Bruce Jones: Incredible Hulk Vol. 1 (Paperback, 2002, Marvel Comics) 3 stars

Review of 'Incredible Hulk Vol. 1' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

After plowing through a long string of stinkers from Marvel and DC, I finally found a decent one. And to my surprise it's from Marvel, which I generally consider to be the inferior of the two.

How did they do it? Mainly by giving up the tired old cliches, of course. The writing style is very sparse; there are whole pages with no dialog at all. What dialog there is, is actually handled surprisingly well. It's not aimed at the usual 9-year-old level, but more at the late teens.

Rather than the usual over-explaining (so many comic books seem to be written with the assumption that the readers are morons), there's a nice sense of mystery; you actually have to think a little while reading, which is a remarkably refreshing change from the usual Marvel fare.

The art is different from the usual style, too. There's a touch of manga to it, I think; it works, though.

As for the plot, it's based on Banner-as-fugitive with a fairly interesting admixture of mysterious super-agents and an X-Files-like quality.

The Hulk himself is extremely well-handled; he's seen only fleetingly, no dialog, with a sense of sheer size that's truly impressive. Kudos to the artist; the Hulk reminded me of Godzilla more than anything else, simply in terms of size, power, and danger.

Unfortunately the book leaves off without any sort of resolution. It also gets into an area that could potentially be a problem in the long run; the organization behind the agents chasing the Hulk can apparently bring back the dead with ease, which could deprive the series of a lot of threat potential down the road. If death becomes virtually meaningless, a major motivator has been lost!

This book left me wondering that the hell had happened. How did Marvel end up greenlighting this? Was it their main Hulk book? That seems inconceivable. Perhaps it was a mini-series? That seems more plausible. If this was a regular series (and I had the cash to spare), I'd definitely consider subscribing. Not that I was ever a huge fan of the Hulk, but I DO like decent writing and art.

I'd call this a strong 3.5, and if I liked the character more or if it hadn't ended on a cliffhanger, it could easily have been a 4.