Waiting for the Trade = Hulk vs. Avengers

Waiting for the Trade

Hulk Smash Avengers

written by Tom Defalco, Joe Casey, Roger Stern, Jim McCann and Fred Van Lente

art by Ron Frenz, Max Fiumara, Karl Molinem Agustin Padilla & Michael Avon Oeming

collects Hulk Smash Avengers #1-5

 Why I Bought This: I erroneously thought the entire mini-series was by Tom Defalco and as I’ve often said Defalco is the best choreographer of fight scenes in Marvel history and as this book seemed like it would be chock full of fight scenes I’d intended to pick it up in trade back when I first heard about it in miniseries form.

The Plot: Released in conjunction with the first Avengers film, each chapter is set in a different decade (real time) featuring Hulk battling various line-ups of the Avengers.

(Spoilers below)

Read more

Waiting for the Trade – Hulk

Waiting for the Trade

Fall of the Hulks:
Prelude

Written by Jeph Loeb, Greg Pak, Jeff Parker and Fred
Van Lente. Illustrated by Ed McGuinness,

            Ron
Garney, Mitch Breitweiser, Dan Panosian, Michael Ryan and Peter Vale.

Collects Hulk#2 and 16, Son of Hulk #1, Hulk: Raging
Thunder, Planet Skaar Prologue, All-New Savage She-Hulk #4, Amazing Fantasy
#15, Hulk #9 and Incredible Hulk #600-601.

Why I Bought This: I liked the villain concept for this crossover, i.e. that Leader and a
few other super intelligent villains have had a secret alliance for years, and
now they plan to take out the eight men who are smarter than them in their
quest for world domination. I was less intrigued by the concept that there are
11 Hulks running around now or the spoiler I heard that every Marvel hero but
Deadpool becomes a Hulk during this thing. So, when I looked for the main
crossover title on Amazon it was more expensive than I was willing to pay, but
this Prelude existed and was a bit cheaper so I thought I’d pick it up to see
if I wanted to wade into the entire thing.

 

The Plot: More
or less a primer on the 17,000 Hulks running around who are going to be targeted in
the big crossover such Red Hulk, Skaar, Red She Hulk and Savage She Hulk
(alongside Banner and regular She Hulk).

 (spoilers below)

Chapter 1 – Maria Hill is
briefing Tony Stark (currently the head of SHIELD) on the recent assassination
of the Abomination as She Hulk listens in. Suddenly Red Hulk smashes in and
defeats She Hulk in seconds off-panel. Tony fights him for a bit as he growls
but has to abandon the battle when the Hellicarrier starts to crash. Red Hulk
uses the distraction to plant a computer virus that erases all files on the
Hulk and escape. Next we cut to Rick Jones hitchhiking. He also gets attacked
by Red Hulk only to transform into a blue Abomination known as A-Bomb.

Chapter 2 – We get the back-story
of Sakaar (“Planet Hulk”) and see that after Hulk left for World War Hulk his wife’s magic energy kept their child healthy in
her corpse long enough for him to be born in a pool of lava and climb out. The
naked infant is born knowing how to walk as well as hunt, kill and eat some
giant bug creatures. One year later he’s a boy/teen/young man (the art is
contradictory) and leading some nomads against a barbarian horde. Dragon’s
breath kills his companions but leaves him unharmed so he can fight the head
barbarian, who seems to kill him in one blow. Later that night however the
lesser barbarians get sliced down one-by-one before Skaar reveals himself for
round two with the head barbarian.

Chapter 3 – We meet Thundra
in her dystopian 23rd century future where men and women have formed
separate nations and are constantly at war, and see her kill an enemy. Thundra
is sent back in time to fight Hulk, allegedly to prove female superiority to
her soldiers, but in fact she has a secret mission. She ambushes the dumb savage
Hulk and they trade punches until her future tech shows her he is the candidate
she was looking for, at which point she seduces Hulk. She returns to her own
time pregnant. Fast forward 20 years in Thundra’s future and we meet Hulk’s
green skinned amazon daughter.

Chapter 4 – We meet teen boy
Amadeus Cho, who is being tracked by spies. Cho is “the seventh smartest person
in the world.” He broke the record of some televised game show thus garnering
the attention of said spies, who then firebombed his home. He’s at a diner
where some cop hassles him over bringing a dog inside so Cho goes all Matrix-fu
by seeing various geometric angles before attacking and escaping. During his
escape he bumps into the Hulk, and they seemingly become friends.

Chapter 5 – In a previous
issue She Hulk, Valkyrie and Thundra were fighting Red Hulk. Now a bunch of
other female superheroes join them: Invisible Woman, Tigra, Black Widow, Storm,
Hellcat and Spider-Woman. They all bull rush him but Rulk shrugs them off. She
Hulk gets mad and gets some good shots in. Sue cuts off his air with a force
field around the head and then Storm creates a thunderstorm inside the force
field for the KO. They tie him up with Thundra’s chain and then gossip while
they wait for him to revert to human until someone points out that She Hulk
doesn’t revert to human when she goes to sleep. Rulk wakes up and snaps the
chain with ease, aiming the debris to KO Spider Woman and Storm (the only two
flyers). He then grabs Thundra and leaps off. He then says he has an offer for
her at which point we cut to her calling She Hulk on the phone to say Rulk let
her go without speaking to her.

Chapter 6 – Skaar comes to
Earth. His presence is psychically felt by Hulk, She Hulk and, for some reason,
Kate Waynesboro (a brief love interest of Bruce’s in the 80s prior to issue
300), who brings the information to Norman Osborn. Reed Richards’ equipment
also detects the dimensional portal Skaar used to arrive. Skaar wants to kill
his father. The FF meets up with She Hulk and they decide to intercept Skaar
together. Kate summons the War Bound (from World War Hulk) to help find and
protect Skaar. Reed is worried if Hulk meets his son he will change from dumb
Hulk to his potential planet destroying Green Scar personality. Skaar sees some
park rangers kill a coyote so he breaks their helicopter. She Hulk intercepts
him and attempts to talk but the army shoots her with a tank. Skaar tosses Thing
to the ground with ease while the army attacks the FF for some reason. Skaar
attacks the army as the fight goes live on TV (and we see various heroes and
villains react). The army (possibly on Norman’s
orders) bombs the hell out of the FF-Skaar battle site. In the wreckage Skaar’s
sword is broken and there is no sign of him. She Hulk can no longer psychically
feel him (implying he his dead) but in the cliffhanger he has changed into a
human teen and is petting the coyote.

Chapter 7 – We are once again
joined in progress, this time Llyra (Hulk’s daughter with Thundra) traveled
back in time to assassinate Norman Osborn only to be captured by him, but then
started making out with him in a prior cliffhanger. We pick up with her
rejecting Osborn despite her talking future tech sidekick saying he would make
a good father genetically. Llyra decides she hates her home reality and wants
to stay in the present. Osborn calls in the Dark Avengers to prevent her
escape. Llyra’s powers are the opposite of the Hulk: if she gets angry she
loses them, but when she is calm she taps into gamma energy from the big bang
and basically turns into Neo from the Matrix. She beats the heck out of Ares,
Wolverine v2.0, Bullseye and Venom v2.0 before Moonstone and Iron Patriot use
their energy powers to take her down. Meanwhile She Hulk is attempting to
rescue Llyra but is delayed by Sentry and Captain Marvel v6.0. Jen outmaneuvers
them so that she can get to Llyra. The two She-Hulks then turn the tide long
enough for a subset of SHIELD called ARMOR to teleport them to safety. ARMOR
deports Llyra to her home dimension where we learn she succeeded in her true
mission to download some computer files from Osborn’s HAMMER records. Llyra is
then granted freedom from the sisterhood of her future so she returns to
exactly when/where she left in the present and trades Osborn’s secrets for
immunity to stay in the main Marvel reality as an agent of ARMOR.

