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

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

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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

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Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Marvel Masterworks The Incredible Hulk Volume 2 Review

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It’s time to take a look at a collection which brings some of the Hulk’s first comics! I’m about 99% sure that I’ve already read this one, but apparently I never uploaded it to the site. Ah well, the re read gave me a chance to review it. The Hulk comics are typically fun and this one was enjoyable, but like always, you end up feeling really bad for the Hulk by the end. He didn’t ask for this!

Unlike the average collection, this one brings 20 issues. The reason why so many are able to fit in here is because Hulk has to share with Giant Man and later on with Namor. So, each issue is only 10 pages instead of the usual 20, which ends up working out quite well. That means that each issue must end quickly so some arcs go on for quite a while like the Leader story. That villain just didn’t want to go down!

Luckily, the issues never actually feel rushed except for the Hercules story. He meets up with the Hulk in the final issue and the fight is essentially over as soon as it has begun. It’s safe to say that the Hulk had the upper hand despite the boasts of Hercules. I’m not surprised since I always considered the Hulk to be much stronger than the Olympian. Hercules is no Thor and I don’t see him ever being such a powerful contender in Marvel.

The first issue was the big fight with Giant Man so the collection started and ended on a high note. It was fun to see Giant Man take a shot at the Hulk since the fight wouldn’t be so even nowadays. The Hulk has utterly surpassed Giant Man and while I would still say that he was the stronger fighter back in the day, it was closer. Giant Man used to be the power hitter for the Avengers, now he’s just the tech guy.

Most of the issues dealt with the Leader as he worked on capturing the Hulk and eventually succeeded. He then forced the Hulk to go to the Moon and steal something from Uatu. That was easily the best part of the arc as the Hulk took down the “strongest fighter in the galaxy.” That guy was bred for combat and the Hulk still schooled him. The Hulk definitely overpowers most of his foes with ease and that’s how it should be.

There was also a mini arc where the government blasted the Hulk with a time ray and Rick Jones ended up spilling the beans about Bruce Banner being the Hulk. I was a little surprised that there was no retcon or plot twist to force the heroes to forget about this. I’m pretty sure that Talbot gets amnesia in a few issues, but Betty will still know Banner’s ultimate secret. His secret identity certainly didn’t last very long now did it?

The art switches about halfway through the volume as the main team comes back to help out. It’s an interesting twist and there’s more of an emphasis on facial expressions. Betty Ross’ hair also turns gray for some reason. It took a little getting used too, but the second half still holds up quite well. I love the old style of art as the artists really had to work on every panel. It’s certainly not as well refined as the modern day stuff and you can probably see some inconsistencies and characters going off model if you’re paying a lot of attention, but it’s still very solid overall. It may not be quite as good as the rest of Marvel’s titles at the time, but it’s hard to match up to those.

The Hulk is a good main character as always. Once again, the whole story is just really tragic for him. He makes another friend, but the guy is naturally killed off right away so the Hulk is left without an ally. The army never gives him a break and he is constantly being framed by the villains or put into very bad situations. At least the Hulk gets a lot of opportunities to smash and it’s always good to see him take the win. His strength fluctuates a lot, but that’s part of his whole gimmick so it’s all right for the most part. Typically, you can expect The Hulk to come out on top in a fight since he just won’t go down and the villains typically have to use gas to take him down. The Hulk is certainly the best character here.

I’m not a big fan of the Leader and he’s always been a bit of a weak villain if you ask me. He’s smart, but he doesn’t have a whole lot of power to back it up and he just feels outmatched if you ask me. At least he has some cool androids, which give the Hulk a good fight. Giant Man and the rest of the Avengers don’t seem too concerned with the fact that the Hulk is on the loose. I suppose that most of them just don’t think that he’s very dangerous so he’s not a top priority. Still, they should at least try to protect him from the government since those guys never give him any peace.

You may have expected this, but the issues are still very hard for the Hulk. He is constantly being framed and used by both heroes and villains. When he finally does make a friend, the guy is typically killed off in the same issue. You really can’t blame him for wanting to retreat and just be alone sometimes, but the government or another villain inevitably finds him. It turns into a never ending cycle of sadness for the guy and it’s why it is always fun to see him on the Avengers. At least he has some teammates that he can count on in those situations, but it would be quite a while until he joined the team again from this point.

