any further…they ended up surprising me!

The art was solid. It had the retro feel that Marvel’s comics all had at the time. The fights are all easy to read and the character designs are spot on. You can always count on Marvel to deliver in this area and while the Alpha Flight stories may not have been the greatest, the art was still quite good. It’s a fairly short collection although not too short to the point where it’ll feel like half of one. There are a decent amount of comic and it makes for a more complete read when put next to the usual 4 issues.

Overall, This is a good comic book. It’s just not much better than good though and you could do better with just about any other title from back in the day. If you want a break from all of the super popular heroes though, then this is a nice change of pace. It still references those other teams, but it stays as a self contained collection for the most part. I wonder if these guys will ever get a film. Considering that so many heroes have gotten a title by now, I wouldn’t be totally surprised. Either way, you can expect my next comic review to be about a comic that’s a little more impressive!

Overall 6/10

Battles, Hulk Battles, King Cold Battles

King Cold vs Hulk

The Hulk is certainly one of the strongest comic book characters out there in terms of physical strength, but I don’t think he really has what it takes to defeat King Cold. King Cold has a nice flurry of energy blasts and luckily he has the video games to back him up as well. Without those, the fact that he didn’t get to do anything would have probably resulted in Hulk’s victory by default, but the games have shown what he can do and mix that in with his power level…the Hulk would be doomed. After all, I think Frieza in his first form could beat Hulk. King Cold wins.

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Avengers Battle For Earth Review

I’ve wanted to get this Avengers game for years. Ever since it first came out, the game has looked like a blast and a half. Alas, it just never quite made the cut when I was looking to buy games for Christmas or my Birthday. Well, the wait is over and the game has certainly lived up to my expectations. It’s great even if you can tell that it’s not exactly a AAA title of technical mastery. A sequel would have definitely been a blast.

The plot of the game is based on the Secret Invasion arc from the comics. Skrulls have taken over the planet through deception and the heroes have to weed the fakes out from among the real heroes. The best way to do that is to beat them all up and that’s exactly what the heroes do. Some villains even decide to join in by the end like Magneto, Loki, Venom, and Dr Doom. Together, these guys can’t lose to the Skrulls right!?

The main campaign for the game is fairly short. There are 40 battles and each battle is a best of 3. Each individual round can sometimes only take about 10-20 seconds while the later battle are harder. This is one of the only games that you can play and complete for the most part with your eyes closed. With the exception of the final level in each of the 5 areas (5 Areas with 8 levels each) all of the battles can be won by simply flicking the nunchuck’s control stick up. Do that and you’re guaranteed to win just about every fight. It’s probably one of the easiest games of all time.

You can take a snooze while playing if you really want too. Granted, you can also use the Gamepad for similar results. Surprisingly, I found that the Wii Remote is much more effective in this game. Using special attacks is much quicker with that setup, which gives you a noticeable advantage in battle. For the remotes, you just have to flail around. For the gamepad, you have to draw the correct shape to use the attack. It’ll work out if you just main 2 characters and memorize the shapes, but if you’re playing around with a bunch of characters, you’ll be at a noticeable disadvantage. Such is the fate of Gamepad users this time around although I’ll admit that it may feel like more of an actual fighting game since you can just keep on swinging to victory with the Wii Remote.

The main reason why I used the Wii Remote in the first place was that using the Gamepad meant that you could only see the cutscenes on it. A work around is using the Wii Remote to shift the camera angle, but then you have to do that for every fight, which can get quite tedious. It’s an odd feature and one of the main hints that this isn’t your big budget 60$ Avengers game.

If fans were mad that Super Smash Bros had a few clone characters, they would be furious at this game. All of the characters are essentially clones. Sure, there are some cosmetic changes to the attacks, but every fighter basically has the same 5 moves along with a final smash. Some look better than others, but aside from the gestures being different (Or in different areas anyway as it cycles from around 5) you’re basically playing the same character the entire time. Hey, I said that it was fun, not that it was high budget!

The graphics are decently good, although this is where I may disagree with some of the reviews. The character models aren’t incredibly detailed and can come across as a little “free to play.” Certainly not what you’d consider Next Gen, but a lot of the attacks are very flashy and the character designs are all on point. The opening movie was a blast even if the graphics would not wow someone. The fights were neat to see and the animation certainly isn’t bad. It’s not great, but it works for me and I was satisfied with what I saw. Once again, I have to point out that all of the energy attacks look great.

The game also has an epic feeling to it. The story mode is actually really engaging. It’s a shame that there are only 11 big cutscenes in the whole game as the other levels just get a quick line of dialogue. Still, the cutscenes that we do get really show the importance of why comic panels can be good if used right and not as rather uninspired pages like in Mario Galaxy 2. The game’s ending also leads up to Siege/Dark Reign, which would have made for a very enjoyable sequel. Obviously, this game did not succeed nearly enough to warrant a sequel, but boy would I have enjoyed one!

The soundtrack’s a little forgettable, although it wasn’t bad. Mostly the themes are the kinds of music that you would expect from a game that doesn’t want to spend a lot in that area. Luckily, the presentation before the fights is always good as each character has a quick introduction and the 2 vs 2 format works well. It pops out at you and the matches feel really official. I wouldn’t mind Super Smash Bros taking a cue from that and having a similar introduction for 2 on 2 battles someday. It could be optional of course so it wouldn’t always slow a match down.

I can’t say that there is a whole lot of replay value though. You can finish Story Mode in under 2 hours and probably much quicker than that if you’re good at spamming the nunchuk control stick. Once you’ve beaten the game, you can play Arcade Mode, Challenges, or Trials to unlock costumes and character panels to use as your avatar. The unfortunate part is that there is a lot of on disc DLC like Street Fighter X Tekken. Some of these things you have to buy on the E Shop and others are related to UPlay. I’m not sure if UPlay is even up and running anymore, but either way it’s always unfortunate. I’m cool with DLC, but don’t clutter the mission select with it. As a result, my Game Completion% looks a lot smaller than it should because the DLC is actually counted. Boooo. There’s really no reason to play the game again unless you want to have a good multiplayer match.

Naturally, that’s the big hook of the game. The multiplayer is a lot of fun and even if it is a total button masher, it’s the kind of fighting game that is easy to play and you can have a lot of rounds in it without getting bored. It’s like a discount version of Marvel vs Capcom 3. Certainly not as good as that game when it comes to gameplay, replay value, graphics, or soundtrack, but it’s good for Wii U fans who want a piece of the action. The character roster is also quite good with non Avengers like Dr. Doom, Venom, Spider Man, and the Phoenix. It may just be me, but I feel like Phoenix is the strongest fighter in the game, although Black Widow has the best charge attack. You can easily defeat a foe just by spamming her slide attack. It’s quick and packs a punch.

Overall, Battle For Earth is a game that’s worth your investment. The price isn’t all that high nowadays anyway and you’ll be surprised at how well done the gameplay is. Considering that the game must have had a limited budget, it’s actually very exciting. There’s voice acting for all of the characters, the avatar pictures are cool, and the character roster is solid. Not to mention that the opening scene was a blast as well. The whole game had an epic feel to it, yet you can still tell that a higher budget would have improved the game immensely. I can only imagine how much fun a sequel would have been. Naturally, this game is best if you have someone to play it with you, but if not there’s still enough here to satisfy you with the single player experience.

Overall 8/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Lego Marvel Super Heroes: Avengers Reassembled Review

I always try to grab a poster or a picture that has the title in some form, but that wasn’t really possible this time. (*Possible = Quick Google Search) The image that I did grab was still pretty neat though. The Lego craze continues and it’s a fad that I much prefer to the stop motion from back in the day so I’m cool with it. Lego films don’t have the highest amount of replay value out there and they tend to reuse jokes after a while, but they’re always fun the first time around and this one was handled well. Lego’s leave little room for hype moments, but that’s not the point of Legos anyway. This ended up being a solid Lego adventure and one of Marvel’s better ones. (Wait a sec, how many Marvel Lego adventures are there anyway?….)