Chapter 8 – She Hulk recruits
Ben Urich (Daily Bugle reporter, usually found in Daredevil) to help her uncover the identity of Red Hulk. He brings
Peter Parker along and She Hulk gets Doc Samson and the four of them sneak into
Gamma Base, where they find Modok, AIM and Thunderbolt Ross are working
together and have captured A-Bomb and Bruce Banner. Seeing Modok makes Samson
wig out as he’s apparently been brainwashed to have an evil personality. Samson
and She Hulk fight until Modok blasts them both. Red Hulk finds Urich but Pete
switches to Spidey and pulls Urich to safety. Spidey uses his agility to keep
away from Red Hulk and frees the prisoners. Hulk and Red Hulk fight briefly
until Red Hulk uses an energy drain power to turn Hulk back into Banner
(allegedly permanently). Spidey escapes with Urich and A-Bomb escapes with
Banner, leaving She Hulk and Samson behind. Later, Red Hulk meets up with Urich
and threatens him into killing his story (not that he learned who Red Hulk is,
but that Ross and AIM are working together to make gamma powered super
soldiers).

Chapter 9 – Banner stops some
dude from beating his kid on the subway. When he gets off the Avengers and FF
are waiting for him as this has first time back in NYC since “World War Hulk.”
Bruce has come to meet with Reed for info on Skaar (who apparently in some
other issue not reprinted here fought the savage Hulk and stabbed him in the
chest). While he’s there Marvel’s smarted heroes (Reed, Pym, Beast, Black
Panther and Cho) test Banner’s blood and confirm that he can no longer become
the Hulk. Bruce doesn’t believe them since Hulk always comes back, and then
steals the Green Scar Hulk’s sword from Reed’s lab and teleports away. Banner
then seemingly transforms into Green Scar and challenges Skaar to a fight, but
in fact Banner is wearing some Gamma-absorbing armor from his early 60s’
comics. While Skaar’s gamma strength can’t dent it, when he switches to his
mother’s “old world” seismic power he shatters the suit. Banner explains he
can’t become Hulk anymore right now, and believes Skaar only wants to kill Hulk
(specifically Green Scar) and not Banner. Banner adds that Green Scar wants to
kill his son as well because Skaar destroyed his mother’s planet. Banner offers
to align with Skaar and train him so that he can defeat Green Scar when the
Hulk power inevitably returns. To that end he sends Skaar to pick a fight with
Juggernaut as his first test in the cliffhanger.

Chapter 10 – We start with
another JIP with a previously page for an issue not in this trade. In this case
Domino may have discovered the secret of Red Hulk’s identity so he hired Elektra
and Thundra to capture her, which caused Wolverine to come to the rescue.
Wolvie stabbed Red Hulk in the eyes and blinded him only for a Red She Hulk to
show up and make the save. On top the new stuff as Red She Hulk claims she
killed both Elektra and Domino (and is no wielding their weapons). Wolvie
responds by stabbing her in the leg while stabbing the third rail of the subway
line causing them both to be electrocuted. He then stabs her in the chest,
which seems to casually take in stride. She spits fire on him and gets a few
punches in, while claiming to have killed She Hulk too, causing Wolvie to go
berserk. Then for some reason Punisher shows up and shoots Wolverine. Deadpool
is with Punisher until Red She Hulk stabs him with Elektra’s sai. Archangel arrives to help Wolverine though Thundra
dispatches him with ease. Red She Hulk helps Red Hulk escape and as they talk
we get all clues about their secret identities (ultimately revealed to be
Thunderbolt Ross and Betty Ross shortly after this story). Meanwhile a mystery
person arrives and convinces Wolvie to leave and tend to his wounded X-Force
teammates. He then makes an offer to the remaining antiheroes. Back in the
tunnels Red She Hulk turns on Red Hulk and beats him down then delivers to Doc
Samson, who has the antiheroes and reveals he has been pulling the strings all
along.

 

Critical Thoughts: This is mostly terrible. I think the basic concept is flawed in much
the same way the Clone Saga was flawed. One or two alternate versions of a
major character are fine, but more than that gets ridiculous. Let’s assume
there was a good story to be told in the Red Hulk mystery or there is a good
story to tell involving Hulk having a grown barbarian son from another planet
(I’m dubious of that second claim since that origin story is this trade is
awfully dumb, but for argument’s sake we’ll give it the benefit of the doubt).
Red She Hulk still feels like one step too many, where the writers are being
more cutesy than clever. Once we give Hulk yet another grown child in that
amazon She Hulk or we turn Rick Jones into an Abomination clone it feels like
we’re just piling on nonsense for no reason (not to mention Hulk has yet
another alien child not in this book that for some reason has vast cosmic
power). This is a perfect example where less would be more; especially since
Hulk has a basic straightforward superpower that is probably the most
widespread in comics anyway. Thus it is not like we haven’t seen Hulk fight
other super strong characters before, it’s pretty much his most common story
traditionally so the writers need more of a hook than just color and sex
variations to make these alternate Hulks interesting, and that’s not being done
in this sampler. And if we go beyond the pages of this trade, once this story
finished it’s revelations it has the effect of decimating Hulk’s civilian
supporting cast as now Rick Jones, Betty Ross and Thunderbolt Ross are all
gamma monsters leaving Hulk with exactly zero normal humans in his orbit, which
I can’t imagine is a positive development for any series to radically alter the
entire supporting cast, especially to alter them all in the exact same way.

Next, it seems the villain is
Doc Samson. A character no one has ever given a crap about so why would we care
if he turns heel in a general sense? And specifically how does he measure up as
the potential main villain of this crossover, when we are already have the much
more interesting secret alliance led by the Leader, and the year long Red Hulk
mystery as selling points? Of course I say Samson seems to be the main villain
but in one chapter Samson is just a brainwashed dupe of Modok but then in the
ultimate cliffhanger he seems to be the one pulling the strings, so who the
heck knows?

This leads to the related
criticism of how little I care about these new characters. Skaar is at best
two-dimension and at worst jaw-droppingly ridiculous (he’s born able to walk
and hunt?). Cho doesn’t do it for me, although at least other writers have
tried to make him interesting. Thundra was not interesting in the 70’s when she
hung out with Thing, and now this book completely erases her subsequent history
(she had married Arkon in the pages of Avengers
decades ago) and reverts her back to basics with the end result of giving Hulk
another, less interesting child from the future. And here’s a little thing, why
are we naming that character “Llyra?” when Namor has a green-skinned female villain
with the exact same name and look. Then we have Red She Hulk, whose attitude in
her first appearance is like a parody of the worst of 90’s comic. Actually that
entire fight issue that closes the trade is like a bad parody as numerous
characters are stabbed in the chest and aren’t even phased; which removes all
stakes or sense of danger from the action.

