Tag Archives: hulk

First Impressions Featuring: Spiders and Bats

Welcome to Graphic Policy’s First Impressions where we take a look at a handful of comics in order to discern just how accessible they are for new readers, because every comic could be somebody’s first – and that’s the first question that’ll be answered with this feature. The second is whether you should  start there because sometimes a book could be accessible to new readers but the quality could be less than average, and so each comic will receive a score out of ten based upon Graphic Policy’s typical ten point scale.

Where possible we’ll also be providing  recap of sorts for the relevant story beats up until the issue in question in order to help you figure out if the series is something you’re interested in, assuming we’ve read any part of the story thus far. All comics were provided for review purposes unless otherwise noted.


 

 

The Batman Who Laughs #1 (DC)
Can you start here?
Uh…. yeah
Recap & Review: 
There’s a lot to unpack with this character. A lot of history that I’m largely unfamiliar with (I read Dark Knights Metalbut very little else with the Joker-ized Batman since then), but you can get all you need to know from this issue. An issue that takes you on a wild journey that any Bat-Fan looking for something a little different can thoroughly enjoy.
Score: 8.8

Amazing Spider-Man #11 (Marvel)
Can you start here?
Yup
Recap & Review: 
For the most part, we all know the basics of who Spider-Man is. Down on his luck guy struggling to get by with villains galore getting in his way. Not to mention J Jonah Jameson constantly deriding the webslinger. Right? This issue is as classic a Spider-Man comic as I ever expected to read, and with no Spider-Geddon tie-in in sight!
Score: 8.5

Detective Comics #994 (DC)
Can you start here? Yes

Recap & Review: Assuming you know who Batman is, then you can easily start here. I had forgotten how much I enjoy reading Batman comics when he’s acting alone (and not written by Tom King). With only a few issues left till the big one, I’ll be hopping on board to see where this arc goes with part two in #995.
Score: 9.2

Miles  Morales: Spider-Man #1 (Marvel)
Can you start here?
Yes.
Recap & Review:  This is just phenomenal. Quite possibly the best thing I’ve read all month (and it’s a super easy jumping on point).
Score:
  9.7

Shazam #1 (DC)
Can you start here?
Yes.
Recap & Review: If you’ve ever had any curiosity around this character, then this book will help you discover more about DC’s Captain Marvel ahead of his upcoming movie with a comprehensive telling of his and the Marvel Family’s origin. There’s nothing new here (and honestly the New 52 version was superior), but it’s still worth a read if you’re curious.
Score:
 8.1

Immortal Hulk #10 (Marvel)
Can you start here?
 Not easily.
Recap & Review: Immortal Hulk is easily one of Marvel’s strongest books. Unfortunately, I’ve missed a few issues which means I had no idea what was happening going into the book, and a lot of the context was lost on me. That said, the quality shines through just enough to pull me back for the next issue.
Score:
  7.9

Unboxing: One:12 Collective Thor: Ragnarok Hulk

The One:12 Collective Ragnarok Hulk figure captures both the character’s uniquely massive physique and his richly detailed costume from Thor: Ragnarok from Marvel Studios. Because of Hulk’s larger than life presence he is made with a newly created One:12 Collective body. In addition to spiked battle axe and war maul, he features a crested helmet permanently affixed to his 2nd head portrait.

We open up and show off the figure so you can see what you get!

You can:
Join the waitlist at Mezco
Pre-Order from Big Bad Toy Store

Review: Immortal Hulk #4

Immortal Hulk (2018-) #4I’ve never been a big fan of the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo’s work in the MCU and the “Planet Hulk” arc are notable exceptions.) so it’s kind of a big deal when I say that Al Ewing, Joe Bennett, Ruy Jose, and Paul Mounts’ Immortal Hulk is one of my favorite current Marvel comics. In this series, Ewing and Bennett go the old school horror movie route and have the Hulk/Bruce Banner appear rarely and tell the story from the POV of the towns and people he affects. Most of Immortal Hulk #4 is told from the POV of intrepid journalist Jackie McGee, who doesn’t just want to write about the Hulk’s destruction, but get an interview with Bruce Banner himself. And if Banner is still MIA, she is perfectly fine with interviewing his old college roommate, Walter Langkowski aka Sasquatch of Alpha Flight.