As always, the writing is one of the reasons why the Hulk collection is fun to read. The characters are all direct and address each other with some classy English skills that it reminds you of how the language used to be. Even the older slang felt more refined and the villains would say things like “With my wit, I shall overtake your brutish strength!” when battling the Hulk. It’s just easy to read and the pages really flow into each other.

If there’s one part of the plot that’s always a little iffy, it’s the question of how much the Hulk knows. Sometimes, the Hulk is completely mindless and other times he will be able to form quite a few sentences. There was an arc where the Hulk’s mind was taken over by Bruce Banner, but this was separate from those events. I suppose that you can make the argument that the Hulk gets smarter as he grows weaker so that it’s the opposite of the strength factor. Either way, it’s a fairly mild thing.

Overall, This volume of the Hulk is a fun one to read. It’s a fairly stand alone collection with few guest stars, but the Hulk can easily hold his own title. The comics are much sadder than the others at the time, but it never goes too far. Given how short each issue is, you can definitely blast through the adventures in no time. It would be great for the Hulk to get an ally at some point and hopefully he will soon, but they don’t tend to last very long. With good art and solid writing, this is a collection that any Marvel fan can enjoy and the issues hold up well.

Overall 7/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Essential Hulk Volume 7 Review

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I’ve certainly read a lot of Hulk comics. More of them than I had originally thought as I have already read the first four Essential Hulk volumes. This one takes us deeper into the Hulk mythos and we really see why he had such a tough life back then. Nothing ever seemed to go the Hulk’s way and you end up feeling bad for the poor guy. He didn’t ask for this and the Hulk just wants to be left alone. His comics can be good or bad depending on the writer since the Hulk is a character that can be difficult to truly understand. I think that the writers did a decent job here.

Naturally, there are a lot of adventures in this collection. The Essential series typically includes over 500 pages worth of adventures so there are well over a dozen comics here. This is actually the final Hulk Essential so far, but it seems like they are released once every three years so perhaps it is still going on. It’s amazing that the Hulk got around 300 issues for his series. Nowadays, it’s hard to see a title reaching that long. After the Amazing Spiderman finished with 700, I doubt that we’ll ever even see a title crack 200 anymore. 100 would still be tough, but I’d say that it is still doable.

As there are only three annuals, I’ll quickly mention those first. The first annual is one that I’ve already read twice as Hulk teams up with Angel and Iceman to take on the new Master Mold. It’s a solid comic to read and the Hulk gets his respect. Master Mold was never really in a position to defeat the powerhouse. Another Annual had the Sasquatch attack the Hulk to find out how tough the Green Goliath was. It’s one of those times where you have to ask Canada what they are thinking. Bruce Banner had just been trying to relax and he didn’t want to fight, but he was forced into a confrontation. That kind of thing seems to happen to him constantly and you can see why Banner is always on edge. This issue was probably the best annual and the fight between the Hulk and Sasquatch was a lot of fun. The issue made it clear that the Hulk is much stronger though. Unfortunately, the ending is pretty tragic as the person that the Hulk was defending ultimately becomes afraid of him and the Hulk leaves without a friend once again. It’s an ending that will make you dislike the Alpha Flight team even more than usual and I do wish that the Avengers would come in to teach them a lesson.

Finally, the third annual is the most dull of the three. A guy attacks the Hulk with some robots that are essentially large chess pieces. You may have to stifle a yawn as Hulk beating up on robots is nothing new and I’m not sure how this became an annual. Using it as a normal sized issue would have certainly been good enough for me. All right, with the annuals out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the individual issues and arcs that were present in this collection!

One of the first arcs had Hulk go to Sampson’s base for treatment. They were making a lot of progress and the Hulk was starting to become a very nice character, but Moonstone decided to sabotage this effort on behalf of The Organization. It wasn’t hard for her to pretend to be an innocent civilian who was being attacked by The Hulk, which started some trouble. The Organization then grew bolder and got Captain America, Quasar, and Falcon into the mix along with Hulk. The four heroes proved to be too much for the villains and that was a nice team up. Captain America certainly looked reasonable. I’m sure that the Falcon would have been likable as well if he hadn’t been knocked out for the duration of the comic.

