Indestructible Hulk Special #1 by Mike Costa (Comics Review)

The Hulk is a character who has been building up some some steam in the movie side of things for a good while now. There was the first movie with Eric Bana as Bruce Banner, in which Bana gave a fantastic performance that was let down by the script. Then there was the second movie with Edward Norton which had a decent script but a boring performance from the lead. And then was last year’s The Avengers with Mark Ruffalo and that had a fairly solid script AND some decent acting. Ultimately, its the movies where I’m most familiar with the character, outside of some animated appearances here and there.

I haven’t read a single Hulk comic to date unfortunately, and that is something that I’ve been meaning to rectify of late with the current ongoing in the Marvel NOW! relaunch from last year, written by Mark Waid and drawn by Walter Simonson. But, as is usual, I can’t seem to find the time. Which is where Mike Costa’s Special #1 comes in, which has a completely different story and is part of a trilogy of specials across three different titles, telling a connected story. The first installment was great, and the same can be said of this one too.

Indestructible Hulk Special 01The Arms of The Octopus crossover began with All-New X-Men Special #1 a couple weeks ago and in it, writer Mike Costa introduced a story where the X-Men team from the past that is currently spending some time in the present is attacked by Dr. Otto Octavius, or as he is better known, Doc Ock. Spider-Man ends up getting involved, and it sets up a real conundrum since the current Spider-Man is the real Otto Octavius. He killed Peter Parker in Amazing Spider-Man #700 and has since taken over his body and started calling himself Superior Spider-Man. The confusion is obvious: who is this new Doc Ock and where did he come from? The issue ended on a grand note, with the real Octavius admitting that he was in over his head and that he needed the expertise of Dr. Bruce Banner, the foremost expert on gamma radiation in the entire world. And this issue deals with that.

It begins in a really hilarious and great note. The Hulk is returning from a mission and SHIELD tries to “de-Hulk” him since they need Banner not Hulk for the job. And they do it by releasing a whole bunch of puppies around him, which pretty much causes Hulk to not be angry or pent-up with rage anymore and he transforms back into his other self. Its a really great way to begin the issue. It eases the reader into the story and gives a good reference point as to the tone of the rest of the issue.

Mike Costa is one of my favourite writers and all of his work that I’ve read to date, I’ve liked it, I’ve enjoyed it. His All-New X-Men Special #1 was fantastic and this issue is a good sequel to that story. Since I haven’t read any Hulk comics prior to this, I come in with a completely open mind in that regard and I was really taken up with Banner’s dialogue throughout the issue. Mike plays up his genius and his expertise and he makes Banner feel completely normal. Its a different Banner than the one we’ve seen in any of the movies I mentioned above and it kind of makes me wish that Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk was based on this portrayal by Mike Costa. Because it is great.

Additionally, the issue has some nice twists to the larger story that is going on, the mystery of Doc Ock. Of course, now that the Hulk is involved, one of his signature villains also makes an appearance, who you can see from the cover isthe Abomination, someone who can match the Hulk in a fight. It creates some great tension in the story and the conclusion of the fight, and the consequences of that conclusion definitely leave a mark by the time the last page is turned.

The issue is pencilled and inked by Jacob Wyatt, with colours from Jordie Bellaire, letters from VC’s Cory Pettit and the cover by Alexander Lozano. Jordie, Cory and Alexander worked with Mike on the All-New X-Men Special #1 so its nice to see them come back for this one. There is a great sense of continuity in terms of the art to these two issues and I liked that aspect of it. Jacob’s pencils are fairly good, and he has a most assuming design for Hulk, when it involves him laughing that is, which happens early on. Hulk, laughing? Now that’s a novelty, and it really helped sell me on this issue, and the tone that Mike takes with this one. Its quite an upbeat story really, and the art reflects that quite admirably. Jacob’s X-Men are quite different to how Kris Anka drew them for the previous installment of the story, and I prefer his version over Jacob’s but there’s something aesthetically pleasing about Jacob’s designs as well. The difference in styles is obvious, but that’s a strength rather than a weakness.

There’s just one more issue to go for this crossover, Superior Spider-Man Special #1, and I can’t wait to see how everything ends.

Rating: 9/10

More The Arms of The Octopus: All-New X-Men Special #1.

Posted on October 19, 2013, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Buddy maybe you should go back and ready maybe 35 years worth of Hulk Comic books before you call yourself a Comic Reviewer or at least don’t tell readers that you never read a Hulk comic before this because it gives you almost no credibility.


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  2. Pingback: Superior Spider-Man Team-Up Special #1 by Mike Costa (Comics Review) | Shadowhawk's Shade

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