I know it’s been a bit since I posted last – and trust me it’s not due to not having items to post – but now that the summer is over I will be free to post a little more frequently. But, as you guys know, I’m sure, the final issue of The Incredible Hulks was released this past Wednesday. I have severely mixed feelings about the final issues – there are things I loved and things I was not a fan of – but overall Pak’s swan song felt a little flat with me. I was hoping for a big finish – but what I was left with was a little more of what we’ve always seen.
And even worse – the Hulk clan are still around. Now, I may have forgotten – but I doubt it – have they ever explained why Rick Jones was changed into A-Bomb? I know that MODOK used him to experiment on before they changed Ross – but why is he… what he is? See, that’s another thing that Joey Q and Loeb never thought about. Originally, the way gamma rays affected people were different to everyone and that is why the Hulk was such an anomaly. Many tried but Banner’s transformation could never be duplicated because it was unique to Banner’s personality and history – nevermind his physical self. Which, come to think of it – how is it that they made Ross look like the Hulk then?
Here, the final arc, where everyone had a wish to wish it seems that Hulk and Betty were at their kind of peace – beating the hell out of each other for eternity. Of course that is until Hulk is needed to save the world again and they bring him back – although, in his “World Breaker” mode he could also destroy it. But that doesn’t happen. No. He saves the world again. Amazingly, he is saving the world from the one thing that created him – the Gamma bomb. “What?” you say, “How is that possible? All the Gamma Bombs were destroyed!” Yeah, well it turns out that was a lie.
The story seemed to be a bit convoluted and a bit too muddled. Was there a real reason to bring all those Hulk enemies back? What was the point, other than giving Hulkaphiles a Hulkgasm, of having those particular foes show up? They certainly could have been used in a better light – although I loved seeing Bi-Beast – it was a waste within this storyline. I thought Pak would wrap it up really nicely and had faith that things were going to all be sorted out in the end with reasons for everything – but with the obvious opportunity for the character to go on – in the end we were left with innocuous cameos of classic villains.
I wish I could say I liked it more but even the unnecessary prologue with Cho and Banner fell a little flat. Everyone likes a happy ending, me included, and it was a moment of bliss for the Hulk – but how happy can we be left with Betty as an abusive, crimson, overly strong, psychotic trigger for the Hulk? I know that Fear Itself shows Betty as She Red – so she would continue to be the character after this issue but that doesn’t mean I have to enjoy it.
They even include a cover gallery of Pak’s entire Hulk Family run and an interview with the author – while I certainly think that Pak is worthy of that kind of attention it only made me sad thinking back on how Marvel treated PD after they kicked him off the book. PD not only wrote the book for double the time that Pak did – but he certainly had a tougher job having to tie the Jade Giant into event after event. Not to mention that he thanks Loeb for being part of the Hulk trust and that will never sit well with me as Loeb did a fantastically, historically bad job writing one of Marvel’s best characters.
There are quite a few variant covers to check out – including a “blank” cover – which may be the first issue I try to get someone to sketch on. All in all I thank Pak for all he’s written and keeping us entertained for all this time – but I was hoping for a little more to finish his run with – not just leaving us with the status quo. Grade: C+