I worked in a comic shop for many years and a discussion that would constantly come up is who would win in a fight between two characters. Many comics would attempt to play out those battles, some better than others. Hulk and Thor have collided many times in the past building up a nice rivalry as to who is the toughest. Hulk vs. Thor: Banner War Alpha kicks off the latest clash in a comic that’s a bit of a letdown.
Hulk and Thor have each been having their own intriguing journeys. Donny Cates has been guiding each as the writer and is the writer for Hulk vs. Thor: Banner War Alpha. Celebrating 60 years, these two are back at it again in a comic that is a lot of fighting but not much else.
To Cates’ credit, Hulk vs. Thor: Banner War Alpha does a solid job of rehashing where each of these characters are in their lives at the moment. It makes an easy way for new readers to jump in. And then the fight begins because… Thor needs to let out aggression!? Yes, Cates just says “fuck it” and makes the battle about male ego and the inability to work out one’s own problems. There’s absolutely no depth to it at all and the comic feels a bit lesser for it. It really is just Thor wanting to work out some aggression and his “daddy issues”.
That simplicity also makes the readers realize that this is a theme in Cates’ run for both. They’re both individuals wracked by toxic masculinity that can’t work out their own shit so they break stuff instead. It kind of makes each lesser for it in some ways. It makes each comes off as assholes.
Still, the battle is entertaining and there’s moments of levity. We’re really all just reading this for the fight anyways, right?
Martin Coccolo’s art delivers that brutality. Mixed with Matt Wilson’s colors and Joe Sabino’s lettering, the comic visually pops and entertaining to look at. There’s a brutality about the punches but they’re delivered in a way that makes it all a little over the top comedic. It’s Looney Tunes in a way with two individuals beating the snot out of each other but neither doing much damage. All that’s missing is the tools from Acme. Overall, the visual effect is one of comedy and that’s somehow enhanced by the silliness of the simplicity for the reason the two are fighting.
Hulk vs. Thor: Banner War Alpha kicks things off as promised. It’s a comic, so far, about these two fighting, not much more. If you’re looking for a decent reason or depth, this isn’t delivering that. If you just want to see these two punch each other, then this is your pinnacle of entertainment.
Story: Donny Cates Art: Martin Coccolo
Color: Matt Wilson Letterer: Joe Sabino
Story: 7.0 Art: 8.5 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read
Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
Purchase: comiXology/Kindle – Zeus Comics