Hulk, Vol. 1 by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness: A Review

One of the worst comic books ever written. An absolute train wreck. A crime against humanity.

I have read all of these terms being used to describe Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness’ Hulk. Hell, the second one was said by Ron on one of the Pick of the Week Podcasts when the book came up in discussion. With all the online fury directed at the book I dismissed it and moved on.

But then I read Augie De Blieck Jr.’s excellent review of the first hardcover collection and it made me reconsider everything. He made Hulk sound like the kind of over-the-top action thrill ride that doesn’t concern itself too much with the details, and with continuity, and with the things that most comic book readers cling to as sacred, and just sets out to have fun. And I like fun. After finishing Augie’s review I immediately pre-ordered the softcover on Amazon.

A few weekends ago, Josh, Ron and I were sitting in Ron’s apartment in San Francisco watching movie trailers on the Apple TV. We had pretty much exhausted all of the available trailers that we hadn’t seen when Ron shouted from the back to play the Crank 2 trailer. Ron loves Jason Statham. Ron loved Crank. Ron is super excited for Crank 2. We played the trailer. Now, I love Jason Statham as well, but I have never seen Crank. I do know the jist of the plot and the plot for Crank 2 seems 100x more ridiculous and outlandish. Josh made note of the ridiculousness of it as we watched the trailer. But then an interesting thing happened. Something ridiculously over-the-top-that-it’s-funny happened and we all laughed. And then we talked about how these movies know exactly what they are and don’t strive to be anything other than big, dumb, crazy over-the-top fun. They revel in it. They own it. And in that sense they are awesome. Hell, even Josh conceded the point.

I remembered that conversation as I finished reading Hulk, Vol. 1: Red Hulk, and I’m honestly surprised that Ron doesn’t love this book. Hulk is the comic book equivalent of the big, dumb, action movies he has a soft spot for. The ones that know they aren’t reinventing the wheel or delving into new depths of the human psyche. It’s a rollercoaster action movie and it revels in it. Hulk doesn’t pretend to do anything else than entertain and boy does it ever deliver.

For a comic book that has taken so much heat for being the worst thing that mankind has ever produced since telemarketing, I was quite surprised at the level of craft in this book. First of all, the book looks fantastic. I’m a big fan of Ed McGuinness’ work and I don’t believe that I’ve seen him on interiors on a regular basis since his stint on Superman. He does big, dynamic action better than almost anyone else in comics. His figures are broad and bulky and bursting with muscles. He is the perfect guy to draw The Hulk.

Now, I haven’t really read a whole lot of comics from Jeph Loeb in the last few years, but this was easily the most fun I’ve had reading one of his books in a long time. In fact, this felt like the Jeph Loeb glory days from 1999-2001 when it seemed like Loeb was writing every big book coming out from Marvel and DC.

The central story in Hulk, Vol. 1: Red Hulk revolves around a mystery. A mysterious Red Hulk has appeared and as the story opens he has killed The Abomination (thank god). Who is this Red Hulk whose steps are so powerful that they turn bits of the earth into glass? The only thing we know is that he’s not Bruce Banner because they’ve got him locked up in a secure facility. This particular arc posits a few possibilities as to who Red Hulk might be, but in the end we are still left wondering, which is nice because I really enjoy a good mystery. Who can stop the Red Hulk? Well, just about everyone including General Ross, Doc Samson, Rick Jones, She Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Namor, The Human Torch, and Ares give it a try. But of course it comes down to the inevitable slugfest between The Hulk and Red Hulk.

The cavalcade of guest stars was actually something I found pleasantly surprising. The problem I tend to have with The Hulk is that my favorite version of him is when he’s the raging force of nature — I don’t like my Hulk to be too articulate — and you can’t really focus a book around that character. So any Hulk book needs either interesting stuff for Banner to do (as was the case for the first year of Bruce Jones’ run on The Incredible Hulk) or you need a fun supporting cast. Here we’ve got a fun supporting cast focusing mainly on Iron Man, Maria Hill, She Hulk, General Ross, and Doc Samson. Set between the time after Civil War but before Secret Invasion, Iron Man personally directs the full force of S.H.I.E.L.D. to hunt down Red Hulk and I had forgotten how much fun it was to hate fascist Tony Stark. I actually clapped when he got clocked by Red Hulk. It is entirely possible that some of the guest star appearances or characterizations don’t match up to what was going on elsewhere in the Marvel Universe at that time, but I don’t care. That’s the beauty of the trade paperback — it’s all here and self-contained and I don’t need to worry about any other books. My only concern is with the story that is happening on the page.

I really, really enjoyed this book and I’m now eagerly awaiting the next installment.

After finishing this trade and thinking back to the Crank 2 memory and then ruminating on the vitriol that is directed at Hulk and then trying to reconcile that with the monster sales numbers that this book does — Hulk #8 sold 90,000+ in the direct market — and I’m at somewhat of a loss. Worst comic book ever? That’s an astonishing statement to me. I’ve read some bad comic books in my time, and this doesn’t even come close to being in the conversation. There are tons of bad comics out there. There are even more just flat out boring comic books out there. Hulk is not one of those books.

So why all the hatred? A few weeks ago on the Pick of the Week Podcast, and before having read this trade, I wondered if all the internet hate was because Hulk sounded like a book more concerned with telling an entertaining story to an audience whose increasingly primary concern seems to be how well any given comic book fits into an un-fittable continuity rather than how good the story is. I do think there is an element of that in play, as well as a knee jerk reaction to blast anything written by Jeph Loeb no matter what the actual merits of the story are. Hulk is also a book that thumbs its nose at the conventions of the Marvel Universe. A lot of people complained when The Watcher showed up only to get promptly laid out by Red Hulk. I thought it was a really funny scene. There certainly seems to be an element of send-up in these pages. A lot about Hulk is a reminder that before we started analyzing every panel of every comic book for continuity implications like they were frames in the Zapruder film, they used to be primarily about fun.

I enjoyed Hulk. It was fun. It made me laugh. It made me want to read more. Hulk is a rock-em, sock-em slugfest layered over an intriguing mystery with fantastic art. Is it perfect? God, no. Are there some groaner lines of dialogue? Sure, but few are the comics (or movies or television or…) that don’t have one or two eye rollers. Am I confused as to why Doc Samson had short brown hair in the beginning and then long green hair in the end? Yes. But in the end the good stuff far, far outweighed the not so good.

Hulk doesn’t take itself too seriously. It just wants to be a good time, and in that sense it succeeds spectacularly. And when then next volume comes out I’ll be there with little green bells on.

 

Comments

  1. I’ve been hearing similar things about Hulk.  ‘Horrible’, ‘Garbage’, ‘Oh. The. HUMANITY!!!’ etc.  I checked out the first couple issues, but dropped it as other things grabbed my attention.  Lately  I’ve started hearing about how it’s just big, dumb fun (like a lot of books should be).  I like my intelligent Hulk (Planet Hulk is most certainly my favorite Hulk story, even when held against some of the definitive arcs), but sometime the hulking green ignoramous should be just that – dumb.  Recent sentiments on the issues as an overarching story have been that it is fun.  Not smart, not deep, just pop-corny fun.  Grabbed the trade and it’s in my stack.  This review has me looking forward to it even more.  Cheers.

