Monday, December 25, 2017

Real Name: Dr. Robert Bruce Banner
First Appearance: Incredible Hulk #1 (May, 1962)
Fight Club Ranking: #6

Featured Fights:
- vs HERCULES: Tales to Astonish #79 (May 1966)
- vs CRYPTO-MAN: Incredible Hulk #205 (Nov 1976)
- vs EGGHEAD: Defenders #43 (Jan 1977)
- vs DAREDEVIL: Daredevil #163 (Mar 1980)
- vs SPIDER-MAN: Marvel Treasury Edition #25 (1980)
- vs THE STALKER: Incredible Hulk #335 (Sep 1987)
- vs SUPER-SKRULL: Incredible Hulk #374 (Oct 1990)
- vs METALLO: Marvel versus DC #3 (Apr 1996)
- vs SUPERMAN: Marvel versus DC #3 (Apr 1996)
- vs MOLEMAN: DC versus Marvel #4 (Apr 1996)
- vs IRON MAN: Iron Man #2 (Dec 1996)
- vs THUNDERBOLTS: Incredible Hulk #449 (Jan 1997)
- vs AVENGERS: Avengers #4 (Feb 1997)
- vs THOR: Avengers #5 (Mar 1997)
- vs DEADPOOL: Deadpool #4 (Apr 1997)
- vs GREEN LANTERN: Unlimited Access #1 (Dec 1997)
- vs JUGGERNAUT: Marvel Adventures #14 (May 1998)
- vs SILVER SURFER: Incredible Hulk #95 (Jul 2006)
- vs US MILITARY: World War Hulk #3 (Oct 2007)
- vs SENTRY: World War Hulk #5 (Jan 2008)
- vs HERCULES: Hulk VS Hercules: When Titans Collide #1 (Jun 2008)
- vs RED HULK: Hulk #6 (Nov 2008)

Don't they know it's Christmas time at all? I sure don't! As the last Monday of 2017, this installment of Hero of the Week carries the weight of an entire year. It was a big one! Hollywood dominated much of the discussion. Even as we do our best to say nothing at all about November's Justice League, there was also Thor: Ragnarok -- the movie that demands we celebrate the Hulk!

There was a lot to like about the hodgepodge of Thor: Ragnarok. For one: it was a Marvel movie with an aesthetic -- something we've talked a lot about wanting in Hero of the Week.

At times that aesthetic veered into dubious CG backdrops, but there was an energy that recalls the big, thrash metal lines of Walt Simonson's spired arenas. Vibrant colours were a welcome change of pace. Even if Thor himself got a downgrade that elicits flashbacks to James Remar's Raiden in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. Granted, the "new look" for Marvel's thunder god was a lot less silly.

The presence of Hulk, and the loose adaptation of Planet Hulk, was by far the most intriguing pitch in the extensive advertising campaign.

It's easy to say Planet Hulk should've been its own faithful film adaptation, but if rights issues mean a Hulk solo film is difficult to unlikely, repackaging him as a support player is a great way of elevating lesser material. For what it's worth, there was a pretty decent animated Planet Hulk film that probably renders a live-action version a tad redundant.

The animated Planet Hulk didn't have access to Silver Surfer, so a substitute for the famous Incredible Hulk #95 fight had to be found. Intriguingly, they chose Beta Ray Bill - a character I really would've loved to have seen in Thor: Ragnarok. It's a fun link in the chain to Thor taking that spot.

Marvel movie overlord Kevin Feige told Crave Online that there was a small appearance by Bill, who can be seen on the totem of former champions (along with Man-Thing). He also says it didn't do the character justice, so it's better to wait until they can. Which is a philosophy I can definitely get behind! Beta Ray Bill is a great character, with a story that could definitely fill out a future movie!

I could probably talk a whole lot more about Beta Ray Bill, but for now we celebrate Hulk, who will be back on Earth for a major role in next year's Avengers: Infinity War. Which has already shown Hulk running into battle with Captain America, Black Widow, Black Panther, and the heroes who'll stand against Thanos. Which seems to rule out any kind of World War Hulk fallout from his trip to space. At least for now.

That brings us to the end of a big year of Hero of the Week! Be sure to stick around for a recap of all of this year's HOTWs! Thanks to everyone who's followed along. With any luck we'll have better luck with a smooth publishing schedule in 2018! Cheers!

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