Comic Book Review: Hulk #2

Marvel unveiled another Hulk comic book with the debut of Hulk #1. The little twist about this title is that it deals with an all new red Hulk. The creative team consists of Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness. Now, I’m not a big Hulk fan. I haven’t really read the Incredible Hulk since I was probably about 11 or 12. And I was totally unimpressed with World War Hulk. So, the question is why in the world would I give this new Hulk a try? Well, the main reason is because I love Ed McGuinness’ artwork. And I think he is perfectly suited to draw a character like the Hulk. And a minor reason is that I’m just a bit curious to learn more about this red Hulk.

Now, Jeph Loeb has really been striking out left and right since arriving at Marvel. His run on Wolverine was completely unreadable. And his version of the Ultimates is a far cry from what Millar gave us. I’m a bit surprised by Loeb’s lack of success with Marvel since I do think that Loeb is a talented writer and I enjoyed his work on Smallville as well as his work on Batman: Long Halloween, Batman: Dark Victory, Batman: Hush and Superman For All Seasons. Maybe Loeb can finally find his groove on Hulk. Let’s go ahead and do this review for Hulk #2.

Creative Team
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Pencils: Ed McGuinness
Inks: Dexter Vines

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with Maria Hill, She-Hulk and Iron Man aboard the new gold Helicarrier. Maria Hill informs Iron Man and She-Hulk that the gun used to kill Abomination was a SHIELD designed weapon.

Suddenly, the Red Hulk busts in and grabs She-Hulk and pulls her out of the room. We hear the two of them brawling. An unconscious and beaten She-Hulk is thrown back into the room. Iron Man places the entire helicarrier on full alert. Iron Man is then informed that the red Hulk has gotten into the power system. Iron Man goes looking for the Hulk.

The Red Hulk bull rushes Iron Man and the two engage in a massive battle. The helicarrier sustains enormous damage. The red Hulk doesn’t talk at all during the brawl. He only growls and roars. Iron Man activates all of his older suits of armor in his armory to come aide him in dealing with the damaged helicarrier. The Red Hulk then escapes from the scene and leaves Iron Man to deal with a helicarrier that has lost its engines and is falling from the sky and about to crash into New York City.

She-Hulk arrives on the scene and tells Iron Man that the red Hulk spoke to her. That the red Hulk said that he could kill She-Hulk at any time that he wanted to. And She-Hulk believed him. Iron Man then grabs a hold of the helicarrier and flies it over to an empty field in New Jersey where it can safely crash to the ground and not injure any innocent bystanders.

We cut to Rick Jones being dropped off by a trucker at the Gamma Base in Death Valley, Nevada. Rick Jones starts walking down the road when a person from off panel approaches Rick. Rick recognizes the person from off panel. The person comments that he thought Rick was dead. Rick answers “You thought wrong. What a shock.” The person off panel comments that he doesn’t like being wrong. That Rick should know that by now.

The person off panel then transforms into the red Hulk and smacks Rick. The red Hulk comments that Rick is going to have to stay dead. Rick then tells the red Hulk to stop. That it is hard to think and Rick can’t control it. We then see Rick transform into a blue version of the Abomination.

This new blue Abomination then says that the red man killed the old Abomination. The new Abomination says “Now, A-bomb will kill the red man.” End of issue.

Comments
The Good: Hulk #2 was a fast paced issue. Loeb dials up plenty of action in this issue and that helps make this one speedy read. Comic book readers who love massive brawlfests will more than likely enjoy Hulk #2. The huge battle between Hulk and Iron Man leads to plenty of collateral damage.

This issue is solidly plotted as it appears that Loeb clearly has a point and purpose with this story. Unlike some of the other titles that Loeb has done for Marvel over the past year, it appears that Loeb has spent a little more time trying to craft a better structured story with the Hulk.

I have to admit that I’m rather curious about the identity of the red Hulk. Loeb does reveal a little information in that we now know that Rick Jones knows the man who is the red Hulk.

I loved the surprise hook ending that Rick Jones is not only still alive, but that he is now the new Abomination. I have to say that I totally dig seeing Rick Jones “Hulk out.” I am very interested in learning what in the world has happened to Rick. And of course, it should be pretty cool to see this new Abomination slug it out with the red Hulk.