There are really only two
positives about this book: one minor and one major. The minor one is the fight
scene with the Lady Liberators and Red Hulk is entertaining. (Although if She
Hulk was recruiting female superheroes to take down a Hulk-class foe why isn’t
Spectrum there? Spectrum is likely the most powerful female hero in the Marvel
Universe and served with She Hulk on the Avengers. Instead lightweights like
Tigra, Hellcat and Spider Woman, all of whom could not possibly hurt a Hulk are
recruited. Dagger would also be much better choice than half the women chosen,
though I’m not sure She Hulk knows Dagger). Still as written it is a fun issue
both in terms of the fight and the ladies’ banter.

The best thing about the book
is the characterization of Banner himself. I like how Banner does not doubt for
a second that he’s not actually cured of the Hulk despite Reed and company’s
tests. I like the way he confronts Skaar. I like the way he scares the abusive
father on the train. I like how he seems to be in control and planning ahead
for once. It’s been a long time since Banner has been written with clarity
(probably not since Peter David’s Pantheon era in the 90s). And since Banner is
the lead character in the book finding an interesting take on him is a major plus
in this thing’s favor.

 

Grade: D. In
terms of providing a primer of who the various Hulks are, this book succeeds in
its goal, which prevents it from getting a failing grade. However, while it may
give someone a general idea of who all these new Hulks are, it does not entice
me to want to read about any of them again.

 

 

 

 

Hulk Hogan Disgraces The WWF Championship


What was the story here?! How did McMahon let Hogan insult his belt like that?

Plus, how awesome is that HULK HOGAN is ripping on other wrestlers for not leaving and returning to wrestling?

​Yeah, Vince definitely didn't sign off on it, and it was a bone of contention between them for a while to say the least.  I think I can KIND of understand where Hulk was coming from with the promo, because he was trying to make the IWGP belt sound like a big deal and he just didn't think about what he was saying, but it just comes off as a really bad idea.  ​

Racist Hulk Hogan promo


 
 
image
 
 
 
 
 
Preview by Yahoo
 

I'm a little surprised that someone A). Decided to give him those lines, and B). Decided to let this go to air. 
​Well there you go, you can add "being a racist" to "holding people back" and "refusing to do jobs" on Hogan's list of career accomplishments now.  ​

Waiitng for the Trade (Hulk, X-men & Daredevil)

Waiting for the Trade
The 100 Greatest
Marvels of All Time #13 – 10.

written by Stan Lee,
Mark Millar, Frank Miller & Larry Hama

art by Jack Kirby,
Adam Kubert & David Mazzuchelli

collects Incredible
Hulk #1, Ultimate X-men #1, Daredevil #227 & Wolverine #75

 Why I Bought This: It
was a $1.50 at my local comic shop and I’ve actually never read Hulk #1 before
so that alone made it worth picking up.
The Plot: So in
2001 Marvel ran a poll asking for the 100 greatest stories of all time and then
turned that into a series of four issue trades priced at $7.50 each. This one
has the first appearance of the Hulk, the first issue of Ultimate X-Men, the first chapter of the Daredevil “Born Again”
story arc, and the final chapter of the X-Men’s “Fatal Attractions” crossover.

(spoilers below)

 
Chapter 1 – We meet Bruce Banner, General Thunderbolt Ross
and Betty Ross for the first time setting up Bruce as the meek but brilliant
scientist, Betty’s crush on Bruce and Ross’s disapproval of Bruce. We also meet
a lab assistant named Igor. It is the day of the Gamma Bomb test. Teenager Rick
Jones goes joyriding into the military base on a dare. Bruce spots him and goes
to evacuate the teen leaving it to Igor to halt the test but Igor has his own
agenda and lets the bomb detonate. Bruce gets Rick to shelter but absorbs the
bomb’s radioactive detonation. The military have Bruce & Rick locked in a
bunk and when night falls Bruce transforms into a grey Hulk. He breaks out of
the base and wanders into the desert as Rick follows. Hulk finds Igor
ransacking Bruce’s office and beats him down. Rick helps Hulk realize he is
Banner and Hulk seems like he is going to kill Rick to keep his secret safe but
then turns back into Bruce. The military arrives and arrest Igor for being a
spy and question Bruce and Rick about the Hulk. In his cell Igor contacts the
Gargoyle, who seems to be a deformed Russian midget mad scientist and Gargoyle
launches a missile attack. Bruce has Rick drive him to the dessert so when he
transforms that night no one will be hurt however they are followed by
Gargoyle. Meanwhile Betty goes for a night walk to cope with her worries about
Bruce, bumps into the Hulk and promptly faints. Gargoyle then shoots Hulk with
a mind control bullet and takes him to meet more some more Red spies. Come
morning Hulk turns into Banner and he is not subject to the mind control. In a
stunning display of astuteness for the Silver Age Gargoyle immediately figures
out Hulk is Banner. Seeing that Hulk can become a normal human makes him cry.
He then frees Bruce and Rick and turns his missile upon himself.

Chapter 2 – The Sentinels are killing mutants in the
streets. And we learn this is authorized by the President as Magneto and the
Brotherhood initiated terrorist attacks on NYC and DC a week ago. We see Beast
(in his original ape-like form without the blue fur) where he gets bothered by
bigots in a bar. Next punk rock looking Jean Grey recruits Beast, Storm and Colossus
to the X-men. Professor X and Cyclops give the new recruits tour and introduce
Cerebro and the other standard X-house gimmicks. We get the usual Magneto/Pro X
were friends once back-story although this one had Pro X forming the
Brotherhood with Magneto in the Savage
Land before Magneto
impaled him on a metal rod and cost him his legs, and then Pro X formed the
X-men to stop Magneto. Cerebro sends the X-men to rescue a teen mutant runaway
who ends up being Ice-Man and they end up fighting some Sentinels in the
process. Afterwards Magneto sees the fight on the news and calls in the Brotherhood
whose members include Toad, Scarlet Witch and Wolverine.

Chapter 3 – We open on Karen Page who is now a porn actress
and a junkie and she sells DD’s secret identity for smack. Six weeks later the
info makes it way to Kingpin, and he decides to test the info and if it proves
valid kill everyone else who handled it on the way to him. Six months later
Matt Murdock wakes up to get the mail where he learns he’s behind on his
mortgage, being audited, his assets are frozen and his girlfriend is breaking
up with him. Next he gets indicted on bribing a witness to perjure himself. The
prosecution’s key witness is a cop with an impeccable record. Matt’s
ex-girlfriend Glory finds her apartment ransacked and ends up moving in with
Matt’s former law partner Foggy Nelson. Matt turns into Daredevil and pays a
visit to the cop witness. The cop kicks him out of his home but after DD leaves
the Cop makes a phone call asking revealing he is going along with this to get
his terminally-ill son treated which DD hears from the roof with his
super-hearing. When he gets back to his apartment he finds all the utilities
are shut off. As the months pass Kingpin enjoys watching DD lose his cool more
and more as he fails to shake down any info on who is doing this to him. Foggy
is able to keep Matt out of prison but he loses his law license, which is just
what Kingpin wanted. Meanwhile Karen narrowly escapes a hitman. Matt is
wandering home wondering what to do next: he has no job, no assets and 30 days
before the bank forecloses and then his apartment explodes. And finally Matt
realizes this is all Kingpin’s doing and vows revenge.