Quasar is interesting as he is built up to be sort of like Superman when he appears. He follows The Hulk and they have a rematch in the following issue. He is soundly beaten, but Quasar is still a powerful fighter. He has dealt with cosmic beings in the past after all and he even plays a role in The Infinity Gauntlet. I definitely don’t mind the character. It’s unfortunate that he is also against The Hulk, but the gamma being is used to it at this point. At least the Hulk was able to best him in 1 on 1 combat.

Another team up had the Hulk face off against the Machine Man. An organization…perhaps The Organization!, decided to have someone pose as the Machine Man and steal one of Hulk’s new friends. Hulk followed and really did a number on the real Machine Man as the Hulk ripped him to pieces. They ultimately come to terms and defeat the true enemy, but not before having a big fight that lasted through 2-3 issues. It was impressive to see the Machine Man give such a fight and they essentially leveled an entire city. Never let it be said that the Machine Man is a light weight! Naturally, the Hulk has been tricked once again and even more people turned against him, but at least the Hulk finally had an ally on his side as well. His name actually isn’t Manny, but Fred. (Courtesy of Comicvine) Fred helped the Hulk out by pointing a (unloaded) gun at the “villains” before the misunderstanding was wrapped up.

Do you remember the famous city of gold? Well, the Hulk got to go there after some men appear and say that the Hulk is the chosen person of prophecy who will save them all. For once, the Hulk believes that they are attempting to trick him from the start and goes along with them to destroy the city from the inside. It’s not a bad strategy and I was glad that the Hulk was ready because the people were actually trying to trick him. The Hulk ends up fighting these mages along with a villain named Goldbug. The sorcerers are stronger than they appear and Goldbug actually ends up helping the Hulk. While the Goldbug did betray the Hulk early on, he wasn’t a bad villain. I grew to like him and he did save the Hulk from certain death towards the end of the arc. They made for a good team as they squashed the plans of the villains.

Time for the final two arcs! Talbot has decided to end the Hulk once and for all as he builds a powerful suit of armor. The Hulk figures out that the army has decided to keep the body of Jarella for experimentation and decides to rescue her. The lady deserves a proper burial and the Hulk isn’t going to let anybody stand in his way. Talbot is certainly in over his head, but Captain Marvell has arrived to help. I was glad that Marvell helped Hulk ultimately get to Jarella’s world, but he should have been up front with Talbot. He knows that Talbot is effectively going crazy with bitterness and resentment so he should just level with the guy. “Talbot, I’m here to help the Hulk. Don’t try to stop me!” Things ultimately didn’t work out so well because Talbot got the last laugh. Marvell still looks decent, but it’s safe to say that the Hulk had the edge here.

Hulk ends up making it to Jarella’s planet, which was on the verge of being destroyed. As his final mission, the Hulk needed to save her land from the invaders. This wasn’t very difficult for the Hulk and it was a relatively peaceful way to end the saga. It’s still sad that Jarella had to die in the first place, but at least Hulk saw to it that she could be back home. As for how the Hulk will get back to Earth, it’s hard to say. There are definitely many ways to go about it though so that shouldn’t end up being a real problem.

As you can see, this collection was definitely sadder than most of the Marvel comics. I can see why sales fluctuated so much with the Hulk title because it really isn’t for everyone. You feel bad for the Hulk because it almost seems like he is destined to have no friends. He is constantly betrayed by the people that he trusts and the ones who are loyal have a tendency to die or disappear. The Hulk even cries at several points because it all starts to be too much for him. The Hulk is powerful, but he still has emotions and these events can really make him feel bad. If he were smarter and able to talk more like in the current Marvel shows, it would be different. As it is, The Hulk is smart enough to know what is going on, but not smart enough to stop these tragedies from happening to him.

I do like the Hulk a lot here. He may not be the smartest weapon in the tool shed, but he means well and always tries to help people out. Things just don’t always go his way and there are many villains who are constantly trying to frame him. The Hulk’s strength is usually enough for him to take the win and he has always been quite the fighter. Bruce Banner looks less impressive as he is always out of the loop and rarely appears. You could say that the series is really all Hulk, all the time. There are a few supporting characters, but I can’t say that many of them are very interesting.