  2. * Clap, Clap, Clap.

    Well said sir.

  3. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Aw, fun is the worst.  Not a fun fan.  

  4. I have to agree with everything just said…i read the trade in one short sitting and loved it! Great art, funny, fast moving storytelling, the scene with the Watcher actually made me laugh out loud. Now to be fair i haven’t read the Hulk on a regular basis since the days of Peter David, so i really don’t know what happened in the big storylines of the last couple of years…and the fact that recent continuity has been for the the large part ignored by the book is what seems to be getting most peoples backs up…but you know what…I like it!…there i said it…it’s a fun, dumb (in a smart way!), and very entertaining, in fact it’s everything i love about mainstream Marvel titles. I think the Hulk is one of the most difficult titles to write for on a monthly basis, much like Superman…a great character of course, but where do you go with it month in month out without it becoming very boring very quickly, the Hulk as a title has had a rocky road since day one for just this reason…anyway the point i’m making is if you don’t like it….well don’t read it, i didn’t really care for Bruce Jones’ run on the title…so you know what…i didn’t buy it! and as far as continuity goes…in the words of Alan Moore "This is an imaginary story…but then again aren’t they all"

  5. I’m with Paul.

  6. Hulk fact: According to Stan Lee…the Hulk was always meant to be red, the only reason he’s green is down to the fact that the printer said he had a good vibrant consistant green!

  7. Conor: I love you.  Exactly how I feel about Loeb’s Hulk book.  People worry too much about everything these days.  It’s probably the thing by Loeb I’ve enjoyed the most.  Not really saying much, but still.

  8. I’m so sick of writers trying to tell smart stories! Fun should be dumb.

    Wait, I don’t think that. It’s just that half of my brain is malfunctioning after the seizure I just had.

  9. Just… imagine they were pulling this shit with Batman, and it was the only Batman book being published anywhere, with no end in sight. You would never stop vomiting, would you?

    I actually like the Hulk as a character. I have seen the Hulk put to good use, and how good a Hulk comic could be, and instead I get Watcher punches. When it comes out.

    The fact that I can’t stand this grade school puppet show comic is not because I’m some continuity obsessed dateless wonder who can’t stand to see conventions flaunted, and it’s not because I hate fun. If I never hear the phrase "Big, Dumb Fun" again for the rest of my life, however, I will die a happy man. Is that really a problem we’re all having? An insufficient amount of stupidity in our entertainment? Too much highbrow thinky stuff in our comics? Really??

  10. The Peter David Hulk fans are shaking their combined fists at you, Conor…

    I am a loud critic of this book, yet I still pick up every issue.  The thing that drives me nuts about this book is that it’s so close to being fantastic.  The art is some of the best Hulk art I’ve ever seen.  There are elements to the story that are legitamatly fun.  The Red Hulk character is great and has a lot of potential.  Loeb really nails the feels of all the characters that appear in the book.

    There’s a lot of great stuff in there…but then there’s the over the top corniness that takes the fun right out of it.  "Oh the humanity!"  A-bomb.  The Watcher.  All of this stuff(and other things like them) just don’t need to be there.  To a certain extent, it feels like Jeph Loeb giving Marvel/Hulk fans the middle finger.

  11. Ultimates 3?!?!  Ultimatum?!?!  These are the worst comics in the world!!  No seriously they are.

    Red Hulk has never been bad.  It was always good, thanks to the art.

    Ultimates 3 has so many bad things about it.  Pointless death with no impact, horribly written and drawn.  Obscene and stupid dialogue.  Horrible ideas.  Lame cameos.  Lame villains.  Freaking terrible.  Everything you would not want in an ultimate comic.  And nothing like Red Hulk, very different.

  12. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Just one point. You enjoyed the book, which is the most important thing, here.  And I’m glad you did, because you’re my friend and I’m happy that you gleaned some entertainment out of this.

    BUT

    You’re arguing that the opposite of pure fun is anal retentive continuity obsession. I agree to an extent, but I don’t think the opposite of big stupid fun is continuity.  It’s…smart writing.  And thoughtful writing doesn’t strictly mean continuity obsession.  JSA Liberty Files has even less to do with continuity than Red Hulk, but it’s smart too.  

    Just a minor sticking point, but the either/or of it came up throughout the review.   

  13. what bothers me that after we have a big (but not so great) crossover mini-series called World War Hulk out of it we get;

    Hulk – which seems to follow almost no continuity with the currrent arc.

    Skaar – Hulk’s son out in a distant planet.

    The Incredible Herc – Which is one of my favorite books but doesn’t have any Hulk in it.

    so it was kind of Disappointing to not have a hulk book continuing the story.

  14. @Jimski & Paul: Not once did I say that HULK was stupid.  It’s not stupid at all.  Big dumb fun =/= stupid or not smart writing.  It’s quite smartly written big dumb fun.

  15. Using all of your smarts to create something dumb is not better.

  16. @Jimski: Sure it is, if it is enjoyable to people.  HULK is enjoyable to many, many people.  There is much evidence of it on this page.

  17. Oh, I’m not even going anywhere near "if a lot of people like it, it must be good."

  18. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    So, the difference between "big dumb fun" and …other books that are good…is…."big dumb fun" books are not concerned with continuity? Or logic?   

    Dumb and stupid are synonyms, in my experience.  I’m just trying to figure out the distinction.   

  19. @Jimski: A lot of people like it because it’s good.  I just spent 1,000+ words saying it’s good.  I dont like things that are bad.

  20. @KickAss

    The worst comics in the world?  Come on, like Conor above, I too have read some horrible comics (US1 comes to mind).  I have been a weekly reader since roughly 1981 and did not drop comics in the mid-90s!  Trust me, there were some really bad comics published by the big 2 in the 80s and Image and the Image clones (as well as the big 2) in the 90s.

    Perhaps these comics were the biggest disapointment to you or the worst comics that you have read. 

    I read Unlimates3 #1 and did not like it, so I stopped buying.  I did not try Ultimatum.  I believe in the policy of voting with your wallet.

    Bean

  21. On reactive Jeph Loeb hatred: I didn’t like Ultimates 3 either, and yet I wonder now if that’s because it was such a 180 turn from what Millar and Hitch had done rather than being bad on its own merits.  It was a culture shock, going from the darker conspiracy-type stories to this bombastic, everything-and-the-kitchen-sink type fun storytelling.  Could the same be true here in Rulk, which sounds like the latter style?  Discuss. 

  22. No no! It is I who like good comics, and I don’t like this. Pistols at dawn!

  23. @Jimski: Hulk Hands would probably be more appropriate.

  24. @Jimski and Conor – It seems that this just boils down to feelings about the title character.  Jimski obviously likes/loves the Hulk (just look at his picture) and because this is the only Hulk book, and it is not taking itself seriously, it bothers him.  Conor doesn’t seem to be a huge Hulk fan (me neither), so he doesn’t mind if the book is silly and finds it enjoyable (probably because it isn’t taking itself seriously).

    I don’t mean to put words in anyones mouth, so I apologize if I insulted/misrepresented either of you, but I think Jimski’s example of only one Batman book that is intentionally not serious is a very good one.  I would be extremely pissed at DC for doing that and would probably not buy the book and dislike it (on principle) even if it was considered enjoyable by casual Batman fans.

