Saturday, May 26, 2007

An Idiot's Guide to World War Hulk: May Days

And off we go. The first two books of WWH are designed to get morons like me up to speed as to why Hulk will be smashing the good guys over the next few months. We get a lot of plot development with just a teeny tiny preview of the goodness that is to come.

The Incredible Hulk 106

The cover might be the smashingest thing about this book. Hulk looks more constipated than angry, so it won’t win any art awards, but it’s a solid concept. Hulk is grabbing the world, each hand significantly bigger than the gigantic low pressure system developing in the Atlantic. Fuck weather.

Once you open the cover, you’re getting a lot of She Hulk being remorseful and conflicted and degreened by head asshole in charge, Tony Stark. The panel where she smacks Tony upside the head is a nice precursor to what her cousin is going to do, and Tony’s cunning in using the head smack to his advantage actually has me a little worried he might be able to pull off something similar to the headliner. Reed Richards introduces himself to new readers as the kind of guy who seeks to capture little kids. Marvel even establishes a subdick, some guy named Dr. Sanders, who is clearly going to be the victim of a particularly gruesome smashing as a message to the head dicks. If this issue does nothing else, it establishes who the bad guys are, which the four little kids who still read comics will appreciate. WWH Commandment 2: Thou shalt not feel bad about the smashing.

Other than that, blah blah blah. I own a coyote, blah blah blah. I love my cousin but am conflicted about what he becomes, blah blah blah. The only real smashing that occurs are in the flashbacks to some of Hulk’s earlier, less notable ass kickings and when She Hulk punches Doc Sanders into the next county. I did ask for a little background, so I won’t complain too much. Yet we can reasonably expect this issue to contain the least amount of smashing for a long, long time.


World War Hulk Prologue




The sword should give us a lot of hope for the future of WWH. Hulk should remember how cool the sword is and either keep using it or come up with an even cooler and more unnecessary weapon. We can safely assume Hulk will employ cars, lampposts, and the rest of the usual suspects, but what if Hulk gets ahold of a chainsaw? I see no reason Hulk can’t tape a Glock to his back and put a couple slugs into the Thing at close range John McClain style. I’d also be open to some cut rate hero breaking Hulk’s sword, which would make him just that much more angry, because he likes it. The possibilities are endless.

The rest of the main story is pretty good with some nice flashbacks and old school Ironman pictures, but Mini Marvels steal the show. Anything that shows you don’t take yourself or your mega crossover event too seriously wins points with me, and it’s legitimately funny. For once I didn’t think Namor was dour and irrelevant, as his “the fish are good” line was one of the best. If Marvel wanted to do a four page Mini Marvel summary of every WWH issue, they’d have my support.

The only negative about the Prologue is that I’m starting to get real suspicious of Amadeus Cho and his potential to take up way too many pages that should be dedicated to smashing. So far he’s been fine and even a little entertaining. He’s got a mini-T.A.O. thing going on, and he seems to have the Hulk’s best interests in mind. But I do not need some kid executing Byzantine schemes in WWH unless they put Richards or Stark into compromising, green positions.

SMASH FACTOR: An enthusiastic 3.5 out of 5. I have vowed to give no issue of WWH more than a 5 of 5 Smash Factor, so I have to be careful with how high these early rankings go. The Prologue features some truly inspirational smashing that nonetheless felt like the last few pitches a reliever throws in warm up. Sure, they’re at game speed, but the real fireworks have yet to start.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

An Idiot’s Guide to World War Hulk: A Prelude

First off, the idiot in question is not you, my dear reader. I am an idiot for many reasons, two of which are particularly relevant for our current purposes.

One, I have been the foremost detractor of the Prep Time Posse since its inception. They can’t make a comics post over at okayplayer without me saying something cheeky about how they’re dorks, geeks, or some combination of the two. I hope it’s been clear that this is all in fun. It’s probably less clear (if only to me) that I was using my little jokes to pretend to draw some line between me and Comic Book Nation. As you can tell by my asking to write 10k total words for this blog, there is no line. For God’s sake, I read summaries on wiki of events that happened 15 years ago at least three times a week. It’s time to come out of the closet. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

Figure I: JRennolds

The second component of my idiocy is my ignorance. I don’t know comics very well, although I am trying to bring my knowledge up to speed. In that regard, the recommendations of PtP have proved helpful, but my true mentor has been an uber dork in the Philadelphia area that shall only be known as the Inscrutable Dr. Yamada (pictured). He’s the one who feeds me 100 Bullets trade paperbacks and Desolation Jones trade paperbacks and makes sure I understand what a trade paperback is. But remediation is a slow process and, really, I’m still pretty comics dumb.

