Wes Reads Totally Awesome Hulk #1-4: Giant Monsters are Radical!

Totally Awesome Hulk #1 Cover

Totally Awesome Hulk comes to us from the All-New All-Different Marvel launch late last year and just completed its first story arc, what a perfect time to check it out. I have been curious about this series and when Greg Pak put out the call on twitter for reviewers to review story arcs, I was totally game to do it. To fill in the story for you all, Greg Pak brings Amadeus Cho, the character he co-created with Takeshi Miyazawa, to the forefront as now he is the Totally Awesome Hulk. Yet you wonder what happened to Bruce Banner, why isn’t he The Hulk? What the heck happened between this book and Secret Wars? With an eight month gap, a lot of stuff happened in the Marvel Universe, Amadeus Cho’s transformation being one such thing. If I had only read one issue of this, I probably wouldn’t have gotten the full idea of what Pak was going for here. In reading the entire first story arc, there is a sense that Pak is taking the Amadeus Cho Hulk in directions that managed to surprise me. Totally Awesome Hulk is a different take on the character of The Hulk. Time to see more of what happens when the eighth smartest person in the Marvel Universe embraces the art of Hulk Smash in issues #1-4 of Totally Awesome Hulk!

Take note of the title of this Wes Reads, Giant Monsters are Radical. The entire first arc is Amadeus Cho our Totally Awesome Hulk, going after giant monsters, this has my heart from the start. Yet even more than that, Pak adds a great supporting cast with Amadeus Cho’s sister Maddy, short for Madame Curie, and her working with Amadeus as his Mission Control for his work as the Hulk. You even have Miles Morales Spider-Man and She-Hulk popping up in the rest of the arc too. You get a great supporting cast, strong characterization, and even non-stop action to boot. The major villain of this first arc are the giant monsters, specifically Fin Fang Foom who is my favorite thanks to Nextwave. I really do like Lady Hellbender, she’s after the Giant Monsters for her own reasons and she would be considered the villain yet she’s really not a bad person. She has her reasons and she also helps out too. It’s a unique idea to have your first story arc be about exploring the new status quo through a fun giant monster adventure and a powerful origin story, I dig what Pak did with this.

Spider-Man and She-Hulk with Totally Awesome Hulk

It’s also built for Frank Cho to cut loose, and Frank Cho cuts loose on this comic. This is loud splashy action at its finest. Amadeus Cho shows all his skills as the Totally Awesome Hulk in this comic. The giant monsters feel huge and powerful, the Fin Fang Foom fight and the giant monster battle near the end have to be seen to be believed. Though as you see lots of Hulk Smashing all over the place in these big bombastic action pieces, Frank Cho excels at those quiet moments where you get to know the characters a bit. Cho’s style is so expressive that even in the slow moments, it still has a sense of keeping the story moving forward. There’s a bit in the flashback sequences that thanks to Cho’s art that will break your heart in two, it’s touching and powerful all at once. Pak nails you with the emotional words then Cho knocks it out of the park with the emotions on each of the characters faces, it’s about as perfect a comic moment as you can get. I love Sonia Oback’s coloring on this, I note that in the present day there’s a brightness to the coloring then in the flashback there is a more muted tone, highlighting the more serious nature of the flashbacks. That nice subtle difference in coloring makes all the difference in making a comic like this work that much more.

Totally Awesome Hulk vs. Fin Fang Foom

I’m making this spoiler free too because Totally Awesome Hulk is a lot of fun and there’s touches that I won’t dare spoil for you all. Put it this way, Pak has another twist with the Amadeus Cho Hulk that Frank Cho has a lot of fun with that’s subtle and it works. I hadn’t gotten the chance to read anything of Totally Awesome Hulk and now I am planning on reading the next issue. There’s great characters developing here and I still feel like we’re only scratching the surface with the Totally Awesome Hulk. Right now the future of The Hulk looks bright and in the hands of this creative team, I have high hopes for the rest of the series to come.