The Avengers were getting ready for a nice party when Iron Man’s suit is hacked by Ultron! Locked into his suit, Tony can only watch as Ultron tries to humiliate the Avengers by messing up their party. The Avengers will have to think quickly if they want to win this round. Ultron’s army of droids are not going to be easy to defeat and the Avengers are forced to call in a little help to deal with the menace. The Avengers roster has been strengthened with the addition of Vision, but the twins are nowhere to be found. Perhaps for the next special although Scarlet Witch may be the only one to join due to Quicksilver’s ending.

I have to say that Captain America definitely stole the show here. He made a lot of good puns about Ant Man throughout the film. The other characters would always grimace and wince, but that just made it all the better when Captain America would continue. He was unfazed by the reactions of his partners and rightfully so. When others doubt your puns, that doesn’t mean that they are bad. I thought that they were quite clever and he was easily the best character in the entire film. He did a good job during the fights as well.

This short is a comedy first and foremost of course even though there are some quick action scenes. The fights are enjoyable and there are a lot of homages to the actual film. This was to be expected of course and it’s always interesting to see how closely the Legos can emulate the style of the original film. Hawkeye’s costume is barely trying to emulate the film style though as it really stands out with all of the red coloring. It’s hard to totally see what the film was going for, but I actually did like the style though.

We even get some guest stars to show that this is in the same continuity as the Ultimate Spider Man show. Spiderman and Iron Spider arrive to turn the tides and let the heroes know what is going on. They’re left behind so the role is definitely a very small one, but it’s always nice to have a cameo from our favorite wall crawling superhero! There’s not a whole lot more to say about the characters. They’re all in character and slightly more comedycized (New word now folks!) like in Teen Titans Go, but not over the top to the point where the characters would not be likable.

I’m definitely ready for a DC vs Marvel Lego adventure at this point. The possibilities would be endless and I could finally have Batman and Superman defeat their Marvel counterparts. I could almost see Iron Man being the one to fight Batman since the MCU has made him really popular, but either way, DC should take the fight. They’ve always been portrayed as the stronger verse in my eyes and seeing them get some credit would be fun. Even if it’s just a comedy adventure, I could see both sides getting some decent Lego fights in there and the format would also mean that Superman wouldn’t need to hold back! If he broke his opponent, it would just be accompanied by a pun after all.

If I have a complaint for this adventure, it’s just the same complaint that I have with basically all Lego films. A lot of the jokes you’ll see a few miles away and they tend to not actually be that funny. I typically won’t laugh at any of the jokes, but I tend to not laugh at most jokes so it’s not saying much. It’s fairly enjoyable, but I’m still not a fan of Lego animation either and it does prevent the specials from having any real fight scenes. Again, it’s more a complaint for the format than anything and watching this is still a nice way to spend 20 minutes.

Overall, The special is pretty fun. It makes for a fun little watch and that’s why there’s not much to say about it. To an extent, it’s like reviewing an episode, which is why I don’t do that. It would be hard to elaborate an awful lot about it and even then, the average episode has more content to be discussed than a Lego film since the Lego adventure is just a quick battle without the extra layers of characters and plot. It works well for what it is and I still say that this is a fairly solid Lego adventure. It inflates the Marvel animation count and that’s what counts in the end. I recommend checking this out and you can watch it while cooking lunch instead of having a conventional timer.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher Review

It’s good to see the Marvel anime once more. For the most part, this project was a great success. The Iron Man anime was a lot of fun, Wolverine had some of the best Marvel action scenes and themes out there, and Blade was a fun mix of both. It wasn’t as fun and Vampires are pretty bleh, but it was still decent and much better than the average Blade product should be. X-Men dropped the ball for me, but I still don’t think I’d call it bad. A little dull…maybe a little boring, but it wasn’t bad. Avengers Confidential manages to get up to Wolverine levels of epicness and it’s a superb film. Automatically one of Marvel’s best!

SHIELD captures Punisher and they explain that his vigilante practices cannot be tolerated at the moment. He just messed up an infiltration mission that had been months in the making and now SHIELD is no closer to finding out who the mastermind of this new terrorist organization is. Punisher brings up the valid point of how SHIELD was just standing aside and watching as many innocent civilians were being massacred so he made the call. SHIELD doesn’t have a good answer for this so they run off and so does Punisher. Punisher leads Black Widow to the villain hideout as part of the deal and then he leaves to get his job done. He wants to destroy the main villain. (You may not know this, but the Punisher never takes prisoners)

Punisher’s the main character and his plot is the most interesting in the film. He openly goes around destroying everyone who gets in his way. Essentially, he believes that dirtying his hands to get rid of the criminals that infest the world is a good deal so he goes ahead and does it. You couldn’t call Punisher a hero, but at least he does try to protect the innocents and only fatally injures villains. He’s a great main character and he may be more likable than the other anime leads. Only Wolverine would be close. Punisher has been around the block a few times and you can see his experience. He may not have a fancy spynetwork backing him up, but Punisher still knows what’s happening on his streets.

He has a good amount of super strength and speed like Captain America so Punisher can always hold his own in a fight. There’s never a doubt as to who will win when Punisher is in the battle. His character was handled well and when written correctly, Punisher is definitely one of the most likable Marvel characters on the block. We’ve got another super soldier here as well in the form of Black Widow.

She’s nearly as strong as the Punisher and probably a little quicker. I’d say that the Punisher has the edge in their bouts, but Black Widow always makes it a close contest. The action scenes in this film are great, but I’ll get into that in a second. The one off putting thing about Black Widow is the voice used in this film. I could probably get used to it if we had a lot of sequels to look forward too, but it’s not the case. The voice isn’t bad, it just doesn’t sound like Black Widow. Maybe it’s a little too happy go lucky for her. It doesn’t negatively impact the actual portrayal of the character though.

It’s good to see her show some free will as she disobeys Shield. Voice aside, this is easily one of Black Widow’s best portrayals in animation. She’s a character who can easily be misunderstood and poorly written by the writers, but at her core Black Widow is a powerful assassin who has a lot of experience in the spy game. I still do not care for her portrayal in the MCU and the Civil War trailer basically confirms that this will not change, but if the writers could pick up on her attitude from this film a little more that would change. Granted, I could do without the flirting with Amadeus, but besides that Widow is basically on point. We also have to ignore the sideplot with Elihas. Wait a second…was this actually a good portrayal…..

Well, for the most part it is. Clearly the character is still not perfect, but I still do like the fact that she disobeys Fury quite a few times as the film goes on. That’s something that her live action persona would have a tough time doing. Widow treats everything like a game and never actually gets serious, which is fitting for an assassin since she is involved with death just about every day. Trying to stop Punisher towards the beginning of the film from leaving for his own goals was pretty much futile, but at least it gave us an extra fight or two.
Nick Fury’s pretty iffy the whole time. He is about as corrupt here as you’ll ever see him and the end game is the only thing that he cares about. Fury didn’t even realize that his own agent had switched sides so I think he probably needs to lower the tough guy act a little. It’s definitely not working on anyone if you ask me and the Punisher nearly took him down when they first met. Nick’s basically a normal guy surrounded by superhuman fighters. He’s really stretching his luck every time he comes off as antagonistic.

One annoying character in the film was Amadeus. He’s the generic kid genius who’s basically a hassle and can’t back up his tough talk. His first scene in the film is him just opening up a villain’s program without debugging it. Sure enough, the program was a virus and you wonder why this kid is supposed to be some kind of genius. Black Widow’s always teasing him as evidenced by their conversations and Amadeus uses this as his inspiration to help the team, but it’s a sideplot that got old the second it was mentioned and the guy’s a terrible character.

There was one other subplot, which was terrible and that was actually Black Widow’s. Back in the day, she actually got attached to a Rando (Name for any random original character. It’s actually a pretty neat slang word. I don’t approve of most, but this one’s all right) but the guy figured that he wasn’t worthy so he joined Hydra and decided to destroy as many people as possible. Not directly though, this guy doesn’t get his hands dirty. He did get super powers through his vaccine though so now he can actually give Punisher and Black Widow a good fight. Unfortunately, he never goes up against the Punisher, which was a mixed opportunity, but it was good that Widow got to fight her own battles I suppose.

