Category Archives: hulk
By the end of this weekend we’ll probably all have seen the third installment of the Iron Man film series, Iron Man 3. The armored avenger seems to be more popular now than ever before. He wasn’t always this popular though, even to comics fans.
When I was a wee one, I didn’t even know who Iron Man was, beyond the guy in the armor in the Avengers. My very first impression of him, my first comic book with him in it… was a wild one. It was a comic that showed me a whole different side of Iron Man, or at least in the memory of a six year old boy. I’ll be back after the jump with my memories and thoughts on The Incredible Hulk #131 from 1970.
Today the buzz from Latino Review is that a Hulk standalone film is on tap for the Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 3. The real kicker, they’re doing “Planet Hulk.”
The dirt? At the end of Avengers 2, the Marvel Cinematic version of the Illuminati decides the Hulk is too big a threat, and blasts him off to space – just like in the comics. From there he lands on an alien planet and becomes a gladiator and eventually ruler of that world. Yep, sound familiar?
More details on this breaking rumor can be found here from Latino Review.
How do I feel about it? It certainly makes sense, and “Planet Hulk” is a major storyline from the comics and a turning point in the life of the Hulk. It shows character, provides motivation, and lets the character break loose in a way he could not on Earth. And with the Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as Thanos, opening up Marvel cosmic for the big screen, it could be. This also would make a “World War Hulk” storyline for Avengers 3 a serious possibility.
Is it true? Time will tell. I know I’d be down. What do you folks think?
In the comic book universe, it’s no secret that I fall on the side of DC Comics, the home of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. You know, the holy trinity of four-colour, sequential periodicals – the world’s most recognized pop-culture heroes – the Justice League.
As evidenced by the many debates with comic book loving pals (many of whom write for and/or read this very site) about the pros and cons of the DC and Marvel universes, that means I’m not a big Avengers fan. You can’t love the Leafs and the Habs, City and United, Yankees and Mets. You have to choose. At ten years of age, I chose DC.
And on the eve of one of this summer’s most highly anticipated movies, I’m still not a fan. Not really. How could I be?
First off, if you had asked me a decade ago, two decades ago, even three decades ago, hell, let’s go there, I’m that old, or four decades ago, if I would ever live to see such an animal as an Avengers movie – a real mainstream big screen epic summer blockbuster Avengers movie – I would have laughed at you. And I am one of the biggest Avengers fans you’ll ever know. It is just not something I would have even dreamed possible. Add in the fact that it would be preceded by two Iron Man movies, two Hulk movies, a Thor, and a Captain America movie, and that it would have its own internal continuity – my mind would be blown.
When it comes to animated tv shows, the last twenty ears have really spoiled comic book fans. Along the time that Batman: The Animated Series made its debut on FOX (back in 1992 if my memory serves me well), the majority of shows rooted in comic lore have managed to combine the best stories from their histories alongside some great animation. The animated X-Men series was the first series to bring our favourite mutants to life (I am consciously discounting the failed X-Men pilot from the 80′s, Pryde of The X-Men) and did an admirable job of capturing decades worth of lore. The mid-90′s Spider-Man series, also on FOX, was, at the time, the most faithful to Spidey’s roots, giving Peter Parker a fairly tortured soul that was always trying to do the right thing. As a Marvel Zombie, I was a pretty happy camper back in the day watching those series.
However, it’s the DC fans who I think have been really well-served over the past two decades when it comes to classic animated series. Besides the aforementioned Batman: The Animated Series, not only a classic animated series but an all around brilliant episodic television show, the same creators gave fans Superman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, and the beloved Justice League and it’s follow-up, Justice League Unlimited, which featured almost every character from the League’s roster at one time or another. Now, neither of the latter two shows ever quite resonated with me the way it did with my friends and DC fanatics, but I can tell you us Marvel fans never got as quality a show as Justice League. We never had a series that left our mouths open or craving the next episode. I’d suggest the closest we ever got was the recent Wolverine and The X-Men, with it’s season long storyline and gorgeous animation. However, some fans had a hard time buying into Wolverine as the leader of the group, which is a fair enough criticism. So really, though both companies have had strong animated showings, the general consensus has been no Marvel series has matched the acclaim that so many offerings from the Distinguished Competition have received.
Until now. Well, make that a few months ago, but I’m playing catch-up.
Over the last few days I’ve been watching Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, which airs in the U.S. on Disney XD and in Canada on Teletoon. It’s the first series to feature one of comicdom’s most beloved teams, with the majority of heavy hitters accounted for in the first two episodes, including Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, The Wasp, Giant Man, Hawkeye, Nick Fury and Maria Hill (the newest character on the series, having made her debut in the Brian Michael Bendis series New Avengers, which demonstrates her popularity and why Jose Whedon is featuring her in the upcoming Avengers film). As for the characters MIA, most notably Captain America, you know he’s coming in a future episode.
