Hulk: Visionaries - Peter David Vol. 1 (Written by Peter David, Illustrated by Todd McFarlane and John Ridgeway, Kindle eBook)

This collection goes all the way back to the start of Peter David's run with the Hulk, and focuses on the Grey Hulk. In the book's introduction, David says he chose to work with the Grey Hulk because he likes doing dialogue which the Savage Hulk, uh, doesn't have a lot of.

At the beginning, said dialogue is really awkward and forced; Rick has been turned into the Savage Hulk after falling into a mineral bath that had just sucked the gamma out of Bruce, Bruce blurts out as much while surrounded by people who shouldn't have known that, and then runs off to to give himself another dose of gamma radiation to turn himself back into the Hulk to subdue Rick. And the reason we're given for the contrived mess is "The Grey Hulk was subconsciously influencing him". But okay, David had taken over in the middle of another person's story and needed an issue to set up the direction he wanted to take the book in, then a couple more to get a grip on the character. I'll cut him some slack here.

Plus, once he gets going it's pretty solid. From what I gathered of the Grey Hulk he seemed like an arrogant teenager, and reading this drove that home. His shtick is acting all tough and pretending he doesn't care about anything, when he's actually terrified of dying if Bruce "cures" him or gets killed himself, and tries to do the right thing after contriving a self-serving reason to do it. But don't let him hear you say that.

It's worth nothing that along with the Grey Hulk being intelligent, Bruce does not transform into him when enraged like the Savage Hulk, but at night. The Grey Hulk is also more aggressive the closer the lunar cycle is to a new moon, and more passive towards a full moon (though he's still a bit of a dick, so make what you will of that).

This volume also has several story threads that would come back later in the Merged Hulk storyline. Rick is cured of his own Hulk transformation when Samuel Sterns siphons off the gamma to turn himself back into The Leader, which comes back in the story arc where Marlo gets knifed by that crazy woman. He has his first run-in with X-Force, before that arc with Not-Saddam-Hussein. It also makes Betty's fear and "whining" after his transformation into the Merged Hulk more sympathetic, as in this volume Bruce loses track of time Hulks out in the room with her, putting her in the hospital for two weeks.

And no, I don't know what's happening to that woman's spine on the cover.


Batman: The Killing Joke (Written by Alan Moore, Illustrated by Brian Bolland, Kindle eBook)

You ever hear people fawning over how "groundbreaking" and "refreshing" something is, only to finally see it for yourself and think "... that was it?" Maybe it's a timing thing, as this was released when Adam West was everyone's idea of Batman and I'm reading this when gritty Batman is the norm so Joker raping a paralyzed Batgirl and stripping Commissioner Gordon nude except for a dog collar is blase instead of shocking. If you want to do a darker interpretation of a character by all means go for it, but there has to be some ambition beyond just being an edgelord its own sake.

By the way, if you're wondering what's up with this string of comics, over New Year's Amazon had a huge sale on a ton of comics so I grabbed a bunch. Then while camping Huolon and the Zandalari Warbringers in World of Warcraft to get their mounts, I was reading on the Kindle between spawns. Huolon took surprisingly few kills to drop the Thundering Onyx Cloud Serpent, but of the three Direhorn colors the one I wanted the most - Jade - was the one I got last.


Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (PG)

Well, this was the epitome of "Why does this exist?" Was anybody beating down Disney's doors for a movie about how the Death Star plans were stolen?

The film's big reveal is the Death Star's exhaust port/reactor flaw was deliberately put there by the lead engineer to sabotage the base. So that engineer's daughter whose name I forget and a ragtag team of others are off to a beach planet to pull the Death Star plans from a vault of thousands of disks, locating them through one the most forced examples of plot convenience in a Star Wars film (lol maybe finding the plans through a nickname was "Forced" in more ways than one and is a clever subversion because this is Star Wars no it isn't you fucks) Also, consider that none of the characters are even mentioned in any other Star Wars film; can you guess the movie ends with absolutely everybody dying?

Also, the heist hinges on a stolen Imperial cargo vessel and a reprogrammed military droid. So I guess we can expect a prequel to this prequel, about how they got the ship and reprogrammed the droid.


Ant Man (PG)

It's not bad, but though the whole film I couldn't shake the feeling that we'd already done this with Iron Man. Charismatic dude battles a corporation that wants to weaponize world-changing technology, there's a montage of him trying out his toys, then he has a showdown with another person using a souped up version of his own technology and beats him by doing something that was a "bad idea" earlier in the film. I did like what they did with the final fight at least, with two tiny people throwing children's toys around creating a juxtaposition between the scale of what they're seeing, and the scale of what's really going on.