Just in case you’re new to the whole Hulk concept, Greg Pak delivers the whole story. Sort of. Juxtaposing the Hulk’s battle against his son, Skaar, with the events of the childhood of Bruce Banner, this issue serves as therapy for the titular character, his cast, and the reader.
I, for one, have been waiting for the Hulk -- not the son of Hulk, or some damn robotic Hulk, but THE Hulk -- to return and to start smashing things. He returns in this issue and, well, things get smashed. One of those things is the face of Skaar, but in between there’s plenty of big-screen, eye-popping gamma-driven punches to make this story everything I’ve been waiting for.
My biggest gripe with this issue is the coloring. D’Armata almost overcolors the Hulk, giving him a glow that borders on that of Radioactive Man. I suppose there are arguments that could be made (“Hulk is radioactive,” “It makes it easier to distinguish him from Skaar,” “D’Armata was making up for lost time”), but the end result is an unmistakably green Hulk fighting against a much duller foe.
Pelletier’s art is amazingly suited to the world of the Hulk. He handles the muscular brutes and the innocent bystanders with equal flair. Pelletier drops in a massive amount of detail, but it all enhances the tale. Pak’s story gives Pelletier a chance to draw panels that pass beyond traditional comic panels, as a memory of Bruce’s menacing father mirrors the Hulk’s own menacing stance against his son. Other memories crumble the Green Goliath’s past lives together and give Pelletier a chance to truly celebrate his work here.
I’ve been a marginal (at best) follower of Hulk, but this issue is a keeper. Sure, this is just another installment of the Hulk-centric events that have been going on for a while now, but this issue is a strong story taken entirely by itself. It’s filled with Hulk and smashing, it offers up some background on the characters involved. It may be a smaller part of a whole, but it is a whole lot of what people read “Incredible Hulk” to see.