Chapter 4 – Wolverine is in really bad shape after Magneto
ripped the adamantium off his bones through his skin. If not for both Jean Grey
telekinetically holding him together and his healing factor he’d be dead; and
even so he’s in critical condition. The fight was on Asteroid M so now the
X-men are trying to get back to Earth to get Wolvie medical attention before he
flat-lines. Jean and Professor X enter Wolvie’s mind to shut down his pain
receptors to help him survive and this leads to one of those mindscape stories
where the telepaths witness key moments in Wolvie’s life some of which play out
in a surreal manner. Anyway that goes on for most of the issue with cuts and
back and forth to either problems landing the plane or X-men giving him medical
attention as his health deteriorates. Ultimately the plane lands safely with a
little help from Jean’s TK though she nearly gets sucked out of the plane when
the roof blows off which causes Wolvie to wake up and grab her. We jump ahead a
few weeks as Wolvie heals. He tries the danger room for the first time since
the injury and it isn’t going well until he suddenly pops bone-claws, which
even he did not know he had. In the aftermath of that incident, he talks with
Jubilee and makes the decision to quit the X-men so he can walk the earth and find
himself.

 
Critical Thoughts:
Certainly for the price I paid this was worthwhile. The first two chapters were
stories I’d never read before and both ended up being quite good. The third is
a classic tale worth revisiting. The fourth one is pretty subpar, especially
for a collection of all-time great stories, but that’s not enough to drag down
the book as a whole. With that said let’s take them one at a time.

Hulk’s origin is another example of Stan Lee’s genius. What
more needs to be said about the sheer volume of outstanding creativity Stan Lee
gave us in the silver age. Yes, in the course of 50 years one can argue that a
lot of Hulk stories tend to be the same thing over and over again, but for an
original concept Hulk was like no other superhero before him. More than that
Stan Lee works his magic creating outstanding supporting characters in
Thunderbolt Ross and Betty. Even Rick Jones is a nice variation on the typical
teen sidekick of the era. He is not joining the Hulk because ‘gosh gee wiz
fighting bad guys is swell, and you’re the greatest Hulk;’ but because he is
racked with guilt for accidentally turning an innocent man into a monster. (And decades later, Peter David would turn Jones into one of the most
entertaining characters in comics). This is the first appearance of four
lynchpin characters of the Marvel Universe, how can it get anything but a positive
review.

Ultimate X-men was a surprisingly good comic. I say
surprisingly good because I’m not much of an X-men fan in the main continuity
and I have no use for the Ultimate universe (though admittedly I’ve read very
little of it outside of Spider-man). First of all the art is fantastic in this
book. The Sentinels have never looked more imposing than they do in this. On
top of that this is really strong first issue to set up the revamped origin of
the X-men. There’s some intriguing changes here in the Pro X/Magneto dynamic.
This is good enough to make me consider reading more of it in the future, and
it was not something that was remotely on my radar before.

The Daredevil chapter is exceptional writing. That is a hell
of a cliffhanger. I’ve read Born Again before, but you kind of forget just how
good it is, probably because DD is not a hero usually on my radar. I own the
great classic DD stories (Elektra Saga, Born Again and Guardian Devil) but
that’s about it outside of him guest starring in Spidey once in a while.

As for the Wolverine story, I hate mindscape stories in
general that’s another subgenre where you’ve read one, you’ve read them all.
Beyond that, I really don’t see why it is here. I don’t think Fatal Attractions
is all that great a crossover to begin with but if you were going to include it
I would go with the chapter before this which has the two big shock moments of
Magneto ripping out Wolvie’s bones and Professor X mindwiping Magneto. This has
what? The bone claws reveal? Really? I realize Wolverine is popular and this
story was published about a year or so before the poll was taken so it was
fresh in his fans mind, but even so are the bone claws that exciting a
development that they belong above the other three stories in this list? Because
I don’t see it, and history has proven this was just a footnote before Wolvie
got his metal claws back a few years later.
Grade: If we’re averaging it’s three A’s and D which comes
out to an A-.

Question about Hulk Hogans Divorce.


Hey, been a big fan since you and the Scotsman used to internet beef, man I miss that guys writing. 

Anyway, what the hell happened to Hogan in his divorce ? How the heck did he get taken to the cleaners so badly ? Did she get more than half, and if she did how is that even possible ?

​I don't know if the specifics were ever released publicly, actually.  I'm just a simple country chicken, but I suspect Hogan got caught screwing around or something along those lines.  Either way, he got hung to dry by the court for sure.  Anyone else know details?  ​

October Classics: Hulk Hogan vs. Ric Flair – WCW Halloween Havoc ’94

This is the blowoff to Hulk Hogan’s feud with Ric Flair after Hogan’s debut back in the spring/summer of ’94. It has a cage, Mr. T as the referee, a mysterious masked Hogan attacker being unveiled. Overbooked, yes. Entertaining, also yes.


Hulk Hogan vs Ric Flair (HH94 Part One) by mrbling



Hulk Hogan vs Ric Flair (HH94 Part Two) by mrbling

Waiting for the Trade – Secret Wars

Waiting for the Trade

Spider-man & the
Secret Wars

by Paul Tobin &
illustrated by Patrick Scherberger & Clayton Henry

collects Spider-man
& the Secret Wars #1-4 (& Secret Wars #1)

 

Why I Bought This: This
miniseries was released to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the
legendary Secret Wars event. I love
that story and am all for a little nostalgia.
 

The Plot: We
revisit key events from Secret Wars
from the perspective of Marvel’s flagship character.

(spoilers below)

 
Chapter 1 – We open on the scene of Hulk holding up a
mountain that the heroes are trapped under. We then cut to earlier that day
where Spidey, Cap and Hulk are scouting and see Enchantress. Spidey notes the
odds seem awfully unfair what with the villains having Enchantress, Molecule
Man and Galactus on their team. He also questions why Magneto and by
implication Hulk where assigned to the heroes. Enchantress spots them and we
get a fight that Hulk wins. Captain Marvel v2.0 shows up to warn them Wrecking
Crew is coming and for some reason Cap and Spidey think they need to retreat.
Later that night Spidey brings his doubts about Hulk to Cap. And now we’re back
under the mountain where Spidey annoys Hulk to make him madder so he can keep
holding up the mountain while Reed devises an escape plan. After they escape
Spidey apologizes to Hulk but Hulk overhead the earlier conversation between
Spidey and Cap and tells Spidey off.

Chapter 2 – We open on Spidey, Ben Grimm and Dr. Doom giving
an inspirational speech to the citizens of Denver in preparation of repelling an alien
attack. Rewind to a day earlier where Spidey and Ben (sans Thing powers) have
installed holographic projectors so that Reed can tell the citizens what has
happened and calm their fears. A local family offers the heroes dinner and in
the process alerts them to a nearby rampaging alien barbarian horde they call
the Spindles. The horde was previously driven off by Lockheed the dragon whose
has been guarding the town ever since. They also learn Doom has been visiting Denver the last few days
primarily to meet with two local women. Spidey follows Doom for afternoon and
he does not seem to be doing anything nefarious. Doom discovers him and Grimm
and tells them flat out what he is up to: Doombase has machines that can grant
superpowers and he is looking for recruits among the populace. While they are
talking Reed radios in that the Spindles are coming and Doom volunteers to help
the heroes protect the city since he has yet to finish his own mission here.
Back where we started with Lockheed fighting alongside Spidey and the others. It
seems the aliens may overrun them but in the end the heroes and Doom turn them
back with Doom even saving a helpless kid in the process. Doom also recruits
two women who fought hard despite being ineffectual. The heroes let Doom and
the women depart (who will become Titania and Volcanna) and celebrate with the
citizens. 

