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Neal McDonough as Dr. Robert Bruce Banner
Lou Ferrigno as The Hulk
Genie Francis as Betty Ross #1
John Vernon as Gen. 'Thunderbolt' Ross
Luke Perry as Rick Jones
Kevin Schon as Maj. Glenn Talbot/The Abomination/Zzzax/Additional Voices
Shadoe Stevens as Dr. Leonard Samson
Thom Barry as Agent Gabriel Jones
Matt Frewer as The Leader
Mark Hamill as The Gargoyle
Exclusive Interview With Award Winning Incredible Hulk Writer Peter David
“Inside The Hulk” – Trivia Enhanced Viewing
Stan Lee’s Soapbox
Bonus Episode From the 1966 Series – “Origin Of The Hulk”, “Enter The Gorgon”, and “To Be A Man”
Spanish Language Track
Running Time: 83 Minutes
This DVD features four episodes from the 1996 animated series.
Return of the Beast, Part 1 – In the first episode of this series, Betty lures Bruce Banner back to the military base to try and treat him, despite the protests of her father Gen. 'Thunderbolt' Ross. However, someone else doesn’t want them to mess with the Hulk. The Leader wants to Hulk alive so that he can siphon away his gamma radiation strength. He sends the Abomination to disrupt the procedure that could cure Dr. Banner.
Return of the Beast, Part 2 – After escaping the military and the Abomination, the Hulk flees into the desert. There he encounters a group of strange creatures. Like himself, they are desert creatures that have been mutated by the gamma blast. They become friends with the Hulk as well as Betty and Rick Jones. And when the Abomination attacks and kidnaps Banner back to the Leader, the mutants help him escape and defeat his nemesis.
Raw Power – As Gen. 'Thunderbolt' Ross forms the Hulk Busters with SHIELD and Doc Sampson, Dr. Banner seeks refuge at a nuclear planet. There, an employee secretly helps him setup a lab to try and cure himself. Unfortunately, there’s an accident and the man is turned into an energy being named Zzzax. Hulk battles him as well as SHIELD before escaping.
Helping Hand, Iron Fist – Dr. Banner makes his way to Hollywood where he seeks the help of old friend Tony Stark. However, an accident causes Banner (and the Hulk) to lose his memory and believe Rick Jones is an enemy. Rick eventually gets him to Stark’s labs where they begin to try and cure him once again. Unfortunately, the Hulk Busters arrive and crash the party. The Hulk ends up battling them as well as Iron Man and War Machine.
Like they did with Spider-Man, Daredevil, and X-Men, Buena Vista Home Entertainment is issuing the old Marvel animated series to cash in on the release of a comic movie. This time it is The Hulk. While it’s a good marketing move, it’s also a bit of good fortune for comic and Hulk fans. They get a treat they might not have otherwise seen on DVD.
The animation is really nothing special. It’s your standard Saturday morning fare. It’s choppy and occasionally you can even see dust specks on the screen. However, what makes it noteworthy is the attention to detail. When they retell the origin of the Hulk, they show Bruce Banner turn into a gray Hulk, then a green one. This is consistent with the comics where, in the first issue, he was gray. It’s this attention to detail that makes it interesting. When Iron Man, War Machine, SHIELD, and other Marvel comic characters come into the scene, it’s all the more interesting for comic fans.
Though the animation isn’t special, they did manage to round up a great cast for the voices. Lou Ferrigno , from the old Hulk TV series, is the voice of The Hulk. It’s a nice bit of continuity and a great tip of the hat to his old role. Luke Perry is the voice of Rick Jones while radio personality and Hollywood Square Shadoe Stevens is Doc Samson. Max Headroom himself Matt Frewer is The Leader while Luke Skywalker (aka Mark Hamill) continues his comic character-voicing run as The Gargoyle. Overall, it’s a great group of talent for this cartoon.
The stories, though, are another matter. They range from being true to the comics to being downright stupid. For example, the inclusion of the Hulk Busters was a great tip of the hat to the John Byrne comics. However, the desert mutants were just plain dumb. There are some great battles between the Hulk and his enemies, but Betty repetitively talks the Hulk into calming down and turning back into Banner. The show also starts out assuming you know the origin of the Hulk. While many viewers do, little kids may not. They may get lost right off the bat. A synopsis of his origin is told later, but it’s rather brief.
If you’re a Hulk fan, a comic fan, or someone who needs to entertain kids for a while, then this DVD will fit the bill. It caters to both comic nuts and kids.
Like the other re-released Marvel cartoon DVDs, this one has a ton of great extras.
“Inside The Hulk” – Trivia Enhanced Viewing – If you select this feature, you can watch the cartoons and when a logo comes up, you hit your remote and it kicks into a side feature. Stan Lee or Peter David will come on and discuss some aspect of the Hulk mythos featured in the cartoon. For those that don’t know, Peter David is one of the best known Hulk writers while Stan Lee created the Hulk. They discuss the origins of the characters, differences between the comics and cartoon, and more. And since David wrote the novelization of the Hulk movie, he also talks about things shown in the film. You’ll want to use this feature if you watch this DVD.
Exclusive Interview With Award Winning Incredible Hulk Writer Peter David – In case you don’t know who Peter David is, this brief video tells you who he is. He talks about his thought process behind writing the Hulk and more.
Stan Lee’s Soapbox – Stan Lee discusses why comics haven’t been taken seriously, how to get into comic writing, and more. It may bore the kiddies, but it’s fascinating for comic fans.
Episode Introductions By Stan Lee – Lee introduces each episode discussing certain aspects about the show. He talks about teaming up the superheroes like Hulk and Iron Man. He also talks about how Dr. Banner and Talbot are really both fighting for the same goal…to destroy the Hulk.
Bonus Episode From the 1966 Series – “Origin Of The Hulk”, “Enter The Gorgon”, and “To Be A Man” – In case you didn’t know, there was a Hulk cartoon series in 1966. This episode features the origin of the Hulk. One thing noteworthy about it is that the animation exactly mimics Jack Kirby’s artwork from the comics. It’s almost an exact translation of the comic. This alone makes it cool for comic fans to check out. And while Spider-Man had his own theme song in the 60’s, so does Hulk. The ultra-cheesy song will haunt you in your dreams and stick in your mind for days afterwards. That’s not a good thing.
The Bottom Line:
This DVD is primarily for Hulk fans, comic fans, and kids. Nobody else will be interested in it, but that’s OK. Comic fans will particularly enjoy the extras.