    Personally, I couldn’t care less about the Hulk as a character, but also find the book utterly boring.  I bought the first 5 issues or so and simply dropped it.

  25. It seems like Jimski, Paul and others are saying it’s a bad thing that people are writing things tailored to what people want.  Crank 2, Hulk, and others are targeted at a specific audience, there’s nothing wrong with that.  There’s lots of comics out there for everyone, not everyone will like the same things.

    As for Jimski talking about a Batman written like the Hulk, I’d read it and love it, but I also loved the old Adam West show.

  26. stuclach has a point though, I’m not a die-hard fan of any character.  If the story isn’t interesting to me I’ll drop whoever and not mind until I hear things turn around.

    There have been runs people didn’t enjoy for every character/team/series, I’m sure SOMEONE loves that arc or team you hate, just like with Hulk.  

    Comic fans seem to have huge entitlement issues

  27. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @Gobo – I think it’s fair to be disappointed. It’s only natural.  But I do agree that when comic fans get angry out of some sense of entitlement, it’s sort of absurd.  

  28. @Paul I don’t hold it against anyone to be disappointed in Hulk, I get completely why anyone wouldn’t enjoy it.  People who react so strongly saying it’s "The Worst Thing Ever" and stuff are blowing it WAY out of proportion though, well beyond disappointment.

  29. @Luthor: I’ve read most of Peter David’s INCREDIBLE HULK and it’s fantastic.  I’d buy up a PETER DAVID INCREDIBLE HULK OMNIBUS in a heartbeat.  This is just different. 

  30. My biggest beef with RULK was the clunky old man trying to sound hip and relevant dialogue. I did enjoy the action and there was some fun to be had it just had a lot of moments where I rolled my eyes. I have planned on reading it in trade though just for the ‘fun’ that is contained and the gorgeous art.

  31. I think its a fun book and that’s good enough for me.  Bravo Conor for giving it a second look

  32. I just don’t like the Hulk…never have.

  33. I do think the main contention people have with this book is what lead up to it. We have World War Hulk which ended up mattering not one bit. We like to see consequences to things like NYC being turned into a wasteland and Madison Square Garden becoming an arena. So after all of that we want some aftermath.

    Instead we get the only Hulk book on the market throwing a giant middle finger to the event and the two years of story that lead up to it. I read the first three issues of Hulk and just finally couldn’t stand that it wasn’t going anywhere. Not that it wasn’t going anywhere compared to WWH but it wasn’t going anywhere in its own story.

    The best analogy I can think of is imagine instead of us getting Battle for the Cowl to wrap up the two to three years of stories we’ve seen in Batman, the only bat book coming out was All-Star Batman and Robin. It is another dumb fun out of continuity book, but bat fans would be throwing just as big, if not an even bigger tantrum.

  34. For Hulk fans that aren’t a fan of his titie, there are other books out with similar themes and concepts that are worth checking out.

     As previously menitoned, ‘Skaar, Son of Hulk’ and ‘Incredible Herc’ are great and definately worth checking out.  Skaar, in particular, is about to become a major player in the Marvel U proper and the next few issues are going to be really good jumping on points.  Incredible Herc is, in my opinion, everything that ‘Hulk’is not.  It’s big guys punching each other in the face but done in a fun, funny and smart way.

    I’d also give a look at DC’s Solomon Grundy miniseries that just started.  Since the Hulk first appeared, people have pointed out the similarities to Grundy and this current series seems to be pushing that button hard.

  35. @Conor What makes this different for you than WORLD WAR HULK? Is is it simply because the later tried to be serious with actual stakes which were never adressed and wastherby disingenious or insincere?

    I’ll admit up front that I haven;t read either book but,  insofar as they have been described  to me, it seems like both stories are attemptinog to adhere to the "Big Dumb Action Movie" philosopht. There are elements  such it Red Hulk Gun vs Dr Strange’s "Hulking out" which seem comporable. 

    Care to elaborate? 

  36. I appreciated that you didn’t use the name "Rulk" in your review.

  37. Marvel has also put out a bunch of supplemental Hulk books recently that are something akin to "Tales of the Hulk."  A lot of those have been really good, featuring stories written by guys like Peter David, Roy Thomas and Fred Van Lente(who is the guy I would put on this book after Loeb leaves).

  38. I think my mian problem with the book upon reading this review is not the big dumb action but the fact that i don’t really care about any of the characters, at least in regards to their situation in this book. In Crank the lead character was likeable and i was rooting for him. In this book i have no one to root for. Rulk is the villain, Hulk is just mad at hime, and i keep thinking that tony and maria have better things to do. It’s not that its bad, it’s just that if i was halfway through an issue and the book burst into flames, i wouldn’t really care that much that i missed the ending. But the art is gorgeous. Just plain gorgeous.
  39. Imagine getting 90,000 people to listen to you and then, getting that spotlight, deciding to make them watch you go down in the basement and play Xbox and smoke weed. All day.

    And then all 90,000 people think it’s great.

    How is that not depressing?

  40. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Let’s not drag Kevin Smith into this. 

  41. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Wait.  Replace Kevin Smith with Stan Lee in the above post.  It’s funnier.  

  42. I’m not entirely sure what Jimski’s point is.

  43. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    He’s saying Loeb, historically, has written some intelligent scripts (editor’s note: allegedly).  And now he’s writing something that is intentionally simple, base, and lacking in substance.  Even though he’s (allegedly) capable of something richer.  

    Me and Jimski are wearing our puffiest shirts today.  Gesturing with handkerchiefs and pinky fingers.   

  44. @23skidoo: The Hulk was originally intened to be gray. That’s why he was originally…gray. And I heard the printer told Stan the gray wouldn’t print consistantly, so Stan simply told him to change it to green (as there were not many popular green comic characters at the time). All this was on the "Mutants, Monsters, and Marvels" DVD, where he was interveiwed by Kevin Smith.

  45. So here’s the thing: My nine year old kid LOVES this comic. We anxiously anticipate each new issue and he typically reads it out loud in the car on the way home from the shop. The "guest star" element to the book is key, there is a "more heroes for your dollar" element to the book my wallet likes.

    I think Connor said this book is the "Anti-Fanboy" comic in one of his podcasts, and I agree. Continuity can be a drag and is unecessary when the formula for this book seems to be: Create a premise  for a fight… then fight!

    This is the way to get kids reading comics again, stop getting bogged down with continuity and 30-something opinions and put out a fun book with great art and just enough story to keep the fight going. I have news for you guys, kids don’t care about stuff that happened in comics twenty years ago. Including that stuff in today’s stories makes comics less accessible to new readers. "Hulk" is an example of a book that turns the clock back a little.

    This book reminds me of Thor in the late eighties Ron Frenz days when Thor was battling a big baddie every issue, and was teamed up with Herc, Cap, Spidey, Daredevil, etc every other issue.

    GREAT STUFF!

  46. Paul – You must have read the Loeb and Sale’s color books. And For ALL Seasons. No allegedly about it (authors note: I realize your "author’s notes" are undoubtedtly partially ironic)  Also his Superma/Batmanwith Ed is also quite good. (at least what I read of it) is fun and intelligent, 

  47. @P dizzle fo’ shizzle-Don’t forget your monocle!

