Archive for the ‘Hulk’ Category

Peggy Carter is a character who has had a long and, honestly, mostly forgotten history in comics. She first appeared as a World War 2 ally of Captain America’s, but within modern comics she’s better known as a relative to his frequent love interest, Sharon Carter. For decades, Peggy was a footnote in the history of the patriotic Avenger. That is, until Captain America: The First Avenger hit theatres and reintroduced the character to a brand new audience hungry for a strong female lead.
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CBM PROFILE: Thor

Posted: October 16, 2014 in Avengers, Hulk, Marvel, Profile, Spider-Man, Thor

Marvel’s God of Thunder doesn’t have a whole lot in common with the original Asgardian hammer-wielder. Sure, the name and basics are the same but many of the specifics have been changed to create something almost entirely different that stands on its own. It’s a testament to the talent of the people involved with his creation (and marketing!) that saying the name “Thor” conjures images of the comic character rather than his mythical basis to just about everyone (experts in Norse culture notwithstanding). And yet, it seems that it’s only been recently that he’s been given a whole lot of attention outside of the page. Sure, he’s had many a guest-appearance but he rarely starred in anything.

Thor’s most enduring look.

Much like the Norse myth, Marvel’s Thor is the son of Odin and hails from Asgard. His brother, Loki is often his antagonist and the two have fought (and made up) multiple times throughout the decades. His adventures have featured a strong supporting cast such as The Warriors Three, Lady Sif, Baldur and Heimdall (many of which are also based upon Norse gods). It didn’t take him long to join the ranks of the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (he debuted in Journey into Mystery in 1962 and was present with the Avengers for their first adventure in 1963), ever since he’s been closely associated with them. He has gone through various re-designs, re-interpretations and even a death or two. But what’s always been at the core of the character is the fact that he’s a hero in the most classical sense. He may not always be polite or humble, but he uses his godly strength to defend humanity from otherworldly threats. Since most people are at least passingly familiar with his role in the Marvel Universe (and since his history is so extensive), I’ll leave it at that. This ain’t Wikipedia.
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Marvel hasn’t had the greatest track record with direct-to-video releases. Sure, most of them weren’t terrible, but they also weren’t amazing. Especially considering what DC had been cranking out during the same 3-4 years of their direct competition in this field. It’s also rather telling that Marvel’s initial contract with Lionsgate has expired forcing them to make animated features piecemeal (only 1 or 2 a year, sometimes less) through different animation houses while DC continues to release 3-4 a year consistently even though Warner Premiere (their initial distributor) no longer exists.

Anyway, Hulk Vs. was a two-part anthology film that featured the jade giant going toe-to-toe with another Marvel super hero. One of the films focuses on Banner’s alter ego under Loki’s control as he tears-ass through Asgard. The other finds him hiding out in the Canadian wilderness which brings him into conflict with Department H’s top agent, The Wolverine. Although, that’s really only the first 5 minutes or so of the film. After their initial confrontation, the new enemies are hunted down by some of Logan’s old compatriots that are rather sore he left their team. The two are sedated, captured and forced to team-up in order to escape and take out their mutual enemies. And who might said enemies be? Why, none other than Weapon X!

“Strike a pose!”

The introduction of this team provides the movie an opportunity to delve into Logan’s backstory. The filmmakers wisely condenses all of the interesting parts into one extended flashback. Forget X-Men Origins: Wolverine, this is the furry Canuck’s REAL origin. Awesomely, the entire section of the film is lifted almost entirely from Barry Windsor-Smith’s exceptional Weapon X story from Marvel Presents. it focuses exclusively on his training and vivisection at the hands of the malevolent Dr. Thornton and sensibly excises anything that isn’t needed to push forward the narrative.

It’s fine, kids. They’re robots…blood filled robots.

From there, the story really picks up. Wolverine forces Hulk out of Banner in a pretty inventive way (one that could never be shown if this was on television) and they cut through Weapon X soldiers and mutants alike. The brutality of these fight scenes is pretty amazing. I’m someone who spent his entire childhood watching Wolverine use his claws primarily on doors and robots. seeing him slice into a soldier and having a crimson stream shoot out, or hack the hand off of someone was a bit jarring in the best way possible. For the first time, the comic’s version of the character was accurately adapted into animation without the need to (pardon the pun) de-claw him.

“It’s-a me, Deadpool!”

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the inclusion of Deadpool in this film. Many people are familiar with the Merc with the Mouth and even more are familiar with his in-name-only appearance in the aforementioned 4th X-Men movie. Discounting that film, this is Deadpool’s first real appearance as a character (not a cameo) in comic book media. And it completely nails the characterization. He’s sarcastic and deadly and shockingly funny. A friend of mine watched this film shortly after Origins. Without knowing the character’s history, he asked, “Those are supposed to be the same guy? Why didn’t the movie use this version?” I’m sure there are many reasons as to why he was so drastically changed in Origins, but that’s a post for a different day.

Place your bets!!!

With Hulk Vs., Marvel’s track record in animation reversed course quite expertly. Sadly, it was short lived. Lionsgate/Marvel’s next feature was Planet Hulk, an excellent adaptation of the comic series which actually improves on the original in some regards. After that, their partnership made only one more feature, the kid-friendly Thor: Tales of Asgard which was only saved by the writing of Craig Kyle. It wasn’t bad, but it was certainly a return to their regular, mediocre form.

There was talk of a whole spinoff series of Hulk Vs. movies. I know Hulk Vs. Venom and Hulk Vs. X-Men were thrown around, but nothing materialized. In the end, it was probably for the best. I had hoped that this would be a new direction for Marvel’s DTV department. In the end, it was more of a fun diversion. But it’s certainly worth watching. It’s short, fun, violent and tells a story that is incredibly true to all characters involved.