Chapter 3 – We flashback to the battle of all the heroes
fighting Galactus. Reed warns everyone that fighting Galactus causes you to
experience time and reality differently (which has never happened before but
whatever). As a result we get various flashbacks from Spidey’s life (Gwen,
Uncle Ben, MJ, Felicia, etc) intercut with him running up a hill and talking to
Enchantress, who serves as his alternate reality tour guide. Then Spidey gets a
glimpse of the future which leads to a few pages foreshadowing Venom (as
Spidey acquires the Black Costume right before the Galactus battle). The issue
ends with the heroes chasing Galactus off and Spidey wondering what it all
means.

Chapter 4 – We’re joining in to when Doom acquired the
Beyonder’s power. We then get a glimpse of an alternate reality where Peter has
the Beyonder’s power. He uses them to stop crime and improve the city but Uncle
Ben keeps dying on him though with the Beyonder power he keeps resurrecting
him. Doom reveals to Klaw that he subconsciously sent a fraction of the power
to Spidey and Wolverine to keep him grounded in reality. This leads to Spidey
and Wolverine fighting monsters on another planet until they realize they are
in the Beyonder-verse. We do get some neat narration from Doom on how he
was able to defeat the Beyonder due to the nature of the Beyonder’s power.
Pete’s alternate reality from the start of the chapter then fades as Doom
claims all of the power. He also mind-wipes the events from Spidey and
Wolverine’s memories.  

Bonus Chapter (The first issue of the original Secret Wars) – We open on a satellite in
deep space containing the best of Earth’s heroes: Spidey, Hulk, the FF, the
Avengers, the X-men and Magneto. Next we second satellite filled with the worst
villains: Enchantress, Ultron, Absorbing Man, the Wrecking Crew, Kang, Lizard,
Galactus, Dr. Octopus, Molecule Man and Dr, Doom. The heroes question why
Magneto is on their ship when the Beyonder reveals himself for the first time.
He destroys a galaxy, builds a planet and lays down the rules of his game “slay
your enemies and you desire shall be yours.” Ultron uses the cue to attack
anything living in his satellite until Galactus snuffs him out with a flick of
his finger. Galactus attacks the Beyonder as Doom follows him but they are
easily repelled. The satellites land. The heroes refuse to work with Magneto
then elect Cap as their leader. The villains ask Doom to fill the same role but
Doom has no interest in playing the Beyonder’s game. Doom attempts to seek out
the heroes but is shot down by Kang. We end on the villain army attacking the
hero army.

 
Critical Thoughts:
This is hard one to evaluate. It would almost be like ranking the DVD deleted
scenes and extras of a collector’s edition separate from the movie. I think it
accomplished what it sets out to do: namely give us a sort expanded (yet
unessential) look at Secret Wars for
the 25th anniversary. If you like the original story you’ll probably
enjoy this too but it is by no means anywhere near the quality of the original
(and that becomes really obvious when you read the bonus chapter from the original
series). 

Generally I liked the first two chapters better than the
last two. I thought the first chapter focusing on Cap-Hulk-Spidey had a nice
classic feel to it. Those three heroes were clearly Marvel’s biggest mainstream
crossover stars at the time the original series was winning. I think Spidey
feeling out of his depth at thought of facing Enchantress, Molecule Man or
Galactus especially since back then he didn’t do cosmic stories or team up with
the Avengers all that often. I don’t understand why Spidey and Cap think they
need to retreat from the Wrecking Crew. Spidey had faced the individual members
of the Wrecking Crew in his solo title in the past and done just fine with Cap,
Hulk and Captain Marvel there they should mop the floor with those guys but I’m
quibbling again.

Chapter 2 is probably my favorite chapter because it is new
material (a deleted scene as it were as opposed to an extended version of an
existing scene.) It’s a really good Doctor Doom chapter showing his nobility
and honor, while also showing Spidey and Grimm’s heroism. I also like that we
see how and why Titania and Volcanna were recruited since in the original story
they do just show up out of nowhere.

Chapter 3 is the weakest chapter by far. I get why you want
to make a big deal out of the Black Costume since that was the big Spidey
development in the original story and then Venom went on to become super
popular but the dialogue of foreshadowing is clunky and the time-shifting plot
device is just something they pulled out of the butt. I’ve read plenty of
Galactus stories and none of this reality shift nonsense has ever been part of
them. That chapter four doubles down on the alternate reality silliness does
the book no favors but at least that chapter has an interesting explanation
from Doom on how the Beyonder’s power works and why he was able to win.

 

Grade C.

Hulk Hogan’s Missing Mustache/Black Tights

Scott!

Fired up Halloween Havoc 1995 and not only is Hogan missing his mustache but he's wearing the black lightning tights that he would make popular after becoming Hollywood Hogan. What in the heck is going on? I remember reading some ages ago about you saying Hogan tried something new out around this time, but what was it? Maybe he was filming a movie around this time? He just did an interview where he wasn't the vitamin swilling preacher. He kinda had some lame "edge."

Wait, you mean that watching Hogan burning a copy of the Observer and showing his badass edge didn't make you immediately buy him as a killer anti-hero? That was two years before Stone Cold Steve Austin AND Vince Russo!  The man was an INNOVATOR!  Did you know that Randy Savage's so-called "arm injury" at the time was just him working a bunch of internet nerds who were too stupid to know better, despite him having it wrapped up in bandages and selling it for the entire match against Lex Luger before submitting to an armbar?  Stupid marks.  

Hulk Hogan on TMZ

Hey Scott.  I hope all is well.  I just saw this article on TMZ and thought it was pretty interesting.
 
 
Hulk Hogan was at the performance center AND he was wearing his ring gear.  Could it be possible that Hogan said enough prayers and ate enough vitamins that Vince might  actually pull the trigger and have Randy Orton job to him this Monday on Raw to continue with their epic feud from 2006?!?!?!  Say it ain’t so!!!!
 
Zach

Sadly, Hogan lost three of the four demandments as a part of the settlement with Linda, so now legally he can only say his prayers and must get his vitamins from natural food sources.  

Hulk Hogan and Cowboy Bob Orton main Event WM 30???

Hey Scott, any chance with the rumored involvement of the Hulkster the WM match we get is Cena and Hogan against Orton and his dad?  There would be the symmetry of 2 guys from the WM1 Main Event in there 30 years later and can continue the "legendary" Cena-Orton feud.  And Bob can even wear the cast!

In this scenario I'd have Punk-HHH for the title as the main event with Dbry-HBK and Brock-Taker as the other features.  Or, if Shawn really won't wrestle again, how about Punk-HHH-Bryan triple threat for the title with HBK as special ref?

Or am I crazy and we are getting Cena-HHH for the title to end this storyline once and for all?


Bob Orton still has major heat due to working matches in 2005 and blading after being diagnosed with Hepatitis.  I really doubt they'd bring him back again, especially for a payday like that.


And they still have no idea where they're going at this point aside from "Cena maybe in a tag match with or against Hogan or something, and Vince against HHH somehow" according to the WON. So I guess anything is possible.