Immortal Hulk #4 is predominantly a character study of Walter Langkowski, including almost watercolor flashbacks of his origin by Bennett, Jose, and Mounts. Bennett isn’t a flashy artist, and his steady photorealism with bursts of red or green from colorist Paul Mounts works well for the interview/road trip framing story. Bennett’s take on Langkowski is genial and energetic, and he and Ewing craft a balanced portrait of the NFL player/scientist who became a monster. And in a move that is best for McGee’s story as well as book that features the Hulk as a protagonist, Langkowski provides insight into Bruce Banner for a couple pages showing his insecurity and anger around the “jock” Langkowski and then cutting to a more humorous scene that reveals the origins of the Hulk’s trademark purple pants. The interview with Walter Langkowski shows that McGee is willing to go beyond the usual suspects (Thunderbolt Ross, Betty Ross) to get close to Bruce/The Hulk and find out the reason for his rampages.

Immortal Hulk #4 reminds me a lot of the original Universal The Wolf Man from 1941. It’s a werewolf movie, but director George Waggner spends quite a bit of time letting the audience get to know Larry Talbot Jr and humanizing him before he become a monster. Ewing and Bennett do the same with Walter Langkowski while connecting it to the larger nocturnal Hulk rampage narrative instead of going down a complete sidetrack to focus on a character who only appeared at the very end of Immortal Hulk #3. The recurring theme in Langkowski’s speech and actions is control. He has the right mix of brains and brawn to be Canada’s deterrent to the Hulk, he can control his transformations into Sasquatch, he can break up a bar fight. Well, maybe not that last part. With the help of rage filled reds from Mounts, Ewing and Bennett turn on the suspense when Langkowski is stabbed and badly injured by a couple angry men and goes to the hospital. But it ends up being the bite, the inciting incident responsible for his transformation into the monstrous, slavering Sasquatch because, like the Hulk, he is more of a monster at night.

Part road story, part monster story, Al Ewing, Joe Bennett, Ruy Jose, and Paul Mounts’ Immortal Hulk  is a master class in pacing and build up fleshing out characters, like Walter Langkowski, and then turning the tables because control is a myth when there is a gamma powered monster inside you.

Story: Al Ewing Pencils: Joe Bennett Inks: Ruy Jose
Colors: Paul Mounts Letters: Cory Petit
Story: 8.6 Art: 8.2 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

One:12 Collective Ragnarok Hulk Has Arrived!

In Marvel Studios’ Thor: Ragnarok, Hulk finds himself stranded on the planet Sakaar. Celebrated as an undefeated hero in their Coliseum, he spends two years without changing back into Dr. Banner. Now he must survive a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against his former ally and fellow Avenger – the mighty Thor!

The One:12 Collective Ragnarok Hulk figure captures both the character’s uniquely massive physique and his richly detailed costume. Because of Hulk’s larger than life presence he is made with a newly created One:12 Collective body. In addition to spiked battle axe and war maul, he features a crested helmet permanently affixed to his 2nd head portrait.

The One:12 Collective Ragnarok Hulk Figure figure features:

  • An all new One:12 Collective body accurately depicting the character’s massive physical build.
  • Two (2) head portraits.
  • Over 28 points of articulation
  • Hand painted authentic detailing
  • Over 20cm tall
  • Six (6) interchangeable hands including
    • One (1) pair of fists (L&R)
    • One (1) pair of posing hands style #1  (L&R)
    • One (1) pair of holding hands  (L&R)

Costume:

  • Film-accurate costume
  • Crested helmet as seen in Ragnarok (permanently affixed to 2nd head portrait)
  • Sculpted body armor
  • Sculpted cross-body belt
  • Sculpted shoulder guard
  • Sculpted wrist guard
  • Sculpted wrist armor
  • Sculpted shin armor
  • Sculpted sandals
  • Fabric armband
  • Fabric tunica with screened detailing
  • Fabric tasset with screened detailing
  • Fabric shorts with screened detailing

Accessories:

  •  One (1) spiked battle axe
  •  One (1) war maul
  •  One (1) One:12 Collective display base with logo
  •  One (1) One:12 Collective adjustable display post

Each One:12 Collective Ragnarok Hulk figure is packaged in a collector friendly box, designed with collectors in mind there are no twist ties for easy in and out of package display.

