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The Incredible Hulk: The Beauty and the Behemoth
by Peter David, Herb Trimpe, Adam Kubert
Marvel has just released a new paperback anthology of Hulk stories. As Peter David left the comic with #466, and, in doing so, penned not only his last story, but Betty Banner's as well, the House of Ideas put together a farewell tribute to Betty (perhaps Mr. David, as well). This anthology collects the following stories, all featuring Betty:
- Hulk #1, Lee and Kirby
- Hulk #169, Thomas & Trimpe
- Hulk #319, Byrne
- Hulk #344, David and McFarlane
- Hulk #371, 372, 377: David and Keown
- Hulk #466, David and A. Kubert
As you read through these old stories, you begin to feel that Betty Ross/Talbot/Banner has underwent nearly as many incarnations as her old beau, Bruce Banner.
Although you can still see Betty in Glenn Greenberg's "Rampaging Hulk" flashback stories, there is no doubt her absence has made a huge impression on all subsequent Incredible Hulk stories. This book gives us a chance to visit the Hulk when we could detect hope in an utterance like "Betty, Hulk's friend".
Recommended. Great artwork by Kirby, Trimpe, Byrne, McFarlane, Keown (lots!), and Kubert.
Origins of Marvel Comics
by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko
Origins of Marvel Comicsis the first of Marvel's collections of Silver Age reprints. Originally published by Simon and Schuster in the early 1970s, Originsset the stage for the Marvel mythos. Finally reprinted in 1997, this new paperback edition features the seminal stories of Marvel's Superheros. Kirby's "Hulk" #1 is here, as is "Amazing Fantasy" #15 (the first appearance of Spider-Man, drawn by Ditko), "Journey into Mystery" #83 , Doctor Strange's origin story (Strange Tales #) and of course "Fantastic Four" #1.
Each Silver Age story has a companion story from late 80s to show the development of the characters. The Lee/Kirby Hulk origin story is joined by "Hulk" #372, a story by the great team of Peter David/Dale Keown. Fans of the Origins may recall that the original edition featured another Silver Age comic (in the Hulk's case, it was issue #118--a classic story pitting Hulk versus Sub-Mariner, written by Lee and drawn by Herb Trimpe). Although the loss of the other Silver Age pieces is regrettable, in this case, the Hulk's character shows considerable development in 1990 from his origin in 1962. This holds true for other comics featured in the book, especially the coupling of the first issue of the Fantastic Four with a 1990's FF by John Byrne.
Companion pieces include FF #232, an unspecified (but Simonsonized) Thor of consecutive splash pages, a terrible Iron Man #231 drawn by Layton, and McFarlane's Spider-Man #1.
Overall, I give this book a nine out of ten for overall enjoyment and worth. Young fans may find in this collection of gems a reconfirmation of the fun of these classic characters.
Son of Origins of Marvel Comics
by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby (Illustrator), John Buscema
Born from Origins, I recommend this book not so much to Hulk fans, but to readers who want to know more the mythos of Marveldom. It features more seminal stories by Lee and Kirby, including
- Avengers #1 (+ a terrible reprint of Avengers #)
- X-Men #1 (plus a Claremont/Jim Lee X-Men #3)
- Daredevil #1 (+ companion piece Daredevil #232)
- Iron Man's origin story (Tales of Suspense #39)
- Silver Surfer #1
These origin stories will fascinate any reader of the Marvel comics, whether one has read the stories once before, long ago; or, for the new Marvelite who knows of these titanic characters mainly from the cartoon series. Hulk fans will find this book of interest to learn that Hulk was the founding members of "The Avengers"
My personal favorite is the pairing of the Gene Colan pencilled Daredevil with the 1980s version by Miller and Mazzuchelli. The contrast between the two styles demonstrates the potential of this character who has attracted talented creators from different backgrounds and has continued his fight against crime despite all the odds.
