The Hulk Lives Again *spoilers*

My Hulk is back and you’re gonna be in trouble.
(Hey, la-di-la, my Hulk is back.)
When you see him comin’, better cut out on the double.
(Hey, la-di-la, my Hulk is back.)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yes, it is true. Hulk and Bruce are back from the dead.And after only four months!
This story occurs in this months and next months issue of Uncanny Avengers #15 and #16 (released Oct. 12th and November 9th). Details are somewhat limited on what brought this about. From what I understand the ninja assassin group known as ‘The Hand’ will use their ancient magic to resurrect Bruce and thus the Hulk back to life. This also in effect gives them control of the green beast for their own ends.
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I have mixed feelings on this. On one hand I am very happy he’s back. I mean this is the original green man himself. The incredible Hulk. Not some “totally awesome” poser.
On the other hand though it totally demeans the character’s death in the first place. And by extension weakens the overall impact of any future deaths Marvel has planned. They either should have waited longer (at least a year) or figured out some other way to do it. Like maybe a series where the Hulk’s closest friend reminisce on his past actions or most memorable stories. Maybe give their unique perspective on how they saw him during those times. A highlight reel of sorts. It would have been a great way to introduce the best of the Hulk to new readers before bringing him back officially.
In any case mean green is back and who knows how a recently dead Hulk will react. Pet Cemetery comes to mind….                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Now he’s back and things will be fine.
(Hey, la-di-la, my Hulk is back.)
You’re gonna be sorry you were ever born.
(Hey, la-di-la, my Hulk is back.)

Tales to Astonish #91

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Writer: Stan Lee / Cover Artist: Gil Kane / Artist: Bill Everett

Released in May 1967 was Tales to Astonish #91. This issue is notable for featuring, for the first time on the cover, the Abomination. However, the Abomination’s first appearance is actually in TTA #90. The Abomination has been a long time foe of the Hulk and one of the most recognized bad guys in the Marvel universe.

As is the structure of Tales to Astonish this comic hold two stories. The first is dedicated to Namor. I am not a fan of Namor so I will not go into detail on his story.

For the Hulk’s story titled “Whomsoever Harms the Hulk…!” we find Abomination has defeated the Hulk and gone into hiding. The Hulk is revived by General Ross and turned back into Banner. Banner then lures Abomination back for a re-match in which the Hulk actually proves victorious. However, the Abomination is abducted by a stranger in hopes of making him any ally. Hulk then runs off to be alone.

The story isn’t amazing and its short. But it is the second encounter between Hulk and Abomination, so its historical if nothing else. Also, you see the Abomination very little. I was kind of surprised by that. Honestly, my only interest was in the the cover. It shows the two giants clashing for the first time ever. For me this was a special event. A rivalry on the same level as Spiderman and Doc Ock.

Good news is this comic is not that expensive right now. You can nab it for $30 or more depending on quality. I think I got mine for less due to the wear and tear on it.

eBay Prices:

  • $30-150 depending on condition (9/13/16)

Incredible Hulk #5

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Writer & Editor: Stan Lee / Artist: Jack Kirby

Another oldie but goldie, Incredible Hulk #5. This issue was released in January of 1963 as part of the original Hulk run. Featuring two stories this issue features the Hulk facing off against (in his first ever appearance) Tyrannus and General Fang (also his first and only appearance).

In the first story Tyrannus abducts Betty Ross and takes her deep underground. Banner learns of this and of course goes into pursuit as the Hulk .Tyrannus, using Betty as leverage, forces the Hulk to fight as a gladiator for him This doesn’t last long before Hulk smashes everything and saves Betty. It’s a simple story but its one of the better ones told in the original series. I also think the armor he wears is kinda cool. Especially the helmet. Would like to see that brought back.

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In the second story General Fang is the leader of an eastern army threatening to destroy another nation. A cry for help is broadcast across the world and Bruce hears the transmission. Determining he is the only one who can help he leaps into action as the Hulk and takes him down. He dresses as an abominable snowman in the hopes of scaring Fang’s army and fights a holographic dragon.

Overall a good set of stories and the inclusion of a villain’s first appearance makes this comic something special.  I also really like this cover. It’s been a sort of minor holy grail to me. My issue is more or less in decent shape (at least readable). The panels are a little faded and the cover is a bit raged. The biggest issue is that the comic is yellowed revealing it wasn’t properly stored. But these imperfections made it cheap enough for me to afford. A fresher copy can easily go for three times what I paid. So given my desire and funds available its the best I could do. Maybe one day a better issue will become available. For now I’m quite happy with it.