Figure 2: The Inscrutable Dr. Yamada

The point of my ramblings: don’t expect a particularly nuanced view of World War Hulk. Don’t expect a discussion of how WWH is an allegory for fallibility of all human concepts of the good but that Watchmen did it much better. Don’t expect any attempt to place WWH in any kind of historical context. History is for bitches.

I’m not able to speak to any of that, and I don’t care about it in the least. Here’s what I want to see out of World War Hulk, in outline format.

I. Hulk Smash

A. Prelude (brief)

i. Why Hulk Smashes

ii. Who Hulk Hopes to Smash

B. Actual Smashing

i. The general public

ii. Famous landmarks

iii. Bitch Ass Tony Stark

iv. Reed Richards, former hero, now dick

v. Any other cool shit that gets in the way of smashing i-iv

vi. Hulk turning on and smashing lame extraterrestrial gladiator friends

C. Black Bolt gagged and tied to outside of weird ass spaceship

D. Angst among targets of Smashing (brief)

II. Heroes Smash

A. Ghost Rider using hellfire and big chains in a failed attempt to derail Hulk smashing

B. Stop or contain Hulk in epic smash escalation

C. Involvement of Thor

Figure 3: Komar gets it

Please note that “plot” and “themes” and any other wise guy shit are not in the outline. Frankly, if you need plot to enjoy a four month arc of Hulk smashing, you need to stop re-reading Ender’s Game and go to a strip club. The only standard on which one can judge WWH is whether it succeeds in its obvious goal of being the Tucker Max of 2007 Comics. Tucker Max is many things, but subtle isn’t one of them.

Figure 4: Lame as hell but captivating

But while you may be disgusted by my preoccupation with smashing and my disdain for anything even remotely intellectual, I do hope you appreciate the effort and standards I bring into determining whether the smashing is any good. For example, kindly note that I’ve clearly and accurately singled out the two gentlemen most in need of smashing. I hope we all understand that if WWH ends without Richards and Stark getting repeatedly and brutally smashed, it must be deemed a complete failure. I didn’t read Civil War as a point of pride, but I have figured out that Ironman has been accumulating about a year’s worth of Grade A smash-worthy karma. Even I understand that any time a comic character vaguely resembles a Republican, he’s running into a critical beat down sooner rather than later, which, as a Republican, he obviously deserves.

But the guy I want to see smashed the worst is Reed Richards, for a couple reasons. One, I have a crush on Sue Storm and Richards is way too much of an herb for her. Two, his character in Ultimate Alliance is one of the more overrated video game characters I have played. Those extendo fists are slow as hell, and there’s not a single attack he has that some other character doesn’t do more effectively. Yet all the FF dorks over at IGN keep telling me he’s “one of the best midrange characters in the game.” Whatever—those dudes suck dick for rocks.

Figure 5: You see it

But the most important reason Reed Richards needs to be smashed epically is that he has turned into a very effective and convincing dick. I have read the Illuminati, and Reed’s dickness in those issues borders on the sublime. Who tries to collect the Infiniti Gems? With a 700 IQ, you can’t figure out that’s a bad idea? And not using the Gauntlet to start wrecking shit and fucking Emma Frost just reinforces the notion that he’s somehow, amazingly, improbably, both a dick and a pussy. Now he’s trying to take out some kid who adopts coyote puppies? Man, this dude sucks. Marvel has done a brilliant job making him into the dour assistant principal whose only job is to hand out detentions and who becomes amazingly bitter and Machiavellian as a result. My assistant principal was Keith Godshall (not pictured), and, God, did he need to be smashed. I’ll be thinking of Doc Godshall every time a green fist literally flattens Richards.

Figure 6: Not Doc Godshall, but the closest Google Image could get me

My plan for the next four months is to buy everything with WWH on the cover except the Gamma Corps, which just looks retarded. I intend to write up my thoughts about every 4 issues, or whenever I get so terrified of my book manuscript that I need to do something else.

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