Sunday, April 29, 2007

Hoopla! - Episode 19: In which the Hulk Smashes...

Hello and welcome to Hoopla! This week we're going to take a look at Marvel's solicitations for their July books and... not much else. I had some glorious plans for this week's Hoopla! but it looks like they're going to have to wait until next week, because time--as usual--is my enemy.

I do want to mention, however, that Newsarama just released a very brief interview with Sienkiewicz about the upcoming 30 Days of Night title I was telling y'all about a few weeks ago and the first issue has officially been scheduled for September. Yee-haw!

Well, July is the month when the sun is out shining its sunbeams of love at the world and a young man's heart naturally turns to... the Hulk. Marvel, anticipating that seasonal change, has cleverly scheduled a bazillion books featuring the Hulk for July.

Don't believe me? Well, just take a look...

And my personal favorite, from IRREDEEMABLE ANT-MAN #10...

Plus a couple of others that don't have covers posted yet.

The story behind all these Hulk crossovers/limited series is that about a year ago, Hulk was shot into outer space by a bunch of super-heroes (I forget who all was involved, but Iron Man, Reed Richards, etc.) because he'd become too much of a menace to remain on Earth. That led to a year's worth of stories about Hulk being on this faraway planet where he was a warrior-hero.

Now, the Hulk's coming back with his army and it's payback time.

And this time... it's personal.

So, be afraid... be very afraid.

Because you wouldn't like him when he's angry.

He's going to kick some ass and chew some gum. And he's all out of gum...


So, essentially what you've got here is a big ol' "Hulk Smash!" kind of story. Which is fine, I suppose, but I can't help thinking this might be a few too many Hulk fights for one month (and it will be continuing throughout the summer). How much Hulk can one person reasonably be expected to take? And some of these crossovers and limited series sound pretty lame.

Exhibit A: World War Hulk: X-Men.

THE STORY: When the Illuminati voted to shoot the Hulk into space, Professor X wasn't there...but the Hulk just found out he was supposed to be. So he shows up at the Xavier Institute to ask a few pointed questions, Hulk style. With the other teams away, only Beast and the New X-Men stand between the massive rage of the Hulk and the Professor...not to mention the younger students who'd be caught in the crossfire. Can the X-Men-in-training survive the wrath of the Jade Giant until the other X-teams get back? Or will the young mutants become casualties of the World War Hulk?

So, this is a three issue series about the Hulk going to the institute so he can beat up Professor X, who wasn't even one of the people who shot him into space. C'mon, Hulk! Focus a little, here! Getting side-tracked into a three-issue battle with the Beast and the New X-Men is only going to slow you down. And what's the payoff?

I mean, assuming the Hulk does beat up the Beast and the New X-Men (and I should hope he'd be able to do that much), then what is he going to do? Beat up Professor X? That's going to be a pretty quick fight.

Silly Hulk. Silly Marvel Comics.

There's also a new Bendis/Maleev limited series coming out, which would normally be a must-buy for me, but...

HALO: UPRISING #1 (of 4)


Pencils and Cover by ALEX MALEEV

The Eisner Award-winning team of superscribe Brian Michael Bendis and artist extraordinaire Alex Maleev unleash an epic story of mankind's struggle against the alien threat of the Covenant. Picking up from the conclusion of blockbuster video game Halo 2, the must-read issue reveals how the Master Chief, while onboard a hostile ship headed towards Earth, is battling against Covenant forces! Intertwined with Master Chief's interstellar one-man-war is the saga of a great American city's rebellion and downfall, two disparate lives' collision and shared fate, and the Convenant's hunt for an ancient relic of untold power and value. With hope dwindling and the fate of humanity hanging by a thread, is there any chance for a future? Read this debut issue to start the journey into the Halo universe!

40 PGS./17 and Up ...$3.99

This comic book is based on a Mature-rated video game.Microsoft, Bungie, the Bungie logo, Halo, the Halo logos, the Microsoft Game Studios logo, Xbox 360, the Xbox logos are either registered trademarks or trademarks ofMicrosoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries and are used under license from owner. © 2007 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Um... it's based on a video game? That's rather... unexciting. [Although it's true that Death Jr. was also based on a video game and that was one of the best books to come out last year. But that was by Ted Naifeh. The normal rules don't apply.] Besides which, it's science fiction. When I think Bendis and Maleev, I think dark, gritty, urban stories. I think Daredevil. I do not think "epic story of mankind's struggle against the alien threat of the Covenant."