Rick Jones shows up for a guest star appearance and tries to help the Hulk on TV. I also liked the guy that Hulk met in a bar. I forgot his name, but the kid loved defying the current status quo of the US and he had a lot of ideas. (I think his name was Manny) He was a loyal friend of the Hulk’s. Jim Wilson was another guy who tried to help the Hulk out, but all three of them were ultimately not enough when the going got tough. General Talbot finally cracks in this collection as he blames all of his failures on the Hulk. Naturally, he is just kidding himself as per usual and he ends up just being another enemy to add onto the long list of foes that the Hulk has to deal with. Betty’s role is also very small, but it seems like it was about to get bigger before the comic ended. She is back in town and now that she has divorced Talbot, she is ready to start her life over again. Unfortunately for her, General Ross had a heart attack and isn’t doing well.

Doctor Sampson is looking after him. Sampson is pretty likable here and he does a good job when he was in control of the Gamma Base. As with just about everyone, Sampson is suckered by the villains into thinking that the Hulk is a bad person at one point, which can be annoying. It’s like the whole world is against the Hulk isn’t it? Ah well, at least Sampson did try to help the Hulk for quite a while.

The art’s in black and white, which can make it a little tough to tell just how good it is at times, but I’d say that it works out fairly well. You can always tell what is happening and the action scenes are fun to follow. I believe that the artist may have changed once or twice since we switched comic series once to Captain America and the volume also included 3 annuals. Either way, they were all pretty good and I would give the comic a thumbs up here.

It’s very impressive that the Hulk got a series with around 400 issues. You can tell that he’s been through a lot and I hope that he found a happy ending somewhere during his journey. Right now, he could certainly use a happy event. I have less sympathy for Bruce Banner since he is able to talk to people when he wants too and is more intelligent so his situation isn’t quite as bad. I could see Banner being decently content and at least his mind gets to take a break when the Hulk is in control. With Ross and Talbot temporarily out of the way, the Hulk can finally get some peace and quiet.

Overall, This Hulk collection was a good one. The Hulk is still not quite as exciting as some of Marvel’s other big heroes, but you really do start to feel sympathetic to the big guy. The art is good and we do get some nice guest stars to keep things fresh. There weren’t many big villains to be found here, but they can’t always be around. Plus, Hulk’s villain gallery is a little smaller than the average hero’s. It’s an easy collection to jump into so I certainly recommend this if you’re a big Hulk fan or just want to read some quick Marvel comics. The size of the volume certainly makes it worth the purchase as long as you don’t mind the art being in black and white. This is the final Essential so far so I’m essentially caught up with the Hulk. Hopefully, I am able to read volumes 5 and 6 so that I can say that I have read the whole saga so far. With the Hulk TV show still going on, I won’t have to say good bye to the character for long!

Overall 7/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

X Men vs Hulk Review

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Let’s look at a comic that was a lot more fun! This collection’s main selling point is that it brings the big battle between Hulk and the X Men during the World War Hulk saga. That 3 issue tie in was handled perfectly and it reminds you that a nearly perfect limited series can be done with a variety of different characters. The back up stories aren’t quite as good though and hold it back from being a 9, but they’re still pretty good for the most part.

In the main part of the story, Hulk has arrived for Professor Xavier. Xavier may not have been present when the Illuminati decided to send Hulk away, but he is still a member of the club. Hulk asks him how the Professor would have voted and Charles says that he would have agreed with the others. Hulk prepares to take him away for his sentence when the New Mutants decide that they can’t agree to this. Hulk is not impressed by their efforts, but the New Mutants are quickly joined by the X Men and various other X groups. Nearly all of the mutants left on Earth have assembled to stop the Hulk…but will they be enough?

This comes during a very dangerous moment for the mutants. Scarlet Witch’s curse has ensured that no new mutants will ever be born and they are now an endangered species. The members who are with the X Men are almost all of the mutants left on the planet so if Hulk defeats them..it could be game over for everything that Xavier has ever strived for. This is why Professor Xavier doesn’t want the X Men to fight the Hulk and partially because he feels guilty as well. Cyclops won’t have any of that and Emma Frost focuses on stopping Xavier’s telepathy from stopping the X Men while the rest of the team attacks.