  48. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @Dave – Not to get too far off topic, I’ve read Long Halloween and For All Seasons (not my bag), Hush and early Batman/Superman (really not my bag), Fallen Son and Heroes (not even recognizable as a bag). I’m not rushing out to try the color books, but if I have the opportunity I’ll check them out.  

    He wrote a decent episode of Lost.  I’ll give him that.   

  49. Just like Loeb’s ‘HULK’ I couldnt finish your review of this.

    All I have to say is that you lost any crediblity as a comic book critic and fan Mr. Kilpatrick. Like I’ll believe in your pick of the weeks or opinions anymore.

  50. I bought the first couple of issues of the book, and I thought it was a fun read, but dropped it because there are too many good books vying for my dollars. However, my son (8) took a real interest in the character, so I bought him the hardcover as a Christmas gift. He loved it. I recently showed him the Defenders/Offenders issue while in the comic shop, and I asked if he wanted to buy that issue or wait for the next full volume to come out. He opted for the trade. Yup — he’s 8 and he’s a trade-waiter. 

    This reminded me of how I was at that age: I would flip through the spinner rack and select my comics based on what books had the best/most fight scenes. Or the most interesting guest stars. And that’s always been an underlying staple of pop entertainment — keeping you hooked with guest stars, status quo changes, dynamic fight scenes, etc. 

  51. I believe this industry is driving to move forward from the horrible 90’s era. Trying to tell better stories and try not to be over the top as it used to be. It’s trying to evolve and try to be more serious in tone….

    But what this book does is the exact opposite and it proves my other theory on comic book fans. No matter what you do, no matter how smart of a writer you are; all you need to do is show big muscled men fight one another and a pair of big breasts once and awhile and everyone follows you.

    This books makes people dumber and it proves just how little progress the industry has made. Shame on anyone who recommends this book and thinks it’s ‘fun’. Your just hurting the industry rather then helping it.

  52. @TheNextChampion: quit agreeing with me! It’s freaking me out!

  53. I wasn’t going to pick this up, but now —  I’m very interested.

    I think BIG FUN is missing from a lot of storylines these days.  Too bad Loeb couldn’t apply the same "big fun" to HEROES before he was let go.  I think that’s exactly what’s missing from that show… just plain simple, good guy vs. bad guy, fun. 

  54. This book is why have no faith in the general publics taste, I’ts like seeing Scary/Date/Epic Movie

     or someother piece of shlock going to the top of the Box Office chart 

  55. It’s not comic fans who like big fights and explosions with amusing guest stars.  It’s most people on the planet, TV, movie, comics all have a ton of content that follow this formula. 

    There are room for big, fight-centric stories with mass-appeal alongside more serious/thoughtful stories.  

    Ideally I like a balance of both, but if I had to choose between something dumb but fun to something thoughtful and tedious I’ll chose dumb/fun every single time.

    It sure as hell isn’t making anyone dumber or hurting the industry in any way, if a book is popular and sells well it HELPS the industry.

  56. This just in: men who find beautiful women ‘attractive’ are setting back the feminist movement!

    C’mon, that’s a silly argument. In a world where The Dark Knight is one of the most popular movies around and Watchmen tops Amazon’s entire book list, I do NOT believe that a "dumb fun" book hurts the industry.

  57. Or, to Conor’s point: Crank 2 does not hurt the film industry. Same diff.

  58. Or, what Gobo already said. 😀

  59. @jimski: Hey at least we naysayers got a major contributor to the website on our side!

    I know conor is gonna come busting in here and say something like: ‘Well ‘Hulk’ is continually one of the most sold series every month. So obviously that reflects the popularity blah blah blah blah’….

    Well know this whenever sales and top 10 charts come into play. Those top 10 charts should reflect on a whole the fanbase of comics. What’s usually been on those top 10 charts recently? Either Secret Invasion or Hulk and nothing else. So what does that tell the majority of the public? We, as fans, only like big stupid fun books with more action and girls then anything remotely having an IQ higher then 70.

    Most critics usually pan this series without a second thought. Other then conor’s (at least the only positive thing about the review is that it’s) smart review for a retarded book most positive reviews come from people who dont even know how to type let alone speak in sentences. Proving yet again how dumb and nerdy the fanbase is to the overwhelming majority.

    Oh yeah this is also a great kids book…..with all the sex jokes and big tits and all that good stuff Loeb puts in week after week.

  60. @gobo: It helps the industry economically but it hurts it overall with the general view of what comic fans really are.

  61. Sidenote: when I rent Netflix movies, I will 99% of the time, watch the action flick, the horror flick or the cheesy comedy BEFORE I watch the Oscar-nominated, critically acclaimed arthouse drama. I know I will like the arthouse drama. I know I may scoff at the bad horror flick and roll my eyes at the terrible action flick. But… I repeat this formula over and over. As does, I believe, most of humanity.

    Except Paul, but then, he’s not really human after all. I’ve seen the schematics.

  62. @TNC-If anything, it gives Conor MORE credibility.  He is able to approach a book and critique it based on what it is, not on what it isn’t.  Plus he isn’t afraid to tell you what he thinks about it, no pussyfooting here!  Plus I am far more interested in reading a positive Hulk review than a negative one.  

    You don’t go into Transporter 2 expecting it to be Godfather 2.  That doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to enjoy both.

  63. @TNC Unfortunately or not, Hulk/Secret Invasion fans ARE what most comic fans are.  Why should we by lying about it.  It’s not just comic fans, most PEOPLE are more into action movies, romantic comedies and other escapist style entertainment.  The vast majority of people have, as far as I know,  always preferred to go and watch something they find fun that takes them out of their everyday lives than something that teaches or depresses them. 

    There is nothing wrong with that.

     

  64. @TheNextChampion: The problem with the 90s was that the entire market was flooded with over the top the stories. I don’t see any problem with a few books being over the top now though. There is a market for that.

    As a film major I’m very critical of a lot of movies. It’s hard for me to watch something that isn’t done as the best it could be. It’s why films like 300 and Tranformers bore me at best and irritate me at most. I can’t even see them as fun. But I do love a fun, campy, over-the-top film like The Rocky Horror Picture Show. 

    And that’s how I see the current Hulk: Fun. When it goes back to more serious stories, I’ll be happy then too, but I’m enjoying this while it lasts.

    This isn’t to say Jeph Loeb’s run on Hulk has been great. It’s gone into Transformer territory more than once, but more often than not I think it’s solid and enjoyable.

  65. I think the importance of this book is being blown way out of proportion. I don’t think a non-comic book reader is going to judge a whole medium of entertainment off of one Jeph Loeb Hulk book.

  66. @drake: Yes cause a man who loved Batman RIP and Final Crisis doesnt have his rep hurt when he whole heartily recommends the dumbest book in history.

    @gobo: Yes there is something wrong with that. You can be in denial and think that’s what the fans what. But most writers out today are trying to not tell simple, retarded stories like Jeph Loeb. Grant Morrison, Geoff Johns, Paul Cornell, Paul Dini, and anyone else that I enjoy have told marvelous stories. You see I dont mind balls to the walls action or just fun in my comics. I do want that from time to time. I just want the writers to tell it in a smart manner and not act like the general comic fan population are general retards who only want to see big fight and tits. Jeph Loeb insults anyone, even the noob of comic fans by dishing out something that would only be acceptable in either 1960 or 1990. At least the majority of the industry is trying to act smarter, while fans of HULK can just get dumber.

    @realsuperjosh: I dont see fun in HULK. All I saw was a writer who suddenly went from one of the best in the industry to writing now possibly the dumbest comic in the history of comics. Again I dont mind fun or simple stories. But Loeb has made this comic too damn simple. I want more out of my comics then Hulk smashing things. Someone said it up above and I agree; Peter David made the perfect Hulk comic. He had a lot of smashing and fighting but brought a good sense of thought into his stories and towards the end of his run the Hulk became smarter then ever before. What has Loeb brought to the table in 10-11 issues? Just the same old punch this and punch that!

  67. @TNC – Also: please don’t bother trying to tell anyone what’s appropriate for kids. Every kid is different. Many books I read as a kid had sly sexual innuendo that I never picked up on. 8-9 year old kids are a lot smarter and more savvy than folks give ’em credit for. Parenting and reading with your kids is a case-by-case thing.

    And big tits are, quite frankly, just a part of anatomy, and I don’t find McGuinness’ femaie figures any more exaggerated than his maie ones.

  68. @daccampo: You gotta be kidden…..Your reading a book by Ed McGuinness and you dont think his females are that exaggerated?

    I must’ve missed Maria Hill’s plastic surgery then.

  69. Dude, READ: "…I don’t find McGuinness’ femaie figures ANY MORE EXAGGERATED THAN HIS MALE ONES."

    ALL of his characters are exaggerated.

     

  70. "All I have to say is that you lost any crediblity as a comic book critic and fan Mr. Kilpatrick. Like I’ll believe in your pick of the weeks or opinions anymore."

     This quote is the epitome of why people make fun of us Comic Book fans.

     Anyhow…

    I shake my head when people look down their nose at this book like it’s beneath them, yet turn to their copy of Captain America like it’s freaking Dostoevsky. Give me a break people, since when is a comic book only supposed to be serious and dark to be good?

    What is it about some fellow fanboys who get all panicky when comic books aren’t dark and gritty but instead are loud, exciting and FUN. And what did some guy say…. ‘Hurting the industry"? Seriously? He actually means that? Making a story that is accessible to someone younger than 18 is hurting the industry? Sorry but this not only insecure but it is also elitist crap. And I’m sorry it’s this elitist viewpoint that is "Hurting the industry" more than anything.

    "Oh no I only read sequential art and graphic novels…the hulk is simply ridiculous. I mean the Watcher gets punched… and they make jokes. I simply can’t abide anything that doesn’t take itself too seriously"  This is the kind of vibe I get from many posts on comic boards…

    It’s one thing to just not to like it.. that’s fine as taste is subjective. But there is something far weirder and a bit sad at play when people are offended and angered by something being fun. Never in my life have I ever heard someone say an entire MEDIUM of anything should "…try to be more serious in tone". That is simply ridiculous and is going beyond any reasonable sort of criticism and into a realm of comic book insecurity oddness.

  71. @daccampo: So your fine with your kid reading a book where every woman has DDD breasts?

    So your kid never came up to you to explain some of the sex jokes or weird anatomy by McGuiness? That’s hard to believe

  72. @TNC Most kids aren’t reading books or playing games that are aimed at their age range. Why do you think games like GTA sell so well?

  73. Is this book better, worse or on par with planet hulk?  Anyone know?

  74. @massacre: Cause parents are stupid enough to give their kids that game.

    Look I’m not turning this into a question of what kids should pick up. I’m talking about whether this comic can be fun or not. It CAN be fun, I’m not saying a comic cant be fun.

    I pick up Deadpool for christ sakes!!!! That’s just as fun and action packed as Hulk. But you know the difference between the two? At least Daniel Way tries to tell a story even if it’s a comedy book. At least Way is trying to outline a major plot into his comic (Deadpool fighting Norman Osborn). What is Loeb’s goal with the book? Well first it’s fighting Red Hulk…..oh wait we got to go to vegas first…..then we’ll fight Red Hulk….oh wait the cheesecake ladies are fighting him first….then we can fight Red Hulk….oh wait we gotta get a team together to fight Red Hulk’s team.

    There’s no mission for that book, it’s just random events happening in every issue.

  75. @TNC – I’m also fine with him reading manga where everyone has EYES that are larger than normal human eyes. What’s your point? It’s just another cartoon depiction. Yes, I’m fine with it.

    Sex jokes that fly over a kids head are NOT a big deal. I screen everything my son reads. We talk about stuff that needs talking about. You’re placing some blanket standard onto kids that you know nothing about.

  76. @CigarandScotch-It really depends what sort of story you’re looking for. This is simplifying it, maybe too much so, but…big action movie? This book.  Gladiator type story?  Planet Hulk

    @TNC-No, he doesn’t have his rep hurt at all.  People are allowed to enjoy different things, even if those two things are in the opposite end of the spectrum.  It means more to me when someone can appreciate both extremes anyways.  I love Memento and I love Half-Baked.   Lighten up kid 😛

  77. @daccampo: So your fine with your kid picking up manga? You do realise even the most popular manga has a ton of sexual themes in it….

    But again that isnt the point for this thread.

  78. I’d like to get back to the study that states that HULK actually "hurts" the "general view" of comics fans. Or… even the study that says that despite what sales figures indicate, people don’t REALLY WANT a HULK book, they only buy it because it’s there.

    Cuz it seems to me that there are some arguments flying around here that have no basis whatsoever in reality. 

    Just sayin’.

  79. nice post, conor. I guess when I started reading this title I was so deep in the other books–and taking them fairly seriously–that I wasn’t really ready for a "fun" book.  I used to read the Hulk way back when, and I was always more interested in Banner, so page after page of Hulk smashing just kind of irritated me. But the art…man, I do love the art.

     Perhaps I’ll go reread the arc–I do remember getting a little frustrated recently when they split the book into two storylines, but I haven’t been to my shop in almost a month so maybe that’s done now..

     nice article!

    m

  80. @daccampo: Well using the sales figure to prove how great the book is a bad argument as well.

    Oh but that doesnt stop conor from using it any time it comes up.

  81. @TNC – YOu completely missed the point, and you’re making yourself look even worse here, man. First, I was talking about cartoon depictions. Secondly, yes, my son reads NARUTO, and loves it. He’s a very bright kid. I read it as well. He does not read just ANY manga, and I don’t believe you’ve read all manga, so you really shouldn’t be making ridiculous claims. Furthermore, sex is a part of life, and kids don’t always need to be coddled from the fact that it exists. Most of the situations in Naruto are about school-age crushes. There are deeper themes of love and seduction in Bugs Bunny cartoons.

  82. I really hate it when people look down on people who just want to primarily consume media as a form of escape form their everyday routine.  It’s a pet peeve of mine.

    It’s not a comic book thing at all.

  83. @TNC — actually, sales figures are statistical evidence. They are used to BACK UP a point about supply and DEMAND. This is the only true metric we have here. Your theories are plucked purely from opinion and you’ve got no statistics to back ’em up.

    It’s a crucial difference in an argument or a debate.

  84. @daccampo: Fine whatever

    You guys have your discussions where mine, jimski’s, and others dont matter. Enjoy your dumb book, and I mean DUMB.

