Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Incredible Hulk #1

Every time a new creative team takes over the adventures of The Incredible Hulk, they seem to feel the need to invent a bold new direction.

As a general rule that's fine. The Hulk is largely a blank slate and a strong enough concept that his adventures can fit many different styles, from the classic "dumb Hulk" to the gray "mobster Hulk" to "intelligent Hulk" and the more recent "Hulk Family."

One of the most radical changes was at the hands of the last team, as writer Greg Pak created Planet Hulk and the years of excellent stories that spooled out from that.

Now it's time for another reboot, another issue #1, and yet another take on the Hulk. This time around, it's writer Jason Aaron at the helm, and the story - as near as I can tell - is a mess.

It starts off with the title character seemingly back on Planet Hulk, fighting gigantic monsters and trying to survive.

But things aren't what they seem, and the Hulk has changed as well. Somehow he's been split from Bruce Banner (we don't know how), and now Banner is acting like - well, like a ripoff of a famous character create by H.G. Wells.

In the meantime Hulk is attacked by somebody who wants his help, but only after wreaking untold destruction and (presumably) death. Did I mention that the story is a mess?

The art is by Marc Silvestri, who has a strong style and a huge following, but I have to admit I'm not a big fan. His style is (to my eyes) very over-rendered, with loads of sketchy lines covering everything - there's scarcely an open space on the page.

The action scenes are chaotic, and there are many panels where I'm not sure what's happening.

Look, the Hulk has been through good stories and bad, and the character will survive this (heck, he survived the "mindless Hulk" storyline and the Bruce Jones "everything is a mystery" arc).

But for a bold new start, this all seems very... derivative.

Grade: C+



Anonymous said...

OK, I looked through this at the
local comic shop, and I thought it
was a hot mess.
Over-wrought, over-rendered art
aside, separating Bruce Banner
and Hulk is a fundamental mistake.
They are one and the same being,
and the monster within theme is what makes the Hulk character relate to the reader/viewer.
I don't relate to this at all.

Sam Kujava

Chuck said...

Sam, I felt the same way. As a long-time reader, the whole "split" has been done so many times, and I really don't care for the "crazy Banner" thing, especially since the last storyline went such a long way to establish Bruce as one of the smartest and most capable characters in the Marvel Universe. It all seems to be turned on its head just for the fun of it.