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Comics and Rage

I’m having one of those restless nights over here and while not the sole purpose, one of the contributing factors seems to be comics that just straight up get under my skin. You know the ones. The ones you still read for no reason other than to just give you something to hate. We all have one… or ten.Now I really don’t want this to be a soapbox type blog or even a rant type blog but I am curious to hear what some of yours are, so feel free to comment on the blog or even the forums which I have woefully been ignoring lately :(.

So without further adieu here are some books that I just love to hate 🙂 (Keep in mind there are slight spoilers to follow)

1. Hulk 1-? The Jeph Loeb run AKA the shit storm AKA the Red Hulk book AKA the book that makes me want to stop reading comics

Alright so here’s a book that I really should like, it has an amazing artist working the interiors (Ed McGuinness). It has a popular writer Jeph Loeb (writer of Batman: Hush, Superman For All Seasons, Batman: The Long Halloween to name a few) and it features the Hulk beating the shit out of things. What’s not to like? On paper this book is gold; it has everything you would want. So why do I hate it so? Well for those of you who haven’t been reading it I’ll do you a favor and summarize it. Red Hulk whose identity is a mystery fights all your favorite marvel heroes and wipes the floor with them. This is about as accurate and unbiased as I can be. But of course that’s no fun so fuck it.

Hulk (Rulk?) can be seen as what is wrong with comics today. It really is no steps forward and three steps backwards for the comic industry. Now I’m not saying that it needs to be on the intellectual level of Watchmen but it also needs to be entertaining for someone above the age of a five year old. The plot is idiotic and is full of terrible one liners and immature and stupid dialog. I’m all for comics being all-ages but honestly guys? That’s what the kiddy lines are for. This is the book that comic hater’s can point to and say that comic’s have no place as legitimate literature, and you know what? They’d be right. People that like this and I mean REALLY like this have to be the same type of people that thought the 2007 film Transformers was a cinematic masterpiece. Sure it looked good but you can’t look me in the face and tell me it had anything worthwhile to add to the world of cinema. I’ve heard this book compared to movies like “Crank” which I love. And sure you could see that as “dumb loud fun” but the difference being is that Crank was a ride. It was an experience not seen before and a pretty unique action movie when you think about it. Hulk? Not so much, it’s Red Hulk punching things and sounding “tough” (see. stupid). Worse is that this followed one of the best takes on the Hulk character in years. A smart/vicious mother fucker who knew how to fight with cunning and HAD A GOD DAMMNED SWORD! Not to mention his adopted planet was all but destroyed and wife and unborn child died…. Sorta. Now? Marvel/Loeb took the dumb Hulk route, I’m not even going to say savage, as this hulk is just a lumbering idiot that gets beat up by Red Hulk two out of three times. Seriously, fuck Red Hulk.

2. Ultimates 3/ Ultimatum AKA The worst thing to happen to the Ultimate Universe

OK. Imagine the Ultimate universe is this nice snow globe, like this really bitching snow globe that had lights and had a really cool song when you turned it. People didn’t believe you that you had such a cool snow globe until they saw it for themselves and begrudgingly accepted this snow globe. Imagine your name is Brian Michael Millar and this is your baby. But oh look! Here comes the class clown (see. Retard) Jeph Loeb. He REALLY wants to play with your snow globe but you’re not so sure. You see Jeph here, he used to be a really cool guy, but has fallen on hard times and now seems to break and ruin everything he touches lately. But he’s had some hard times so you feel kind of bad so you hand over your prized snow globe. What happens next can only be seen as your fault as you were naive enough to hand him your snow globe. Little Jeph raises the snow globe and smashes it into the ground. You watch horrified at your own poor judgment. But wait! He’s not done, as Jeph takes his pants off and proceeds to shit all over your precious snow globe and now this thing is dirty, it’s COVERED in little kid shit. Like the kind of shit when you eat too many pizza lunchables and Golden Crisp cereal. It smells so bad that you don’t even want to go near the surrounding area. Sound familiar? Then you also must have read Jeph Loeb’s run and current “crossover” in the Ultimate Universe.

Alright was that harsh? Good because Jeph Loeb took what was essentially my reintroduction into modern comics and ruined it. See, I wasn’t raised into comics like some of my friends. Sure I read some when I was a kid but I picked up whatever looked cool and was shiny and read it. Didn’t matter what book or story line I just read it. So as I was older, I was always aware of comics, I really liked Blade, and the first Spider-Man movie, X-Men was cool. But like most amateur comic book readers I made the mistake of saying “But I don’t WANNA read 500 issues of Spider-Man to know what’s going on!” Rookie mistake I know, but whatever I didn’t know any better. But what was this? “Ultimate Spider-Man #35? 35 sure sounds better than 500.” “Oh you have the trades leading up to that? COOL!” “Man Captain America is SOOO Lame! He’s like Superman without powers.” “What? He’s not lame?” “Wow he beat up the HULK! In a tank!” WOW! Those are just a few tidbits of my early experiences with the Ultimate universe and comics in general. There wasn’t a crapload of back matter that I had to know. It was all there. In many ways, I was the target audience for the Ultimate line. And you know what? It worked like a charm. I loved these books, Ultimate Spider-Man was awesome, The Ultimates was an action movie with no budget, and it was written well! No corny one-liners that only my dad or grandfather would get. The Ultimates was good shit.

But then a funny thing happened. I was picking up all the ultimate books but I wanted more.  I picked up New Avengers that seemed cool. Because by the time the Ultimate line came out Marvel comics were just getting over a bankruptcy and their core books were kind of a mess. But while the Ultimate universe kept me in fold the 616 Universe really got its shit together. Now I was picking up all kinds of books, DC comics followed soon after. So yeah, Ultimate books got me into something I profoundly love and I will be forever grateful for that. So when a guy like Jeph Loeb picks up where Millar left the Ultimates and proceeds to add moronic dialog and mistakes edginess with pornography and senseless ultra violence and turns something beloved to me into something you’d find in Garth Ennis’s “The Boys” It’s going to rub me the wrong way.

Going on to Ultimatum we find that Loeb didn’t learn his lesson and kills off character’s with such history in such violent and stupid ways. The Wasp, who withstood a beating from Giant-Man and had inner turmoil with her feelings with him and Captain America get’s eaten by the Blob of all people. The FUCKING BLOB. I’ve read every Ultimate X-Men there was and you know what? Blob didn’t eat anybody there. Hawkeye is probably the most offensive and I really don’t want to get into it here. Seriously, I’ll go on forever, you’ll hate me.

Dishonorable Mentions:

Invincible: That whole crossover bullshit

Fable’s Crossover: I sense a pattern

Justice League: This book really hasn’t been that good, but for my lack of interest in the team line up I just can’t seem to care. Also the current writer has been fired.

These two are the most prominent in my mind, but if you have anything you want to share feel free.




Devon is a Co-Founder of ANTiFanboy and He writes weekly articles and is the star of the ANTiFanboy Podcast. You can follow him on twitter @DevonKopec