His name is actually Elihas is you’re curious. I decided to look him up and it turns out that this guy is Egghead. Hahahahahahahahaha! That fits perfectly if you ask me and the guy sure gained some weight after this anime adventure. He’s a great fighter so it’s a shame that the character was no good. He even seemed to be better than Black Widow as she mostly held her own through cheap shots and appeal to emotion arguments. The whole thing was Elihas’ fault, but you still had to wonder why he fell for the same cheap shot over and over and over again.

Orion was the big boss, the head honcho, the big cheese of the film. He only got to appear for a few minutes, but he’s decently tough. What he lacks in athletics, Orion makes up for in pure power. His energy blasts were cool to look at and I liked the armor. He made for a fun final boss although the action fight scene wasn’t quite as fun as the others since he couldn’t hope to keep up in terms of speed.

Ignore the cover of this movie, the animation is actually quite good. If the movie looked like the cover then that would have very significantly hurt this film and I probably would have dropped two stars. The animation would start a ripple effect that would hurt several other areas as the characters would not have been quite as cool. Yes, you heard correctly, animation has the power to actually affect the characters on a personality level. Luckily, the animation is stunning and the fight scenes are great.

These action scenes don’t try to tone down the character’s abilities for the general audience so we are treated with some high speed hand to hand rumbles. They are much better than any action scene that we’ve seen in a Marvel film to date. Yes, this is the single best Marvel film when it comes down to the fight scenes. I just wish that the film could have been longer so we could have had some more action, but it was at a decent length anyway.

This film’s pretty intense and also has a dark color scheme, but the film pulls it off quite nicely, which is a thumbs up for the writing. If the film’s writing was sub par, then there would be a lot of language, gratuitous blood spilling after every shot, and the film would have basically been indistinguishable from the average film that DC animation has been churning out. Luckily, that was not the case. I’m not saying that the film is completely tame as some necks are still broken and people are shot left and right, but the film never dwells on the violence. It never pauses to remind us how dark and depressing the environment is. The film is very fast paced so despite all this, it tends to actually be a pretty uplifting film that keeps you energized. Fun is still the name of the game after all and this film knew how to achieve the perfect balance. It’ll remind you why the Punisher is no hero, but at least you can still root for him as the lesser of two evils. The film could have easily made him go too far and then we’d have nobody to root for. (Black Widow I suppose, but the sub plots…nooooo)

That goes to why I found the Avengers to be a bit of a disappointment though. I wasn’t expecting them to do much, but it felt like they were just added for the kicks. They get the worst fight scenes in the entire film and the drop in animation quality is noticeable. Suddenly we have a lot of random CGI and compared to the smooth hand to hand fights, you’ll probably be wincing at this point. The designs for the Avengers also aren’t that good to be honest. I’m glad that the Hulk is immune to telepathy once again as that varies from movie to movie, but these guys didn’t need to be around. It’s retro to see anime Iron Man return, but please…lose the CGI. As it stands, the Avengers tried to steal the thunder from Punisher, but failed to do so.

The thing is, the scene had a lot of potential initially. When we see the beams of light descending down upon the villains, I was ready for an epic opener. Instead…it was the odd blend of CGI and hand drawn with vibrant colors that were not streamlined at all. Whatever the film was going for, it just didn’t work out for me and I’ll have to settle for a “better luck next time.” We do have the Toei Avengers show coming up though. I haven’t seen it yet, but the Dub version should be out someday.

I’m also giving the film 5 stars for the soundtrack. It was fast paced from start to finish and just about every theme was suitable for battle. If someone ever tells you that a film can’t have a great soundtrack if it’s just filled with mindless battle music over and over again, just show them this film. It suits every fight scene since the action is always fast and I was loving it. Easily the best Marvel animation in that regard, even taking out the Wolverine anime. (That still has an incredible theme song though)
Overall, This product lived up to expectations as you can clearly see in the review. It was pure hype and downright awesome. The villains were basically original characters for the film, but they served their purpose as powerful villains. The established villains were the ones who could have used some work. I’m tempted to give this a 9, buuuuuuut the romance and the annoying kid keep me from giving it that score so it teccccccchnically loses to Ultimate Avengers. These are technicalities though and odds are that I’ll still be referring to this film as the best Marvel animated feature. Think of it as a recommendation that surpasses the actual quality of the product. The two weaknesses bring the film down just enough to lose the official star, but the film is so enjoyable otherwise that I can easily recommend it to anyone. It’s a shame that the Marvel anime features are now over, but maybe someday someone will bring it back. Until then…….back to Avengers Assemble and Ultimate Spider Man!

Overall 8/10

6 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. Review

After reviewing the legendary Batman and Superman shows, it’s time to look at something that’s on a lower level. The Hulk show is essentially in the current Marvel show continuity, which means that you can expect a whole lot of comedy with a touch of action at some points. It doesn’t work as well as Ultimate Spiderman or Avengers Assemble, likely because the characters aren’t as interesting. It’s not a bad show and still looks good when placed next to Pac Man, but I can’t really say much for it. Ah well, it made for some good times.

The show ran for 2 seasons and actually had a bit of a long running plot. Rick Jones was turned into A-Bomb due to gamma exposure and one thing led to another so he became the Hulk’s teammate alongside Red Hulk and She Hulk. He decided to start a webshow which would prove that the Hulks are actually heroes. A mysterious being known as Skaar appears and is defeated by the heroes so he joins the team. The 4 of them stop many local threats, but there is typically a mastermind in the shadows. His name is the Leader and I hope you like him since the guy will be a major recurring villain throughout the entire series. The heroes humiliate him in every way possible, but he never stands down so you’ve gotta like his determination. Another plot that comes back a lot is the Kree as Ronan is always trying to get revenge against the Hulk and even the Avengers have to step in at one point.

Depending on how much you buy the whole quantity vs quality, you’ll like the fact that the Hulk show has a lot of guest stars. Some of them actually look good too so that’s definitely a nice plus. They certainly help to spice the show up and provide us with a little variety. Without the guest stars, the Hulk show would likely not be nearly as interesting. As with the Superman and Batman show reviews, let’s take a look at some of the good and bad episodes here.

I’d say that the opening two parter was good as we got to see Hulk fight Skaar and there was certainly a lot of action. Another good episode was when the Hulk’s personality switched so that he became an intellectual who didn’t fight except as a last resort. We got to see the Hulk think his way out of his problems, which was a nice twist and blew the Leader’s plan away. A few of the other nice episodes which didn’t involve guest stars included a challenge by the Titan Xemnu, as he fought all of the Hulks. His physical power was incredible and the fight was actually quite good. Likewise, I liked a roller skating episode that came shortly afterwards as the heroes got to test their skills.

Most of the episodes with guest stars were naturally a lot of fun. One of the highlights was when Ghost Rider appeared to drag Red Hulk to Hell. It was an intense episode and Ghost Rider was definitely given his due respect. He looked very powerful as he should and was no nonsense. The Avengers get to help out in the final two part episode against the Kree. The episodes were a little light on actual action scenes, but it’s always nice to see the Avengers show up and remind us that continuity can be real. It’s like jumping into the Avengers Assemble show.
The Guardians of the Galaxy also showed up a few times and it’s always nice to see them. They even got to be in a Christmas episode and there aren’t too many shows which let Christmas appear anymore so that was neat. I think all shows should have a Christmas episode at some point. Dr. Strange helped out against Dormammu and his Mindless ones. Those Mindless ones would eventually appear in Avengers Assemble and Ultimate Spiderman so they definitely get around. Even the Silver Surfer showed up in one episode to fight off some nightmares. His voice was admittedly very anticlimactic and not one that I would have chosen for the character. Still, I always liked the Surfer so seeing him back in animation again was certainly cool. Spider Man was also around a few times and he even got to take on Venom in one of the episodes. It was definitely neat to see the Wall Crawler show up and he always makes for one of the best guest stars with his epic quips and constant readyness to show up the Hulks.

Deathlok and the Inhumans also appear in the series. Things get a little dicey for Black Bolt and his friends as they get trapped within a dome, but the Hulks are always ready to help out. The fight with Deathlok was also fun and his guns sure pack a punch. That fight should realistically be a cakewalk for the Hulk, but we’ll just say that he was holding back. The Thing helps out in one episode although his rivalry with the Hulk doesn’t quite work as well when the Hulk is in full control like he is here. It’s just there, but it doesn’t feel as natural. Aside from being on the Avengers, Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man all get episodes in the series. Iron Man probably has the best role as he mostly sticks in character although his defenses shouldn’t be able to be hacked so easily. Captain America gives up on hope with his episode very quickly, which was more than a little iffy.