Match of the Day: Hulk Hogan vs Ric Flair – WWF Oakland, CA 10-25-91

Came across this on you tube while watching Ric Flair promos:

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJA_BYb_eFI

Not seen on television, but was advertised locally on Oakland, CA Television. Holy crap was the crowd into it. Still not sure how Vince screwed up this sure fire money maker for Wrestlemania 8.

I had this one on a comp tape years back.  Not sure if it ever made DVD, though.  

Hulk Can Save TNA!

Holy shit, if someone had told me all they would need is Eric Bischoff, unlimited resources, and a smartphone, I would have told them to get on that shit years ago!  Goddamn, why didn’t I think of that?  THIS MAN IS A GENIUS. Also, EVERYTHING IS FINE.

Waiting for the Trade – Avengers

Waiting for the Trade

 by Bill Miller

 

Avengers Assemble
by Brian Michael
Bendis and Mark Bagley

collects Avengers
Assemble #1-8

Why I Bought This: Created
in the wake of the film, this features the team from the film taking on Thanos.
Despite my distrust of Bendis, I couldn’t wait to read this and as soon as it
was collected in trade earlier this year, I ordered it from Amazon. That it
also features Mark Bagley’s art and the Guardians of the Galaxy is just gravy.
The Plot: Thanos hires
the Zodiac to steal items of cosmic power found on Earth and it’s up to the
Avengers to stop him.

Chapter 1 – We see a new version of the Zodiac exists. Tony
has built a new Stark
Tower and the Avengers
celebrate. In the desert Hulk is watching an Army convoy that suddenly comes
under attack by a water elemental. Hulk tries to help, although the Army
assumes he is attacking them too. They fight for a few pages with the Elemental
winning by drowning Hulk enough to pass him out and then stealing a mysterious
item from the convoy and escaping. Meanwhile Hawkeye and Black Widow are
tracking terrorists in Latveria. When they see what the terrorists are stealing
they call in the Avengers for back-up. Hawkeye and Widow manage to hijack the
terrorists’ jeep they loaded the item on when Taurus attacks. Thor and Iron Man
arrive to assist but Taurus defeats them both in physical combat.

Chapter 2 – In flashback we see a mysterious benefactor task
the Zodiac with recovering items of power off the Earth in return for power
upgrades. In the present Hulk arrives at Avengers Tower
and asks Jarvis to get Cap. In Latveria, Taurus gloats over defeating Thor
giving Iron Man and Hawkeye a chance to go on offense. They manage to force him
to retreat and then when Thor recovers he sees the mystery object and even he
is shocked by it. The four heroes meet up with Cap and Hulk on the Hellicarrier
and compare notes, deciding the water elemental was Aquarius. We also learn
that Hawkeye and Widow recovered the Ultimate Nullifier prompting Cap to decide
the stakes are so high that the mission should be classified to the six in this
room. And then the entire 12 members of the Zodiac attack the Hellicarrier.

Chapter 3 – The Avengers try to hold the Zodiac off so Widow
can escape with the Nullifier. She is pursued by Aquarius. Tony tries to bribe
the Zodiac into leaving in a funny moment. The fight gets more intense with
some of the villains throwing jets on the Hellicarrier at Thor, until Hulk gets
his mad on and finally manages to defeat one of them. This causes his power to
flow off into space and Tony is able to analyze it. He then builds a jamming
device which reverts the Zodiac to human. The Avengers attempt to question them
when Thanos arrives promising to destroy the Earth.

Chapter 4 – In one of the cooler moments Tony immediately
broadcasts an emergency signal to the White House as the Avengers have
instituted a planet-wide We’re f*ck*d contingency in case Thanos ever comes to
Earth. Thanos possesses the Hulk and sics him on Thor. Hawkeye manages to take
Hulk down with an exploding arrow to the mouth but then Thanos repowers up the
Zodiac at which point the President blows up the Hellicarrier in mid-air.
Apparently Tony has a force field now that can surround the entire team to save
them. The explosion also distances them from Thanos so Hulk is freed of his
control. Cap interrogates the one of the now-Human powerless Zodiac members as
we learn none of them were anything special before Thanos found them; their
mission was to gather objects of power for Thanos and in return he would give
them power to rule the Earth. The Avengers wonder why Thanos would need lackeys
(although he’s used lackeys plenty of times in the past including in his
earliest appearances), at which point the Guardians of the Galaxy show up
offering to help.

Chapter 5 – We see a flashback to a few days ago where the
Guardians were fighting the Badoon on some alien world, and after winning and
interrogating prisoners learned the Badoon were in league with Thanos and that
Thanos had designs on the Earth. The Guardians think Thanos may be after the
Infinity Gems but Cap and Iron Man dismiss that, and Gamora confirms it is not
the Gems in a cool bit of logic. Meanwhile Hawkeye and Widow make out in the
med lab. The Guardians inform the Avengers that the galactic council has deemed
Earth off-limits which is allegedly why Thanos was using lackeys instead of
attacking outright as the lackeys are a loop-hole to that ruling; as if Thanos
would ever care about galactic law (although Gamora suggests that’s exactly why
Thanos is interested in Earth again). Cap and Hulk then question the military
to learn what the Zodiac took for Thanos in chapter 1 and it is a new Cosmic
Cube designed by the U.S.
military. Realizing Thanos has the Cube the Avengers and Guardians head off
into space to find him.

Chapter 6 – Maria Hill briefs the New Avengers, Secret
Avengers and FF on the events of the last few issues and Reed is tasked with
coming up with a line of defense in case the Avengers and Guardians fail. In space
we see Thanos promise the Badoon an empire larger than the Kree and Skrull if
they eliminate the Avengers for him. Shortly thereafter the Badoon fleet
intercepts the Avengers and Guardians. Thor and Iron Man breech the mother ship
followed by the Guardians and just as the Badoon seem like they are about to
defeat Thor, Iron Man’s armor explodes to reveal Hulk inside as Banner was
piloting it as a “Trojan Hulk” ruse. The other Avengers except Widow follow
inside, when the Badoon blow the airlocks sweeping all the heroes sans
astronaut gear into Outer Space. Meanwhile Thanos successfully activates the
Cosmic Cube.

Chapter 7 – Thanos summons the Elders of the Universe,
Stranger and Inbetweener to him and then obliterates them with the Cube,
however the Cube energy then begins to spike out of Thanos’ control. Back in
space Widow gets a space suit and retrieves the other heroes though Tony and
Clint are not doing particularly well from space exposure. Thor is unaffected
by space and continues to attack Badoon ships, while Star Lord has his old
element gun and uses it take on a raiding party of Badoon foot soldiers. Hulk
joins Thor in the fight while Rocket uses undefined space technology to bring
Clint and Tony back from the brink of death. Thor manages to rupture the warp core
of the Badoon Mother Ship and then the Guardians leap to hyperspace to make
good the heroes’ escape; only for the heroes to be confronted by Thanos, who
has once again shed his physical form though this time the Cosmic Cube seems to
be the heart of his universal energy form.

Chapter 8 – Thor tries to fight Cube Thanos, while Tony
analyzes him and learns the Army was not able to build a true Cosmic Cube but
rather a “dark matter energy conduit” in a cube shape. Cube Thanos disintegrates
the Avengers. On Earth Reed and the President prepare for the worst. The
Avengers and Guardians discover they are not dead but have instead been
transported to the Cancerverse from Realm
of Kings.
They also find the Elders of the Universe are here as well and
form an alliance with them. Cube Thanos arrives on Earth and Reed plans to use
the Ultimate Nullifier to stop him when the Avengers arrive on the scene. Thor
uses some weapon Collector gave him to shatter the Cube, which returns Thanos
to normal at which point the heroes of Earth lay the smack down on him and turn
him over to the Elders for imprisonment. In the epilogue the Guardians invite
Iron Man to join their team, while the Badoon declare war on Earth for what the
Avengers did to their mother ship a few chapters back.