This is one of the best fights in comics and it’s very satisfying. This is what a fight with little to no plot hax looks like and all of the heroes really give it their all. For fans who like to see Wolverine fight the Hulk on an equal playing field, this really shows you what would happen when the Hulk can use some strategy. It’s too bad that Cyclops couldn’t do any better, but he’s still a great leader and handles the situation very well. It’s also good to see the bond between the mutants as everyone who is able to arrive makes sure to do so. You may wonder what the rest of the world is doing at this point, but maybe they’re busy. Either way, with the tensions surrounding the mutants, they may not have been much of a help either way. The art looks great here and that can make the difference between a great comic and an elite one. The art looks almost as sharp as X Sanction and the splash page with Juggernaut facing the Hulk is one to remember. The fight was written well so adding in the art makes it complete.

One of the backup stories features Iceman and Angel as they team up with the Hulk. Hulk is being pursued by harpy robots and he doesn’t want to hurt them because they look like Betty. After Iceman appears to be destroyed, Angel cuts loose and shows the Hulk that these robots are definitely not Betty! The Hulk quickly helps in destroying them and that’s when their friendship started. They became pals with the Hulk and realized that they should never judge a monster by his cover. This issue wasn’t bad, but I can’t say that it was very good either. There is some random romance that isn’t great and the heroes certainly could have looked better. They may be fighting in a desert, but Iceman shouldn’t go down so quickly.

Another backup story has Wolverine decide to test Colossus by tricking the X Man into fighting the Hulk. Colossus is very full of himself at the moment and keeps treating the other members as inferior fighters. Little does he know that the Hulk will give him that feeling after fighting for a little while. Colossus punches the Hulk straight on, but his blows don’t seem to deal any damage. Colossus uses the elements to his advantage and does put up a decent fight, but he knows that he is outmatched. By the end, he figures out that the Hulk isn’t actually a bad guy and he just misjudged him like everyone else. This was the best backup story and the fight was interesting to read.

There was also a black and white story at the end, which was decent, but also pretty uneventful. We have monsters and villains and I can barely even remember what the plot was at this point. Needless to say, the comic wasn’t the greatest, but at least the X Men were here as well. I wonder if the graphic novel managed to show off every time the X Men have fought the Hulk since I don’t think they have clashed that many times over the years. Needless to say, the Hulk seems to typically have the edge in their matches.

The collection is extremely short and you will be able to breeze through it in no time. Still, the stories are packed with entertainment and that’s what counts. This is one of those rare times where the addition of the extra stories ultimately hurt the graphic novel as it lost it a star. None of the stories were downright bad, but they were average enough to bring it down to an 8 for great.

Naturally, this is why you will want to focus your attention on the first three issues. They’re simply amazing and watching many mutants attack the Hulk is not something that you see very often. The heavy hitters that he faces include Colossus, Emma Frost, Cyclops, Wolverine, X 23, Juggernaut, Strong Guy, and a lady who is apparently invulnerable. He takes them all on back to back and his high speed regeneration seems to be as good as ever. The heroes all look very good and in character. I certainly have no qualms with their portrayal and I agree with their decision.

Professor X and the Illuminati started this fight and they certainly deserve to go to jail, but the Hulk has a more permanent fate for them so the X Men have made the right call in going up against them. The Hulk is simply another villain now and they have to protect their own. That’s why it can be a little irritating to see Professor X try to stop them, but we also learn that Charles can’t add anything to the fight anyway. Hulk is currently too enraged for telepathy to be of any use against him so that rules the Professor out. The heroes all give it their all and prove why they are selfless heroes.

The Hulk may be the villain here, but it’s still a great portrayal of him. You can certainly see why he is upset and the Illuminati definitely crossed the line. Two wrongs don’t make a right, but the Hulk is going to try and see what happens when he does just that anyway. Because his will is so decisive right now, The Hulk has also kept his reason along with the rage. This quite possibly makes him the most dangerous Hulk of all time and it is interesting to see him think rationally as he fights. His logic skills when in battle seem to be similar to Superman’s during the Unchained saga along with the other great Superman comics. When he has this much control, The Hulk really is one of the strongest fighters there is. Fans may feel bad for Juggernaut since he definitely is no match here, but it makes you wonder how well he would do if he could unleash all of his power. I actually think it could have been a close fight and the Juggernaut is certainly underrated.

