"Hulk Smash Avengers" sure seems like such a great idea to start up, especially the week "The Avengers" movie finally opens up in the United States. The opening chapter of this five-part series focuses on Hulk's relationship with the early Avengers. Lee Weeks' instantly classic cover is a welcome mat thrown out to readers who just happen to find themselves venturing into the comic shops either as part of Free Comic Book Day or as a direct result of seeing the movie.
Set somewhere between "Avengers" #7 and #14, the Avengers of this tale are Captain America, Giant-Man, Iron Man, Thor and Wasp. The issue opens with the team fighting the Hulk, who simply wants to be left alone. Such was the Hulk's preference during this represented timeline, but this summarization of that era is steeped in conventions of the period, including overly expository dialog and wacky battle maneuvers. Through these choices, it seems as though DeFalco and Frenz dumb down the story substantially. It is still a decent read, mind you, but there is no real twist or surprise from start to finish.
Seeing the Wolverine-less and Spider-Man-free Avengers in a comic book is refreshing. It would be more refreshing if the adventure had a more current vibe to it.
Frenz does a little better on the artistic side of things. Paired with the legendary Sal Buscema, Frenz draws a very classic looking (although light on backgrounds and extraneous detail) Avengers story buoyed by the Avengers of the time (and their uniforms) as well as the antagonistic moves presented by Baron Zemo, Enchantress and the Executioner. Nick Filardi's colors and Chris Eliopoulos' lettering help round out the throwback appearance of the opening salvo of "Hulk Smash Avengers."
"Hulk Smash Avengers" is a magnificent marketing move that crosses classic "Avengers" comic stories with the characters made familiar on "Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes" and the timing of the release of the feature film. There's enough in this comic for everyone to find something to enjoy, from classic Frenz and Buscema art to Captain America calling Giant-Man "highpockets." Unfortunately the comic itself is not an exceptionally memorable tale once the back cover is closed. That might not be enough to hook those readers this book seems ideally suited to lure in.