Catching Up on Reviews, Part 11 — Hulk and Skaar

Hulk #30.1 (Marvel) – Sometimes the simple stories are the best. This is a simple story that works very well. It’s a straight-ahead contest of the wills between Red Hulk and his former protege (from his life as Thunderbolt Ross). It starts out as a battle of strength and ends as a battle of intellect, something the best Hulk stories often do. The trio of Jeff Parker, Gabriel Hardman and Tom Palmer do a great job.

Story: 9 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.75

Hulk #31 (Marvel) – Parker’s battle-of-wits storyline continues and is still interesting, but Palmer drops off this issue and Hardman’s solo art isn’t as good as the duo was together. The back-up tale seems pointless.

Story: 8 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.75

Hulk #32 (Marvel) – The Nightmare On Elm Street nature of this ongoing storyline is interesting (Hulk can’t fall asleep or he dies), but I wonder if it’s being drug out too long. The Zero/One sidestory isn’t holding my attention at all.

Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5

Hulk #33 (Marvel) – Black Fog is a potentially awesome new villain, but I wonder if Hulk is his best potential opponent. And I will say that it seems like they’ve been teasing this Omegex character’s “imminent” arrival for three issues.

Story: 7.75 Art: 7.25 Overall: 7.5

Hulk #34 (Marvel) – Planet Red Hulk? Really? It seems like the writers who do the Hulk comics these days use too many retread plots and don’t try to come up with enough different ideas. I mean, Red Hulk is repeating a Green Hulk story that is only a few years old and he’s meeting some cast-offs from Avatar along the way. Not impressive. Carlo Pagulayan’s art is an improvement, though.

Story: 6.5 Art: 8 Overall: 7.25

Hulk #35 (Marvel) – So, let me get this straight, the Planet Red Hulk/Avatar story was so wrong that a Watcher came in and removed it from continuity? And Omegex arrives and is so strong and powerful that the same Watcher just removed Red Hulk from reality so Omegex would just go away. And Watchers can’t interfere? And this isn’t a deux ex machina how?

Story: 2 Art: 8 Overall: 5

Hulk #36 (Marvel) – Okay, the Planet Red Hulk nonsense is over. Good. MODOK is here. Bad. Patch Zircher is doing the art. Bad. Zzzax is here. Good.

Story: 7 Art: 6.5 Overall: 6.75

Hulk #37 (Marvel) – Red Hulk belongs in the Fear Itself story. He belongs in a match-up with the Thing. He belongs in a comic with better art than this.

Story: 8 Art: 7 Overall: 7.5

Incredible Hulks #622 (Marvel) – This is a series that is solid and entertaining, good writing and good art, without ever really being spectacular. This issue concludes the match-up with Hulk and the Greek gods. This one features the following awesome sound effects: “GDDAAANNG!” and “ZOOUNDDS!” It also features Hulk-vomit and vultures eating Hulk’s guts. Not exactly high art, but lots of fun.

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8

Incredible Hulks #623 (Marvel) – This series has to have more sound effects-per-panel than any comic going, what with all the Hulks. This one takes the Hulks to the Savage Land, so it’s filled with giant monsters and bugs, too. I don’t like Dale Eaglesham’s art as much as Paul Pelletier’s, but it’s still good enough for this comic.

Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7

Incredible Hulks #624 (Marvel) – I’m not a huge fan of most Savage Land tales but this one has Miek and lots of action, so it’s about as good as it gets outside of the X-Men’s travels to the South Pole.

Story: 7.5 Art: 7 Overall: 7.25

Incredible Hulks #625 (Marvel) – The Savage Land story ends with Hulk going bad before coming back to his senses to save the day. Not particularly original.

Story: 7 Art: 6.5 Overall: 6.75

Incredible Hulks #626 (Marvel) – Tom Grummett’s art is a step up, but I’m not sure I buy the “Hulks as secret agents” concept here and I definitely don’t like Tyrannus as a character, even though he seems out of his usual mode here. I’m not sure I buy the use of Betty Ross here, either.