Overall, X Men vs Hulk is an excellent trade even if you just buy it for the first three issues. The Hulk really takes it to the X Men and both sides are fighting for something that they believe in. The backup stories may not be great, but they’re not bad either and at least they increase the length of the graphic novel. I definitely recommend checking it out and you won’t be disappointed after reading this epic. It would be fun to see the Hulk take on Thor while in this state although I believe they only had a brief scuffle in one of the other side parts of this series. I still haven’t read the main World War Hulk title, but maybe I’ll come across it at some point in the future.

Overall 8/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Iron Man and Hulk Heroes United Review

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Technically speaking there is no and in the title, but I don’t really care for using the & symbol that much and just leaving it blank could be odd. In this case, I’d say that using “and” is the right move. Is this film really as terrible as its reputation? Well, that would have been nearly impossible from the get go and it’s still a decently good Marvel film. The animation is the main thing that really holds it back. First off, let’s get the plot out of the way!

The Hulk and the Abomination get into a brawl as the film begins. The Hulk was just resting and showing the world that he is not to be trifled with so he wasn’t prepared for such an attack. The Hulk is quickly subdued (By a pair of robots…he did beat the Abomination btw!) and kidnapped. After the scientists realize that they are in over their heads, they leave. (They so say sorry though!) The Hulk breaks out the saves the Abomination’s life, but a spark escapes from the battle. Ironman appears and they quickly get into a fight. The Hulk quickly takes him down and they agree to make a temporary truce to defeat the mighty Zzzax. Ironman and Hulk are as different as two heroes can be and they Really don’t get along. Will they really be able to pull off such an ambitious team up!?

Well, that’s the plot in a nutshell! The film is a little over an hour, but they do try to cram a lot of things in. We get a bunch of Wendigo creatures at one point that really come out of nowhere! The Abomination is here of course and Zzzax serves as the main villain as he uses many of Ironman’s old armors. It’s a pretty good array of villains that we’ve got here and the film has almost nonstop action. What is keeping this film from cracking a solid 7 like your average action film? It’s the animation!

This film uses CG-I and that was mistake number one. Always go for Hand Drawn when you’re making a true animated film. Ironically, these graphics would be perfectly acceptable for a PS4 cash in game or something on the mobile. For a real video game or a film…this just won’t cut it! There is a lot of lag to be seen between character movements and the fight scenes can look really fake at times. The bullets leave random explosions when they hit that appear as if they were put on the Hulk’s character by photoshop. Nothing about this really screams professional and the animation really brings it down. Contrary to popular belief, animation is easily one of the most important factors in a film. It’s (nearly) as important as the writing. Examples of this include Samurai Jack and Symbiotic Titan. Both of those shows are in the pretty good range, but they easily could have jumped up an extra point or two into the great category. 1-2 points may sound pretty small, but considering that it is out of 10…that is a pretty big jump. Let’s face it, a 6/10 looks much worse than an 8/10 and a 2/10 is scarier than a 4/10. Two points can make a difference. In this case, the film lost a firm point with the animation.

That being said, if the movie was incredible in all of the other areas, I’m sure that it would have still done pretty well. The problem is that the rest of the film is really only average. The writing is what you would expect from Marvel. Ironman and Hulk have settled into their stereotypical personalities pretty well and you can really tell what they will say before they even speak. There are several puns in the film at least, but they aren’t as original as the ones over at DC. (Not to play the DC card this early in the fight…)

The soundtrack is actually really good in this film. I’ll say that it was one of the surprising positives involved. It really felt like they stole some music from the DCAU, but I’m not going to go there. Wherever the music was from, it was really good and it definitely made the film a little more enjoyable. A good tune can make everything seem cooler.

