I’m enjoying this family trend in comics. Sure, there have been families around since “Fantastic Four” #1, and earlier, if I want to really think about it, but of late, especially this week, there are a number of celebrations of comic book families, from Bruce Wayne sitting down to watch “Zorro” with Alfred and the boys to the Flash family having a picnic in the park. But the one family that I would never have foreseen is in this book: the Hulk family. This family plays out as a true family, right down to the infighting and dysfunctionality. On a boat in Long Island Sound, waiting for Bruce to return from his folly atop the newly-rejuvenated Mount Olympus (aren’t comics great? Where else could that have been typed?) the Hulk family bickers amongst themselves as they are descended upon by the Kraken.
Best upon by beasts more menacing than the Hulks, Pak leads She-Hulk – the Jen Walters one – in with a joke that they’re “gonna need a bigger boat.” She’s joking only to keep from crying, she reveals. As she does so, Korg encourages her to continue fighting, as crying will do no good. It’s this knack for humanizing these otherwise monstrous characters that makes Pak the perfect writer for this title. Pak and Pelletier narrow the focus of this book down to Banner Hulk, but they don’t completely ignore the rest of the Hulk family, giving them just enough light to shine brightly.
As for Banner Hulk, well, he meets a foe who can hold his own in a slugfest. Hulk vs. Zeus in a knockdown, dragout, no-holds-barred slobberknocker the likes of which Hulk truly has never been on the receiving end of. Pelletier fills each panel so full of detail that the book almost feels heavier for the ink used. Sounds effects in lettering are almost completely unnecessary as the action and staging of each panel carries the message through loud and clear. Mounts’ colors are solid in this issue, and his presentation of pattern is masterfully applied to add depth and precision to Pelletier’s art in this issue.
Once the battle is won, Hulk is punished for his insolence. That scene melds the current mythology of Hulk with the more pervasive mythology of the Greek gods, and the end result is amazing. The story goes from there, giving Pak (or future Hulk writers) an opportunity for a follow-up tussle. The epilogue sets up the Hulk Family’s upcoming journey to the Savage Land, a journey that Pelletier, unfortunately, won’t be drawing as Dale Eaglesham comes in for the next arc. That’s a shame, too, as I’d love to see how Pelletier handles Ka-Zar, Zabu, and the other Savage Land denizens. Judging by this issue and the previous, it would be quite smashing indeed.