    I’ll get back to reading better comics that I’ll get more enjoyment out of. So I quit this discussion.

  85. This is all Augie’s fault.

  86. As we wave a fond farewell to the rails, which shrink into the distant horizon as the discussion flies off of them, I should say this:

    I am not thinking about the readers of the book at all. Actually, I am thinking about one reader, who is currently sitting in this chair. Great God A’mighty, I hate the book, no bones about it. But there are a lot of books I don’t like. The only reason I have fire in my belly about this one is that it’s the only game in town where the Hulk is concerned, and I happen to like the Hulk an awful lot. I don’t like seeing him this way.

    But if you do, I do NOT think you a) should be ashamed of yourself b) are hurting the industry by spending money in it c) are destroying the children. Unless you are Jeph Loeb, in which case some of those things may apply.

    I try not to get into the ad hominem business, although the idea that this discussion might itself turn into an extended, big, dumb, pointless fight is not lost on me.

  87. Now, that X-Force book is trouble. Those people are no damn good.

  88. I’d like to point something out.  Jim and Paul disagree, somewhat, with Conor.  In my mind, I see this discussion taking place, not on the internet, but at a Denny’s at 4 in the morning.  We disagree and even throw some epithets at each other, but when the check comes, we drink the rest of our giant Diet Coke, and adjourn, as friendly as when we arrived.

    We should try and keep that in mind.

  89. @Jimski Amen to that, nothing redeeming about that book.  Corrupting our youth with sex and/or violence.

    And terrible terrible art

  90. @josh Right on, I would have beers with anyone in this thread, yes even @TNC.

  91. @Josh-I’ll pick up the tab this time around, even though I only ordered a cup of coffee.

    @Conor-What was your favorite scene in the book?  The shot of the Watcher getting clocked was hilarious

  92. I’m sorry…..I’m really sorry….I didnt mean to turn this into such a hate thread….I really didnt….I’m really beating myself up over this. I dont know how anyone can even read my stuff when I’m such a monster….

    ….I need to get out of here before I do anything else retarded.

  93. @daccampo – unfortunately sex can’t be a part of everyones life, thus..

    @conor – kudos to you. You’ve iterated every point i’ve tried to make about this book since ron got upset. It’s just fun. It IS NOT Final Crisis. It IS NOT RIP. It’s a throwback and that’s a good thing. Like Stan Lee’s recent Thor story in 600, which I adored when I accepted it for what it was. Your credibility has skyrocketed with me. Because you picked Dark Avengers I jumped on and you’re enjoyment of this has made me feel less guilty for enjoying at all. Thank you for that.

    but…

    I agree with Jimski’s point on this being the only Hulk book in town and feeling cheated.

    and..

    WWH rocked! Yeah, I said it! Bring back PAK g-dammit!

  94. Agreed, agreed. I do love a good debate, but I’m just working the argument. If anything came off as hostile, I apologize. I tend to get cerebral about this stuff. And I’d have beers with anyone here. Well, except Paul. But only because the beer would rust his clockwork parts.

  95. It’s just fun!  Thanks to all who agree.  I feel like I’m constantly defending reading this book.  I love a good ‘Hulk Smash!’ and this keep playing like mix tape of great Hulk moments complete with Wendingos and Joe Fixit!

    @drake – the Watcher getting nailed was indeed awesome!  My favorite part was Hulk picking the fight with Ares:

    "Don’t call me broom head!"

    "BROOM!!  HEAD!!" 

  96. i enjoyed it too

  97. I tried reading a couple of issues, and couldn’t find any reason to continue buying it.  I just wasn’t interested.  It wasn’t quite so bad as to motivate me to go around posting hatred for the book on message boards– but there wasn’t anything good enough in it to cause me to want to pay more money for it.  I wasn’t interested in the characters, and actually didn’t enjoy the art (as with most art things, that’s a taste thing).  To use the all-too-often used phrase: "meh."  

    Now, Ultimates 3 truly did offend me, it was so bad.  That’s a whole other story.   

  98. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    What Josh said.  

  99. But Josh, these comment threads tend to be the most civil in comics site-dom. Don’t we all REALLY want this site to devolve into ad hominem attacks and News-a-rama style vitriol? After all, polite=boring.

    Seriously, I read this courtesy of my local library and thought it was okay. Fun at times, funny at times, but overall not much more than a quick, somewhat entertaining read. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It probably helps that I have no emotional investment in the Hulk as a character. If I did, I’d probably be as pissed as Jimski over how Marvel’s handling him right now.

    Just as long as nothing that happens in it becomes Authoritative Continuity* I say let Loeb do what Loeb does: tell middlebrow stories with comic book characters. However, if the idea that anyone can use Thor’s hammer so long as they’re in space catches on then I say we track Jeph down and…well, never mind.

    *Like his stupid-ass Evolustion storyline over in Wolvering a couple of years back, with its "evolved from dogs." That was, for lack of a better word, retarded.

  100. @RobAbsten: I liked how Loeb had Red Hulk use Thor’s hammer (utilizing zero gravity so he wasn’t actually lifting it) was very clever.

  101. If they released an edition of this book without the word balloons, do you think it would sell better or worse? Or would there be no change?

    The news that Arthur Adams was going Marvel exclusive to work on a Loeb book made my body emit ambivalence waves that knocked out most of the electronics on my block.

  102. @Paul — yesssss, what Josh said… very clever, as it avoids the revelation that your steam-powered heart still can’t accomodate the complexities of the human soul. Well played, sir.

  103. I see this in the context of my favorite thing: food.

    TNC wants his Hulk to be like a satisfying dinner, but it’s more like junk food.  Yummy, but not deeply satisfying.  It all depends on what people are looking for going into the experience.  Those not deeply invested in the Hulk enjoy the current run for all the reasons stated in the review.  Those who have followed the Hulk more want it to tie into continuity better and have a more serious(?) tone.

    I’m a firm believer in mixing my entertainment.  I liked "The Wrestler" and "Slumdog Millionaire", but would hate to only have to watch that.  I need a good dose of Adam Sandler every once in awhile.

  104. I won’t comment on the relative merits of Jeph Loeb’s Hulk because most people have already made up their minds on that subject, but I will mention to Conor that if you are looking forward to the next volume then you’re in luck because it’s drawn by Art Adams and Frank Cho!

     

    That was the main thing that convinced me to buy this book, for the issues they drew and all the issues preceding it so I would know what was going on. I like Frank Cho fine, he’s certainly no slouch. But the main reason I bought it was for the opportunity to see Art Adams doing interior artwork again. Some of my fondest childhood comic book memories involve reading and rereading his Marvel stuff from X-Men: Asgardian Wars to Excalibur: Mojo Mayhem to New Fantastic Four so it was great to see him just go nuts in the Marvel Universe again, like being wrapped in a big warm fuzzy nostalgia blanket.

     

    I promptly dropped the book after the Art Adams and Frank Cho issues because it made the jump to $3.99 and was no longer drawn by Art Adams, but I just wanted to mention that you do have that to look forward to.