Story: 7 Art: 8 Overall: 7.5

Incredible Hulks #627 (Marvel) – This issue effectively continues in the exact same vein as the previous issue, with the same strengths and weaknesses. Not a bad story, but not one I’ll remember a month from now.

Story: 7 Art: 8 Overall: 7.5

Incredible Hulks #628 (Marvel) – The action in this issue ramps up a bit, but I still don’t like the Pandora’s Box stuff.

Story: 7.25 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.5

Incredible Hulks #629 (Marvel) – As a lifelong fan of monthly comic issues, I’m starting to see the value of trade paperbacks. Too many issues seem like the are explicitly written to be part of a trade these days, which means that they are slow-paced and don’t stand on their own. A story that seems like it should be no more than two issues long is going on for at least twice that here.

Story: 7 Art: 8 Overall: 7.5

Incredible Hulks #630 (Marvel) – Pelletier is back, but this isn’t his best art. The story spins off in an interesting direction from the Pandora’s Box tale, going into the old “be careful what you wish for” trope. I like the idea of bringing back some of Hulk’s most powerful enemies at the end.

Story: 7.5 Art: 8 Overall: 7.75

Incredible Hulks #631 (Marvel) – What’s the deal with Fin Fang Foom being everywhere these days? I’m not sure I get the point of the character. Wendigo, on the other hand, is a creature I’ve always liked, so his presence is welcome.

Story: 8 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.25

Incredible Hulks #632 (Marvel) – Pelletier’s art isn’t quite as good here as it was in the last few issues, although it has its moments. Greg Pak’s writing continues to be interesting and entertaining without getting too deep, which I guess is why people read Hulk comics, right?

Story: 7.75 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.75

Incredible Hulks #633 (Marvel) – Pelletier does really good with the big action shots, but some of the facial close-ups rub me the wrong way. This issue has more Fin Fang Foom and more Tyrannus and, of course, more massive action and sound effects.

Story: 7.5 Art: 8 Overall: 7.75

Incredible Hulks Annual #1 (Marvel) – The conclusion of the Identity Wars trilogy isn’t quite as good as the beginning, with the art being subpar and the story not being as interesting, although I will give the issue kudos for the “Ghost Spider” pun and character.

Story: 7 Art: 6.5 Overall: 6.75

Skaar – King of the Savage Land #1 (Marvel) – Just what I was demanding more of — the Savage Land. I don’t buy the idea of a creature powerful enough to create the Savage Land, but somehow weak enough to be limited to possessing one of the Land’s inhabitants to come back in an attempt to take over the world, or something. Brian Ching’s art looks great in the outdoor and action sequences, less so in the close-ups and indoor scenes.

Story: 6 Art: 7 Overall: 6.5

Skaar – King of the Savage Land #2 (Marvel) – This issue offers more of the same — more inconsistent art (some of which is great, such as the massive shot of Devil Dinosaur), more of a story I could care less about and more of a pointless team-up of characters that don’t really belong together.

Story: 6.25 Art: 7.25 Overall: 6.75

Skaar – King of the Savage Land #3 (Marvel) – So the next logical step in a story about the Savage Land and Ka-Zar and Shanna the She-Devil and Skaar and Devil Dinosaur and Moonboy is…of course…Kid Colt Outlaw as an adult. Yep, that makes sense.

Story: 6 Art: 7.5 Overall: 6.75

Skaar – King of the Savage Land #4 (Marvel) – This issue has a couple of epic action shots but there really isn’t that much else in this series to make it compelling.

Story: 5.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 6.5

Skaar – King of the Savage Land #5 (Marvel) – A couple more random, rarely-used Marvel z-listers show up in this issue and the story, which seems to have had no real point up till now, ends in a completely random and unbelievable way. Oh, and that random ending makes Skaar the king of the Savage Land. Huh.

Story: 4 Art: 7 Overall: 5.5