Thursday, March 06, 2008


Warning - spoilers ahead.

I complained a few months ago about the Hulk disappearing from his own comic book. A few years ago he vanished for months thanks to a long-lasting tranquilizer given to Banner. When that plotline finally ended, the strip went back to featuring the Hulk. It was also a Hulk I rather liked - smart but anti-social. He spent a couple of years on a different planet, first fighting in an arena then leading a rebellion.

Then came World War Hulk and the title character was reduced to being a supporting character.

Now they've started the strip over again at issue one but something is missing - the Hulk.

There's a Hulk, but not the Hulk. Bruce Banner is sitting in a prison and is not changing forms. What we have instead is a mystery Hulk. We got a mystery story arc to go with it.

In issue #1 we never really see the Hulk clearly, just the set-up for the mystery. We finally get a look at him in issue #2 but he is a different Hulk. First, the new Hulk is red instead of green. It appears that he is both smart and ruthless but we don't know for sure. When he fights Iron Man he only growls. He does talk to She-Hulk but it is off-panel. He does finally speak in the last couple of pages - I think he got two word balloons. Rick Jones got more than that. So did She-Hulk and various SHIELD agents. Tony Stark got the most. He is featured so much that I had to remind myself that I was reading the Hulk and not Iron Man.

So that's problem number one - the Hulk is a supporting character. I stopped reading the last time they did that.

Problem number two is the plot, or the lack of it. There just isn't much there. The art tries to make up for it. There are full-page panels and double-page spreads. These look good but they eat up a lot of space. If the comic went back to a traditional format they could probably have squeezed both issues into a single comic.

I know that some people buy the comics for the art. I want a good story to go with the art. And I want the character on the masthead to be the featured player in the comic instead of making a cameo appearance.

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