When it comes to one-on-one fights you don’t get bigger than Hulk vs Thor. These two have had there throw downs in the past but things are much different for both this time around. For Thor, he is the current All-Father of Asgard who is fighting against a dark future vision. Meanwhile Hulk has been turned into a starship by Bruce Banner, who is controlling the Hulk like if he is a Gundam. How will their respective status quos impact their latest fight? Let’s find out with Hulk vs Thor: Banner Of War Alpha.
Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Martin Coccolo
Colorist: Matt Wilson
After the Watcher catches everyone up on what Thor and Hulk have been up to as of late we see both of them already in the middle of combat. Their fight leads them to a Saturday Morning Cartoon-like world. Thor tries to talk to Bruce Banner to gain control of his anger.
In his command center Bruce gets distracted by the ghost of Betty Ross. This buys Thor time to get Sif to transport both himself and Hulk to a colosseum on The Black Hand Of God (which is the severed hand of a Celestial).
As they trade shots Thor is able to pin down Hulk by smashing and leaving Mjolnir on Hulk’s back. Thor tells Bruce that he will answer for the seventeen people dead in El Paso. Not willing to give up Bruce takes full control of Hulk and gets himself up with so much force that Mjolnir goes straight through his back and stomach.
Hulk brushes off the large whole in his body and starts pummeling Thor into the ground. Thor unleashes a powerful lightning attack. This gives Thor the opening to turn the fight in his favor. Thor hits Hulk with Mjolnir so hard that it gets Bruce off the platform he is using to control Hulk.
When Bruce recovers from the blow he is shocked to find himself confronted by an angry manifestation of Odin. End of issue.
Hulk vs Thor: Banner Of War Alpha lives up to its title. After two recap double page spreads for Thor and Hulk there is no time wasted in giving us the clash of titans want from this crossover event. As superhero fans can we really ask for more when you see a comic book that is named Hulk vs Thor?
I do appreciate that Donny Cates and Martin Coccolo start off with Watcher recapping the reader on where Hulk and Thor are at. Cates and Coccolo have fun with the character recaps by having Watcher speak directly to the reader. It is smart fourth wall breaking that makes great use of the Watcher character as someone that only appears when major Marvel events are going on.
Watcher being on the first page instills a sense of importance to the story. That transitions well into the fun had with how the character history recaps are handled. Coccolo deserves a lot of credit for how well these two double page spreads are handled as he packs a ton of storytelling for fans, especially if you happen to not be reading one of the titles involved in this event, like myself who is not reading the current Hulk series.
There is also a great sense of pacing with the entire fight between Hulk and Thor. Cates and Coccolo allow the fight to build up with Thor holding back as he is trying to reason with his friend so he stops running away from the consequences of his crimes in El Paso. Thor doing this showed how far gone Bruce Banner is at the moment as Bruce clearly does not want to accept any sort of responsibility. His actions in the fight with Thor and inside his command center showcases that.
To Thor’s credit we do see how he recognizes that Bruce will not listen to reason and their fight is too dangerous to keep going on as wildly as it does in the cartoon world they end up in. Transporting the fight to The Black Hand Of God, thanks to help from Sif, gave the right setting for Thor to not hold back anymore. The colosseum battle showcased both combatants well as Thor is put over as incredibly powerful and Bruce’s command of Hulk feels like a mad scientist gone out of control with piloting his monster.
As much as Cates writing is strong for both characters it really is Coccolo’s artwork that is the star of Hulk vs Thor: Banner Of War Alpha. Coccolo does an incredible job with the designs of the different settings Thor and Hulk fight in. The animated world looked like Thor and Hulk landed in the middle of a Saturday Morning Cartoon. While it certainly added some comedic elements to the story it also drove home how this really is a clash between two God-level characters. Which led in well to when we transitioned to the colosseum setting where both Thor and Hulk were not holding back anymore as powerful blows were unleased.
Hulk vs Thor: Banner Of War Alpha is a good old slobber knocker of a fight. Sure there are some character moments that will speak to fans of the Thor and Hulk series. But at the end of the day Donny Cates and Martin Coccolo knew exactly what fans wanted to see and that was a big titanic battle between Hulk and Thor. That is exactly what we got and it did not disappoint in starting of Banner of War with the hottest start possible.
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10