Marvel Comics character
Robert Bruce Banner suffered an accident saving a teenager by the name of Rick Jones. He was bombarded with massive doses of gamma radiation, and as a result, he was transformed into the monster with unlimited strength The Incredible Hulk. As the towering brute, the Hulk has been hailed as a hero defending the Earth from various threats by alien and Earthborn menaces alike. He has also been feared and billed as a rampaging monster, as he's battled against the authorities and other superheroes as well. -summary
The Incredible Hulk is definitely among the most interesting characters in the Marvel Universe. The Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde mythology of the character does manage to stand out. Along with that, underneath the super-strength and the "Hulk Smash" thing, he's a tragic figure with his alter-ego Bruce Banner forever condemned to a living hell since he's basically denied a normal life, completely due to his transformation into the creature whenever driven angry. But let's face it, the major selling point of the Hulk was watching him in battle delivering one beat down after another; superheroes, super-villains, man, woman, demon, whatever, they can all get it. The Hulk wasn't racist whenever it came down to dishing out ass beatings.
Spanning across 44 years and many different writers from the likes of Stan Lee, Peter David, and Howard Mackie only to name some; Hulk vs. The Marvel Universe is a collection of his so-called Greatest Hits. As a fan of the Hulk this book is wretched because I know these aren't the best Hulk stories. As a comic fan, I think it's still close to worthless because it has an opened story in it, plus it features none of his enemies at all and a hero's absolute best is brought out by his nemesis.
This book collects Fantastic Four 25-26, Journey into Mystery 112, Tales to Astonish 92-93, Daredevil 163, Incredible Hulk 300, 340, Peter Parker: Spider-Man 14, and Hulk vs. Fin Fang Foom. Seriously, anyone who claims these to be no doubt the best Hulk stories ever written don't know what they're talking about at all, and they should be completely ignored. Only one of these stories are recognized as Marvel Milestones.
I'll give credit where it's due and point out the variety in the story selection. The book delivers some of his rampaging persona in Fantastic Four issues 25-26, as he takes on the Thing one on one, and later the combined efforts of the Fantastic Four and Avengers. I wasn't born at that time, but I can imagine the comic geeks all hyped up over this. I enjoyed the stories when I got a chance to read them for the first time in the very early 80's, and the geek in me still gets a kick out of them now. The writing style for that time period was fun and imaginative, props to Stan Lee on that one, and double the props because this is actually the best story in the book even with its overly campy dialog and feel.
We also get a look at the completely mindless side of the brute in Hulk 300 as he takes on the Avengers again. This book features several characters such as Spider-Man, Dr. Strange, Powerman and Ironfist, but this story is mainly remembered for the fight with Thor and Hulk's banishment to the Crossroads. One of the two stories that delves into the more tragic side, is the confrontation with the Silver Surfer, in which the Hulk wants to take his board from him and leave the planet because he's tired of being hunted. I can't help but notice the sense of irony here. When the Hulk was finally sent off the planet to be left alone, he came back with a mad on so fierce he destroyed New York. It's just funny now that I think about it.
I am not pleased with this collection at all, and I find it hard to believe that those who claim to be fans will say these are the best Hulk stories around. That is too far from the truth. Personally, no collection like this is anywhere near complete without some of his battles against the Abomination, Doc Samson, Leader, Tyrannus, The U-Foes, Zzzax, Absorbing Man, or even the Harpy. And even if the focus was meant to be on select superheroes, they could have done a lot better than this. Journey into Mystery 112 features a battle against Thor, where there was some debate on who was the stronger. If they really wanted a Thor story here like that. Then why not Thor 385? This forgotten story pretty much solved the debate in my eyes. In that story, Hulk couldn't beat Thor as long as he used the hammer, and without it, Hulk demolished Thor leaving him full of bruises.
Hulk takes on Spider-Man in Peter Parker: Spider-Man 14, and I also feel they could have done better with Spider-Man too. 90's comics get a lot of heat from some, but Amazing Spider-Man 381-382 would have been much better picks, as it features the Hulk being infected by a gamma-radiated virus, and he goes off against Spidey and Doc Samson. And of course, we get the usual Wolverine battle, which took place against the grey Hulk in The Incredible Hulk 340. Seriously, this was the best they could have done with the grey Hulk? Hulk 375 against the Super Skrull would have been far better, because well, it's a better story, plus Wolverine has been way too overexposed.
Something else that bothered me is how they added Hulk 300 though. This story ends with his banishment from Earth by Dr. Strange. I know what happens to the Hulk after this and how he gets back. But will casual or new fans know? What sense did it make to add a story with an obvious cliffhanger just to see Hulk in action, when there were so many one-shots out there to choose from?
This book was released in 2008 and it was more than likely meant to piggyback the Hulk movie released that year. Therefore, Marvel was probably thinking the movie was going to rope in new fans. After that movie people probably would have wanted to see a comic with the Abomination, and not a fight against Daredevil or Fin Fang Foom. And I'm still in shock someone would actually add either of those two anyway, instead of Hulk's fight with the Juggernaut in Hulk 172.
The artwork stretches across decades, and the earlier stories indeed look very dated. However, there's still this old school charm about it, and the earlier Hulk designs with the Frankenstein look can be hilarious. It's nice to see the progression over the years, and most of the later issues look really good. Some of the action is very fun to watch, such as the Thing taking strong looking blows from the Hulk. For the most part there is some entertainment value to be found here.
I can't honestly say these stories are terrible in quality because they do have something to offer. However, since the book is billed as Hulk's Greatest Hits, then most of them are terrible for this particular collection. The book has no one from his rogues gallery, so someone new to the Hulk will come away as they went in, and that's not too familiar with his neck of the woods. On top of that, there's a story with an obvious cliffhanger, and you just don't add those type of stories to collections like these. Try to imagine a Batman greatest hits without any Joker or Ra's Al Ghul stories, in addition to Bane breaking Batman's back somewhere in the middle of the book and just leaving it. That's what you get here.
If you're new to the Hulk or a casual reader, then here goes a few TPB's that I feel are far superior, in which you will actually get to know something about the Hulk's world:
Modern stories - Planet Hulk, World War Hulk, Hulk: The End
Older - Wolverine Battles The Incredible Hulk, Hulk: Heart of the Atom, Hulk: Pardoned
Grey Hulk - Hulk: Ground Zero
Merged Hulk - Hulk Future Imperfect, Hulk: Ghosts of the Past
-Some good action to be found here
- A very lackluster collection of Hulk's supposedly greatest
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Marvel Comics character
comic TPB collecting the first six issues of the 2008 X-Forc …
Comic Book/ Graphic Novel