For those of you who have been watching the series since its debut last fall, I’m not telling you anything new. You already know how entertaining it is. But, if like me, you’ve never caught an episode of the series and you love the Avengers, I think you’ll be blown away by what’s made it onto the show. The animation and the voice work are both solid, but the real selling point of the series is the brilliant storytelling. The season begins with a two-part episode, Breakout, that finds many of the Marvel U’s biggest baddies breaking out of 4 select prisons overseen by S.H.I.E.L.D. This leads to a team-up by our illustrious group of heroes and then the promise of working together in the future. It also leaves us with the question of who masterminded the breakout and a task for The Avengers – recapture all of the escaped prisoners.
However, rather jump immediately into villain recovery mode with episode three, Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes instead goes into a series of backstory episodes on Iron Man, Thor and Hulk, tracing their experiences almost up to the moment that the first episode begins. By doing this, we get a deeper look into the psyche of each character, while also receiving answers to some of the questions the first two episodes left us with (just why was Bruce Banner imprisoned in The Cube?). I really wasn’t expecting this level of character development or attention to story detail, so all credit to show creator Joshua Fine and writer Christopher Yost for running a series that carefully honours its source material.
I still have a ways to go with Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. I’m only 5 episodes in, 19 have been broadcast and more are on the way in April. But unlike all the DC animated series, I’m totally invested in the characters I’m watching. That’s not meant to be a slight – I just grew up with more of a love for Marvel and the Avengers than I did for the Justice League. And I want to see what happens next.
Now get assembling!
The apathetic gamer. That is I. Try as I might, it’s rare that I can sit and play a video game for an extended period of time, regardless of how good or bad the game might be. I’ve got the critically acclaimed Heavy Rain and the critically derided Deadly Premonitions and neither have captured my imagination for very long (though, admittedly, I plan on revisiting both of them; I love Hard Rain’s plot and the wacky Twin Peaks elements of Deadly Premonitions). I was an avid purchaser of the yearly WWE games since the late 90′s, but my lack of commitment to playing the last few years of Smackdown Vs Raw even resulted in me passing on the 2010 edition of the game (a lackluster few years of wrestling storylines didn’t help much either).
Seeing as how I have poor gaming habits, over the last year I’ve tried to watch my purchases. So when Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 was released late in 2009, I actually took a pass on picking that game up as well. This is a big deal because 1)I was a fan of the first Ultimate Alliance offering, even if I’m stuck someplace in the middle of that one, and 2) the sequel is based on the fantastic Secret War/Civil War storyline that had a huge impact on the Marvel Comic universe for the last few years. Even with pressure from some fellow Biff Bam Poppers to pick it up so that we could play online together, I held firm that I wouldn’t drop the dough on the game; at least, not until tit experienced a price drop that would make the purchase a little more justified. I would keep my eyes open for a used copy in the meantime, but I wound up waiting until a few weeks ago, when retailers started offering Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 for the nice price of $20. I’m glad I waited.
Keep in mind that these are rough impressions because, not surprisingly, I haven’t spent too much time with the game as of yet. It certainly looks good – the cut scenes are great to view and the character designs are solid for those I’ve played with (including Wolverine, Iron Man, Luke Cage, Captain America, and Spider-Man). And the plot is as memorable as the comics it’s based on. Nick Fury has taken a group of heroes to the country of Latveria (home of Doctor Doom) and whose Prime Minister has helped facilitate weapons to super villains. However, if you’ve played the original Ultimate Alliance, or going back even further to the X-Men: Legends that were on the original X-Box and Playstation 2 platforms, the controls and four player scheme is pretty familiar, which leaves a bit of a “more of the same” feeling for this admittedly average gamer. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2′s big claim to fame upon its release was the Fusion capability of two characters being able to deliver special power moves together, but I should probably spend a little more time with the instruction manual, since I don’t find using it particularly intuitive. As well, sometimes the onslaught of villains attacking you is just too much and too busy, and you lose your characters in the fray. What Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 does do wonderfully well is place me in the Marvel Universe, which was always the games selling point, even with its faults. I may not be the best gamer, but it does leave me wanting to pick up the joystick and return to the world.
There’s another Marvel Universe game that I’d been holding off on for months, waiting for the inevitable price drop, but this one was a little more under the radar. Marvel Super Hero Squad is based on the kids tv program of the same name, and doesn’t take itself seriously at all. In both the show and the game, we’re given access to mini versions of our favorite Marvel Heroes, as they do battle against the Lethal Legion, led by (not surprisingly) Doctor Doom. If you’re unfamiliar with the Super Hero Squad, consider it to be a Muppet Babies take on characters like Iron Man, Silver Surfer, Thor, the Hulk and others. The stories are written with good humor and a sense of the absurd, and the game carries that over.
