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Review: Hulk #1

Hulk #1

After a long run that took the Hulk to interesting places and put him in intriguing situations, a new volume is here with Hulk #1! With a brand-new creative team, this is a start that jettisons that character in a direction that’s unexpected. Through the issue the reality of this new status-quo is peeled back and the result is a little mixed.

Written by Donny Cates, hot off his run on Venom, Hulk #1 delivers an interesting opening in concept. With a group of heroes gather, Doctor Strange discusses the current state of the Hulk. His explanation is almost chapter like with each explored as Cates delivers bit by bit to give us the big picture of where things stand. And, that’s a lot of status-quo changing.

When the Hulk is often depicted, we get a Bruce Banner who is scared to unleash what’s inside. The Hulk represents the repressed anger and abuse he’s faced through the years. That’s a very simplified take but it’s been Bruce that has been “captured” inside when the Hulk shows up. The Green Goliath being the dominant personality we should fear getting out.

But, Cates throws out the theory that this might not be true.

SPOILERS

What Cates proposes is that it’s not the Hulk the world should fear but Bruce Banner himself. That Bruce is the one unhinged and with his intellect there’s no telling what he can do and what he can unleash. That in a way, the Hulk is protecting the world from Banner, not the other way around.

It’s an interesting twist on the dynamic and how Cates presents it all is thought-out and rather intriguing. There’s something that feels new and different about it. But, there’s also something that feels like we’ve seen this before. How it’s presented there’s a sniff of Wolverine/Weapon X within, with slight twists to that concept. But, it’s something that’s a little familiar in ways.

END SPOILERS

Ryan Ottley joins Cates on this adventure. His pencils feature color by Frank Martin and lettering by Cory Petit. The results feel a bit mixed for me. There’s moments that are just nailed as we see the Hulk’s latest incarnation. But, there’s also a lot that comes off as comical. Ottley has an exaggerated style and many will know his over-the-top depictions from the series Invincible. Where the comic goes slightly off is Ottley’s depiction of Banner himself. We see a man getting more and more disconnected and “mad”. The way it’s shown isn’t so much scary and twisted as it is funny. It’s more Homer Simpsons “Go crazy. Don’t mind if I do” than disturbing. And that’s generally Ottley’s style. If the comic is meant to be more wild sci-fi ride, then it’ll work and work well. If it’s meant to be more sci-fi horror, then it doesn’t quite connect. With the debut issue, I’m just not sure which it’s supposed to be.

There’s a lot of potential in Hulk #1. It definitely feels like a flip on the script we’ve seen so many times before. The debut introduces some interesting concepts that could absolutely bear fruit. But, as presented, there’s something almost comical about it all. The combo of the writing and art doesn’t hit so much as sci-fi horror as much as it does sci-fi comedy with hints of horror. Whether that’s intentional, I can’t tell. But, for now, this is a series I’m waiting to see where it goes from here.

Story: Donny Cates Art: Ryan Ottley
Color: Frank Martin Letterer: Cory Petit
Story: 8.0 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.85 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

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