Average eBay Prices:

  • $175-$400 (based on condition)(8/19/2016)

 

 

Incredible Hulk #6

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Writer: Stan Lee / Cover: Steve Ditko / Artist: Steve Ditko

 

Here is one of the prize gems in my comic collection, Incredible Hulk #6. Released in March 1963, this was the last issue in the original run of the Incredible Hulk. Mean green would continue to exist in the Avengers or in Tales to Astonish until 1968 when Incredible Hulk #102 would reintroduce him. Yes, my issue is bit beat up but to own any of these old issues costs a small fortune. A beat up copy is sometimes the only way to have them all.

Sadly this comic has the weakest story of the run and some of the strangest moments I think most Hulk fans would rather forget. This issue proves that Stan Lee was really trying everything with this character and seeing what stuck.This is also the first issue where Ditko takes over the art direction from Kirby.

 

hulk maskFor example in these early issues Banner can only change to Hulk with the aide of a Gamma Machine (or the Moon). However, during one transformation, it isn’t completed. He is changed, except for having Banner’s physical head and face. So the Hulk has to wear a mask to disguise himself completely so no one knows he’s Banner. An interesting twist. I had never considered a disguise being an issue for someone who changed his body at the molecular level.

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In addition the Hulk is much smarter and outsmarts the metal master using a gun. A gun! I won’t spoil how. But its a pretty low-tech solution.

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And finally we get to see another moment that does influence the future of the character and become canon…but in reverse. In this issue Hulk becomes so mad that he actually reverts back to Banner without the use of the Gamma machine. In future issues it would be anger that would bring out the Hulk. I’m sure this moment would inspire future Hulk writer Peter David to bring this idea back and give us the ‘Savage Banner’ .

The comic ends with Metal Master defeated with the help of the Teen Brigade (First appearance) and Banner hoping to leave the Hulk behind him.

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Average eBay Value:

  • $130-350+ depending on quality (8/2/16)

Incredible Hulk #457

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Writer: Peter David / Artist: David Brewer / Cover: Adam Kubert

This post is a continuation of another post on Incredible Hulk #456. During the previous issue Hulk is recruited by Apocalypse to be his new Horsemen of War.

This comic features the Absorbing Man and Juggernaut. Both are no match for this new and improved Hulk. It will take the intervention of friends in order to bring the green beast back to reality. This issue was released in October 1997.

This War Hulk ends in this issue, which is a shame since (as I’ve stated before) I love this new look. And I must not be alone in thinking this as it became a featured armor in the popular MMO game, Marvel Heroes.

I would love it if this armor made a comeback.

Average eBay Price:

  • $4-8 (7/21/16)

Incredible Hulk #456

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Writer: Peter David / Artist:Adam & Joe Kubert

This is a comic I’ve been excited to post on. Especially in light of the recently released X-Men: Apocalypse movie. This is issue #456 released in September 1997.

In this issue Apocalypse (the first and most powerful mutant) has set his sights on a new horseman. In the past Apocalypse has always sought out the most powerful mutants to be transformed into one of his four horsemen in order to conquer the world. Well for the first time he has chosen a non-mutant; the Hulk.

Hulk is plagued by thoughts of Banner’s abusive father, Brian Banner. His father continually yells hateful things from within his mind. Apocalypse offers Hulk a chance to finally remove this torture from his mind. So, along with new armor and a whip, the Hulk is given a helmet that suppresses these thoughts giving the Hulk peace. Which is ironic seeing as Apocalypse has dubbed Hulk the newest Horsemen of War.

The story of this new War Hulk continues into issue #457 which I’ll post on at another time. Given that the story is so short it doesn’t get much room to breathe. Which is a shame since I absolutely love the armor the Hulk wears. There was even an action figure based on this Hulk which I own. You can see the figure I own here.

Average eBay Price:

  • $4-8 (7/19/16)

 

Arrows and Banners

It’s done. For so long and so many have attempted this. A few times before many thought they were successful. But it seems it has happened for certain this time. I won’t go into details as to not ruin it for fans. You are welcome to discover it for yourself online as it’s already being talked about.

But this means the end of an era. Serious changes are being made at Marvel and the latest news means they are serious (but of course it can be undone as it has been done before with other characters). However, if this is permanent, it is a killing blow for old fans of the Hulk as well.

I have not been particularly impressed by the “totally awesome” Hulk. I had hoped things might turn around during Civil War 2. But instead, inside issue #3 of Civil War 2, the opposite has occurred.

I will now have to rely on my hopes in Marvel’s future films and less so in their comics.

The Hulk is dead….LONG LIVE THE HULK!