Saturday, June 28, 2014

Savage Hulk #1

   I didn't know what to expect from the new Savage Hulk series - all I knew was that it was written and drawn by Alan Davis (with inks by Mark Farmer), and that was good enough for me.

   Somewhat surprisingly, it takes us back in time to the '70s (real time, not Marvel time), and to one of the most shocking issues I can remember buying.

   Issue #66 of the original X-Men title featured a crossover between the original team (Cyclops, Beast, Marvel Girl, Iceman and the Angel) and the Hulk, as the mutants tried to find a cure for an ailing Professor Xavier - a cure Bruce Banner could provide.

   But none of that made it shocking - it was the fact that #66 was the last issue of the X-Men series - the title was canceled!

   I was stunned - with stories by Roy Thomas and (usually) art by the amazing Neal Adams, how could it be cut short? But it was sadly true.

   The title didn't completely disappear - it immediately went into reprints of earlier issues in the series, and a few years later it returned as the "New" (and much more successful) X-Men.

   This series takes us back to the events after that last (pre-cancellation) issue and continues the story from there, adding in some classic Hulk villains and a few plot twists. At this time, the Hulk was a dim creature, given to simple sentences and bouts of rage - you know, "Hulk Smash!" and all that.

   Davis is at the top of his game here, often channeling Adams (or at least his version of the X-Men), and giving us a fast-moving and action-packed story that needs no set-up.

   With terrific art and a sharp story, what's not to like? It's as though the series was never canceled - just postponed.

   I'm enjoying this title - lots of fun for this old X-fan, and it's also fun to see the return of the original Hulk.

Grade: A-


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