Let no man tell you otherwise: here at Fort Saint Davids, we read comic books, lots of comic books, all the time, and we often think that you do to. “What I assume, you shall assume,” wrote Walt Whitman, “for every comic book belonging to me as good belongs to you.” At least, that’s how we THINK the old poem goes. Annnnywho, fact is: the Hulk is back, and so is our resident Comic Book Commentator, Brady Dale Russell. Pretty much the entire FSD gang is HELL EXCITED about Marvel’s new Summer Blockbuster, and our good pal Brady is no exception. And so, without further ado, take it away, Brady:
Okay, now imagine a sort of Shakespearean play, right? It’s about this king, this Great King. At the start of the play, he’s just conquered six tyrants and granted freedom to the people of their six kingdoms. He’s at this huge party where he’s feted by delegations from the six newly freed lands, and beside him stands a young minstrel he found in a dungeon in the sixth kingdom. The great king took that minstrel under his wing and brought him back to his kingdom where he could live in comfort and sing freely the rest of his days. Pretty nice, right?
That’s Act One, and it ends with the King going into conference with six more kings, and those six kings all sign a compact of peace with the six delegations of the newly freed lands. Now there are thirteen lands at peace and secure and united against the threat of … I don’t know, England or whatever, and everyone is happy. Except there’s this guy who wears a lot of black.
Then in Act Two, it’s a few years later and everything is peachy and the Great King goes on parade somewhere and he’s met outside of town with only a show-army of his best warriors because he still thinks everyone loves him and they get run into the hills by this huge army made up of soldiers from the six kingdoms and separated from his favorite minstrel. Both are very sad.
In Act Three, the great King storms about with a big mad on and people come from all over to say how great his and maybe his daughter loses her chastity to some asshole duke from one of those bad kingdoms but it doesn’t matter because he also has a good daughter and she’s a really good Archer or something, only the guy who wears a lot of black finds out and has her killed when she runs off to one of the freed Kingdoms and tries to talk them into doing some justice by her poor father and his destitute army. Plus, everyone’s tired of hearing the same folk songs over and over but none of the other minstrels will go near the homeless army.
Because homeless guys are smelly.
Then there’s Act Four, when the King goes out in secret and finds out that all the people still love him (because he set people free, gosh darn it) and they think people who wear black all the time are creeeeepy and, meanwhile, the minstrel goes around singing about the king and he’s till really sad only he’s hatching a plot to assassinate one of the bad kings… then another bad king kills the minstrel because, well, what a stupid idea. He’s a minstrel. He doesn’t know anything about killing anyone. So now that he knows everyone loves him and he’s still got a good mad on, the Great King starts raising an army and things are looking pretty good the more pissed he gets but one night in a fever dream he grabs a knife by his bed and shoves it through the heart of his own wife, the queen, but — fuck all — he can blame that on the bad Kings too.
Then Act Five comes along and he pretty much rips the crap out of all the rest of the bad kings and any of the Dukes in the freed kingdoms who thought they could get feisty too, because, goddammit, he’s the Great King who set everybody free and he’s got really big shoulders. So nevermind the fact that he burnt six capital cities to the ground and nevermind the fact that he took to wearing human skulls on his battle armor and nevermind the fact that most of his army got killed along the way and it pretty much ends up him alone on a pile of dead bodies, covered in stinking blood, raving mad and roaring at nothing because there’s nothing left to roar at after he crushed everything in sight. This is Shakespeare and this is vengeance and he freed everybody and he never wore lots of black and he’s still sort of a hero even if everyone (and I mean everyone) is dead now and it was him and his army who killed them.
If you can picture that, then you sort of have an idea of what Mavel Comics is going for with their new Summer blockbuster, World War Hulk.
Except there’s also a big talking insect with a mad on for the X-Men.
And Rick Jones – teen idol.