Hulk #3-4 (Comics Review)

Thanks in no small part to the three films that he has been in by now, the Hulk has quickly become one of my favourite Marvel superheroes. The favouritism stepped up a notch last year with the “Arms of the Octopus” 3-issue crossover last year by Mike Costa in which Bruce Banner played a critical role. And then, we have Mark Waid’s second Hulk series which launched a couple months back and has already gone to some amazing lengths. The new series has been quite an experience for me, and has only made me more of a fan of the character in both his identities.

Issues #3 and #4 deal with the Hulk fighting off his nemesis, the Abomination, who has been brought back to life by villains unknown with the express purpose of killing Hulk. Fortunately, Maria Hill, SHIELD and the Avengers are around to lend a hand as well and we get some super-charged excitement in both these issues, as well as some great art by the art team. The first two issues were a bit wonky on the story, but these two issues have really turned things around and it seems that Mark Waid is finally hitting his stride, and its great!

Hulk 0304Both the covers here are quite misleading actually. In neither of these two issues does Hulk ever fight against the Avengers. Rather, he is right up in the middle of a throw-down with Abomination and the Avengers are only around as support and distraction when Hulk goes Code Banner. The covers are great, I’ll give you that, but they are very, very misleading.

Like I said, the two issues deal with Hulk’s fight against the Abomination, and it is one intense, gripping fight. Again and again Abomination gets the upper hand and again and again the Hulk fights him off. The back and forth never gets old and by the time that the fight concludes with the help of the Avengers, specifically Captain Marvel and Sunspot, the Hulk is in a very different situation. For you have to remember, he got shot in the head as Bruce Banner at the start of the first issue by people impersonating SHIELD agents and now he wanders between being he Bruce Banner we know and rememember, and the Bruce Banner who is almost a vegetable and struggling to remember who he is and what he is.

In all of this, the fact that Hulk is almost outclassed by the Abomination is almost a thing that could be missed, but thanks to Waid’s writing, that never really happens. And that’s part of the intensity of the entire story in the two issues. Hulk has a great record against his nemesis, but this time things aren’t so good for him. Especially not with his severe brain damage.

The ending of the fourth issue brings us full circle to the first issue and we also get to see how the Avengers take care of their own. SHIELD has always been an organisation built on secrets and lies that are built on even more secrets and lies and that comes to bite Maria when Captain America and Iron Man tell her that Bruce Banner is going with them. We know that Maria was in the right with what she did in the past issues, and we see how stung she is by the Avengers’ distrust, and that was a great touch by Waid. The character is usually quite cold and ruthless and moments such as these are very rare in her case. So, nice to see. With the way that the fourth issue ends, there are yet more surprises in store for us, given how Bruce Banner is “cured”, so I’m really hoping that the next few issues are even more explosive.

As before, the artists on these two issues are Mark Bagley, Andrew Hennessy, Jason Keith and VC’s Cory Petit. The cover to #3 is drawn by Jerome Opena and Dean White, with the one for #4 having been drawn by the internal art team. The art is as great as it was before and with the addition of four of the Avengers, especially three of my favourite Avengers at that, the art team has a lot of things to do and the characterwork is handled quite admirably. A few instances where the panels are not as detailed as they could have been, but that’s by the by since the overall artwork is damn solid.

It appears that the fourth issue is Mark Waid’s final issue, according to some talk I’ve heard, so that’s regrettable. I hope the new incoming writer keeps up with the consistency and does as good a job as Mark has done.

Rating: 9/10

More Hulk: #1, #2.

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Posted on June 13, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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