This One:12 Collective Ragnarok Hulk figure is available for pre-order through the Mezco Toyz website as well as TFAW and Entertainment Earth. It is expected to ship some time May-July 2018.

Movie Review: Thor: Ragnarok

Thor_Ragnarok_SDCC_PosterThor’s outings in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have been. . . uneven at best, to put it kindly. Indeed, Thor: The Dark World remains the unequivocal nadir of the MCU’s otherwise good track record. But given that and Avengers: Age of Ultron also being less than stellar — the last two times we saw our Asgardian hero — you might come in to this film with zero expectations.

Prepare to be blown away by one of the best movies in the MCU and certainly Thor’s best film appearance to date. 

Chris Hemsworth reprises his role as the Norse God of Thunder. Reunited with his presumed-dead brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), they track down their missing father Odin (Anthony Hopkins), who reveals a deep family secret — an older sister, Hela (Cate Blanchett), the goddess of death who has her sights set on the Asgardian throne.

Various misadventures find Thor reunited with fellow Avenger The Hulk / Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), against whom he is pitted in gladiatorial combat reminiscent of the storyline in Planet Hulk. They must escape back to Asgard to take on Hela with the help of a recalcitrant Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) who is probably the best part of the movie and given some of the most fun action pieces and one of the best character arcs of any person in the film.

But don’t be fooled into thinking most of this is a Planet Hulk movie. Its roots go far deeper than the relatively recent storyline. But if you take one part Planet Hulk, plus equal amounts Jack Kirby and Walt Simonson classic Thor, that’s the comics cocktail from which this springs.

The ringmaster for this particular circus is director Taika Waititi, who delivers something truly unexpected: different kind of Marvel movie. One of the most common complaints against the MCU is how similar / unoriginal / mass produced they feel. Thor: Ragnarok defies that claim with its humor, characters, visuals, and soundtrack.

This movie is funny. Of course, that should be of no surprise to those who know Waititi for his time working on Flight of the Conchords or his previous films What We Do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople. It’s a very specific humor which is undeniably Kiwi in its politeness, awkwardness, and wry sense of irony — and wholly different from Joss Whedon’s or James Gunn’s much broader humor in The Avengers or Guardians of the Galaxy films.

Waititi also brings along some familiar faces to those who know his other films, including Rachel House, who plays a lackey of Jeff Goldblum‘s The Grandmaster in Ragnarok, is very similar to the character she played in Wilderpeople. And Waititi himself shows up (as he is wont to do in his own films) as Korg, a rock-person gladiator who ends up with some of the funniest lines in the film.

Waititi’s work has always been good before, but he’s never been given this big of a canvas to paint on. Wilderpeople especially felt like they spent the majority of the movie’s budget on a climactic, over-the-top car chase full of explosions that would make Michael Bay blush. With the ability to really cut loose — and decades of Kirby and Simonson art to draw from — Waititi gives us some of the most astounding visuals of the MCU so far.

While not quite as mind-blowing as last year’s Doctor Strange, the visuals Waititi seems to be trying to give us a late 70’s/early 80’s psychedelic trip of a sci-fi movie, complete with a soundtrack by Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh — heavy on the Devo and John Carpenter synth vibe. Oh, and a heaping helping of Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song in case you couldn’t get enough of it from the trailer. Waititi also borrows (steals?) visually from fellow Marvel director Sam Raimi in fun and unexpected ways and includes perhaps the most interesting nod to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory ever.

But a film always comes down to its characters and its themes. And this is where Thor: Ragnarok perhaps shines above many of its other MCU peers. Every character in this film goes on a journey. Their stories, interactions, and dialogue are incredibly well-woven together. Everything has a purpose and eventual payoff. It sits alongside its peer Logan this year for being so well-crafted from a storytelling perspective. One tiny complaint is that it gets a little too bogged down in its own exposition in the middle. It could stand to lose five or seven minutes, but not much more.

And at the end you ask yourself, “So what?”

