Incredible Hulks #618 Review

by Charlie Brooks, CMRO Contributing Writer

Incredible Hulks

Issue #618

Written by Greg Pak, Art by Paul Pelletier

Published: December 2010

The Incredible Hulks #618 kicks off this title’s crossover with the Chaos War event. Since Greg Pak is the writer of Chaos War and of this title, it’s not surprising that there is a crossover. It is surprising, however, that Pak does a remarkable job of keeping the stories somewhat separate, which means that if you don’t want to read Chaos War, you don’t have to.

The Hulk is fresh off the tragic ending of the Dark Son storyline and in space when the Chaos War starts, which means that when Doctor Strange reaches out to him for help he’s sort of thrust right in the middle of things. This is a good way to introduce readers who haven’t really been following the goings-on of Hercules and company that led up to this event – like the Hulk himself, we’re thrown into the center of chaos.

There’s a bit of family conflict here, particularly between the Hulk and the red She-Hulk, who wants him to just get over the loss of a son in the last issue, but for the most part the character conflict is pushed to the sideline so we can get into the fighting. There are a lot of balls in the air in this one, and the nature of the current Hulk title as a team book is emphasized. With the dead walking the world, the Hulk has to face off against a new and powered up Abomination. At the same time, Rick finds out that his wife Marlo is the key to solving the current problem, since way back when Marlo became linked to Death.

In our backup story, we have more of Banner reflecting on his team-building process, this time regarding Rick. You’ve got to wonder where Banner found the time for all this stuff, since the comics have been going at a breakneck pace and he’s also been busy over in the pages of Hulk. That point aside, this is a nice little vignette that really emphasizes an important part of Rick’s character – he may act like a goofball, but when the chips are down he’ll put his own life at risk to save others.

Overall, this story makes for some good action, but it lacks the character pathos that the Dark Son storyline had. Things might be a little too busy here – the return of the Abomination alone could make for a big issue, but because there is just so much going on it almost gets lost in the shuffle. For what it is, though, this story is strong on the writing side. The art is nothing short of remarkable, with Paul Pelletier knocking it out of the park despite having to deal with a lot of business on page after page. As a whole, the first part of the Chaos War doesn’t come across as quite as personal and interesting as Dark Son, but it does jump right into the action quickly and gives us some Hulk family-centric storytelling despite the issue being a crossover with a larger event.

Lee Pace Joins Guardians as Mystery Villain

by Josh Starnes, CMRO Editor

Marvel’s 2014 franchise starter “Guardians of the Galaxy” is within spitting distance of adding a fifth cast member to its line up with The Wrap reporting Wednesday that actor Lee Pace was in final negotiations to play … someone.

Specifically someone who will be the main villain for the film, though Marvel is currently keeping the identity of said villain closely under wraps.

The announcement seems to put the kibosh on Thanos, the villain teased at the end of “Avengers,” being the primary antagonist of “Guardians” though he could still make an appearance–which also solidifies the possibility that Thanos could appear in the background in the Phase 2 Marvel films before showing up as the primary villain of “Avengers 2” in 2015.

Pace, who had originally tried out for the lead role of Peter Quill/Starlord, joins the Chris Pratt (“Zero Dark Thirty”) who got the role of Starlord, so maybe those fights to the death they’ll be having on screen will be for real. Other cast members in the Justin Gunn (“Slither”) penned and directed film include Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer and Michael Rooker as Yondu.

That’s puts Pace on … pace … to appear in several major blockbusters that year as he will be reappearing in the role of Thranduil, king of the elves, in Peter Jackson’s final “Hobbit” film that year. Not that such big budget action should be any problem for the actor who appeared in not just this year’s “Hobbit” film but played a major role in the final “Twilight” film and one of the chief antagonists in Steven Speilberg’s “Lincoln.”

Pace is best known for playing the lead role in Bryan Fuller’s (“Heroes”) scandalously short-lived “Pushing Daisies” after a supporting role in Fuller’s “Wonderfalls.”

The film, written by Gunn from a script by Nicole Perlman and Chris McCoy, is set to be released in August, 2014.

Iron Man #8 Review

by Dylan Duarte, CMRO Contributing Writer

Iron Man

Issue #8

Written by Kieron Gillen, Art by Greg Land

Published: June 2013

I really don’t care for the new Iron Man design. I love the artwork. Land, Leisten, and Guru eFX, be that a person or a robot, produce a gorgeous title. I just don’t like the design of the new Iron Man suit. There’s too much red and not enough gold. The balance is off.