While the reviews for Marvel Super Hero Squad upon its release were far from kind, I must admit that I found it pretty refreshing when comparing it to Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2. Simple controls, unique character designs and that sense of humour (not to mention its cheap price) gave me a chuckle as I started plowing through the first level with Thor and Hulk against the agents of A.I.M. The game also offers up a battle mode, where you can put your Squad members head to head in something akin to the old Mortal Kombat game. Marvel Super Hero Squad may be designed for kids, but I’m getting a kick out of it (I may even be able to convince The Queen to pick up a controller and do battle with me).
Marvel Super Hero Squad and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2/strong> are very different takes on one fantastic universe. While I couldn’t have recommended either of them at their full price when they were both released, with their recent price drops you can play two unique games for the price of less than either’s original price. If you’re into story and graphic, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 is for you. If you’re looking for simple game play and a few laughs, Super Hero Squad (and it’s upcoming sequel) is for you.
I know they’ll be keeping my attention for at least a few hours and for this apathetic gamer, that’s saying something.
On the middle Wednesday of every month, regular Biff Bam Pop! contributor, JP Fallavollita, shares his musings on comic books, comic book art, comic book collecting and the overall comic book universe. That gives him a lot to talk about but don’t hold it against him if he speaks with a DC Comics slant. That’s just how he rolls (with the capes and the masks).
I think I’m gonna crack under the pressure.
You see, I’m one of the lucky few to get the chance to meet Stan Lee on the evening of Friday, August 27th. I’ve always been a DC Comics guy, I admit. Those that read this column or any other articles I’ve written for Biff Bam Pop! know that. Still, the man is the greatest comic book creator. Ever.
Stan Lee has contributed more to the American art form that is comic books than anyone else I can compare him against. More than those that blazed the trail before him. More than those that were and those that are his contemporaries. More than anyone to come, I’m sure. Just look at the resume of characters he’s created over the last fifty years, a veritable who’s who of household names that everyone knows, regardless of what country they call home or what language they speak: The X-Men, Iron Man, The Hulk, Daredevil, Thor, The Avengers, The Fantastic Four and, oh yeah, a little scrawny character named Spider-Man. And that’s just a start.
What a crazy, fertile imagination the man has there! All of those characters have transcended their humble, four-colour newsstand origins and leapt out into a global mainstream consciousness. Stan Lee is the single, most important reason that Marvel Comics is nicknamed “The House of Ideas”.
And meeting him has got me stressed. Here’s why: not only do I get to meet the creator of all those legendary comic book characters (and get my picture taken alongside him!) but I’ll also have the opportunity to get Stan Lee to sign…something for me, dedicate…something to me. And I don’t know what that something is going to be. I grew up on DC characters! I was never a big Marvel follower and I certainly don’t have much, if anything, that Stan Lee wrote.
Normally, in instances like these where I get to meet one of the creators of a comic that I really enjoyed, a work that I really respect as a piece of literature or a piece of visual art, I’ll bring a special issue or a hardcover compilation of that extraordinary tale for the creator to sign. I did that with Darwyn Cook’s influential The New Frontier, bringing along the hardcover Absolute version of the series for the writer/artist to sign. I did that with George Perez and Marv Wolfman, hauling the extremely heavy hardcover Absolute version of groundbreaking Crisis on Infinite Earths with me for a full day. But this is something different, something bigger, something more important.
It’s not every day that one gets to meet Stan Lee, a man that engineered, that developed a medium that has become so ingrained into our daily lives.
And right now, I don’t have anything for the man to sign.
Really, I just want the chance to meet him and thank him for the characters, for the stories that have influenced so many (myself included) throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. That’s really all I want to do. A pretty altruistic ideal, no? But still, the opportunity to see his signature on a book, a mark on a piece of paper that crystallizes our encounter together, an event that provides a physical sense of memory, is a difficult opportunity to let pass.
There is one comic that I own, written by Stan Lee that has some meaning for me. Back in 1988, he wrote a Silver Surfer two-issue mini series, drawn by acclaimed French artist Jean “Moebius” Giraud (who’s art style I absolutely adore), that has that important sense of meaning for me. It was one of the first Marvel Comics products that I actively went out to the store and bought – simply because of the creative team involved int eh creation of the comic. The story was moving and the art was sublime. It holds a special place in my ever-growing collection even today. That’s an option. But I’m not a fan of getting “comics” signed by their creators. I like comics the way they are first published, original and untouched. Call me a purist. Or mildly obsessive. I’d rather have the original comic protected by backboard and plastic bag, kept away from sun light and sticky hands, viewed only occasionally in order to enjoy the art form that is comics. Personally, I’d rather have a hardcover reprint or compilation signed so that I can display it proudly alongside others on my bookshelf and, although there is a hardcover available for those two Silver Surfer issues, I don’t currently own it. More importantly, for some reason it doesn’t feel right buying it just for the purpose of Stan’s signature.