The worst would tragically have to be Thor. In one episode, the Leader becomes the All Father so Thor and Loki decide to serve him regardless of how evil he is. Apparently, they must follow whoever is on the throne as if they were from the Shiar. That’s completely out of character for Thor and it was just odd. The writers clearly didn’t know what to do there.

One of the episodes that definitely wasn’t very good was when the Hulk decided to live underground because the mole people were his true friends. It was pretty hilarious to see how easily Hulk was willing to ditch the surface dwellers, but it still didn’t make any sense and any episode with the Mole Man will typically get a thumbs down from me. Mission Impossible Man was another miss episode. I definitely don’t care for the Impossible Man as a character and this certainly did not increase his chances of being a likable character. We also can’t forget the Planet Hulk two part saga as Ego The Living Planet is involved in a huge twist, which was not a good one. There was also more crude humor than usual to be found there.

I’d say that most of the Hulk episodes were decent. The only bad ones were really the episodes that overdid it with the humor. That just happened to a lot of season 1 episodes as they would sound good on paper and then get a little gross while watching. Season 2 improved on this, they never became perfect, but you could actually go through some episodes without major crude humor attacks. That was a start, but the series never got to see if it could really go on a role.

Time to talk about the characters. Hulk is the lead and he’s definitely very heroic. You wouldn’t know it at first glance, but he really cares about everyone’s safety. Hulk’s a very selfless hero and also quite intelligent as this incarnation seems to have Bruce’s smarts along with his typical strength. He rarely ever enters into a rage and is always portrayed as the most capable hero while also being the strongest. Hulk’s essentially the perfect lead. He may make a mistake once in a while, but Hulk always gets the job done, even when the other heroes don’t believe in him.
She Hulk doesn’t like the cold, but aside from that she is always one of the more reasonable characters in the show. She has a very inconsistent rivalry with Red Hulk that shows up once in a while. She Hulk may not be as strong as the Hulk, but she helps to remind him not to lose control at certain points and she always has a witty remark at the ready. Red Hulk is essentially a one dimensional version of Vegeta who tries to act as tough as the Hulk even when he knows that the Hulk is actually the stronger, smarter fighter. He is always upstaged, but he continues to talk tough in every episode so I suppose that he deserves some props for that…I guess.

A Bomb is the comedy member of the group so he’s always thinking of some quick lines to remind everyone why he’s so tech savvy. He can turn invisible, which is a great trick, but this is Rick so he doesn’t use it as well as he should. He’s a fairly likable member of the group, although I prefer Red Hulk and She Hulk. The worst member of the team is easily Skaar. Skaar is basically here for the crude humor jokes and they can get quite disgusting at times. It’s best to just forget about him as he never contributes to the show and just brings it lower and lower.

As for the villains, the Leader is certainly the main one in the show. The Hulks won’t rest until they’ve thoroughly humiliated him in every sense of the word over and over again. They force him to plunge their toilets and work at a fast food joint among other things. The Leader puts up with it because he wants to be ruler of the world someday, but it is pretty embarrassing for his fans. His plan with Skaar was also poorly thought out to the point where you will wonder what the point of it is. His whole “Query..etc etc, Answer, etc etc” gimmick was pretty neat though. This is mainly just because the Leader’s voice was spot on. He sounds bored with every line that he utters and while the other villains also push him around, the Leader never loses his confidence.

As for the Abomination, he’s essentially a stronger version of the Leader. He doesn’t get quite as many good lines, but he almost takes down the team a few different times and he even took over the base at one point. Abomination can be a little generic, but he was certainly given more credit here than in Avengers EMH so that’s a good thing. He’s finally almost on Hulk’s level in strength like he’s supposed to be. He even took over a town, which was very…interesting to say the least.

Normally, I like to talk about how good the animation is, but I can’t really say that this time. Whoever draws the character does not know how to draw teeth, as they are simply too big and stand out way too much. Think of the classic shows like Justice League, Spectacular Spider Man, or the old Transformers show. Do you remember the teeth? Naturally, the characters had teeth and smiled sometimes, but you didn’t notice a giant pair of teeth every time they talked. That’s what happened in the Hulk show and it can be quite distracting. The fight scenes can be decent when they happen though and the character designs are good. It’s similar to how Accel World’s animation was terrific, except for the human characters. As with this show, it’s a big enough negative that you have to take a double take. I’m going to give the Hulk show a bit of a thumbs down here, but it has its moments.

As for the soundtrack, you’ll probably forget it right away. This isn’t the kind of show where you will typically remember the music. That being said, I do remember Red Hulk’s theme because it plays whenever he fights or has a meaningful scene. It’s essentially a generic “tough guy” theme, but that doesn’t stop it from being decently good. At least it was memorable and maybe that’s all I could have asked from it. The show did need a theme song though. I don’t see why everyone is ditching the theme songs nowadays. They were classic and theme songs help to take a show to the next level!

One unintentionally humorous thing from the show was that the very first episode had a plot hole. It ended with Rick being taken to the base to heal, but in the second episode, Hulk never actually made it to the base. Whoops…heh heh. It’s something that you would expect from the Hulk show, but at the same time, you didn’t expect it to happen so soon. It had a retro vibe to it I suppose, but it’s something that you’d think the writers would have noticed. Especially since it aired as a two part event.

While the Ultimate Spiderman show has the gimmick of Spiderman constantly breaking the third wall and stopping time, Hulk goes for a more practical option. At the end of every episode, he’ll sit down in front of the camera and explain that episode’s moral in case you missed it. The messages are more inspirational and heartwarming than My Little Pony Friendship is Magic. Now, that’s a little bold to say as My Little Pony has some of the best messages out there, but Hulk teaches you about caring for your family and teammates, ignoring any bad qualities they may have and focusing on the good, how problems shouldn’t always be solved by violence, trusting in your teammates, and dozens of other great morals. It’s never handled very subtlety, but sometimes that’s a good thing. Being able to talk about these things with a straight face is a good thing and the Hulk show is great for impressionable kids you are watching the show.

One of the things that really bogged the Hulk show down was the unfortunate crude humor and the uninspired dialogue. While the crude jokes are not as frequent as Pac Man (That would almost literally be impossible) they can definitely get pretty dicey at times with a lot of sneezing and potty jokes. They force the Leader to live in the bathroom for a while and the toilet is clogged so he has to try and unclog it. It gets preeeetty dicey for him to say the least. If there is a crude humor joke to be thought of, it’ll be in the show and it certainly gets old. The obvious puns and gags from A Bomb and the others can be good as long as they stick away from that area. Ah well, I guess the show didn’t want its solid seven.

Without that, the show would have been decent. It would have been similar to shows like Avengers Assemble and Ultimate Spiderman. I would never go as far as to call them great shows, but they were still fun and add to the mythos of the characters. I’m still really glad that those titles are around and I can’t say the same for the Hulk title quite as easily. Even this upcoming rating that it got is very close as you can make a decent argument for one star lower. I think it was just good enough, but it was definitely on the edge.
Overall, Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. is a show that had potential. It’s essentially a Marvel version of Batman Brave and the Bold, but with less guest stars, sloppier animation, and inferior writing. Also less of a soundtrack, but that’s to be expected. It couldn’t quite keep up with the Avengers or Ultimate Spiderman. It should be really thankful that it got a season 2 as that saga certainly helped the show improve. Otherwise, I’m tempted to say that it could have gotten a 5. Still, there were enough positives for me to call it a decently good show and I’d recommend it to Hulk fans who wants to watch some fun action. That being said, you’d be better off watching the 90’s Hulk show or just going for Avengers EMH. I’m confident that Guardians of the Galaxy will beat the Hulk show so maybe everything will start to look up from here…maybe. Also, make sure that you stick around for the moral at the end of each episode!