 
 Critical Thoughts: I liked the story’s momentum but it is flawed,
as most Bendis stories are. If you look at this as a story designed to appeal
to casual fans that saw the movie and want to see this cast in another
adventure with aliens it succeeds admirably. However, if you know anything
about Marvel continuity this story makes little to no sense.

We’ll start with the Elders power levels being way off.
Other than Grandmaster none of them have ever been shown able to manipulate cosmic
energy on their own; and even he wouldn’t be part of the cosmic pantheon with
the Stranger or Inbetweener. As we saw in Thanos
Quest
Thanos is more than capable enough of handling these characters at
his base power level. Let me also add Thanos should clearly know the difference
between a real Cosmic Cube and an imitation at this point. Groot’s power level
also seems off as he seems to be a peer to Hulk and Thor in the final battle,
and while he is a powerhouse he is still made of wood and nowhere near the
league of upper cosmic level threats like Thanos or Magus as the last Guardians series made clear.

Speaking of which there are several characters who died in
the last Guardian series who are back
alive with absolutely no explanation. Most notably Star Lord, who is human and
if you are going to resurrect him you need to explain how. Thanos, Drax and the
Cancerverse were all dead as well when last we saw them. At one point Star Lord
is asked point blank how he escaped the Cancerverse (a key plot point since it
was permanently sealed and then collapsed in upon itself when last we saw it)
and Bendis just has him stare at the Avengers blankly instead of providing an
explanation. It also seems to imply that the Guardians work for the Galactic
Council now, which isn’t a bad idea, but is a change in the status quo of their
last series (and this begs the question of what happened to the Annihilators).
I can live with a revolving door to death in comics but at least give the
reader the courtesy of an explanation when you use that door.

Reed’s plan to use the Nullifier also seems ill-advised
since we’ve seen in the past the Cosmic Cube trumps the Nullifier (Infinity War) and that using the
Nullifier can cause planet-sized collateral damage (late 90s issues of Silver Surfer involving Morg and
Tyrant); although I guess we can assume Reed’s intellect is such he could
contain the collateral damage.

We also have the whole Avengers blown into space scene which
makes little sense. Cap is shown to be barely harmed by the vacuum of space,
which Bendis attributes to super soldier serum—showing yet again that Bendis
fundamentally misunderstands what the Super Soldier Serum actually does. This
even more bizarre in that a fully armored Iron Man is nearly killed by the
vacuum of space, when I’ve seen Tony in space in numerous other stories. Tony
also claims at one point the Avengers are not prepared to deal with cosmic
threats; but I think Korvac, Nebula, the Elders of the Universe, the Kree and
the Skrull would all beg to differ. Plus this team of Avengers dwarfs the
Guardians in raw power.

I’d also add the Hawkeye & Widow makeout scene is
completely arbitrary. I guess it is supposed to be a nod to the pseudo romantic
tension between the two in the movie, but it has no story value at all here.

On the positive front I really liked the idea that the
Avengers and the President have a cosmic level protocol specifically for
Thanos. I also liked the presentation of Gamroa’s character a lot, particularly
the use of her history as Thanos’ foster daughter. For the future the use of
the Badoon could be interesting, as DnA were clearly building to a major event
with them during the entire run.

Also Mark Bagley’s art is fabulous with lots of beautiful splash pages. And he draws a heck of Thanos,

 

Grade: B-. A
pretty fun story if you don’t mind the cosmic continuity gaps.

 

 

Book Review Double Shot: “Hollywood Hulk Hogan” and “Hulk Hogan: My Life Outside the Ring.”

Hulk Hogan is the biggest superstar wrestling has ever seen. The man transcended the sport. Very few men can make that claim.
I want to state for the record that I was a card carrying Hulkamaniac in my youth. Loved me some Hulk Hogan. I owned his wrestling buddy, his action figures and I had a life size poster of him on my bedroom door. I was truly demented. I was such a Hulkamaniac that 11 year old Chris Cucchiara openly cried when the Hulkster lost the WWF title to the Undertaker at Survivor Series 1991. To say I was emotionally invested in Hulk would be an understatement. Christ, I was, am, and always will be a HUGE Bret Hart mark. I was pissed when he lost the WWF title to Yokozuna at WrestleMania IX. But I was overjoyed when Hulk came out and dispatched of the foreign menace in mere seconds after Yoko had defeated Hart. THAT is how big a Hulkamaniac I was.

For me, things changed upon his entry to WCW. Well, sort of. I was overjoyed that he had come back to his true calling after a flirtation with Hollywood. I remember in 1994 listening to a local Boston radio program that featured both Hulk and Ric Flair promoting their upcoming match at Bash at the Beach 1994. Even at 13 going on 14, I was rooting hard for ole’ Hulk. It didn’t matter that he had obviously thinned down after cycling off steroids. The Hulk Hogan character was wholly appealing to someone of my age bracket, and this fan was overjoyed when Hulk dispatched of Flair at said Bash to claim his first WCW Championship.

Then something strange happened. I hit puberty.

And Hulk Hogan’s egomania began running a muck in WCW.

Somewhere along the line, as I was developing hormones I never knew existed, Hogan was wreaking havoc upon WCW. As a child, I thought like a child and acted as a child. As I developed, I set aside these childish things. Hogan was no longer cool. I stuck with wrestling FAR past any of my friends and acquaintances (and still do to this day). The tipping point for me with Hogan was the Uncensored Doomsday Cage match, where Hogan and Randy Savage dispatched no less than eight, count them, EIGHT “top” WCW heels in the match. And with ease. I was becoming more enamored with wrestlers like Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels at that point, guys who didn’t work a slow, plodding, predictable formula like Hogan. Say all you want about Bret Hart and his “five moves of doom” but the man put on damn entertaining matches. Hogan was coasting. The absolute last straw was Hogan’s match with Vader at Superbrawl V. If I am remembering correctly. Hogan basically no sold Vader’s powerbomb, and, as someone who had followed WCW for the last five years, could not fathom someone shrugging off such a devastating move. Vader, the biggest badass I had ever laid eyes on, never recovered from this match, and, even as a 15 year old, I could recognize that. Hogan’s WCW babyface run was just god awful, and I developed a true hatred for one Hulk Hogan.

Another turning point: at that Uncensored event with Hogan and Savage dispatching the entire Axis of Evil, there was this undercard match. Steve Regal vs. The Belfast Bruiser. From the first time I saw it, that night on PPV, i was enraptured. It was unlike anything I had ever seen, and remains a wholly unique match on US soil to this day. Stiff would be an understatement. These two guys beat the ever loving shit out of eachother, and it was phenomenal. Wrestling was becoming very different to this young fan, and soon there was a development that truly let the rubber hit the road.

The Internet.