I really like the concept of multiple Hulks and Hulk-like creatures. I view it like I do Godzilla movies. I love Godzilla, but he wouldn’t be nearly as interesting if it weren’t for all the other Kaiju out there for him to either team-up with or battle against. I wouldn’t mind it if we get a few more Gamma radiation monsters on this title.

Ed McGuinness serves up plenty of excellent artwork. McGuinness’ style of art is an excellent match to a title like the Hulk. If nothing else, Hulk #2 is an enjoyable comic book to look at.

The Bad: Hulk #2 is hamstrung by some rather weak dialogue. The dialogue was average at best and downright cheesy at other moments. Loeb does an atrocious job writing Iron Man in this issue. Tony’s dialogue was complexly unlike how I have ever read his character. Tony is normally a calm, cool and collected character. He is the ultimate control freak and is constantly thinking. He is not a mindless trash talker and certainly isn’t mouthy.

However, Loeb writes Iron Man as a loud and spastic person. The random screaming for She-Hulk to give the red Hulk hell during the brawl between those two was out of place. Iron Man’s constant cursing at the red Hulk was also out of character. The threatening to kick the “SOB’s ass” and calling the red Hulk a “red jackass” was way too much trash talking. Tony just doesn’t trash talk like that during fights. He may toss out some sarcastic and dry one-liners, but never such dumb sounding insults.

The story on this title is a bit thin. Loeb certainly is not crafting a particularly deep or complex story. The character work on this title is also relatively non-existent. Strong character development is not going to be driving this title. This is definitely just a straight up action and adventure comic book.

And one last tiny complaint would be Rick Jones calling himself “A-bomb” instead of Abomination. I would much rather have Rick stick with the name “Abomination.” A-bomb sounds like such a tacky attempt to make his code-name more “hip.” Instead, it sounds like the name of a cheesy professional wrestler or a male stripper.

Overall: Hulk #2 was some enjoyable popcorn for the brain. If you like tons of action and lots of monsters then you will love this issue. However, if you expect more from your comic book than lots of action then you probably aren’t going to enjoy this title. I do think that Loeb’s Hulk has some potential, but I’m not ready to add this title to The Revolution’s permanent pull list.

3 Comments

  1. Now this, as a comic, I kind of enjoyed. It’s ridiculously over the top (“Oh. The. Humanity.”), but I think that approach kind of works for the Hulk.

  2. Loeb may be a hack, but he is actually hacking in a direction I like on this title.
    Sure the flaws are legion, but he did write an action sequence, as opposed to the action filler other writers inflict on us. (Average Marvel Writer:”Pages 10-17: Draw a bunch of pin-ups so you can get a good price on the original art on e-bay. Remember my cut”). It had a reasonably decent surprise with the unfortunately named A-Bomb, and an interesting mystery, though I almost dread the reveal, as much as I look forward to it.

    Hard as it is to believe, Loeb will be getting some of my money for a little while at least.

  3. Had I known this book would be such a great read, then I would have read it sooner. Since we all know that Rick Jones is the new A-Bomb, it’s safe to say that Doc Samson is the new Red Hulk. And I have proof of this already.

    On the 7th page we see Ross telling Iron Man how Leonard [Samson] thought he heard something up ahead while he and Ross were headed to the armory. Ross figures that the Red Hulk got his hands on Samson. We never see Samson on the SHIELD helicarrier (in his NORMAL form).

    And at the end of the book we see Rick having a short discussion with someone that he obviously knows that happens to be off panel the whole time. Rick’s ‘friend’ says he doesn’t like to be wrong and he takes much pride in that. This is the way smart people who like to analyze things to death tend to think. People who can be psychologists and/or doctors?

    Somewhere between the end of World War Hulk and this new Hulk series, Samson got a huge power boost. Now Samson is reveling in it. But what’s his new agenda? If he’s so tough, why did he say he could kill She-Hulk anytime he wanted but used a SHIELD registered gun to take down the former Abomination? And did you notice how Ross said he dealt with all kinds of Hulks: Red, Green and Blue? Does he know about the blue-skinned A-Bomb but kept that info to himself that even SHIELD director Stark doesn’t know about it?

    Loeb seems to have struck gold with this new series.

Comments are closed.