Overall 6/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Infinity Gauntlet Omnibus Review

The Infinity Gauntlet is definitely a famous Marvel arc at this point and some would say that it could be the greatest of all time. Marvel has quite a few big events though like Secret Wars and Civil War so there’s always a lot of competition, but the Infinity Gauntlet is a story that has aged well and is certainly one of Marvel’s best events.

This isn’t just your average trade paperback though. An Omnibus is even longer than an Essential collection and this one is longer than the average Omnibus as they tried to cram in all of the tie ins. This means that the Infinity Gauntlet Omnibus ended up being longer than 2 Essential Collections placed on top of each other. It was around 1200-1400 pages if I recall correctly. Usually that would have taken me forever to finish, but it was a blast reading the classic comics so I read about 400-500 pages in my first batch and then finished it off soon after. Once you start reading, you just won’t want to stop.

The collection is essentially divided into 3 parts. The set up to the Infinity Gauntlet, The Infinity Gauntlet, and the Tie ins that take place during the Infinity Gauntlet as well as afterwards. This way, you can say that you’ve truly read the Infinity Gauntlet since you will have seen what came before it and what came afterwards. This must have the record for the most tie in adventures in the shortest span of canon time. What I mean by that is that the tie ins will turn the gap between 2 panels from seconds into minutes as a character will blink and in that blink, have a big adventure. A good example of that is when Silver Surfer misses the Gauntlet when he charged at Thanos in the final part of the Gauntlet adventure and a whole tie in occurred as he raced back.

As you would expect, the art switches numerous times as we get issues from the Hulk, Spider Man, Infinity Gauntlet, Silver Surfer, and more. Luckily, the art holds up well for just about all of the issues. I can’t think of any issues where I didn’t like the art. The Hulk series was probably a little bigger and bolder than the others which could take some getting used too, but it was still fun and made for some good action scenes. (When the Hulk issues actually had action)

All right, let’s start off with the Infinity Gauntlet plot. I read the first issue a while back so I was familiar with that one, but it’s good to say that I’ve now read the entire epic. The first half is really about the natural disasters that are affecting the planet because of Thanos and then half of the multiverse’s inhabitants are destroyed with a thought. The Avengers realize that they need to do something about this so the heroes who are left decide to attack Thanos once and for all. The big fight is certainly the best part of the arc as everyone runs to Thanos for the big clash.
Without the Gauntlet, Thanos has already proved to be stronger than most, if not all of Marvel’s heroes so this isn’t even a challenge for him. To present the heroes (and readers) with a bit of a fight, Thanos decides not to use the Gauntlet’s full powers against them for a little while. While you know that the heroes are doomed, it is nice to see the action and the heroes do get a few good shots in. They just don’t really deal any damage.

The arc takes a bit of a spin when Nebula grabs the Gauntlet as the whole plot shifts since the heroes have to stop her before she does something that they’ll regret. The cool part of this comic is definitely the part where the cosmic fighters show up to challenge her. Thanos states that he would have been able to defeat them, but they do a pretty good job against her as they attack her on all planes of existence at once so that she will not have enough time to think about what is going on.

It’s easy to root for Nebula here though since she got a really raw deal for most of the event since she was trapped in a death like state where she was forced to live. Once she grabbed Infinite power, you could hardly blame her for wanting to stretch her new muscles. The Living Tribunal claims that it is not his place to meddle in the affairs of the heroes and villains so he doesn’t make a move here. It’s implied that he could probably end the whole situation if he wanted too, but such things are beneath him and he only interferes when he is angered.

Adam Warlock and the Silver Surfer easily have the biggest role in the Gauntlet from the heroes. Adam Warlock essentially has infinite knowledge now that he is back from being virtually dead in the mind gem so he proves to be an ace in the hole for the heroes and Silver Surfer has a lot of experience in dealing with Thanos from his past exploits so he is naturally critical at this point in time. The rest of the heroes are really just there to be a distraction, which Warlock even admits during the latter part of the story.

I’m a fairly big Adam Warlock fan so seeing him take a starring role is always fun. After his death, Warlock is a little more subdued in this arc. He treats most of the fight as a game because he believes that if he took it seriously for a second, he would fall into despair. He’s still a critical factor here and he also gets a little mini arc after the Infinity Gauntlet, which I thought was a lot of fun. the power went to his head for sure and started to get into some epic abstract territory before the cosmic entities decided to weigh in. Sadly, it ended right before the court trial could start. (The trial is incredibly awesome and I wonder which trade paperback it’s included in)

One of the reasons why the Warlock getting unlimited power was so fun was the heroes reaction to this. They had just finished a fairly grueling battle and were exhausted so they were clearly not pleased with having to fight another battle. They half heartedly rushed at Warlock, but he just warped them away. It was a cool twist ending as fans likely didn’t expect something like that to happen. Warlock’s so powerful that the Avengers basically just decided to give up after that.

Mephisto is a major player in this adventure, but I’ve never been a fan of his. He’s not very strong so he relies on trickery, but it typically backfires. Even when Thanos was getting used to being omnipotent, Mephisto couldn’t gather his courage fast enough to grab the Gauntlet. It was a huge missed opportunity for the demon. He’s always around and Mephisto actually helps the heroes out on quite a few occasions so that he could dethrone Thanos, but things never go his way and he spends the whole arc getting pummeled.

Death is a prominent figure here as well, but I definitely don’t care for the character. She never talks and only speaks through her lackey. The lackey talked tough to Thanos so he naturally got the most violent death in the whole collection as Thanos had enough of the guy. The minion was extremely annoying so I wasn’t sad to see him gone. It was unexpectedly intense, but I suppose it was too convey how upset Thanos was. The rest of the collection is fairly tame so it was pretty surprising. If Death could only talk, then I would definitely like her much more, but as it stands, she just looks really arrogant and it doesn’t work since Thanos became much stronger than her. At least Thanos has enough self dignity and honor to not try and control her. He does make a female Thanos who actually defeats Spider Man, which was interesting. I think Spider Man should have won though.

Now let’s look at some of the tie in issues. The Sleepwalker got one and I’m not too familiar with the character, but he seems like a decent fighter. For some reason, he’s treated as a trump card at times, but his strength isn’t incredible. He’s roughly a Daredevil-Spider Man level opponent. He helps out a lot on Earth when Thanos starts to wreck the place and his issue is mostly about him keeping the peace while the other heroes are busy. It’s not a bad tie in even if it sounds a little uneventful. Sometimes it’s nice to see what’s happening while the heroes are gone.
Spider Man gets an issue where..he actually dies. He successfully helped a kid, but it cost him everything. Once he dies, Thanos decides to mess with Spiderman’s soul and tries to give him despair. Spiderman fights back and he has to question what he has been fighting for and if he should continue to live. It’s a very interesting issue and seeing someone cope with their death and wonder what comes next is always cool. In the end, Spider Man didn’t give up hope and managed to reclaim his life. This is yet another example of how Spider Man was written so well back in the day. I shudder to think about how Peter Parker would have acted if this was in the modern days with Slott writing the issue.

Cloak and Dagger got their own tie in issue as well. I’m not sure if you realize this blog readers, but I’ve never been a fan of this team. Dagger’s all right, but I feel like she doesn’t have a whole lot of personality and doesn’t use her abilities to their fullest potential. Cloak is constantly going off the deep end and putting everyone in danger when Dagger is gone for any reason. They’re not terrible, but I probably like Punisher more than them…and I’m not the biggest Punisher fan out there. Ghost Rider and Spider Man got to appear in the issue as well so it was definitely packed with heroes!

Dr Strange gets quite a few stories. They take place during the Infinity Gauntlet at first and then move on to the after effects. The first issue mainly deals with Dr Strange helping Silver Surfer get back to reality after his mind retreats when he crashed into Dr Strange’s room in the first issue of the Gauntlet. It’s exactly what I’m talking about when I mentioned earlier how a tie in could occur at any time. In the span of a page, a whole issue managed to come forth due to this twist of Surfer not ready to come back to reality! It was a fun fight between the two.