  105. I have been looking forward to Conor’s review of this book ever since he said on the forum he was going to be picking up the trade. I have a weird relationship with this book. On the one hand, I hate it. Really, hate it. it’s so moronic, the story seemingly goes nowhere, and don’t even get me started on the Wendihulk. But on the other hand, I love it. LOVE IT. It’s the FIRST thing i read when i get my stack home. I am usually seen throwing open this book before i even have my jacket off. Sometimes, there is this war going on inside of me. My brain is telling me "This is garbage. It’s stupid. it’s insulting. It’s a waste of time." but then this other little voice inside me (could it be my heart?) is telling me "This is the most fun thing out there! So what if it doesn’t make sense? You CAN’T WAIT to read it every month……does that mean it’s good?" And the answer is……"I don’t really know." But i DO know this: i don’t have a lot of free time on my hands. There are some titles I have been buying for two years that i haven’t even read an issue of in that time. But i ALWAYS find time to read Hulk. And that’s why i keep buying it. Anyway, great review, Conor. Hopefully, you’ll keep finding it fun when you get to that damn Wendigo story.

  106. I loved the Wendihulk story 🙂

  107. Fun & wacky books have their place in comics just as much as the serious and thought provoking ones. This has been the case since comics have been in existence. In fact I would say that this is the type of book that could draw new readers in to comics. I didn’t reach for Watchmen or the Dark Knight back in the 80’s, I picked up Spider-Ham. Yes it was silly and stupid but it sparked my love of comics and I wanted to read about the real Spider-man. If just 10% of Hulk’s readers decide to read more about Hulk, or Peter David’s run, or any of the other guest stars in the book, that’s 9000 readers. There are some titles that would kill for 9000 readers. You can deride a book because it goes against your tastes but Marvel knows what they’re doing with this title and they are certainly growing their market (which is probably why there are so many guest stars in it anyway). Additionally, weaker books sales-wise probably get to stick around longer because of a book like Hulk, so if you like Capt Britain, or Guardians of the Galaxy or any number of smaller titles, you should be thanking the Hulk for your reading pleasure.

  108. What’s fascinating about this conversation is that the negative and positive reviews do an equally good job of convincing me I wouldn’t want to read it.  It’s either a dumb comic all about punching or it’s a self-aware comic all about punching.*  Either way, I pass, but it’s nice when reviews are descriptive enough to figure out whether I’d like something or not.

    *Not to judge people who like punching-comics.  I’d read a whole comic about Jean Grey and Wanda Maximoff shopping for shoes.  Whatever floats your boat.

  109. I now find myself less concerned about Loeb’s Hulk than I am that Josh freely admits he drinks large quantities of Diet Coke. That shit’ll eat your stomach lining, man!!!

  110. @ohcaroline – There were those delightful Colleen Coover backup strips in X-Men: First Class where Jean and Wanda become best friends and go clothes shopping together. Did you read those?

  111. Between the ambivalence waves and the EMS raids, it must suck living near Jimski.

    "So, I hear the Sentry is getting an ongoing series."

    "Oh, God, the psychic rage plse Jim’ll release will kill us all!"

     

  112. *pulse

    Also, Jimski, from one fan of a character who got the proverbial shaft from editorial to another, you have my sympathies.

  113. I think Hulk is a lame character. I don’t like him.I refused to read Planet Hulk becuase I believed it would be "Hulk Angry. Hulk smash" stuff. I was compeletely wrong. It was as if some one had finally figured out what do with the character after 40 years. Oh, but in the end they had to return him to the status quo >:(

    I also tried the first issue of this series and was compeletly unimpressed. I will give it another try.

     

    Planet Skaar is coming. so that’s a plus.

  114. This is what I was asking earlier.  I really enjoyed planet hulk quite a bit.  Is world war hulk and red hulk similar in tone to planet hulk or is it different.  I’m been on the fence about continuing with world war hulk since everyone said it was horrible.  Then again, maybe everyone said planet hulk was horrible too.  I picked that book up on a whim.

  115. To Jimski’s comment about them doing it to Batman… they did in Superman/Batman. Granted it wasn’t the only Batman title out there but it had "big dumb fun" painted all over it.

  116. I think what Jimski is trying to say is what if, for instance, Miller and Lee’s All-Star Batman was the only game in town for Batman fans.  Would the idea that the only Batman book published was superficial and dumb for the sake of it be something you’d like or would you be griping about what’s been done to the character?

  117. @Hawkboy  I don’t think anyone said this book was beneath them. I just stated, along with a few others that it isn’t our thing. For me it’s the fact that i don’t really care about the story or what the characters are doing. It’s a good comic book for some people, but i just didn’t find it fun, or as fun as others find it.

  118. @RoiVampire: You might want to reread the comments, then.

  119. Okay…let me get serious here (puts serious face on)

    Again I dont mind big dumb fun (I enjoy all three of those words) in my comics. I read Deadpool and Punisher, that shouldnt make me sound like all I read is Grant Morrison metapsychics for a living. But what put’s Hulk in a different class right now is that there is no barrier for good writing or decent plot development. It’s TOO mindless, if that is even possible. Stuff like Punisher or Deadpool is nothing more then just guns a blazing or a ton of 10th grade humor (for Deadpool on the latter). But the writers try and make a crediable story and make us care for everyone involved. Jeph Loeb (at least in my eyes) does none of that. Characters come and go (or people die constantly) and what story there is, is just slim enough to get us into the next fight.

    It’s been like this for Jeph Loeb for too long. Now when I got back into comics in 2004 the first couple of stories I read was Kingdom Come and The Long Halloween. Is it a bit unfair to judge Loeb after my first experience to him is argueably his best (or at least more memorible) story? Yes, but I have read his work before Long Halloween and a good portion of his Superman/Batman run to like everything his done. Somehow (and sadly I think I know what) made Jeph Loeb just go in a huge right turn with his work. Everything he’s done since Superman/Batman has just been awful (again in my eyes) and his HULK series was just the last straw of reading anything by him. I’m sure the reason that changed his style, which I wont get into cause it’s horrible enough to think that it’s the cause of this, made him decide to be more wacky and over the top with his writing. Well it just doesnt sit well for me, it’s just too much wacky and silly and not even depth in it.

  120. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m a Loeb hater. I didn’t like Ultimates 3, but I do like Ultimatum; I enjoyed Batman TLH and Hush, but not his Wolverine; I loved Soulfire and can’t wait for Captain America White but hated Onslaught; Hell, I didn’t even mind his Heroes Reborn Avengers…but I can’t stand Hulk for some reason.

    I think my biggest gripe is the poor characterization. Like it or not, because of the work of other writers in the Marvel U, I’m invested in most of the characters that appear in this book, and expect them to act a certain way. When they are not handled properly that really bugs me. Does that make me a continuity nerd, I hope not. Think of it like this: you come home from school and find your mom running around the house with a frying pan and wearing cowboy chaps singing the "Monkey’s Theme Song" at the top of her lungs. You know this is your mom, and you know she would never act like this, ever. You may be worried about her sanity, think it’s odd, you may even be a little scared….but whatever you’re feeling, you’re definitely NOT happy about it.

  121. I’ve been reading Hulk books for pretty much 20 years now. So, I’ve seen the glory days of Peter David in his prime and I’ve seen the steaming piles served up like WWH. You can check my ratings since Loeb took over, I’ve pretty consistently rated it a 3 – which to me is an ‘average book’. One or two issues were a 2 and I think one even made it to a 4. The art is amazing. The plot is nonsensical, but for all that doesn’t make me want to shoot Loeb. Its a thoroughly ‘alright’ book.