Now to get your hands on the Totally Awesome Hulk for yourselves you can likely find it at your local comic shop and if you don’t know where your local store is just use the Comic Shop Locator to help find the comic store closest to you. If you prefer digital it is also available on ComiXology, and if you want to grab the upcoming trade of these issues you can even pre-order it off of Amazon.

Wes Reads: Marvel’s Avengers Standoff Stage One: The Event That is Actually Fun

Avengers Standoff Alpha #1 Cover

Avengers Standoff: Assault on Pleasant Hill has managed to surprise me. Heck if you read my Spoiler Filled Thoughts on Welcome to Pleasant Hill, I bought the first part of this on a whim and out of curiosity. Now I am finding myself into the idea of Pleasant Hill being a massive supervillain prison town populated by brainwashed supervillains thinking they’re someone else entirely. A massive S.H.I.E.L.D idea that has a level of brilliance that makes it great. For Stage one of this I’m reading Avengers Standoff: Assault on Pleasant Hill Alpha #1, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. #3, and Uncanny Avengers #7. I’ve been reading Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and got Uncanny Avengers as it is part of this event. It’s not too insane so two tie-ins to an event like this isn’t too bad at all to deal with. This is Stage One of my Avengers Standoff journey. These are going to be loosely reviews, yet in general my shock that Avengers Standoff is a fun event so far. Yes my friends a Marvel and Comic Book Event in general that is a lot of fun, who could’ve thought that could happen right? Time to join me in the start of my Avengers Standoff adventures!

Avengers Standoff: Assault on Pleasant Hill Alpha #1 is doing stuff that back in the day likely would have been revealed near the end than at the beginning of the adventure. I’m going to try and keep this as spoiler free as possible too. One part of this being that without anything too spoiler crazy, this is going to be our set up for Steve Rogers becoming young again and being Captain America. No real shock there but the big set up is happening. Even more fun, I adore Maria Hill in this series as Nick Spencer writes a rocking Maria Hill and Steve Rogers conversation. I like the role the villains are playing in this too, especially love the fact of Baron Zemo being the leader of the whole crusade to deal with Maria Hill and S.H.I.E.L.D within Pleasant Hill. We even learn of a certain old favorite of the Marvel Universe in the mix too, which is a cool thing to see. We’re only starting to get more of the heroes in play too and it makes me wonder what the Thunderbolts series will be like after this is all said and done. It also helps that art wise, Jesus Saiz adds a level of rocking realism to the mix. Saiz adds depth and emotion to Spencer’s story. It’s a good way to continue the vibe that Avengers Standoff has so far.

(Seriously you all, this is not meaning to become a yay everything is awesome adventure here but this is giving me back Baron Zemo and more into the Marvel Universe, this makes me happy.)

Avengers Standoff Assault on Pleasant Hill Alpha #1 Football

It’s interesting with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D #3 and Uncanny Avengers #7 as to how much they really tie into Avengers Standoff. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has a laser sharp focus with the story. Since it involves Maria Hill and S.H.I.E.L.D. the focus is going to be more cohesive and it is overall. Marc Guggenheim is doing great work on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. anyway and Phil Coulson and his team split up as they deal with different aspects of the Pleasant Hill situation. It works well overall and I thought about it in the aspect of a reader new to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and it still reads well overall. Guggenheim does a good job in making this a story accessible for the Avengers Standoff readers. Perfect way to operate with a tie-in story like this. German Peralta’s art fluctuates but it does well in conveying the story and mood of what Guggenheim is going for, though Rachelle Rosenberg’s coloring makes this shine.  If you’re new to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. stick around after Avengers Standoff, it’s a pretty cool comic either way.