After that, Dr Strange got involved with some time travel and fights against other magicians like the Silver Sagger. When Thanos warped all of the heroes away during the first climax of the Infinity Gauntlet, Dr Strange was sent away with Thor and Scarlet Witch to Asgard where they had more adventures. In the final issue, Dr Strange decided to try and defeat Adam Warlock since the infinite power was getting to the wanderer’s head. Dr Strange was incredibly powerful back in the day, but not even he could hope to overpower a wielder of that gauntlet. Still, the attempt was fun and he helped Adam Warlock see reason.

Dr Strange is certainly a fun hero and he’s a character who can be underrated at times. He doesn’t always look it, but his abilities are very potent and he knows thousands of different spells. At this point in time, he could actually fight with the likes of the Silver Surfer and Pre Gauntlet Warlock. Those aren’t weak fighters by any means and Dr Strange could really hold his own with any of them. Strange is also a very wise fighter and never begins a brawl without a plan. The large array of cosmic fighters is yet another reason why the Gauntlet was so fun.

Quasar got some issues as well, but they were apparently forgettable enough that Comicvine didn’t even list them! It’s too bad since they were fun. Quasar got to fight the previous title holders so these other Universe protectors were very tough, but Quasar uses his ingenuity and raw power to take them down. He gets a little bold and heads for Thanos next, but he’s severely outmatched. While Quasar does have the Power Cosmic, he’s never been quite as powerful as the other Cosmic fighters. Still, you should only underestimate him at your own risk as he’s still quite tough. Picture Green Lantern’s energy projection with Cyborg’s strength + Superman’s flight. It’s a very deadly combo.

Quasar was a likable guy and he’s very down to Earth. He has a comfy life on Earth while still keeping up with his cosmic duties. That’s definitely tricky and most cosmic heroes wish they could do something like that. Quasar may not help as much as some of the other big heroes, but he still contributes against Thanos and that’s what counts. He probably makes more of an impact in the fight than most of the Avengers!

The Hulk gets three issues and they show why he was so upset at being called in during the Infinity Gauntlet story. The events slightly blurred together, but things happened in roughly this order. The Abomination had kidnapped his wife and was sad at how everyone looked at him like a monster. Hulk followed him into the sewers and they naturally had a brawl. One thing led to another and Abomination was able to get away thanks to Dr Strange’s untimely summons. Hulk was able to get back and was turned small so he used this opportunity to act as the Abomination’s conscience and convinced the guy to stop what he was doing. The Abomination let his wife go and went back to the shadows, sad at how his fate had treated him.

Hulk then went on to help a town that had been overcome with rage. This is the Hulk who is basically taken over by Bruce Banner and essentially speaks perfect English. He’s not quite as strong of course, but he gets the job done. I can’t say that he looked very good in the Infinity Gauntlet, but that’s mainly because he’s simply outmatched by the other big villains at this point. He may have complained, but he still helped out when it counted.

The Thanos Quest is easily one of the best extras to be included here. It shows how Thanos defeated all of the Infinity Gem guardians and gained the Gauntlet’s power. Each member of the group was extremely powerful so Thanos had to use his wits to win. When physically outmatched, you have to be very cunning to claim victory. These issues would have likely gotten a 9 on their own. In particular, I loved the fights against the speedster who could move at speeds much greater than light and the physical powerhouse who could likely give the Hulk a run for his money. That being said, the fight in the computer game against the game member was a lot of fun as well.
Those issues really captured the intelligence of Thanos. It’s not something that’s played up too often and I don’t expect to see a whole lot of that in the films or TV shows, but it’s one of the reasons why Thanos is so deadly. He essentially has the combat expertise of Batman with the strength of Superman. That’s not even counting his many energy attacks and how well he can use the Gauntlet. While Nebula was overwhelmed on the 3-6 planes of existence, Thanos explains that he could have been able to fight on all of them at once. He simply can’t be stopped and will forever be one of Marvel’s heavy hitters.

Finally, we had the onslaught of Silver Surfer issues. To put them into perspective, just adding all of them together would have been enough to fill 6 of the average trade paperbacks. They cover a whole lot of content and most of them deal with the Thanos plot which is cool. The majority of the issues take place before the Infinity Gauntlet and technically, the Silver Surfer is the first person to learn just how dangerous Thanos is. He follows the Titan across solar systems and many planets, but it’s actually a very depressing journey for the cosmic speedster. Even when he does catch up to Thanos, he is quickly crushed each and every time. He cannot even hope to beat avatars of Thanos.

That being said, the prophecy states that the Silver Surfer is the only threat to Thanos so the Titan is always very cautious with him. In a way, you could say that the Silver Surfer is the main character of the arc and I would completely agree. Almost half of the collection is comprised of Silver Surfer comics and he naturally appears a lot in the main series as well. His plot also connects with Drax’s as they meet up and are forced to team up on many occasions.

They even have a lengthy battle in one of the issues. Silver Surfer is clearly stronger, but Drax is almost possible to destroy so it’s effectively a stalemate. This was back when Silver Surfer was a complete powerhouse and I don’t really see how Thor or Hulk could compete with him at this point in time since Thor was going through one of those phases were it wasn’t the real Thor and the Hulk lost most of his power. The Silver Surfer nearly ended the whole Gauntlet arc on his own if he had not missed the Gauntlet. Thanos didn’t dodge, the Surfer just missed because he was going way too fast. If only he had time to practice before the big play. Still, he kept it close.

As with Warlock, I enjoy the Silver Surfer’s character a lot. He never really wants to fight, but when pushed he can really deliver some spectacular action. It’s admirable that he always tries to find the peaceful way out of a situation, but things just don’t work out that way for him. He doesn’t get to appear very often in the current comics, which is too bad. Hopefully he will get popular again once he starts to appear in the Fantastic Four sequels.

Drax got a really big role, but it just served to remind me that I don’t like Drax in any incarnation. I really don’t like the new Gladiator form of the character, but I am not a huge fan of the old form either. It’s a big improvement of course and he means well, but he’s typically pretty clueless about what’s happening and while he was made to destroy Thanos, he’s severely outmatched the during the entire collection.

As for some of the other characters who appeared, Thor was one who was really hurt by the time at which the comic was written. This was still the era of the fake Thor so he wasn’t very cool or regal like the real thing and his power levels weren’t as impressive as the should have been. Even in his weakened state, the heroes mentioned him as a trump card so I would have really liked to have seen the real deal fight a little. Likewise, this wasn’t the Hulk that we were used to seeing. Cyclops and Scarlet Witch launch a nice two pronged attack on Thanos, which is completely ineffective, but it was fun to see them try. The X-Men were really a total nonfactor here. Vision also tried his best to stop Thanos, but this was during his ghost days so it didn’t go too well. Captain America had his famous moment where he walks up to Thanos and it is a cool scene, but it’s too bad that the fight couldn’t be longer. I suppose that it would have been a lose-lose situation though since I may have had to talk about plot hax a little.

There is plot hax here of course, but that goes without saying so I didn’t even mention it. The only good explanation is that Thanos wanted to lose, which I still find a little iffy since Nebula should have won in that case, but we’ll let it go there. The plot hax is self evident enough that I don’t really need to talk about it much. It was funny to see Thanos just retire on a farm after destroying half of existence. He certainly got off easy eh?

Naturally, all of the cosmic entities minus the Living Tribunal also get a big role. Thanos manages to take down each and every one of them. The Celestials, Galactus,The Elders of the Universe, and many more. Finally, Eternity showed himself since he’s apparently much stronger than all of those (But significantly weaker than the Living Tribunal) but Thanos also takes him down without too much effort as well. It’s a stunning battle with great feats and scenes of action. The cosmic fights alone would be enough to justify this arc as a living legend.

This Omnibus also exposes one of the areas where I actually believe that Marvel surpasses DC. How can this be possible right DC fans!? Well, DC’s never had much of a cosmic scene. We’ve got the Anti Monitor and the Source…but that’s about it. There’s an argument to be made for the Green Lanterns, Darkseid and his armies, as well as the New Gods, but I’m not sure if I really buy it. They just feel more like aliens and other heroes as opposed to cosmic fighters. Take Orion for example. I don’t see any difference between him and a regular hero while fighters like Adam Warlock and Silver Surfer have that dignified cosmic air about them. So, while I do still think that DC has the overall better characters, Marvel has a much better cosmic scene so they can have events like this. DC’s a little more limited when you leave Earth.

