Trades for 12-8: Hulkamania 2012

I don't have internet in my apartment anymore, so I walked 1.2 miles with my 6.4 lb laptop in order to post this. If you wanted to quantify it, you know, not that anyone's keeping track or anything, that is how much I care about this hobby.

And we're back, fans, to Comicsmania XXIX! It's an absolute debacle here in the Blogspot arena as chezkevin takes on a no-holds-barred, four-color free-for-all! Who will win? Who will lose? Who will return the comics back to the library??

Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis
by Warren Ellis and Kaare Andrews
collects the five-issue miniseries and the 1st issue director's cut

There was a lot of fanfare when Warren Ellis took over the title that Joss Whedon and John Cassady built. I didn't read too much in to the hype, and I don't regret it. Xenogenesis tells a passable story that takes too many issues to resolve and presents not many ideas worth the five-issue volume.

Warren Ellis delivers in a way you'd expect, spinning a story of pseudoscience: an outbreak of mutant-esque births in an African village draws the attention of the X-Men, who rush to investigate in their own snarky way:
 
The real draw of the collection is. . . the drawings. Man, if you've seen Kaare's work on the The Incredible Hulk covers, you would be just as excited as I was to see Kaare's designs. Since the X-Men are visiting Mbanawi in peace, they don some basic "help relief volunteer" costumes, complete with X-cap. Kaare chooses to draw storm with a relentless mohawk, and everybody on the team has a different design. It's refreshing to look at. Armor's armor now expresses itself too, via emoticon:

Sick. He goes a bit wild with Emma Frost's design though. Click over to J. Caleb's EDILW for coverage on the depiction of her ta-tas. All in all, you'd have to be a pretty rabid fan to pay $25 retail for this hardcover, when its material is so sparse. I'm gonna take down this comic with a RING OUT.


Superman: The Coming of Atlas
by James Robinson and Renato Guedes
collecting Superman #'s 677-680, backed up by Jack Kirby's story "Atlas the Great"

Yo, it used to mean something to collect a story in a hardcover. This collection feels as heavy as a rice cake, and offers not nearly the same amount of nutrition. Atlas comes up all in Metropolis's grill to fight Superman, and eventually loses to his dog, Krypto. Very little else happens in these four issues. There's a hint that there was some conspiracy to the fight, but that's not touched on at all except in a handful of pages. In the introduction, James Robinson said that his intent was to make Atlas the "Namor" of the Superman-iverse. He failed. There are contextless flashbacks that fail to flesh out his character, and he comes off as nothing more than a really angry dude who likes to pick on Superman and his super-pals. Kirby's backup did a far better job.

And then, for some reason, after Superman beats up Atlas, there's a whole page spent on him yelling at Metropolis to accept his dog.
 
It's. So. Silly. I'm sure the story sounded good in Robinson's head, but it just didn't work when it got to the page. This lightweight comic collection loses early with a TAP OUT BY LEG LOCK.

Marvel Visionaries: Peter David - The Incredible Hulk vol. 5
by Peter David, Jeff Purves, Dale Keown, Sam Keith and Angel Medina
collecting Incredible Hulk #364-372 and Annual #16

I'd heard about Peter David's run on Incredible, but I never expected it to be this fucking good. David continues his story of the Gray Hulk, a powerful entity without the Hulk's ability to get stronger and madder, but with enough smarts to talk and wisecrack. It's tied to the time of day, so Banner knows that he'll lose control every time the sun is gone. This makes for some great stories, as the Gray Hulk takes on the Abomination, a biological poison, Mr. Hyde and more.

It wouldn't be Incredible without huge fights, and David nails that to a "t." The fights are exciting, engaging and awesome. Issue 368 stands out particularly well, in which Mr. Hyde philosophizes over the Gray Hulk and over the monster that's inside Banner. While he's punching his face outside a running train as the sun sets. Whattascene.
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There are some great themes here as Banner goes across the country, looking for his wife Betty Banner and running into the military and alien invasions. That Gray Hulk can talk really gives us some insight into how the Hulk might feel, and that makes the story that much stronger when we can compare it against Banner's feelings. I'm really surprised at how powerful these stories are, and that's what makes this volume a TKO.
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BONUS SCENE: he's unstoppable! He's ineffable!

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 He's striated! He's THE ROCK!

Start here for some more scans I liked. There are some scenes that David writes here that could only happen with the grey Hulk, and not the green one.

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