Over the years we all have enjoyed and sometimes hated the giant “epic” multi title crossovers and mini-series that are so damn popular these days. However some of my personal favorite comic book stories are short and sweet. They often times have nothing to do with the major story arc you’re currently reading in that title and especially back in the 70’s & 80’s these self contained stories that had a beginning and end to them all in one book were sometimes more heavy hitting than any crossover could ever be. So I’ll be showcasing some of my favorites and the first one that came to mind might be my favorite of them all.
Flash back to 1986 when X-Men #205 hit the shelves. This issue is easily one of the best Wolverine stories of all time, and it’s all in just one issue. A brilliant epic crafted by Chris Claremont and Barry Windsor Smith remains one of the darkest and most brutal issues of X-men to date. Let me clarify that this was during a time when Wolverine was rarely seen in solo adventures and the character was still deeply mysterious.
The story was called “Wounded Wolf” and featured Lady Deathstrike’s first appearance as a super freaky ass cyborg as well as her three Reaver mercenary minions. It also featured Katie Powers from the mutant kid team ‘Power Pack’ who during a snow storm encounters Wolverine who’s beaten to a pulp, covered in blood and nearly naked. Soon the two of them are both on the run from Lady Deathstrike and her cyborgs who’re out for bloody revenge. It reminds of a Wolverine movie storyboard Ridley Scott might have anticipated directing in the 80’s. Continue reading
It seems that Mark Ruffalo has revealed that a new stand alone Hulk movie may in fact be coming sooner than we’ve all expected. It’s been a fact that Marvel hasn’t been confident that The Hulk has what it takes to be a smash hit on the same levels as Iron Man, Cap or Thor. They’ve already given the green guy two attempts and they’ve left viewers underwhelmed at the results. Personally I can’t say I’m a fan of the first one and the second one was passable, but as the full on Hulk fanatic that I am it didn’t quench my gamma thirst. His third appearance in The Avengers was by far the best, Ruffalo did an excellent job as Banner and finally Hulk looked real enough for me to not talk a bunch of shit here about him.
So what the hell is the problem here? It seems to me The Incredible Hulk should be an easy sell! I’ve been reading the hulk comic books since I was a little kid and it doesn’t seem like rocket science is involved to craft an awesome Hulk storyline! Seriously folks the Hulk and his stories should be simple and fun. There’s really no need to over think things. Perhaps that’s what the problem has been on each outing thus far? I think a great Hulk film should be jam packed with action, some cool villains and a somewhat simplistic plot. There should be equal Banner time/ Hulk time, you can’t really have too much of either or you’ll bore people with too much mindless action or too much screen time for the actor portraying Banner who thinks he deserves more face time.
Another thing that they should stop is trying to string the old 70’s series into the plot. That worked well back in the day because it was an ongoing television series and having Banner on the run was always quite intriguing. Plus Bill Bixby was a pitch perfect Banner and they need to stop trying to recreate his magic. Now if they were going to continue on with the rumored Guillermo Del Toro Hulk tv series that may be a different story altogether. However in a stand alone movie lets bring on a solid adventure for the green guy that’s fresh and not trying to rehash his Ferrigno days.
Another problem I believe with the movies, and I know many will disagree, is that it’s a hard thing for a live action movie to be driven by an entirely computer generated character who merely roars and grunts. Lou Ferrigno’s Hulk worked so well because he was REALLY there on screen acting and interacting with other people in all of his green paint and glory. He was real and you could feel real emotion there. So today trying to get the same results is very difficult with a CG lead character. Even in the Iron Man movies, much of the actual imagery of Iron Man was fully CG, however we always got those close ups of Tony Stark’s face in the armor, reminding us that yes, Iron Man is a real person. No matter how much you love modern CG it’s still poses problems for generating real characters with real emotion.
One solution to some of the Hulk’s big screen problems could be solved with giving the Hulk more intelligence, like he has often times in the comic books. Rather than just having him growl and roar, let Banner gain some control and let The Hulk speak. He can still in the heat of battle lose his cool and go into full on “Hulk Smash” angry toddler tantrum mode. But once a fully raging computer generated Hulk who can’t speak dominates the majority of screen time things the viewer is bound to disconnect a bit . So hopefully the next Hulk will have more going on in the noggin.
Finally pick some good supporting characters from the Hulk’s rich comic history. Let’s see Doc Samson with his green locks, let’s explore She-Hulk and add some Rick Jones into the mix! Most important let’s get some good villains into the mix. The Leader would be amazing and he’d also be a big enough baddie to cross over into an Avengers movie. Or how about The Absorbing Man, The Wrecking Crew, The Gremlin, The U-Foes or better yet Modok!? I’ve been itchin’ to see a big screen Modok for years and this would be the perfect platform to do so! I’m thinking the “Ms. Modok” storyline from the 80’s Incredible Hulk #286-290 would be terrifying on the big screen!
I’m also open to some classic Hulk stories, “Planet Hulk/World War Hulk” has been talked about quite a bit but might require too much set up, “Dogs of War” from 2001 would be a good one, but a good classic storyline could be from The Incredible Hulk mid 1980’s where Banner seemingly controls the Hulk. He even dresses like him for the first time (which was pretty funny) but later loses control and is cast off to a different dimension by Doctor Strange, these issues served as the actual inspiration for the Planet Hulk story many years later.
So my final thoughts are, though it might be difficult to pull of a simple, awesome Hulk adventure on the big screen I’m more than excited for them to give it another go. I felt Ruffalo did such a great job in the Avengers that I think the next Hulk movie is bound to be a hit. People clearly want it and if they don’t over think it, it’ll be the Hulk flick we’ve always dreamed of..