That being said, the Marvel cosmic part has weakened a little in recent years. Not literally, but the cosmic events start to be a little more underwhelming when everyone has infinite power. Now we’ve got kids and horned creatures who can rewrite whatever laws they want. When everyone is a cosmic being who can do anything, the whole concept starts to lose its shine. Luckily, most of the cosmic beings who are too overpowered weren’t in Infinity so that one still sounds like it should be a fun remake/reboot of the Infinity Gauntlet. I doubt it can beat the original, but it would still be a lot of fun to see how the new version is. Meanwhile, DC needs to bring back the Angel from the JLA series as he’s one of the only cosmic beings that they’ve got. Putting him and the other Angels up against the Justice League would be a fun arc to read.
Overall, This was a powerful volume from the classic days of Marvel. It’s easy to see how Thanos got so popular after this arc. He was written well and the arc was a blast. Seeing the complete version (Prequels, Sequels, Tie ins, etc) also helps you appreciate the true scope of the story. The actual arc was a little light on action for most of the opening issues, but we got some big brawls as the story went on and you need set up for a large scale arc like this one. The art and writing are consistently good as you would expect and there’s not much in the way of negatives to say about this one. I will say that Nebula’s fate was really sad the whole time as she experienced living death and I could have done without that, but it’s still not as bad as it could have been and one small element won’t really hurt this comic. This could have easily gotten a perfect 10 star rating, but Superman Unbound’s already snagged that one. Still, this is a must read not only for Marvel fans, but DC readers as well. This arc stands as a good model for future arcs to follow or be inspired from so they make the mistakes of other arcs. (Like Fear Itself)

Overall 9/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Thunderbolts Classic Volume 1 Review

I haven’t read many comics from the Thunderbolts. Actually, this is probably the first collection that I’ve checked out from them. The concept is always interesting as it was a group of villains who banded together to act like heroes. The current group is more of a heroes for hire team while this one is comprised of actual villains who are just trying to trick the world. It’s a fun comic and the concept is sound. It’ll be interesting to see where the series will go from here as the rest of the heroes will likely try to expose them once word gets around.

The Avengers and Fantastic Four were destroyed during the battle of Onslaught so there aren’t many heroes left to help out the average joe against the swarms of villains who are still out there. Baron Zemo decides that he will take advantage of this situation to win the trust of the world and eventually get rich as they give him access to more and more things. It’s an ambitious plan, but he knows that it can be pulled off! That being said, will his team be able to band together and overpower the villains or will they quickly be exposed?

This was during the classic 90’s so the art is big and bold. It works well for these comics and the fight scenes are definitely nice and intense like you would expect them to be. All of the character designs are the iconic ones from the classic days and you can’t help, but feel nostalgic when you see a character like Spider Man who looks so much like how he did in the 90’s TV show.

Speaking of which, he was one of the guest stars in this collection. He gets into a scuffle with the Thunderbolts as he tries to clear his name from a crime. The villains end up helping him out although Baron Zemo is not pleased with this decision. The Beetle took the initiative there since he found out what a nice guy Spider Man was. While Spider Man was losing to the group, he was trying not to hurt them so he underestimated the group. At least he was still holding onto his spider sense and felt like the real Spider Man. Naturally, I would have been happy if he had ended up winning of course.

The other big guest star was the Hulk as he went up against the Thunderbolts. He looked really good as he was totally in control of himself and acted very strategic. He certainly put the team in their place and you actually are rooting for him here since the Thunderbolts aim to destroy him. His partner was a skilled warrior who made for a good ally as well. I wonder what was happening in the Hulk comics at the time. Whatever situation he was going through, it looked like an interesting one and the fight between Hulk and the Thunderbolts was one of the highlights of the collection.

Baron Zemo’s plan was certainly genius as his team came together at a crucial time for the world. People accepted his group rather quickly, but I suppose that they were desperate for new heroes. Zemo’s alter identity was cool as he tried to act like Captain America or Superman. He was a symbol of hope for the world and while he had no fancy super powers, his athletics were enough for him to still deal some damage. He’s the lynchpin of this operation and without him, the whole team would fall apart.

Of course, that’s what Moonstone is gunning for. She seems to want Zemo out of the picture for some reason, possibly just so that she can become leader. Moonstone’s already thrown a few wrenches into the leader’s plans, but Zemo doesn’t suspect anything yet. This is a plot that will definitely become a big focus as the issues go on. While she is not quite as likable as Baron Zemo, she’s still a very interesting villain and is written well.

The Beetle used to be a classic Spiderman villain, but he has moved on since he always lost to the Wallcrawler. He has developed a bond with Screaming Mimi and starts to want to do the right thing after Spiderman helps him out. While his romance subplot is a bit much, it’s handled decently well and isn’t moving too quickly. He’s definitely one of the weaker members of the team, but his tech always keeps him in the fight. Atlas is the heavy hitter of the group and he’s grateful to Baron Zemo for giving him this chance and also saving his life a while back. Atlas seems to want to be a hero right away as he becomes friends with the mayor’s secretary, but he’s definitely going to have to deal with a conflict of interests situation very soon. I’m not a big fan of this guy, but he is more heroic than most of the other members and he can be quite tough as he grows larger and larger.

Screaming Mimi has really changed from when she was a big villain as she’s very timid and soft spoken now. Her vocal powers are pretty original as she can make barriers, fly, and do all kinds of things with them. The Banshee would be proud! I could definitely see her turning good since she doesn’t even act like a villain here, but seems to just follow whatever the group is doing. Hopefully, she will have a stronger personality as the issues go by so she isn’t just led around, but she seems like a nice character.

Jolt was the final member to join the team and she came around at the very end. The character is decent as she is always ready for a fight and she bounces back from bad situations very quickly. That being said, her origin story is rather intense and it’s really my main negative for the collection. For around 5-6 comics, we are constantly reminded of how painful it was for her to gain her powers through the experiments. It’s also just sad as she was kidnapped and nobody even knew or suspected. Luckily, she was able to escape on her own, but it was a rather dark subplot for what was otherwise a very light themed comic. The heroes managed to stop Zola and his experiments, but the villain unfortunately escaped to fight another day.

Finally, we have the Fixer. He’s a tech wiz who acts openly evil and loves just having an excuse to shoot everyone who gets in his way. He still gambles a lot on the side and definitely has no real thoughts of turning good so it will likely be very tough to convert him. He was one of my least favorite members of the team and actually, he was my least favorite member. He didn’t really add anything to the team dynamic and we already had the arrogant character in the form of Baron Zemo.

One of the more interesting plots here is about how the villains start to like being regarded as heroes and even help out a little when it’s not necessary. It’s safe to say that The Beetle is the first character to start thinking about being a hero. Atlas and Screaming Mimi start to get on board pretty quickly as well. Baron Zemo and Moonstone typically have the original goal in mind, but if the Fixer were to also start liking the hero gig, they may have to follow suit. As Moonstone and Zemo are the two biggest villains, it’s hard to see them turning over to the side of heroes so it may be time for a new leader for the group. Hopefully the members will make the right call and based on some of the covers for future volumes, at least some of them might. The comic series definitely ran for quite a while.

Another fun part of the collection was when the Thunderbolts battled the Masters of Evil. The fun part is that the Thunderbolts technically are the Masters of Evil so Baron Zemo is outraged at the fact that someone is copying his group. The two groups clash on two occasions, but we still don’t know who the new leader of the group is. Either way, it was a lot of fun to see the two groups fight each other and it was actually pretty evenly matched. Both groups have some talented fighters. That being said, in defeating the group, Zemo essentially gave one villain a hint as to what his secret identity was, which could come back to haunt him later.

For now, the Thundebrolts are mainly focused on earning a reputation so the series is essentially a villain of the weak story for now. I actually like this approach, but I’m sure that the plot will really start to move once the mayor gives them more privileges. SHIELD still doesn’t trust the Thunderbolts and with good reason, but I have a feeling that the Thunderbolts will be given too much power very quickly. That’s when they will have to decide if they want to be heroes or villains!