The film actually has some pretty deep environmental messages. Zzzax isn’t completely bad as he just wants to protect the planet from the humans who continue to fill the landfills across the world. As with Ultron, Zzzax realizes that the extinction of mankind is the only way to save the day. Ironman reminds him that humans are still a pretty young race and that they are getting closer to using clean energy. It’s all empty words and Zzzax knows it. Humans continue to use up more and more power while polluting the planet, but I suppose that it’s an issue for another time. Still, it was interesting that Marvel added this part in and combined with the elements from the Technovore film…maybe they will start including things like this in their films. I’m always ready to talk about the environment so I wouldn’t mind seeing it in the film.

So, there isn’t a whole lot to say about Ironman and Hulk. Ironman loves to find some humor in the situations that he gets involved in and he’s pretty proud of himself. He takes the credit for everything and he acts as if he was tougher than everyone else. He’s so confident that he will beat the Hulk until he’s quickly crushed. He’s a pretty good character here since he doesn’t have time to fulfill his less desirable character traits in the film. Trying to blast Hulk in the eyes wasn’t cool even though he claimed that it could help the Hulk. (He didn’t try again so I’m not sure if I buy that) The Hulk is also what you would expect. This is the smarter Hulk that we are used too from the various Avenger cartoons. He puts Abomination in his place, but he’s easily crushed by robots several times in the films. He’s another big punching bag when it all boils down to it. It’s a trait that many superheroes have at this point. They act all high and mighty, but they crumble at the first attack from a decent villain. It’s films like this that really make me pick Link or Gagaga Girl in a fight against these guys.

Zzzax has a pretty nifty design and he makes for a good villain. The way that he talks can be annoying though since he has a hisssssss for each word and he likes to take his time a little too much. Abomination is another confident fighter who can’t back up his tough words. He also has a fun CGI design for this one. Power wise, he does seem to be clearly outmatched by the Hulk though. The Wendigos didn’t have any character in this film, but maybe that’s for the best.

Surprisingly, the movie actually drags on a bit. It’s only a little over an hour, but thanks to the CGI it’ll feel like a lot longer. Each fight scene looks the same and you’ll get tired of seeing the two heroes getting beaten up by the electro robots for so long. They’re basically powerless and it’s more than a little embarrassing. It really could have ended after the first 30 minutes and it may have been a little cooler. It would have had the same score though so maybe this is for the best. Ironically, the fact that it’s pure action without much plot gives it a lot of replay value. This is actually a film that I wouldn’t mind rewatching in the near future.

We can’t forget to mention that there is an after credits scene! It leads into the next film for those of you who are actually interested. I guess the writers really want to keep things confined though since the two scientists from this film seem like they will be returning with a new threat. It’s an epic scene in theory, but not in execution as the film couldn’t really make the scene as threatening and intense as it really could have been.

Comparing this to DC’s last big superhero team up..it’s pretty sad. Superman/Batman Apocalypse (Notice how I appropriately switched the title a little bit?) smashed this film in animation, crushed it in fight scenes, demolished it in character development, burned it in pacing, and thoroughly destroyed it overall. This is why I don’t even think that there is a debate in as far as who creates the better films/TV shows overall between Marvel and DC. DC is just too good at this point. I don’t think that Marvel will ever make a film to match the DC title that I mentioned. It’s bold, but I seriously don’t think that Marvel has it in them. We can hope of course. (While we are “hoping” I’ll be checking out Throne of Atlantis!)

Overall, This film is nowhere near as bad as the reviews suggest. It’s par for the course for Marvel and while it’s nothing special, it’s nothing bad either. It’s just a good action story where we get to see two iconic heroes team up. It could certainly be a lot worse and one plus is that it’s always enjoyable to see a classic Avengers battle. I like to think that Ironman would have won the battle though and Jarvis’ statistics seemed flawed. No way does the power type end up beating the speed type more often than not. The only reason why Ironman was humiliated in that fight was because he wasn’t fighting properly. The point of a speed type is to use your speed…not fly right into the power type to make it a fist fight. I recommend checking this out if you’re just looking for a casual watch (Since this is basically just a pilot to “insert any Marvel show” it works as a Saturday Morning Cartoon) to see your favorite Marvel heroes duking it out. Of course, I would sooner just recommend watching the original Ultimate Avengers since that one was pretty solid! (The Hulk fight there was intense!)

Overall 6/10