Of course, it's always possible that this will end up being great. It could happen. Bendis and Maleev... that's a heck of a team. But, I'm Mr. Dubious on this one.

Meanwhile, those of you who love Keith Giffen's writing are in for a treat in July. At first glance, ANNIHILATION: CONQUEST – STAR-LORD (4-issue series) doesn't look all that interesting. Too many words in the title, for one thing. And the cover is sort of a generic sci-fi comic-book-y thing.

But... the solicitation copy looks very promising...

Peter Quill is once again Star-Lord - - but what could possibly make him take on his former identity? And what brings together the motley crew that includes Bug, Captain Universe, Deathcry, Mantis, Groot and Rocket Raccoon? Grab your blaster and say your prayers as Keith Giffen (ANNIHILATION) and soon-to-be star Timothy Green (Rush City) deliver a sci-fi twist on Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos!32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99

Keith Giffen writing a story that stars Bug, Rocket Racoon, and something called Groot? Ah, yes. Life is good.

And, in the two-great-tastes-that-taste-great-together category, we've got this...

Marvel Adventures: The Avengers by Jeff Parker is pure fun. Agents of Atlas (also written by Jeff Parker) was one of the best limited series of the past year. And what we've got here is a Giant-Size Marvel Adventures: The Avengers that guest-stars... the Agents of Atlas!!!

What's not to love?

Further evidence that Joe Quesada loves me... Dan Slott's Great Lake Avengers, who later changed their names to the Great Lakes X-Men, and who are now apparently going by the Great Lakes Initiative, have their own one-shot coming up in July. The Great Lakes Avengers limited series (about two years ago...?) was one of the best comic-book-y things I've ever read. Absurd, hilarious, tragic... it blew me away, quite frankly. And now there's this...


Written by DAN SLOTT



Wisconsin’s only greatest heroes team-up with the world’s most annoying deadliest merc in this slightly larger than average super sized special! Marvel as DEADPOOL and the newly--crowned GREAT LAKES INITIATIVE face off against hitmen, ninjas, and the POWER OF THE GODS! Swoon as the scintillating SQUIRREL GIRL is reunited with her first love, ROBBIE BALDWIN! And prepare yourself as DEADPOOL trains a GLI’er in one of the deadliest killing arts of all time!!! Ye gods, man! What are you waiting for? This thing’s got time travel, strange bodily functions, and NINJAS? Did we mention the ninjas? Sick of ninjas yet? We thought so. That’s so 80’s, right? Forget about the ninjas. (They are there, though.)48 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

And finally from Marvel, there's a new limited series, titled SUPER-VILLAIN TEAM-UP/M.O.D.O.K.'S 11. I'm not quite certain why Marvel is being so good to me this summer, but take a look at this...

While the heroes are away fighting World War Hulk, the villains can play...M.O.D.O.K., sick of being hunted and hounded by A.I.M., gathers together an eclectic team of Marvel's Most Wanted to pull off one last, big score. But news travels fast along the grapevine of villainy -- and pretty soon every bad guy in the Marvel Universe is gunning for the Big-Headed One's unspeakably powerful prize. Executing their heist may be the easy part, because getting away with their loot alive is going to be the real challenge for M.O.D.O.K.’s 11!32 PGS./Rated A …$2.99


So, yes... July looks to be a damn fine month for comic-books.

Well, I was going to do an extra-special feature about The Shield, which I personally think is the single best TV series currently on the air. However, time does not permit, so I'm going to save that for next week's Hoopla!

This gives you time to prepare, though. So, quick rent all five seasons of The Shield so as to maximize your Hoopla! enjoyment next week. Otherwise, you're really just wasting your time and mine, no?

Next week is also my birthday, so be sure to send me lots of gifts, okay?

Until then, here's hoping you have a kick-ass week and that nobody tries to stomp on your continuity!

- Paul

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