The final issues also show us each character’s origin story and then how they came together. I suppose that this was due to happen at some point. I enjoyed seeing the team come together as Baron Zemo definitely handles it in a different way than someone like Cyclops or Captain America would. The origin stories were also decent and Baron Zemo’s got to show us how the original Zemo handled his affairs. The apple didn’t fall very far from the tree in this case. Zemo’s reaction to Captain America dying against Onslaught was pretty humorous as we don’t get to see what villains think of the news too often.

Overall, Thunderbolts is a fun concept and this collection was a nice read. You’ll be able to blast through it thanks to the clear art style. The Avengers and other heroes are not around, but we still got some guest stars like Spider Man and the Hulk. The Black Widow also gets a cameo to a guest star as her role is small enough to be counted as either one. She gets some pretty good lines and hints that she knows what the Thunderbolts are scheming and will put a stop to it. Nothing like a few threats between “heroes” right? There’s a lot of action here and watching villains take down other villains is pretty rewarding. It’s hard to say where the plot will go from here so you’ll want to stick around for the next volume. The only thing that holds this comic back is Jolt’s backstory and at least it’s just mentioned and not shown. I still recommend this comic if you’re looking for some fun fights and good dialogue.

Overall 6/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

World War Hulk Review

I remember this arc when it first came out. There was a lot of hype around it and I still consider the plot to be one of the best concepts from all Marvel events. Only Civil War may be able to top it. Nothing beats a good Heroes vs Heroes story, but one that comes close is when the hero turns evil and decides to destroy the heroes. It’s sort of like the Doomsday story in the comics as Superman has a long monologue about what would happen if he finally met a villain that he couldn’t defeat. It’s a story that has a lot of potential. World War Hulk doesn’t live up to all of it sadly, but it’s still a fun comic.

As mentioned, the plot is very simple. The Hulk was shot into space and deserted to die on a planet full of gladiators and aliens. He managed to survive and lived a happy life there, but then his rocket ship came back into orbit and crashed on the planet, destroying everyone on the planet. The Hulk blames the Illuminati for placing the bomb on the rocket and he has now returned to Earth to destroy them and make the Earth suffer for what has happened. All of Marvel’s heroes will have to set aside their differences if there is any hope of stopping the Hulk.

It should be noted that the Hulk picked a great time to launch this attack. For starters, Thor isn’t around at the moment, which takes away a really large threat right from the start. Also, the Civil War is still raging on at the moment or at least the post effects so the heroes have to reluctantly work together at the risk of being arrested. Yes, this is definitely the Hulk’s moment of glory and the heroes may not know what hit them! It should be noted that some heavy weights like Ghost Rider and the X-Men are noticeably absent, but they end up fighting the Hulk in tie-in issues. It’s too bad that they weren’t included, but I did review the X-Men one a while back.

If you wanted a comic with nonstop action, then this is definitely the one to check out. The 5 issues are basically showing the Hulk take down the Avengers, Fantastic Four, and all of the loners who tried to join the fray. Even the military stood no chance against the Hulk. Granted, The Hulk had about 5 teammates known as the Warbound who are apparently about as strong as the Hulk pre rage. That’s a lot of hype for those guys, but they did manage to defeat Spiderman (Off screen naturally……he never gets any respect in the modern comics!) so I suppose that they lived up to their reputation.

The Hulk has never been madder than he is now so his power is really skyrocketing. By the end of the comic, he starts to grow so powerful that he could have destroyed the Earth with a single stomp. That’s some insanely good strength. Naturally, Hulk is a total villain here who only cares for revenge. It’s a motive that works for most villains so why not for him right? He’s not mindless here by any means and he just believes that the Avengers need to pay for their crimes of genocide. An eye for an eye is his strategy. It’s been a while since we saw the Hulk portrayed as a villain so that was neat. He even uses his intelligence to trick Dr Strange at one point since he’s totally in control here. You have never seen a more deadly Hulk.

The Sentry’s role in this is also quite big as he gets hyped up right from the start. One problem that you may have with this is the fact that everyone acts like the Sentry and Hulk are best friends. Since when right? The Sentry is also a little insane and completely unlikable, but you still have to respect his incredible power. He’s said to be the strongest hero in Marvel and while I completely disagree with that, he’s certainly one of the stronger members and not someone to be taken lightly.

I do have to mention that the art isn’t very good here. It’ll look all right at times and then the character models will just start to shift and tumble. I dunno, there was just something a little off putting about it, but the art still wasn’t downright bad. We still got some fun action sequences out of it (Which is the whole point of World War Hulk right?) and the scene where the Sentry finally makes his move is pretty epic. The guy definitely seems to think of himself as a Superman level fighter and maybe he has some valid reasons for this. He does end up looking really good here after all.

As this is one of the more modern events, you can tell that you are missing some things by not reading the tie ins, but it’s not as big as in some other graphic novels where it’s in your face. The pacing is good. The Hulk gradually defeats everyone and by the end you will be wondering how the Hulk can possibly be defeated. You have to wonder if even the Sentry will be able to stand up to such a powerful threat. Most of the other heroes do feel like light weights here. Even fighters like Ms. Marvel and She Hulk are shown to not even be a threat to the Hulk. Seriously, they just watch Iron Man get taken out and only jump in to help at the very end. Not very heroic eh? I was personally disappointed that Spiderman was taken out off screen by one of the minions. I don’t buy that…at all.

In fact, as cool and tough as the Hulk is, I don’t buy any of it. The heroes badly outnumbered Hulk and his little group and I feel like they really should have won this round. I think that Ms. Marvel could give the Hulk a good fight. When she’s with She Hulk, Ares, Spiderman, and many more fighters…that should really be enough to end things. The Fantastic Four didn’t look too good, but I have to admit that those guys would be outmatched in an instant. Only Mr. Fantastic can hope to save them all and things didn’t go according to plan for him. It was fun to see Iron Fist and X-23 jump into the action and Iron Fist did all right against one of the Warbound, but he was soon put in his place.

Dr Strange entered a type of rage mode to stop the Hulk and nearly destroyed innocent civilians in the process. It was the only time where the heroes looked bad as the Hulk had to save them before stopping Dr. Strange. It was still a fun super form to look at though. Even the government gets some hype as General Ross explains that he always knew that the other superheroes could never stop the Hulk. Naturally, his weapons aren’t that effective and he doesn’t stand a chance, but you really have to admire his confidence. Ross has no doubt that he will stop the Hulk and he fights on right up til the very end. He was actually a very likable figure here and he has certainly known the Hulk much longer than anyone else.

The Warbound don’t really have much of a personality as they carry their baggage from Planet Hulk. I didn’t like any of the members and I doubt that the film would change my mind. One of them admits that what they are doing is wrong, but he doesn’t care since he just wants revenge. Better to be a villain than to knowingly act like a villain. Seriously, the guy is constantly talking about morals and justice while he’s attacking the heroes. Definitely not your typical superhero behavior eh? The justice concept would have been pretty interesting had the Illuminati actually placed a bomb inside of Hulk’s rocket, but a plot twist nullifies that. Most of what the Illuminati did was unintentional, but they still deserve a lot of blame for what happened to the Hulk. His time in space was certainly not a pleasant one.

You have to wonder what would have happened if Thor and the X-Men had been here from the start. Would the Hulk have been able to come out on top like he did here or would the heroes have stopped him? I feel like the heroes should definitely have won and with Thor and the others, that should be a guarantee. I would love to see another arc like this pop up soon where one powerhouse takes on the whole Marvel Universe. Not in a single blow or eventually, but a gauntlet run like what happened here. Those scenarios are always a lot of fun.

Overall, I was hyped to read World War Hulk from the start. I just love the concept of it and greatly enjoyed the X-Men vs Hulk tie-in. That being said, it was maybe a little less enjoyable than I had been expecting it to be. The gladiator ring part of the saga wasn’t great and the art was definitely a little sub par. The nonstop action was great though and the dialogue was engaging as well. This is definitely a solid read for all Hulk fans and especially if you just want to see some big hero against hero fights. There is a cliff hanger, but it’s not that great. Especially when you know who the mysterious figure turns out to be. Still, this was a fun event. Smaller in scope than most of Marvel’s big specials, but it was still impactful and showed us the Hulk’s true power! (Albeit, slightly over hyped…)

Overall 8/10