A Delusional Flashback: The Hulk Is Dead, Long Live...John Byrne's Hulk?

I thought it might be a good time to throw a new spotlight on another time the Hulk was threatened with death...by acclaimed writer/artist John Byrne!

If you haven't read the below articles, well...they're new to you!

John Byrne & The Hulk That Might Have Been (Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Post-Script)

Delusional Honesty will return later this week, with a long-delayed review of Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice.



The Physicist Has No Purple Pants: Marvel's Hulk-Sized Problems (2 of 2)

(Updated thanks to an eagle-eyed Facebook friend. Thanks, GG!)

When last we left our intrepid blogger, I was constructing a narrative by which I proved that there's a great, big target on the Hulk's green butt, put there by Marvel's powers-that-be and set to have the bull's-eye hit on Wednesday, July 13th, only 3 short days from now, in the pages of Marvel's Civil War II #3. Now, get ready to go beyond the actual event, into what the Hulk's death means for the world of Marvel Comics and its creators, for you the fans, and for the entire doomed comics industry.

(Whoops. Did I just say "doomed"? Heh-heh.)

While I've been taking the time to write these new chapters, I hope you've familiarized yourself with Totally Awesome Hulk #7-8, both now on sale, the latter of them since I published part one. As writer Greg Pak stated himself, the books mark his return to writing Bruce Banner. What he didn't say--but which is patently obvious from reading the eighth issue in particular--is that these stories are intended as a final look back at our favorite physicist, since his next appearance in Civil War II will end with an arrow through his [insert whatever part of Banner's anatomy you want].


O Death, Where Is Thy...Smash??!? (1 of 2)

(EDITED 7/8 thanks to Cth at The Incredible Hulk Message Board!)

It's been about a year since my last post on Marvel's Green Goliath. Those of you who have followed me for any considerable time know the Hulk is my favorite comics character. Hence, I'm a bit territorial when it comes to big events surrounding Big Green. And when I'm displeased, I'm known to write pieces like those dissecting the runs of Jason Aaron and Mark Waid.

Up to now, I've been staying eerily quiet about Totally Awesome Hulk. That ends today.

I've got much more to get into than Totally Awesome Hulk by itself, so I'll try to be brief. For Greg Pak--one of my very favorite Hulk writers, his name spoken in the same breath as Len Wein, Bill Mantlo & Peter David--to have a comeback would ordinarily be a cause for celebration. At the same time, there was apprehension, for what writer successfully returns to the book on which he made his mark? Even Peter David couldn't make lightning strike twice, leaving not even a year into his second tenure. It was true that this time, Pak was making his own creation, Amadeus Cho, into a brand new Hulk, in a move that I previously stated echoed Bill Mantlo's original plans before he handed the book to John Byrne. Some at the time called it a Gary Stu situation (look it up) beyond all others. Me, I went along for the ride, as Pak had earned much goodwill in his prior five-year run.


Of Spider-Clones and Supermen: Why "Superman: Rebirth" Is the New "Clone Saga"

Ever since hearing that DC Comics was going to kill off the "New 52" Superman and replace him with the recently-returned "Pre-Crisis" version who disappeared nearly 5 years ago, something's been scratching at the back of my head. And now that we're three full issues into the Pre-Crisis Superman taking over for NuSupes, I can finally put my finger on the feeling. It's one I last had about two decades ago.

For anyone having read Spider-Man comics between 1994 and 1996, you're of course familiar with the much-maligned "Clone Saga." For those not in the know, there was a time shortly after DC's "Death of Superman" storyline where editors pushed their talent to manufacture similar, event-based storylines to drive then-record sales figures ever higher. No idea was too silly when Marvel went looking for their own Spidey-centric tale. (Such events have only gotten more grandiose, but I digress.)

So writer Terry Kavanagh dusted off The Amazing Spider-Man #150, coda to a storyline wherein the villainous Jackal cloned both Spidey himself and his alter ego's late girlfriend, Gwen Stacy. Spidey threw away a report on whether he was really the clone because of, essentially, a gut instinct. The question became, "What if the Spider-Man fans had been reading since 1975 was really the Spider-Clone?" Writers like John Marc DeMatteis (one of my idols) became inspired, and suddenly the dead clone nobody thought twice about returned to life--and a co-starring role in all of Marvel's Spider-Man series for the better part of two years. He became Ben Reilly (so named after Peter Parker's uncle Ben, with his last name the same as Aunt May's maiden name Reilly) and Spider-Man's life would never be the same again!

I read the Clone Saga when it originally came out. One of my friends in the fledgling days of Internet fandom--the inimitable DRILLN0T--helped me write "The Spider-Man/Jackal Dossier," an ungodly tome that consolidated and promulgated fan theories and unresolved facets of the storyline. So yes, I'm kind of well-versed in the storyline and count it as one of the high points of my collecting.

What's that all have to do with Superman: Rebirth? It's funny you should ask...


Just When I Thought I Was Out... (DCU Rebirth SPOILERS!)

Hey, y'all.

Remember when I said that both DC and Marvel Comics had catastrophically screwed the pooch when it came to handling their greatest super-heroes and super-villains?  (The most recent spate of comments started here with a discussion of Secret Wars and Convergence and continued over here with some talk about Superman: Lois & Clark.)

Yeah, Marvel's still doing it. I think right now I'm about the most opposite-of-excited as I've been for Marvel in a long, long while. Maybe ever! And it's something that's well reflected in my current buying habits. In my Discount Comic Book Service order for the month of May, I've only ordered nine ongoing Marvel titles--and five of those are in the Spider-Man family of books! I'm only reading what I enjoy, but even the current crop is subject to elimination. (And no, Steve Rogers: Captain America isn't doing the company any favors in my eyes, although certainly I'd be more apt to judge after we see more than just the first chapter.)

But DC? This last week returned a skosh of the goodwill they squandered over the last year. And the next several weeks will either validate that early feeling or maybe just sour me the rest of the way.

Of course, I'm talking about DC Universe Rebirth #1, the book that officially pulls back the curtain on the DCU of old and turns the trickle of old DCU carryovers into a veritable flood. Sure, a few characters like Batman and Green Lantern kept the majority of their continuity thanks to writers with long-term projects (Grant Morrison on the former, Rebirth scribe Geoff Johns on the latter). But it wasn't until Convergence with its undoing of Crisis On Infinite Earths that the ripple effect began in earnest.