“How can you prevail where they crumbled and fell?”
“Easy, I’m the Hulk.”
Only the Hulk would bring such bravado to Mount Olympus, and in this case, Mount Olympus isn’t code, alias, or pseudonym. Following the events of “Chaos War,” Mount Olympus is a visible peak within sight. Think of this akin to Asgard appearing in the skies over Broxton, Oklahoma, only Olympus is set out in Long Island Sound. Sure, it smacks a little of Percy Jackson or even a recycle of the Thor relaunch concept, but throw in the Hulk and it becomes a big screen showcase event that gives Pelletier the chance to shine up some gorgons, Cyclopes, centaurs, as well as have a go at Hercules, Poseidon, Artemis, Boreas, Apollo, Zeus and Hera. Pelletier’s drawings make every panel seem like it’s the most important panel on the page, and his storytelling is clear and concise. That makes the splash pages – and even the double-page splash – all the more impressive when Pelletier decides to use them.
Pelletier’s art is really what sells this book for me, but Pak certainly backs up the experience by delivering a story that is bombastic and entertaining. Banner realizes that in the aftermath of “Chaos War” some significant reparations and restorations have been made, so he sets out to find out why other (perceived) needs were ignored. Pak fills Banner with determination and frustration, and sets that against an empathetic, concerned Hercules. That conversation leads to the Hulk setting upon Olympus, but there is no mistaking that Hulk and Banner are linked in this quest. Pak doesn’t, however, address the goings-on for the rest of Team Hulk while Banner is trying to bring the mountain to Zeus. This seems like an oversight here, but given that this adventure is only begun in this issue, I wouldn’t be surprised to be brought up to speed in the next.
The art is rounded up with the colors of Paul Mounts unleashed upon Team Hulk. Blues, greens, reds, purples, oranges, blacks, and browns all get page time, like a goosed up starter box of crayons. That’s just in the first five pages. From there Mounts gives Pelletier’s work everything it deserves to truly shine. Mounts has a magnificent handle on heroic colors, as would be expected considering his resume.
The main story gives way to a backup tale, as the Hulk family of titles has been wont to do of late. In this case, the tale is about Chernobog (yeah, kind of like the demon of “Fantasia,” but more like the source material thereof) who meets up with Hulk by Josh Williamson and Sada Takeda. It’s a decent enough story, but the endpoint of the lead story in this issue had me craving more and feeling slighted that this story took space that (potentially) could have included more from Pak and Pelletier. Rationalizing out the extra cost for the second story, a buck seems like a steep price to pay for the backup tale, especially since the rest of the price matches up to a near-five-star book. Before you fire off an inflammatory email, I know the intent was to provide a backup tale of a different flavor, but it is disconnected enough as to make this issue seem more like an anthology than a solo title.
This title may carry more than one Hulk currently, but given what Pak and Pelletier are able to do with that one, I’m not sure the others are necessary. Banner Hulk truly is the strongest there is, and this creative team is right there to match him every step of the way.