One of the great joys of being able to analyze movies is to ask these questions. Is this just a cashgrab to get butts in seats, buy popcorn, and sell merchandising? There’s something unique in here, which requires going into very minor spoiler territory. Skip the next 5 paragraphs if you don’t want to know any more.

[Begin Minor Spoilers]

The title Thor: Ragnarok is instructive. Ragnarok — the Norse apocalypse — is the destruction of the world, and in the case of the film and the comics, of Asgard. But it often signifies a form of creative destruction or nihilism necessary for a new chapter.

Hela comes to Thor and Loki replacing their ideas of what Asgard was — a beautiful civilization that loves peace — with the true history that she once rode with Odin making war on the 9 Realms to capture their treasure and slay millions of innocents. Odin cast her out when he decided to switch brands from bloodthirsty warmonger to benevolent father-king, but he kept the gold and trinkets that made him powerful. But after a lifetime, Odin passes onto Thor the wisdom that Asgard is not a place– it’s people. You could just as easily insert for “Asgard” there the names America, Britain, Spain . . . New Zealand.

And so here we are in 2017. Maybe we’re looking at the world with fresh eyes, that the advances of “the West” are built on a bloody history of colonialism, slavery, and other forms of oppression. Perhaps we’re now seeing the chickens of our nationalism, jingoism, sexism, and quest for economic hegemony coming home to roost in the the rise of forces and ideals we long thought dead or outmoded. Perhaps Ragnarok — some creative nihilism — is what we need to wipe the vestiges of former power away to be replaced by a more pure, benevolent rule of law.

Or maybe it’s just a story about two brothers, one of whom has a magic hammer, and it gets smashed by their mean old sister, so they have to recruit a giant green monster to help beat her up. Could be that, too.

ONE OTHER THING (Is it a spoiler to reveal what isn’t in a movie?) If you’ve got your hopes up to see the final infinity stone, just tamp those expectations down. You do get a couple glances at the Tesseract (aka the Space Stone), but we already knew about that one anyway, right? Right. Just enjoy the movie without worrying about it moving that particular storyline forward.

But, of course, make sure you stay through the credits, because. . . well, you know the drill.

[End Spoilers]

It’s likely unfair to castigate the MCU for having movies that feel like they came off an assembly line. While it may have been true previously (again, looking at you, Thor: The Dark World and Avengers: Age of Ultron), it’s worth noting how unique the Marvel Phase 3 films have been:

Captain America: Civil War is a philosophical political thriller and ethical Rorschach test with action set-pieces. (I still don’t trust anyone who is totally Team Iron Man)
Doctor Strange is a psychedelic mystic Hero’s Journey where the real enemy is ego.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a family drama where a reluctant patriarch has to lose the last vestiges of his mother and father to become the father he needs to be — and where a raccoon cries at the end as he wonders whether or not there is a god.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is a John Hughes movie with superheroes.
Black Panther looks to be the most unique Marvel movie of all.

There is a theme running through all of these: the act of creative destruction. In all of these films, our characters have to give up something they love or thought defined them in order to take the next step in their hero’s journey.

Further, family looms large in Cap: Civil War, Guardians 2, and Spider-Man. Family is at the core of Thor: Ragnarok, as it’s essentially sibling rivalry writ large with intergalactic consequences. It’s almost like. . . they actually plan these things out and are trying to say something more broadly about the human condition.

Kudos, Marvel. And Kudos (or whatever the New Zealand equivalent) to Taika Waititi. You have created something unique that blends together some of the best parts of the history of the character of Thor, given us astounding visuals, great music, jokes to make us laugh, action to thrill us, and even some nuggets to ponder.

You’ve given us a film finally worthy of the God of Thunder. Go see this on the biggest, brightest screen you possibly can. And then hug your family and friends. Because even in an apocalypse, home is not just a place– it’s people.

4.5 out of 5 stars

The Mighty Thor Returns to the Disney Store and Marvel Shop with a New Exclusive Hulk Figure!

As the highly anticipated film Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok heads towards theaters, fans have been hungry for more Thor products, including more of the Disney Store-exclusive Marvel Select Mighty Thor action figure. Now, with Ragnarok looming, Thor makes his prophesied return, alongside a brand-new, Disney Store-exclusive Marvel Select figure by Diamond Select Toys! That’s right, Thor has brought a friend from work back with him, and Planet Hulk is landing on Earth in October!

