Thursday, August 27, 2009

Incredible Hulk #601 – A Review

Incredible Hulk #601

Publisher Marvel

Incredible Hulk Lead Feature

Writer Greg Pak

Art Ariel Olivetti

She-Hulk Back-up Feature

Writer Fred Van Lente

Art Michael Ryan

Colors Guru eFX

I really wanted to like this book more then I did, I will still hang around for a one or two more issues, but I’m iffy on where I go from here with this book.

This week was going to be my getting back to a couple of Marvel books, with the Fantastic Four and the Incredible Hulk. Both books looked to be great jumping on points and as much as I have been a DC guy for many years, I started with Marvel and still have a desire to want to fall back in love with the characters. It is still too soon for Spider-Man, but you need to check out new starts on occasion to see what fits. The Fantastic Four was a great opening and I want to hang around with no hesitation. Thanks to GOOF for giving me the lowdown on how the art was done. (A quick aside, Hey GOOF what projects are you doing right now!) The Incredible Hulk missed the mark on a few levels, but had some good ideas so I will try to hang around to give it more then a one issue try out. Some books need a little bit of time to develop and win me over, but a $4 gets less of a chance.

There were so many things that missed that it almost hurts to enumerate them. The art was Olivetti at his worst. It was so computer driven that it looked like some of those early computer art books that were very plastic. The backgrounds were straight out of a computer and you can see that so much of this was not even his art, but was all stuff that was cut and pasted together or whatever you call in with photoshop or whatever program was used. It was like a bad green screen work done in a movie, where you know the actors are walking in place with the background moving. Almost everyone is using computers and most of the time I can’t even tell how they get the effects they do, this felt very old style computer art and it hurt the book. Bad artwork that totally misses the mark can make even a good script seem bad and this was not a good script.

The actual story was poorly done. I could not have been the only person who was jumping back into the Hulk with this comic, but boy did I feel like I missed the boat. I have no idea of what has happened to Bruce Banner other then he apparently can never be the Hulk again. I’m alright with that, but a little introspective caption or something could have helped explained what had happened. Also Bruce has this snotty attitude that I also have no idea where that is coming from. He displays some amazing chutzpah against a bullying father on a subway train and then later just out plays Reed Richards, Hank Pym and the rest of the smartest people on the planet. What was a cute tagline about Amadeous Cho being the eight or ninth smartest person on the planet has now become an annoying and overplayed line as all the smart guys in the Marvel Universe make self referential remarks to where they are in the smartest guy category. You know once it is funny or using for one character makes it that character’s tagline, but do it over and over and over again and it just becomes unfunny and diminishes where it was working.

Last but not least Bruce finds his son Skarr and recruits him to help him in an unknown task as he promises to teach him how to kill the Hulk, as Bruce knows he will return. At least with Skarr the writer did manage to give us information on his powers and a little on his background so a reader unfamiliar with that character (being me) could be brought up to speed. Again though what is Bruce’s agenda and was it detailed somewhere before or is this a mystery for all readers. I felt left out of the loop and I am the reader.

To summarize bad art, dropping us in the middle of a storyline, no real attempt to bring a new reader up to speed, Bruce Banner acting way out of character and tons of I’m the smartest guy here stuff. So why am I buying the next issue, because Bruce does have an agenda and I’m curious to see why he is doing what he is doing. Also we rarely get to see Bruce be Bruce and I enjoy that as a change of pace on occasion. Still I can’t recommend this book and it is $4.

To be fair for $4 we get a back up feature and a higher page count, but instead of it being a beloved or fan favorite character it is the new She-Hulk. Apparently she is some chick from an alternative reality who works for some government agency in charge of alternative realities. Look I never read the mini-series and again I can not be the only new person, this reads like I was suppose to have read the mini-series. Finally why do we need a second She-Hulk?

I’m really only coming back to try again because I want to like characters I use to love and I know if I abandon this comic it means I will have wait at least a year on more to find a new jumping on point.

Overall Grade – D, not a total failure as there is a sprinkling of some good ideas and I want to know Banner’s agenda, but darn close to an F.


  1. I didn't get the issue, but I was going to after a review I read, but this is very troubling...

    If Banner is acting like that it could be the Hulk part of his personality leeching through. He may not be able to turn into the Hulk, but he still is the Hulk and thus could be influenced by him...

    I am going to jump on with FF.

    I'm waiting for your Flash review. I thought it was ho-hum.

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