Hulk Smash Avengers #1 - When i saw the ad for these books, my heart sunk because i knew i was going to have to buy them. I can't say why, exactly, but it was clear that Marvel was publishing them just to annoy me and i had to go along with it. Stern and Van Lente writing some of the books was definitely a factor, but there was something more that just said, "You must buy these... but you won't like them." And, indeed, this issue was a bore. A continuity insert like this can't really add a significant new event, but it can offer something new in terms of character insight, or help smooth over some of the rough planning-in-realtime from the original issues, but this issue just offered a generic story, the lesson of which, if anything, was "The Hulk really liked Rick Jones". It didn't even really deliver on "Hulk Smash Avengers", since most of the Avengers team was occupied fighting the Masters of Evil. The Frenz/Buscema art was nice in a classic/nostalgic way, but Tom DeFalco's attempts at mimicking Stan Lee fell really flat. And if the idea really was that the Avengers were trying to recruit the Hulk in the beginning of this issue, they were doing a terrible job of it. Now the other aspect of a book like this is "Where does it fit?" or "*Does* it fit?" in continuity. The opening page is oddly vague about that, saying it takes place between Avengers #7 and #14. With the "Special thanks to Tom Brennan & Tom Brevoort", i assume some research was actually done, which is appreciated, and i'm sure it can be crammed in somewhere, but a few things stood out as "wrong". All are minor nitpicks, to be sure. But the Hulk's "madder Hulk gets, stronger Hulk gets", which is a key plot point here, known to both the Hulk and the Avengers, wasn't really established or (i thought) in effect at this point. That happens circa Tales to Astonish #70, when the Hulk's intellect is in decline, which would be after Avengers #14. Then there's the Hulk's first published encounter with the Executioner (in TTA #77), of which the Executioner says in their second encounter "with whom I did do battle once before". We can read that very literally and say that since Hulk and Executioner never actually battled in this issue, we're in the clear (or chalk it up to the hazy memories of an immortal Asgardian and the many monsters he's bumped into over the ages). I told you these were minor complaints (i can name a few more, but i realize i'm being ridiculous). I just don't see that this story accomplishes anything useful and therefore these little bumps seem an unnecessary price to pay for a bland story.
Hulk Smash Avengers #2 - I liked this one somewhat better. I thought the stylized art was at least interesting (although, unlike issue #1, clearly not meant to fit in with the time period it's supposed to take place during). And the characters were at least acting more rationally. I'm not sure Gyrich deliberately setting up the team to fail fits his character, but i guess it's not out of bounds. And i think the revelation in the end, that the Avengers could reach out to the Hulk and try being his friend, is nice enough but unfortunately it makes the team look like idiots for never following up on it. Still, this gives me hope for the Stern and Van Lente issues.
Avengers Assemble #3 - I really wanted this to be the book that hooked new or lapsed fans from the movie, but it's really just not very good, is it? And surely they wouldn't really sully Thanos by using him in this series, so hopefully that's a feint.
Captain America #11 - Missing Alan Davis, but this was well written and decently drawn. This isn't Brubaker's fault, but the idea of introducing a new Scourge the way this story does would be mind-blowingly awesome if we haven't had like 30 other Scourges running around as recently as the Thunderbolts and Villains For Hire series. Because it really was a cool set-up and a cool reveal. Imagine if there hadn't been a Scourge since the 1980s, and then you read those last few panels. You'd be like "Cooool!". Instead it's like, "Huh, another Scourge.". Oh well. I think it'll still be a good story.
New Avengers #26 - Like i said about last issue: i have no idea what the implications of this K'un-Lun/Phoenix connection are or where this is going, but i am intrigued. Now regarding the appearance of Leonardo Da Vinci, Agent of SHIELD: i studiously avoided Hickman's series at the time but i guess there's no denying that it's in continuity and i like that Bendis always picks up on other writer's contributions to the Marvel Universe. I came very close to adding the SHIELD trades to my Amazon cart after reading this issue but i've held off so far.
Hulk #51 - Speaking of writers picking up on other writers contributions to the MU, here's the Forgiven, which i guess are Marvel's Least Interesting Vampires™. This was fine. Last issue was better, and i suspect next issue with the Legion of Monsters will be more fun as well, but this was fine.
X-Men Legacy #266 - Yeah, whatever. I knew buying these tie-ins would be a bad move.
Avenging Spider-Man #7 - What happened to Zeb Wells?
By fnord12 | May 16, 2012, 12:46 PM | Comics
According to CBR, the first time that the Hulk says "the angrier I get, the stronger I get" was in Tales to Astonish 59:
So i'm cranky *and* uninformed. Bad combination. Thanks, Michael. Although it was sneaky of the Hulk to drop that line in a book that he wasn't even starring in yet.
HSA 1&2: ugh.
Beast in issue 2 seemed wrong. more like Beast from the first couple of X-Men issues - the jerky, full of insults Beast instead of the intellectual he becomes very early on.
what the hell is wrong with the Avengers? since when does pounding on someone constitute just wanting to talk? must be where our cops learned their techniques.
i'm on the Hulk's side. the Avengers have shown themselves to be hostile and the Hulk should defend himself.
AA: the bad Hulk scripting...ARRRGHH!!!
CA: i'm not hating this book, so good on you Brubaker. that is no small feat.
NA: i don't get this Da Vinci angle. so far i don't care for it. i feel like he was unnecessary to the story.
you stay away from those Hickman trades!
XML: do you have to get brain damaged in a specific way to be a part of the Avengers? exactly what part of barging in on someone's home and treating them like criminals for doing nothing other than existing (in this case, for being a mutant) constitutes "being nice"? there was zero niceness. and yeah, so some teachers decided to leave the school and join the fight. as if members of the Avengers wouldn't have done exactly the same if one of their own was being threatened, so they need to stop being hypocrites.
i've been telling fnord12 for years that the Avengers are anti-mutant. they allowed Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch back in the day cause they were "good" mutants. just like how some people differentiate between the "good" minorites and the "bad". grrr...
As we saw, it turns out i actually did order the first SHIELD trade, so we'll see how that goes. It's not my fault!
Regarding the Avengers, i don't think you can count a poorly written modern tie-in as "proof" of anything, although it's worth noting that the Avengers on each side of Civil War were equally gruff and unreasonable, so it's not an anti-mutant thing, whatever it is.
And sure, recruiting two members of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants into the Avengers is just tokenism.
i forgot to comment on the most important thing in these comics. Avengers Arsenal Gear! i'm pretty sure i'm the Hulk. but i'm such a sucker for a hammer...
sadly, i can't find an image to link to.
Reference from SuperMegaMonkey : chronocomicThe Hulk announces an important aspect of his character this issue: "The angrier I get, the stronger I get.". Thanks to CBR for documenting that this was the first use of that phrase (or a variant, anyway), and Michael for pointing it out to me. Read More: Tales To Astonish #59
Reference from SuperMegaMonkey : chronocomicMy original Speed Review was here, although i didn't say too much. Read More: Hulk Smash Avengers #2