  122. I’m sure someone might have already pointed this out, but what the hell.

    The Crank comparison is nice, and would be perfectly apt if not for one consideration: Crank created its own characters. Rulk uses established characters who fans know to act a certain way and have certain parameters, and I think that’s where the outrage comes from.

  123. @Templar: It’s not about the continuity, it’s about the the story being enjoyable.

  124. I’ll never ever never ever never read a Loeb book after Ultimates 3.  Still, the image of Rulk punching The Watcher was highly amusing.

  125. I like big dumb fun. I think I’ll pick up the first trade. I just had to right a report on Ovid’s Metamorphoses so I’m kind of in the mood to turn off my brain and watch the mass of green muscles fight the mass of red muscles.

    And did somebody say beers?

  126. *write

  127. I am so sold. 

  128. HULK SMASH

  129. @kenkneisel  — Yup, I love those X-Men First Class stories.  Comics need more shoe shopping!

    To keep this marginally on topic, if Jean Grey shows up to punch Red Hulk, I’ll totally buy it.  It sounds like it doesn’t care about continuity anyway, so Loeb should make that happen.

  130. Holy shit. I haven’t seen this many posts on something in a long time.  I didn’t know that this book was so controversial.  I hate to say it but the only reason I haven’t been getting this book is my embargo that only allows me to read a few Marvel Comics.  I loved Planet Hulk and used to love hulk way back in the day.  i haven’t read any of his books because I haven’t seen too many things that have caught my attention since.

    After reading Conor’s review I feel like I should buy this.  I loved this team on Superman/Batman and when I saw them on a new book I remember saying, "I should buy this because it will be fun."  Sounds like I was right but in my tunnel vision on Marvel have robbed myself of a fun book.  I love stupid action and I am the first to admit it, if it were not for Jeph Loeb I would not have gotten back into comic books.  I stopped reading comics for about 4-6 years and started again Halfway through Hush.  That’s right Hush got me back into comics and I own the absolute.

    After my small rant there I am going to take the chance and get this book.  Also I heard something about Jean Grey punches Red Hulk in these issues ;).

  131. I’m not a fan of McGuiness. I’ve yet to see a male character drawn by him without a nearly 90-degree angled jaw.

  132. I loved Peter David’s run on "The Incredible Hulk" and I also loved this book. For completely different reasons.  That’s as it should be — every book judged on its own merits.

  133. Another thing that bothers me, and this might be a nitpick for some but….

    Shouldnt Hulk be more of an important figure right now? I mean Pak took the time to do a pretty decent job with Planet Hulk and then take us into WWH (which was a shitty storyline anyways)….But you know, Hulk not only took over NYC…he practically took it to the ground!

    Shouldnt he be more big right now then just fight Red Hulk?

  134. Connor, THANK YOU for starting this thread. Finally the Hulk fans can come out of the woodwork! This is the most entertaining discussion I have seen on this site so far!

    Look, to those of you that hate this book, I totally understand why, this book is 100% id. However, consider this:

    I’m a guy who has read and re-read the hell out of Morrison’s Doom Patrol, New X-Men, and Final Crisis, Starlin’s Adam Warlock Saga, Gaiman’s Sandman, Hellblazer, Miller’s Daredevil, Epic Magazine, Moebius, Rick Veitch’s Maximortal and The One, Miracle Man, on and on etc etc. Those books are great, they make you think and are awesome in their own right. I love the hell out of that stuff.

    I think I’m probably as interested in comics for the mind as anyone, but that doesn’t mean I can’t like something based on action and mindless violence! Particularly if the mindless violence includes Hulk smashing things. Honestly, Hulk smashing is a requirement when it comes to a Hulk comic. Always has been. 

     

  135. @jstump   re: Jean punching Hulk — You are toying with my emotions, sir.  I say this in a fun-loving way, as though we were at Denny’s.  (I will use this disclaimer on all future internet arguments that have the potential of being interpreted as hostile.  Thanks for that, Josh!)

  136. VINDICATED.

    Conor, thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you. THANK YOU for this review. I’ve been a strong supporter of this "worst comic book ever" since the start and plenty of folks, many of them here on iFanboy forums, have informed me of my insanity as a result.

    It’s good to see that I’m not the only crazy one. But in all seriousness, I really am overjoyed to see someone enjoying this title. I think it is one of Marvel’s most unique books, and all the haters (many of whom are likely Closet Rulk Fans) should give it some real attention. But that’s just my opinion.

  137. @CigarandScotch

    World War Hulk is just another Marvel Crossover. Pretty Meh and most of the stuff happens in tie-ins.

     

    The true Sequel to Planet Hulk has been Skaar – Son of Hulk. I think the first trade is out. Issue #11 kicks off Planet Skaar in April or May. Also, Incredible Hercules is great, but only the last arc. Not out in trade yet, but a bowl of fun. Besides Captain Britain, every Marvel book I read is written by Greg Pak.

  138. Nice review Conor.  I don’t read the book and don’t plan to, but I think my students would like this stuff (they are major Hulk fans). 

    Is it wrong that after reading all of these posts, the only thing I can remember is that thefreakygeeky has naked people in his icon?  This is proof that my brain is on the verge of death.  Thank god for the weekend.

  139. @ohcaroline: When I read your sentence I couldn’t help but repeat it. That would be an absolutely hilarios panel to see.

  140. I can enjoy bad things. Certain stuff I like campy, silly and poorly executed if it is still entertaining.

    The question is:

    Is Loeb making Hulk campy and silly on purpose or is he trying to truly write a good Hulk comic?

    I’m not sure. I haven’t been impressed with much of his writing. He has a tendency to rely on "guest appearances" from tons of villians and heroes to drive his storylines.

    Is this Grindhouse or is it the stuff that Grindhouse mimics?

  141. @ScorpionMasada: Your question assumes that anything campy and silly is inherently not good.  I would totally disagree with that idea.

  142. Conor, not that it isn’t good, but that it isn’t good on purpose.

    Accidental goodness.

    I’ve been buying red Hulk since issue 4.

    You can see from my rating of the series that I wasn’t that into it until I realized that I shouldn’t be taking it that serious. I agree with a great deal of your review. It is fun.

    But it is not a well-written comic.

    It is like your crazy friend that entertains you by doing stupid things. Is he talented or just crazy entertaining?

    I’m definitely going to buy it through the new arc.

    If I were to show you the difference between a series that is campy by mistake and a series that is campy by design, I’d point you to Dan Slott’s She-Hulk.

    Read that and I think you will understand the difference.

     

  143. @ScorpionMasada: I’ve read both – I think HULK is well written and silly by design (although it’s mostly serious).

  144. Ok  the watcher gets knocked th $%@#* out ! That’s Hilarious and the pages are ooh soo pretty.

  145. I actually enjoyed Punisher:War Zone in the same manner Crank was enjoyed by iFanboy.

  146. @UncleBob: I really wouldnt put Crank anywhere near the pile of poo War Zone was…

    But yeah if using Crank as an analogy to Hulk, I guess I can see why it’s so popular. (I’m the biggest Crank fan in the world….and Jason Statham)