This exclusive figure of Planet Hulk depicts him in his gladiator armor from the character-redefining “Planet Hulk” storyline in The Incredible Hulk comics. Rocketed toward an extra-terrestrial paradise by Marvel’s greatest heroes, Hulk instead crash-lands on the cruel planet Sakaar, where he is forced to fight in the arenas for the enjoyment of the crowd. The figure stands approximately 10 inches tall (11.5 inches with his feather crest) and features 16 points of articulation, allowing him to strike a wide variety of combat-ready poses. Accessories include an 8-inch-long battle axe and a 5-inch tall spiked shield.

Pre-orders for Planet Hulk will open on September 12, 2017 at marvelshop.com and disneystore.com, and figures will be available at U.S. Disney Store locations by October 2. Later in October, the figure will also become available in European Disney Stores, as well as through disneystore.eu.

 

Preview: Hulk #10

Hulk #10

(W) Mariko Tamaki (A) Julian Lopez, Francesco Gaston (CA) John Tyler Christopher
Rated T+
In Shops: Sep 13, 2017
SRP: $3.99

• Jen Walters used to fight for justice in the courtroom as a lawyer and outside of it as the super hero known as She-Hulk. But after the events of Civil War, Jen’s Hulk persona has changed, seemingly putting the super hero part of her life out of reach…
• But a new drug has hit the streets, turning people into monsters, and Jen can’t help but be pulled into the craziness of it all…
• Is She-Hulk back? Or is her new Hulk a new breed of hero?

Preview: Hulk #9

Hulk #9

(W) Mariko Tamaki (A) Julian Lopez (CA) John Tyler Christopher
Rated T+
In Shops: Aug 09, 2017
SRP: $3.99

VALLEY OF THE HULKS!
• When a drug hits the street that publicly transforms a man into a Hulk-like monster, JENNIFER WALTERS steps in to investigate!
• Will Jennifer find an antidote to the transformation, or will the drug – and its horrific effects – continue to spread?
• Guest-starring PATSY WALKER, A.K.A. HELLCAT!

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Paul

Top Pick: Jean Grey #4 (Marvel) – Jean Grey is doing everything she can to see that she doesn’t suffer under the power of the Phoenix, like her “other” self did…and I am here for all of it! This has been a really great series with a strong lead character who isn’t taking crap from anyone, especially a cosmic fire bird. Her search for answers has been fun, and I am really looking to the inevitable showdown with the big bird itself.

Hulk #8 (Marvel) – This series has been a great read, following Jen as she struggled to keep her anger in check, but now that her Hulk has been released, it’s going to be more interesting to see how she learns to balance life as Jennifer and her new Hulk persona, or if one will take complete control. If you’re not already reading this book, I recommend jumping on board.

Weapon X #5 (Marvel) – This has been an exciting crossover with Old Man Logan, his team and Amadeus Cho. The team is tracking down the Weapon X program to shut it down for good, and along the way we’re getting some decent character interaction and action. I am excited to see if Weapon X’s ‘batch H’ prototype is released, because that will be a showdown not to be missed.

 

Brett

Top Pick: American Way: Those Above and Below #1 (Vertigo) – John Ridley is back and returns to the series he completed 10 years ago. It’s 1972 and tensions are rising in this heroes in the real world take that blew me away with its first issue.

Catalyst Prime: Accell #2 (Lion Forge Comics) – I loved the first issue and can’t wait to read the second. Just a lot of fun.

Centipede #1 (Dynamite Entertainment) – I know this being on here might seem crazy, but the first issue is a lot of fun and hits the right buttons for us that grew up playing Atari.

Dark Days: The Casting #1 (DC Comics) – A bit heavier in DC lore than I like, but it’s setting up what feels like one hell of a mystery and one hell of a battle to come.

S##t and P##s (Retrofit Comics) – This indie publisher has never disappointed and this is no exception. A dark journey into a sewage processing plant built on top of the ruins of a failing civilization. The custodian of this horrid place encounters all types of things that should not be in this science fiction adventure.

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