The Godkiller arc has been fantastic and I couldn’t have asked for a better ending than what Kieron Gillen has cooked up. It’s one of those stories that has grand, epic things happening, but they don’t really matter to the actual story. You can’t get any more epic than the Celestials showing up and destroying an entire society, but that really doesn’t matter.

What matters is that Tony Stark was used. He was tricked, and because he fell for that trick, an entire population was wiped out. Tony Stark is a brilliant man, but he’s also arrogant and self-centered, and that got the best of him. 451 used him as a distraction as he (it?) took what he wanted and because of that the Voldi are no more.

I’m a sucker for tragedy. I hope that doesn’t make me a psychopath What Gillen has created here is a wonderful tragedy. It’s something Stark has to live with. He’ll be out for retribution because revenge is very much in Tony Stark’s wheelhouse, but the tragedy will always be there. Like 451 says, you can’t rightfully blame the weapon, but I doubt that provides Tony with any comfort at all.

I’m very much looking forward to the revenge. I don’t think it’s going to happen right away. In fact I know it’s not, because the next issue goes into Tony Stark’s origin, but the revenge is coming and it will be glorious.

Astonishing X-Men #61 Review

by Dylan Duarte, CMRO Contributing Writer

Astonishing X-Men

Issue #61

Written by Marjorie Liu, Art by Matteo Buffagni & Renato Arlem

Published: June 2013

I’m not even going to pretend to understand what’s going on with the X-Termination chronology. This labyrinth-esque reading order is why sites like the Complete Marvel Reading Order exist. Astonishing X-Men issue 60 was part 2 of the X-Termination arc. Astonishing X-Men 61 is part 5. Then the story is concluded in X-Termination issue 2, which is its own title. Marvel, this is why everyone gets mad at you. Hell, this is why people get frustrated at comics in general.

Thank god for Marjorie Liu. At least she knows what she’s doing. She’s writing her book, Astonishing X-Men, and she’s doing a damn fine job. I would be so frustrated if X-Termination wasn’t such a cool arc. It’s one of those rare instances where going absolutely insane actually works. I complain about the convolution of the X-mythos like no other, but stories like X-Termination – where three dimensions of X-Men are all involved in one big story – are undeniably fun to witness. Sometimes this stuff works.

This is X-Termination, so death is kind of the name of the game. Sabertooth is dead, as is Hercules, Charles Xavier, and young Kurt Waggoner, who gave his life saving everybody else. The majority of the group is now in the Age of Apocalypse world, where the monsters are threatening to destroy the multiverse.

As someone who actually followed Age of Apocalypse for a while, the ending to this issue – and the proposed ending to the storyline – is something of a punch in the gut. That isn’t a criticism, however. It’s a hell of tragic ending and a glorious to write off that title and storyline.

Issue 61 gets a little insane, but I don’t blame Liu. She has a lot on her plate and I can’t help but think it gets just as stressful for those writing the titles as it is frustrating to those of us reading them.

Age of Ultron #6 Review

by Dylan Duarte, CMRO Contributing Writer

Age of Ultron

Issue #6

Written by Brian Michael Bendis, Art by Bryan Peterson & Carlos Pacheco

Published: June 2013

I just finished Age of Ultron 6 – literally less than a minute ago – and I’m absolutely speechless. Not one, but two Marvel heavyweights bite the dust in this sixth issue. Needless to say, heavy spoilers ahead.

I don’t know what I thought was going to happen when Wolverine went back in time to kill Henry Pym. Kudos to Brian Michael Bendis for really knowing Wolverine, knowing that he’s a man of his word. When Wolverine decided that he was on a mission, there was nothing that could stop him. I think part of me believed that Sue Storm would talk him out of it, but even if she tried – and in the end, she didn’t – she couldn’t have stopped him. Wolverine is stubborn in the best way possible.

Well, mission accomplished, but it isn’t a happy ending. Even Wolverine doesn’t know what future he just created, but like he says, it has to be better than the one they had.

On the other side of the timeline, Fury and his band of heroes are in the future – Ultron’s future – to unplug the AI once and for all. This side of things isn’t any less bleak. The entire Eastern seaboard is one big technological cluster, and while Tony Stark is nerdy enough to marvel at the sight of it, everyone else – myself included – is horrified. Ultron’s army has been streamlined into simple Ultron heads, and their extremely low profile makes them terrifying. The group struggles to survive, but as Michael Cole of the WWE says, the “numbers game” eventually caught up to them. That’s the terror of Ultron and his technology. He doesn’t possess a decent-sized army of various powered beings, he simply generates an infinite number of lifeless, robotic death machines.

Captain America is dead. All of them might be, but Captain America is Captain America. Things have never looked more bleak and the heroes still in the present – Peter Parker, Moon Knight, to name a few – have no idea what’s going on.