I’m a collector but I’m not a collector looking to make a quick buck off of getting Stan Lee to sign something, anything – although there are those types of people out there.
No. I want it for me. A keepsake of sorts. And that leave me in a bit of a precarious position since I’m having such a difficult time thinking of something unique for the man to sign. And I’ve only got ten days to come up with a solution.
Could I be happy with simply saying, “Mr. Lee, I just wanted to thank you for the stories”? The more I think about it, the more I think I could.
Still, seeing Stan’s famous catch phrase of “Excelsior!” – a phrase he is sure to write – at the bottom of a special poster, a distinctive lithograph or a meaningful hardcover would be pretty amazing indeed.
Time to put the thinking cap on. Real tight!
Pressure? Of course there’s an element of pressure. But the excitement of meeting a legend like Stan Lee trumps that emotion very easily! “Excelsior!” indeed!
The biggest news coming out of San Diego Comic-Con this past weekend was actually confirmation more than anything else. Confirmation of who will be starring in the hugely anticipated Avengers film, set for release in Summer 2012. And confirmation as to who would have the huge task then of guiding to this film to the big screen. Here then is your rundown of your assembled Avengers:
Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark/Iron Man: The biggest name and the hottest actor in the cast right now. Fans know that Downey has got Tony Stark down pat. We also know that he’s indebted to Marvel Studios for making him a superstar and a box office draw. The only question is, what sort of chemistry will Downey’s Stark have with his two younger co-stars?
Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America: Evans’ casting was somewhat controversial, based on the fact that he was one of the few good things about a previous Marvel franchise, the Fantastic Four. However, Evans has subsequently received good notices for his role in The Losers and will be featured in this summers upcoming Scott Pilgrim Vs The World. Evans has the chops, but he’ll really have to step up his game to stand beside some of his Avengers co-stars and make his Cap equal to Downey’s Iron Man.
Chris Hemsworth as The Mighty Thor: The least familiar actor of the ensemble who arguably has the biggest boots to fill, Hemsworth is tasked with making a god appealing and, well, godlike. Physically, he’s the perfect embodiment of the God of Thunder. As for his acting ability, he certainly demonstrated he could resonate strongly with his brief role as Jim Kirk’s father in last year’s Star Trek reboot. He’s also been working with Anthony Hopkins and Kenneth Branagh on The Mighty Thor film, so there’s no way Hemsworth isn’t adding some new tricks to his acting arsenal.
Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury: The lynchpin of Marvel’s line of films, expect Jackson’s Fury to be the man that puts this motley crüe together. Hopefully, Jackson will be able to tone down some of the (unintentional?) camp he brought to the role in Iron Man 2.
Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson: Gregg is arguably the luckiest member of the assembled ensemble, managing to parlay what had to be considered a minor role in the first Iron Man film into a core member of the forthcoming Avengers team.
Scarlett Johansson as The Black Widow: ScoJo was one of the highlights of Iron Man 2. Not only was she easy on the eyes, but her take on The Black Widow was solid and strong. Considering how much the Avengers director loves empowering his female characters and that The Black Widow is currently the only woman on the team, Johansson should score some serious screen time.
Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye: The Oscar-nominated Renner will play fan favorite, archer Hawkeye, whose comic book origins were as a villain before he renounced his evil ways, going on to become a lynchpin of The Avengers. I have a feeling Renner won’t have any trouble playing cool and cocky, and we should expect to see some great scenes between him and Chris Evans’ Captain America.
Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/The Hulk: After much controversy, Mark Ruffalo will take over for Edward Norton, but my guess is we won’t see much of him on screen. Figure that the Hulk will be one of the main villains of The Avengers, and will rendered in CG, making Ruffalo’s role more of a solid cameo rather than a staring vehicle.
Joss Whedon, Director of The Avengers: The man I consider to be the biggest question mark of the film. While I was a huge fan of his Buffy The Vampire Slayer, as a big screen director Whedon has absolutely zero clout. His one foray, Serenity, was embraced by Firefly fans, but there only seemed to be five of them, as that film tanked at the box office. And while Whedon directed some absolutely brilliant Buffy episodes, making the transition to a huge summer blockbuster tent pole film isn’t going to be easy. Expect Marvel Studios to be extremely hands-on in helping Whedon manage all the egos involved. And then expect to hear how he didn’t enjoy the experience.
Regardless, there’s no question that Marvel has put together an absolutely stellar ensemble cast for what Robert Downey Jr described as one of the most “ambitious” films of all time. Now all we have to do is wait out the next two years until we can finally see these Avengers Assembled.