Grandson of Origins of Marvel Comics
by Stan Lee, Joe Simon, Bill Everett, and Jack Kirby
According to Marvel: "After 20 years, a new volume is added to Marvel's classic ORIGINS series! The beginning of some of Marvel's most stalwart heroes are
here, recounted in all their original four-color glory! In the shadow of WWII, the star-spangled avenger known as Captain America is born! Namor, the savage Sub-Mariner, makes his historic first appearance in the surface world! War hero Colonel Nick Fury is drafted into the ultimate spy agency, S.H.I.E.L.D. Lord Kevin Plunder, a British noble, is abandoned as a child in the prehistoric Savage Land and assumes the mantle of Ka-Zar! The early years of Professor X, mentor of the X-Men, are laid bare! Featuring the titanic talents of Stan Lee, John Buscema, John Byrne, Roger Stern, John Romita, Jr., Scott Lobdell, Chris Claremont, Roy Thomas, Jim Steranko, and Jack Kirby! 256 page @paperback"
- Fantastic Four #4 (Kirby) + Namor #1 (Byrne)
- Captain America #255 (Byrne) + Captain America #350
- Nick Fury #5 (Steranko) + Marvel Spotlight: Nick Fury #31 (Chaykin)
- X-Men #117 (Bryne) + X-Men #309 (Romita)
- Ka-Zar #1 + Ka-Zar #1 (Kubert)
The Incredible Hulk : Future Imperfect
by Peter David and George Perez
It's the Future. Not yours, not mine. Ruled by the Hulk. Not yours, not mine. After a holocaust which has wiped out most of the Earth's population and the Earth's Greatest Heroes, all that remains is a battered imitation of the human spirit and an aged, world-weary Hulk--who now styles himself the dictator of remains as the Maestro.
Enter the Hulk. The good Doctor Banner we all know and love. He's in the future fighting against himself for the sake of humanity. In the past the Hulk has battled his share of power-mad tyrants before: Draxon the Dictator, the Gremlin, Farnoq Dahn of Trans-Sabal, and the Leader. But now he must face himself--the most hateful and powerful dictator of the worst of all possible realities. Not yours, not mine. The Hulk is trapped in a world hemade.
Peter David has said that he is most proud of this work. The whole book (reprints of a 2 issue mini-series) is a fine example comics colloboration, and characteristic of David's ability to bring out the best in artists. Truly, this book represents the beginning of a new phase in Perez's career, continued in his present work on "The Avengers". I stopped reading comics for a while and missed it when it was originally published. Coming back to Marvel comics and "The Incredible Hulk" in 1997, I was clueless what was going on with the character until I read this book. "Future Imperfect" will be the key to understanding the whole 12 years of Peter David's work on the character. Absolutely essential Hulk reading--get it while it stays in print.
The Incredible Hulk : Ghost of the Past
by Peter David, Dale Keown, Mark Farmer, Jan Duursema, and Chris Bachalo
This trade paperback collects a rollicking end to a chapter in the Hulk's mythos. Big time villians bite it. Hulk's friends bite it. Hulk nearly bites it--now you didn't think the Hulk would bite it, did you? A seriously heart-racing adventure which features Dale Keown's last work on the book. (I wouldn't go so far and say Dale Keown bites it.) This is Peter David's third trade paperback, following Transformations. The style of these four issues of the Hulk (#397-400) picks up from the Peter David ending in the former book (and issue #377).
Action galore. Cameos aplenty. Shocking endings. This one has it all.
Thunderbolts: Marvel's Most Wanted
Presented by Stan Lee, a lot of art by Kirby, plus some by
A very interesting compilation of Marvel story featuring villains who became...heroes. Created by Hulk writer Peter David, the Thunderbolts may be Marvel's best hope for a "new" universe of heroes in the next decade. What's interesting about this tome is that it collects old 70's and 80's stories which featured the starting point for these characters. For those who enjoy Hulk, issues #228 and #229 are reprinted here retelling the story where the Hulk first met Moonstone, who back in the 70s was a tough villain. If you haven't read a good old Hulk Smash story lately, this tome is worth it. Kirby fans will also enjoy old Capt. America reprints.
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