Friday, September 3, 2010

The Incredible Hulks #612

The secret to success with the Hulk is apparently to do the unexpected.

About four years ago writer Greg Pak took over a faltering Incredible Hulk title and moved the character completely off-world, placing him on a distant, barbaric planet. In so doing, he breathed new life into the series, introduced new characters and gave the franchise a much-needed shot in the arm.

The Planet Hulk series led into World War Hulk mini-series, which led into a run of stories with no Hulk at all, eventually focusing on Bruce Banner and his son Skaar. Then came World War Hulks, and now we're starting in on the Dark Son storyline.

The quality of the stories has been mostly great, but there have been a few stumbles (World War Hulks). As a result, I'm not sure what to expect here.

Frankly, I'm not wild about the whole "Hulk Family" thing. The lead story in this issue has no less than seven powerhouses (six of them Gamma-powered), and four of them are directly related to the Hulk - either by blood (Skaar and the original She-Hulk), marriage (Red She-Hulk) or genetics (Savage She-Hulk). And that doesn't count his other son, Hiro-Hala (Skaar's twin. You heard me), who stars in the second half of this comic.

The first half of the book is a nicely-done chapter focusing on the relationship (or lack thereof) between Banner and the surprisingly-alive Betty Ross. When this family feuds, stuff will be smashed.

The second half of the book gives us the backstory on Hiro-Hala, who (we presume) is moving his alien planet in our direction - if he lives that long.

Each chapter has a different artist - Tom Raney on the Earth chapter, Brian Ching on the K'ai chapter - and both turn in solid work here (though not terribly spectacular).

The problem with having "Too Many Hulks" is that it dilutes the original and makes him a lot less special. But Pak's done so much good work, I'm willing to hang in there with this story and hope he keeps it interesting. It seems like a safe bet.

But I also hope the Hulk Family doesn't stay too long. A visit is fine, but it's possible to have too much family togetherness.

It's like my Grandma would say after a visit by our raucous family. As Dad was loading me and my brothers into the car, she's say, "Glad to see you all come visit, and glad to see you go!"

Grade: B+


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