Comic Review: World War Hulk

Published: May 7th, 2008
Written by: Greg Pak
Art by: John Romita Jr.

Marvel Comics, 197 Pages

Review:

Planet Hulk is one of my favorite story arcs of the ’00s. I never read the followup, World War Hulk until now though. I think the reason behind that is because Planet Hulk was so perfect, I didn’t want to diminish its impact on me by jumping right into the next big chapter in the Hulk’s life.

That being said, I’m glad that I did finally read this as it was a lot of fun. Sure, it doesn’t live up to what Planet Hulk was but those were big shoes to fill and this is still a worthwhile followup that shows the Hulk finally make it home with a serious chip on his shoulder.

At its core, this is a revenge tale. But there are a lot of layers and a dark secret that comes out at the end that really shakes the foundation of what this era’s Hulk stands for.

You see, the Hulk is not only mad that his friends (Mr. Fantastic, Iron Man, Doctor Strange and Black Bolt) sent him away against his will, marooning him on a terribly violent planet, but now he wants revenge because his wife and unborn child were killed by what he believes was the fault of these same former friends. So the Hulk returns to Earth with his allies from Planet Hulk ready for a showdown with his old teammates in the heart of New York City.

This story is full of epic destruction and incredible action. It’s also nice seeing John Romita Jr. do the art for this, as I’ve been an avid fan of his work since I first discovered him in the pages of Daredevil in the late ’80s.

World War Hulk is full of a ton of Marvel superheroes, all trying to stop the Hulk’s war against Earth’s mightiest. While it isn’t on Planet Hulk‘s level, it’s still a worthy sequel and changes the Marvel landscape going forward.

Rating: 7.75/10
Pairs well with: the story that precedes this one, the near perfect Planet Hulk.

TV Review: The Comic Book Greats: Episode 8 – Spotlight on the Romitas (1992)

Released: 1992
Created by: Stan Lee
Directed by: Rick Stawinski
Music by: Rick Stawinski, Rob Stawinski
Cast: Stan Lee (host), John Romita Sr., John Romita Jr.

Excelsior Productions, Stabur Home Video, 50 Minutes

Review:

The eighth episode of The Comic Book Greats was really cool as it focused on the great father and son duo, John Romita Sr. and John Romita Jr.

Both men are favorite artists of mine and what’s intriguing about them other than being father and son, is that both have very different art styles.

I loved Romita Sr. when he was doing a lot of classic Marvel titles, especially his run on The Amazing Spider-Man and early Daredevil.

Romita Jr. was one of the first artists that I admired back when I was too young to care about comic credits and artist’s names. His work during the Ann Nocenti run on Daredevil is still, to this day, some of my favorite work. I still go back and revisit the Nocenti/Romita Jr. era because it really contributed to my love of comic books as a creative medium.

This was just a really fun episode and Stan Lee showed that he had a lot of love for the Romita boys.

Like other episodes featuring artists, this one went to the drawing table and we got to see both Romitas work on some really good pieces.

This is an entertaining chapter in The Comic Book Greats and it was really cool seeing two different generations sit down and work their creative magic together.

Rating: 7.75/10
Pairs well with: other episodes in The Comic Book Greats video series.

Comic Review: Daredevil, Issues #254-256 – First Appearance of Typhoid Mary

Published: May, 1988 – July, 1988
Written by: Ann Nocenti
Art by: John Romita Jr., Al Williamson

Marvel Comics, 70 Pages

Review:

Everyone loves Frank Miller’s run on Daredevil. However, when I discovered the character, Miller had already moved on. It didn’t matter though, because I loved the stories so much that I picked this up nearly every month.

I came into this during the long Ann Nocenti run. I didn’t have the appreciation for it, at the time. I just liked Daredevil and everything that came with it.

Now, as a cultured adult, I understand what I love most about this era.

First, it’s Nocenti’s writing. She did some great things with all the key characters and really built off of what Frank Miller did before her. If I can be so bold, I think she improved upon it greatly and her run on the title is my favorite out of all the creators who have touched this character.

Second, the artwork of John Romita Jr. is incredible. I have always loved his style and he was the perfect artist for Nocenti’s Daredevil.

The three issues I’m reviewing here are pretty important, as this is the first appearance, origin and story arc for one of the best Daredevil villains, Typhoid Mary.

In recent years, I feel like Mary hasn’t been utilized well. Going back in time, reading this, and seeing how she was in the beginning was refreshing. I’ve always loved the character, more so than Elektra, and felt like she was a good foil with a romantic twist for the hero.

Here, she is just so sinister and the Romita art gives her so much life. She’s never looked cooler or more badass than she did when Romita was drawing her.

Overall, the story is also really good. I love how she comes into the plot, how the Kingpin brings her into the fold and how it all plays out, as she is on a mission to destroy Matt Murdock once and for all. And she doesn’t even want the money, she just thinks that ruining his life would be fun.

The story is dark, satisfying and a great example of how the team of Nocenti and Romita were one of the best in the late ’80s.

Once I start filling in some holes in my Daredevil collection, I’ll do more reviews of Nocenti stories.

Rating: 9.25/10
Pairs well with: anything from the great Ann Nocenti run on Daredevil.

Comic Review: The Silencer, Vol. 1: Code of Honor

Published: January 31st, 2018
Written by: Dan Abnett
Art by: John Romita Jr., Sandra Hope, Dean V. White, various

DC Comics, 159 Pages

Review:

I’m just going to put this out there to start this review: I was blown away by this story and this is one of the greatest comics I have read in the last several years.

That being said, it only takes one mediocre writer to completely screw this thing up and apparently, this comic is getting a new writer starting at issue number 8. But I will cross that bridge when I get to it, even though it’s only about a month away.

This review covers the first six issues, which will be collected and sold as Code of Honor in a month or two or however long it takes for trade paperbacks to come out these days. I read this story arc by picking up the single issues, as I heard this was great and I didn’t want to wait. Plus, this doesn’t sell that well and tracking down all the issues was rather easy. This should sell well though, it’s certainly better than 99.9 percent of the bullshit on the stands, right now.

The story has a Kill Bill vibe to it. The main character, who goes by the name Honor Guest, is an ex-assassin that used to do dirt for Talia al Ghul (Ra’s al Ghul’s daughter). Everyone in the underworld knows her as the Silencer but she’s been out for several years and has since lived a normal life, got married and had a kid. But her past comes knocking on her door and before she’s even ready, she’s suited up, guns blazing, trying to protect her new life and family.

This isn’t a typical superhero comic. Although it is cool that it is directly tied to characters we know like Talia al Ghul and Deathstroke, who is also flung into this situation.

Jon Romita Jr.’s art is top notch and I love his style. This has a gritty pulp feel and it doesn’t look like a typical DC book but it also isn’t so far outside of the box that it doesn’t fit in well with their current general style.

Dan Abnett has done a stupendous job writing this book. I’m not happy that he’s going to be replaced by Patrick Zircher, almost immediately after this string of issues but I’ll stick with it unless it really gets terrible. I’m not a big Zircher fan but that doesn’t mean I dislike his writing, it’s just that nothing has jumped out at me yet.

Anyway, looking at this story arc as one body of work, The Silencer: Code of Honor is magnificent.

Rating: 9.75/10
Pairs well with: Recent DC Comics runs on DeathstrokeSuicide Squad and Red Hood and the Outlaws.