Back in 1998 the Hulk’s popularity was experiencing a resurgence so he was rewarded with a second title. This title was supposed to be a new on-going title, much like how Spider-man had Amazing Spiderman, Spiderman, Peter Parker; Spiderman, etc… well, it didn’t turn out to be such a great idea because the title only lasted a measly 6 issues. 6. The unfortunate thing is that the series wasn’t so bad. I will review the entire series in 3 parts – 2 issues in each review. One of the most interesting things about this series is that the first issue didn’t have a variant – but the second did. That’s right – the second did. The variant cover to issue #2 drawn by none other than Mr. Joey Q and Jimmy Palmotti. We’ll talk more about that later… ON TO THE REVIEW!
This series begins with a quick overview of who the Hulk is – a rampaging, wild, uncontrollable monster – or so says Thunderbolt Ross briefing a bunch of soldiers who are preparing to capture the Hulk. Bruce Banner is posing as a custodian in a research facility in Chicago trying to find a way to destroy the monster within. The army learns of this and prepares to capture him. Glenn Talbot, who at this time is still married to Betty, is ready to leave with Thunderbolt Ross and as he says good-bye we learn that not only does Betty still love Bruce – but Glenn knows it. Bruce continues his experiment to get rid of the Hulk. But something goes terribly wrong… Bruce begins to change. As the army converges on the building Bruce comes crashing out and seems to be stuck in-between his transformation. Talbot is able to stick him with a tranquilizer. They bring Bruce back to Gamma Base and trow him into a concrete cell. Stuck in mid-transformation we go inside Banner’s brain and join Bruce and the Hulk fighting over control. The Hulk wins. He sees Ross and then smashes his way out of the specially designed cell that is supposed to hold him. Funny how he is always able to escape the cells that are specifically designed to HOLD the Hulk. But he escapes in the desert.
A rough beginning for a supposedly new “action packed” series. It drags on a bit and nothing really happens – but Bruce in mid-transformation was pretty cool. C+
Issue 2 is where the series start to really get going, it begins with the freeze ray that we saw Ross use in issue 3 – the first issue was kind of a recap of things we already know – so issue 2 we meet Professor Geoffery Crawford – one of Bruce Banner’s Professor’s from college. Bruce learns that Crawford has taken ill and has been confined to a wheelchair. But Crawford has also created a teleport system – two pods that can be transferred between them – kind of like in the Fly. The one starring Jeff Goldblum. And by kind of like – I mean exactly like. He tells Bruce that he can use the pods to erase the Hulk from him. Bruce trusts him and gets into the pod as Crawford tells him that he is filtering out the Gamma radiation in the first pod and when he re-appears in the second his body will be completely clean of all radiation. Great plan, right? It is except that Crawford actually is looking to make himself more like Bruce. That night he goes back to the lab and gets into the pod himself and had the computer configured to make his body make-up to be exactly like Bruce’s. Bruce comes to the lab to find this out – but is unable to do anything about it. As the countdown continues Bruce gets upset and turns into the Hulk just as Crawford comes out as a Hulking monster himself. The two begin to fight – Crawford renames himself “Ravage” (awesome name by the way, you dork) and they continue to brawl until some of the college kids see the monsters battling and alert the authorities. Ravage actually snaps the Hulk’s neck in the fight. They rumble into issue 3!
This issue is pretty good – but another Gamma enemy? Really? I knew they wanted to go retro with this new series – but this seemed like a retread. Not a bad retread – but a retread none the less! B-
Part 1 of the review is over – come back next Monday for part 2! But come back tomorrow to see a Japanese import. By the way – here is the variant cover to #2. It’s actually pretty bad ass and reminds you of a time when Joey Q. was doing comics a service and not ruining the Hulk…