Daily Archives: February 19, 2009

Incredible Hulk: Heart of the Atom HC (2008)

Hulk: Heart of the Atom Hard Cover

Hulk: Heart of the Atom Hard Cover

I bought this so long ago – but instead of posting it I was reading it.  I have a quick side note here: I paid $29.99 for this HC beauty – to me it’s totally worth it – and today I finally found Hulk Visionaries: Peter David, Volume 6 and I paid… $29.99!  If it was full price I would have been really pissed!  Every Visionaries has been $19.99 – a perfect price for what you are getting – and now they’ve jumped to $30!  That’s a little much!  Oh, Marvel… you are going to price your long time fans out of this little hobby…

Anyways, I really have no complaints about this collection.  If you were to read straight through the Hulk’s library the story of Jarella, you would find, is sprinkled sporadically throughout the series.  The first appearance of the Hulk’s green lady is #140 (The issue preceding the first appearance of Doc Samson) and then we didn’t hear from that character again for 8 issues – from there it was another 8 issues till we had to wait almost 50 issues to see the jade beauty!  It was so interesting reading through this storyline – mainly because the first story was plotted out and drawn by a different creative team then the second half of this story.  The first few stories were drawn by Herb Trimpe while the second half was drawn by Sal Buscema. 

Without giving too much away – because this is one that you should pick up for yourselves – it collects 12 issues from #140 – #248 and What If…? #23.  We join the Hulk as a classic Hulk villain, Psyklops, is using a ray to shrink the Hulk – to smaller than an atom – onto a world where he battles strange creatures and is welcomed by a race of green people and their leader – Queen Jarella – who immediately takes the Hulk as the King of their land.  But things don’t stay peaches and cream for long – Visis, Jarella’s Brother, wants the throne for himself.  By the way, magicians have not only cast a spell so that Hulk can understand and speak their language but also have the mind of Bruce Banner.  It’s one of the most interesting points of the series.  The different dynamic of seeing Jarella deal with the Hulk’s different incarnations – Hulk with Banner’s brain, Bruce Banner, Hulk with Hulk’s brain, in a rage/happy.  It was such a treat to read this whole run – although it did remind me of Planet Hulk… a lot.

There were a lot of similarities to the PH storyline, such as: Hulk has to fight on a strange land, Hulk is made King, Hulk has a love – but all in all there are enough differences that both stories stand on their own amazingly.  There were a few different times that Hulk was shrunk – once by a very jealous and enraged Glen Talbot, who blamed the Hulk for his making his marriage to Betty dissolve.  But, as most Hulk fans know, Jarella dies.  Very tragically and very heroically.  The Hulk goes back to K’ai (Jarella’s home world) once more – in one of the best stories of the whole book – to bury Jarella’s body.  He fights one of the coolest villains with the stupidest names – The Gardener.  I told you the name was stupid – but he can control the plants, water, and animals. 

The biggest treat of this collection is that  they added the What If…? #23 where the Watcher asks “What if Jarella never died?”  We get a great story – but also discover the mysterious villain who had sent Crypto Man from issue #205.  I can’t recommend getting this trade enough – in fact log onto amazon.com and find a copy for yourself right away!  The only thing missing is the issues that Peter David wrote where the Grey Hulk travelled to K’ai – but I have those issues already reprinted in Hulk Visionaries: Peter David Volume 3.