The biggest single influence to my wrestling fandom was the internet. I didn’t yet have it in my house in 1995, but I had access to it through my High School. In 1996, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall jumped ship from WWF to WCW and I actually was tuned into that fact by the internet. I only got about 40 minutes a day to delve into this stuff online, but it was enlightening. I was also a novice, and did not recognize what was good wrestling intel and bad. I read on a few sites that Hulk was going to turn heel and join these other two New York defectors, but thought it was bogus. Much to my surprise, Hogan turned at Bash at the Beach 1996, and suddenly became a hot commodity again.

Let’s get one thing straight: I LOVED the nWo. It was a cool act, man, one that brought wrestling back to the forefront of 16-17 year old fans. It made wrestling kind of cool again, and proved that I had been right in following it long past the point that other kids my age had ceased watching. While Hogan was my favorite growing up, and for how cool the “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan character was, at that point, Hall and Nash and their cooler than thou attitude was the reason I liked the nWo. I cannot deny, though, that Hogan was the man who put nWo over the top with the fans. It was a total love to hate relationship.

Hogan settled into that heel act and did excellent work with it. It would be like Cena turning heel at this year’s Extreme Rules or a like event. Only on steroids. Hogan had NUCLEAR heat with fans, especially the ones who despised his early glorified WCW days. The nWo was the hottest act in wrestling…until Hogan’s ego got in the way.

Hogan signed a contract to wrestle for WCW that had an almost ludicrous level of creative control. People mock Bret Hart’s 20 year WWF contract for the reason that Bret had “reasonable” creative control over his last 30 days in the company. And they mock him for refusing to lose to HBK in Montreal at Survivor Series 1997, and they scoff at his downfall after being screwed out of the WWF title at that event. Well, if an enterprising wrestling fan objectively opens their own goddamned eyes, one would see Hogan’s WCW contract. In addition to receiving an obscene amount of PPV grosses, Hogan had creative control not only over the actions of his own character, but things he may PERCEIVE as relevant to his character. In short, Hogan had WCW by their short and curly’s. It was, and remains, the most asinine contract ever signed by any athlete in any sport. And that includes A-Rod’s ridiculous extension with the New York Yankees in 2007. Hogan wielded unprecedented power over the organization paying him, and he played it to the hilt.

Now why am I mentioning all this? Why is this such a departure from my other reviews? Because it has been proven to be true. I could mention Hogan’s love of Dusty Rhodes as a child. I could mention how he was an obese (not really…just freakishly large) child who excelled at baseball. I could mention how Hogan mouthed off about being a wrestler so much that the wrestlers who eventually agreed to train him (Mike Graham) became so fed up that they insisted his trainer (Hiro Matsuda) break his leg. All of this is true. Absolutely. What is also true is Hogan became the biggest wrestler ever. EVER. There is no denying this. Hogan’s first book, aside from the wrestling hogwash he puts forth, is pretty forthcoming. It falls into a label this site’s creator, Scott Keith, has made a quasi famous saying: entertaining crap.  

Indeed, Hogan’s first book is just a bunch of hyperbole and half truths. Hogan tore all the muscles in his back slamming Andre at WM III. All of Hogan’s movies, while critically panned, drew great money. Hogan knew Ultimate Warrior would be a bust, even though it was his post match antics that killed Warrior. I know some people may take exception to that last statement, but deny it is truth. Warrior was OVER at that point, brothers. Warrior was ABSOLUTELY the man to grab the torch from Hogan. Trust me, as a 9 year old WWF mark, Warrior was a totally credible threat. The Warrior was a bigger threat than Andre or Savage. That match meant the world to 4th grade wrestling fans. I had Hogan, many friends had Warrior winning the match. They were correct, I was wrong. It sucked. But make no mistake: Warrior had been built so perfectly that it was not out of the question that he would walk away from Mania VI with the belt. It was even Steven. Hogan destroyed Warrior’s momentum straight out of the gate, and he admits that was his intent in BOTH books.

What really grinds my gears, in both books, is that Hogan will not take any blame for his political machinations. He considers himself completely in the clear, as he was simply trying to provide for his family. His first book is absolute pure shit, as he basically describes himself as just another wrestler trying to earn a living to provide for his family. Are you serious? Hogan was making MILLIONS during his first run, more money than any wrestler had ever even aspired to acquire. I will say it again: Hogan is the biggest wrestler pro wrestling has ever seen. Wrestling, commercials, cartoon series, Hogan was making boku mint. His first book is bunk, total nonsense. At least that was what I thought until I read Hulk’s second book, and the book written by his now ex-wife.

Hogan’s first book is awful. Linda Hogan’s book is second to only Diana Hart-Smith’s book in sheer tabloid awfulness. I am not going to lie and say Hulk’s book is full of witty repartee and honest appraisals. It isn’t. In fact, both of Hulk’s book are littered with half-truths and grandiose exaggerations. Andre the Giant weighed several tons and Hogan tore every muscle in his back body slamming him. Andre was close to death at the time of WM III. Warrior was a hack (well, yes.). Wrestlers saw him as the biggest thing to ever happen to wrestling (I guess…). The injuries Hogan relates in his books either point towards him being the biggest badass wrestling has ever seen, or its biggest liar. (And I am prone to favor the latter over the former.)

Hogan’s second book is far more refreshing, but still not much better than the first. In fact, I would venture to say that as time goes along, Hogan becomes even more delusional. Andre by this point weighs 800 pounds. His feats in a pro wrestling ring become more pronounced. Its something I don’t understand: Hogan’s in ring feats are greater than anyone who has ever set foot inside the squared circle. Why embellish? Hulk: You are the greatest ever to lace up the boots. Why exaggerate? Anyone who denies Hulk Hogan’s greatness is denying themselves. Hogan was, and still is, HUGE. That is why I have some problems with his books. He has no need to exaggerate. The man transcended the sport. But Hulk feels the need to do so, and it comes off as kind of sad.

Hulk’s first book proves that truth may be stranger than fiction. Except for the fact that Hulk’s book is more fiction than reality. Hogan’s second book is better, certainly better written. Then again, anyone looking for witty repartee or honest appraisals on a titanic career will be disappointed. Once again, these books are littered with half truths and grandiose exaggerations.

We should get to Hogan’s wife, Linda Claridge. I don’t know if you watched “Hogan Knows Best” on vh1, but Linda came across, to me at least, as a manipulative bitch. She was totally in control of the Hogan household, but seemed completely disingenuous. It was no surprise to this fan that she dropped Hulk and somehow gained a majority stake of the moolah Hulk had attained. And then ended up in the arms of a 19 year old. Linda Hogan is absolutely detestable to any fan of pro wrestling, especially with a 19 year olds balls banging off of her chin. Hulk may be an asshole, but the stuff that involves his wife, in either of the books, proves that she is a gold digging whore, in this scribes opinion. Try her book on for size. It is right up there with Diana Hart’s book as the worst written on pro wrestling. And Hulk does not mince words talking about Linda and her family in his second book. Money grubbers. And I have to agree seeing as how the Hogan divorce settlement ended up. Poor Hulk lost a fortune and now has to work for TNA. Linda is out of public view banging 19 year old dick. Tell me who won that lawsuit? What has Linda done in her life?

All in all, the Hogan biographies are very interesting. Not the best written things in the world, but neither are the reviews. But they are damn entertaining. While not necessarily historically accurate, they serve a point. Hogan is a liar, an exaggeration artist. What a shock. Hogan exaggerates, what a shock. But it is still damn entertaining. As Scott himself would put it, these books are “entertaining crap.” Period. End of story.