I haven’t been reading Uncanny Avengers #7 but I figure with Avengers Standoff, why not give it a go again? Outside of one story with Brother Voodoo, it is new reader friendly too. Garry Duggan works with the Avengers Standoff story as seamlessly as Guggenheim does. It’s a little off kilter with some last bit strangeness near the end of the issue but it does work. The Wrecker is the one that fills in the Uncanny Avengers on what is happening with Pleasant Hill and their place in the Avengers Standoff. It has a ton of action in between the fun banter the team has with one another too. I like that Cable is part of the squad helping to train a newer hero Synapse in new ways of using her Inhuman abilities. Lots of action, good characterization and meshing with the event too. Ryan Stegman’s art is also on point looking as sharp as ever and Mark Morales and Guillermo Ortego, the two inkers on this issue, mesh well with Stegman’s art.  The coloring of this book looks just as great too, with Richard Isanove and Matt Yackey working together on it, really making the action packed festivities look even better. I may stick around with Uncanny Avengers after Avengers Standoff is over as overall it was fun.

Stage One of Avengers Standoff for me was a good time and I will probably make this a regular thing throughout Avengers Standoff. It would be fun to cover an entire event again as I haven’t done that since Trinity War back in my Comics Crux days. If you all like this quirky pellet review/overview of Avengers Standoff, let me know in the comments below or hit me up on my twitter too. Always love feedback, take care everyone and thanks for reading!

The GWL Adventures 3/7/16: The Adventures of Comic Blog Planning and Book Recommendations

I treat this blog as more of an update blog as right now I am plotting out things and I want to make an update here. Hence the GWL Adventures label for this blog here too. When you see the GWL Adventures, it means this is a quick update to keep my writing mind going. I was going to do a thing on Martian Manhunter but it didn’t come together the way I wanted. My little bursts on twitter about Martian Manhunter vol. 1 said it best, get Martian Manhunter vol.1 and you will be a happier comic fan. After I read Martian Manhunter vol. 1 I also read 7,8, and 9 and you know, they were just as good. The art shifts do a little number on the comic but overall it’s not bad and Rob Williams does such a great job writing the comic that honestly you stop paying attention to the shift in art teams. A unique way in breaking down a character and building them back up to make them better than ever, that’s Martian Manhunter for me. Eddy Barrows and Eber Ferreira do an amazing job art wise on the issues they work on and Gabe Eltaeb’s coloring is gorgeous beyond belief. I know it’s not part of the DC Rebirth plans so far but still get it and get issues 7,8 and 9 while you’re at it, Martian Manhunter is good reading.

As for comic blog planning, I enjoyed the response I got on the Wes Reads Street Fighter x G.I. Joe post. That was a blast to write and it was part review and part me totally having a blast writing about this comic. It spoke to my childhood for goodness sake so heck, Street Fighter x G.I. Joe was right up my alley. I’m going to do more with the Wes Reads though as I like the format as it is reviewing but still fun and laid back for me. I am also going to work on more DC Obscure stories soon as I have a few books in mind that I have never seen written about online. I love that somehow I am likely enough the only person to have ever written about iCandy in any serious format ever. I also have a few Marvel titles in mind as Marvel has some oddball obscure books in their library too. Heck even Image has a few obscure series too, the same with many other comic companies so this could become a fun format to play with in the months to come.

Yes you wonder why I haven’t written much about DC Rebirth after the big announcement and that’s simple, I’m waiting for the full announcement. I have titles and I know about the 2.99 double shipping deal, that’s about all and I want more before I dial further into this. I know there is supposed to be legacy involved and more stuff and I want the more stuff more clarified. I call it a version of the New 52, they need to do something the DC Rebirth is that something that for the sake of DC Comics, I hope it works. So far I think DC Rebirth has a ton of potential and the fact it isn’t a reboot is a relief, we shall know more about DC Rebirth and what the possibilities will hold for this relaunch of fun and wonder soon.

No big shiny pictures or anything of that nature. Just a quick update blog here, more official articles to come. I appreciate you all checking out what you have checked out so far. Take care everyone and I hope you all are having a great one out there.