Friday, August 21, 2015

Booknote: The Incredible Hulk, Volume 1

Jason Aaron,, The Incredible Hulk, Volume 1. New York: Marvel Comics, 2012. ISBN: 978-0-7851-3336-0.

Genre: graphic novels and comics
Subgenre: superheroes
Format: trade paperback
Source: My local public library

This volume collects issues 1-7 of the series as written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by Marc Silvestri. Hulk is one of those comics that has gone all over the place for me. If I recall, the last Hulk comic I read was Planet Hulk, which I did enjoy (link to my review of that). This comic is much later after that story, and if you have not followed the series, you may miss a detail or two or wonder why something is the way it is. It's best to accept this one as it is.

Bruce Banner finally gets his wish: to be separated and rid of the Hulk. Hulk makes a deal, with a devil one might say, and succeeds where Banner could not. They go their separate ways: Hulk find peace underground with the Moloids. Banner, however, goes mad and wants Hulk back. In an isolated island, he basically goes all Dr. Moreau trying to transform himself into Hulk again. Eventually, Hulk and Banner head for a confrontation.

The story is good initially as it is revealed, in gradual fashion, how the two are separated. However, Banner's madness and new experiments just seem a throwback to Dr. Moreau and other mad scientists. It does feel a bit cliched. After a while, Banner seems cartoonish. Yes, I am aware this is a comic, but Banner loses his humanity. I can appreciate that, but then the writer turns him into a cartoon of the mad scientist. We can't really take him seriously. In contrast, Hulk does show some good character development, and we see potential for depth.

The art by Silvestri and others is great. Hulk's savage look with a beard is not just primal. It adds depth; it even gives him a small touch of having gained some small hard won amount of wisdom. The giant is dignified. The rest of the art is colorful with great use of detail. The art overall is a good reason to pick up this volume.

I liked it, but I did not really like it overall. At times, it just seemed too close a rip on a classic. But it does have some good action, and it sets up the next installment, which I may seek mostly out of curiosity. In the end, it is a fairly light and easy read.

3 out of 5 stars.

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