Thursday, December 4, 2014

Thanos vs. the Hulk #1 (of 4)

   I was prepared to pass this issue by, since on the surface it seems like a standard slugfest - Marvel's strongest mortal against one of its most formidable villains (and one who is the central big bad guy in Marvel's movies). It sounded like a four-issue series that would be mighty thin.

   Then I saw the name of the writer and artist - Jim Starlin - and I picked it up.

   Starlin, of course, is the creator of Thanos and the guy who put the "cosmic" in Marvel's '70s comics (especially Captain Marvel and Warlock). He also created Gamora, Pip the Troll and the Infinity Gauntlet.

   The trick with the series is figuring out when it takes place. It apparently falls between the last Hulk series (that had Banner working for SHIELD, with the Hulk only having limited intelligence - not the super-smart "Doc Green" character now at the center of his adventures. It also takes place before the recent Thanos graphic novel.

   It's nice to see that Starlin is as sharp as ever - both in his art, which combines strange aliens, humorous encounters and menacing villains, and in his storytelling. The issue starts with the kidnapping of the Hulk by Pip (honest!), all tied to a major threat arising in the Negative Zone.

   Pip hopes to make amends by rescuing the Hulk, but to do that he'll have to turn to his deadly former ally - Thanos.

   The first issue is all set-up (with scarcely a punch thrown), but it's setting up a heck of a battle - and a crazy cast - for the rest of the series.

   It's great to see Starlin back in action, especially since he's one of the few who writes Thanos properly - he always manages the proper mix of menace, intelligence and dark humor.

   Hopefully the upcoming movies will do as well!

Grade: A-


No comments: