The Incredible Hulk #4 (2012) – The Review

The Incredible Hulk #4

And here I thought we were going to get something to look forward to… does that statement let you know where this review is going?  Let’s get started.

Story: Aaron is heading somewhere – I am sure of it – will it be a fantastic reveal?  Maybe – but most of the fun of a story is the journey it takes you on – and so far this journey is a mess.  Aaron has seemed to reverse the roles – Hulk is the more peaceful, reasonable one and Banner is the monster.  It’s not a terribly original idea – nor is it an interesting one.  Aaron might have his ultimate goal in mind – and like I said – it may be fantastic, but thus far it’s been pretty terrible.  Way back when, in the classic days, Hulk was an anomaly.  An “accident” that could not be re-produced.  Three years ago, with the collective minds of the Leader and MODOK they figured out how to make another Hulk.  Since then, Hulk is no longer special, there are Hulks of another color, Hulk Jr.’s, Warthog Hulks, Shark Hulks, Bat Hulks, Deadpool Hulks, Captain America Hulks and more… it’s getting quite ridiculous.  I was hoping with a new writer on board he might be interested in cleaning up the mess that others created before him – much like Parker is doing with Red, but sadly, that does not seem to be the case.

I think I had a badly drawn nightmare like this once...

Art: Silvestri (and the other 10 artists) are off the book – Portacio is in.  That may sound good – until, of course, you SEE it.  Portacio’s consistency seems to change not just from page to page – but from panel to panel!  Any action scene is full of awkwardly posed characters fighting off awkward looking creatures.  Banner has a maniacal Joker’s smile that’s both creepy and unsettling.  Hulk has an ever growing and shrinking brow.  I thought getting Portacio on the book was going to bring a little something to look forward to on the book – boy was I wrong!

Is the Hulk mad? Screaming? Scared? Constipated? I really can't tell...

Variants: None to speak of.  Funny, with a change like this, a new artist, you’d think Marvel would be throwing another rare “sketch” variant at us.  I am relieved to see that they did not.  I’d like to think they learned a lesson – but that’s just silly.  I think the real reason is that this relaunch is not the blockbuster (in sales) that they were hoping for.

Overall: This is another issue to skip.  Until things start more reflecting a Hulk book (like Parker’s Red Hulk book does) you might as well leave these issues sitting on the shelves.  Pick up Red instead (I can’t believe I just wrote that!) or dip into your long boxes and pull out a classic Trimpe issue to get this unfortunate nonsense off your palate.  Grade: F

DC gave the Joker rights to Marvel!?!?! This is HUGE!

Published by ratchet

I am a man. I like the world I live in. I would like it better if pumpkins were available year-round though...

41 thoughts on “The Incredible Hulk #4 (2012) – The Review

    1. I would easily pick Peter David as the best “Hulk” writer. Aside from Planet Hulk and World War Hulk I was not a fan of Pak. It’s all up to you though, get some trades and enjoy the journey.

      1. Peter David was certainly the longest writer on the Hulk – he wrote some very memorable stories – but there’s also Len Wein and Bill Mantlo who wrote some solid ground breaking stuff with the Jade Jaws

    2. Pak was the most recent writer to make a big splash – but his run was un-even at best. Some stories were fun and great to read – others… not so much. This whole “Hulk Family” thing has ruined what made the Hulk such a great character. He doesn’t belong with a group of misfits fighting together – he’s best on his own.

  1. Again- writers writing for shock sakes and characters out of character. I see that it looks like writers have trouble nailing Hulk in a good story. As for this art work it does NOT belong in the pages of Hulk. Since when does Hulk have small hands? Hulk’s trade mark is large hands and feet. The story is starting to get all whacky n what not. I’m not even gonna grade it.

    1. I agree, the hands bother me too. I like Banners gloves though. Can’t it be more consistent with the coloring as well. Eyes and blood constantly changing…

  2. I love how on the cover Hulk looks nothing like he does on the inside pages. By love, I mean hate of course 😉
    It’s like Marvel thinks people won’t buy the book as is, so they put old-school classic Hulk on the cover instead of facial hair, scratchy stupid face version.

  3. Regarding the multiple Hulks.. Loeb actually wrote some cool ideas… and one of them was in order to build the perfect Hulk, the Intelligencia needed people from ground zero at the same gamma explosion that turned Banner into Hulk… i.e. Betty & Ross. Sure they were at a distance behind protective glass.. but they were still affected by that one of a kind blast. A sound cool idea.

    Now turning Lyra into a Hulk I guess was based on the same infecting DNA principle as She Hulk’s life changing event…. but the ray that Hulked Out the Heroes maybe made less sense… but was unstable and not as bad as one would think. Then we have Banner’s creations…

    Otherwise, I hope in April Marvel says “APRIL FOOLS! HERE’S THE REAL INCREDIBLE HULK BOOK” and gives fans the Hulk comic they deserve. Right??


    1. I too have admitted that the idea behind the Red Hulk was a cool one – but that wasn’t Loeb’s – that was Joey Q. Loeb’s execution of the whole Red Hulk thing was ridiculous at best. There were certainly cool elements – but overall it wasn’t very good.

  4. There is no more Hulk. Everyone is Hulk. I do like the new Banner smashing “Hulk” across the island. I disagree about Red being a good idea. Red should have been a powered up version of the real Hulk, Red Hulk sucks for the thousandth time.. I’m sure Portacio will be off this book soon.

    1. I’ve been counting Logan and you said Red Hulk sucks at least two thousand times… 😉

      Hope you’re right about Portacio being short lived though on the Incredible Hulk Book…

      1. And, AJ, I really hope Colossus/ Juggernaut totally pounds Red into the ground in Avengers vs X-Men.

    2. Logan – I just meant that the whole idea about Ross becoming a Hulk – something he hated and fought for so long – and giving the Hulk another enemy that is just as powerful as him was a good idea – but of course they handled the whole debacle wrong. And making Red a good guy – that was just the worst idea ever…

      1. That’s exactly what bugs me with the Red Hulk. By making him a good guy, they have undermined the original super hero! Either way, it seems like only comic fans know of his existence, so that isn’t very problematic yet. I only started checking the comics because I love the Hulk cartoons.

    3. Ratchet, Red as a villain would have been almost OK for me. Just too many hulks. Can’t Hulk go out and try to kick Zeus’ or Thanos’ asses. Make a story arc on enemies with Different Powers. The lack of imagination on Marvels part is REPREHENSIBLE. From where they are going with this storyline, I would have Banner kick Hulk’s ass and kill off all the other Gammas. All Of Them, especially Betty, and Red Hulk Ross. The Leader….dead. Outsmarted by someone who does not need Gamma to power his intelligence. Banner would get his own title and his enemies would be Hulk and Maestro, as far as Gamma goes, and then take on Reed Richards, Doctor Doom, even Galactus. Anyone other than these Hulk copies. BANNER! Ya he does have a maniacal Joker look but he is as intelligent and crafty as Batman. Where does Banner get the money to create these gadgets anyways.

  5. Hi Ratch-I haven’t picked up this issue yet -but just looking at the pages that you posted really has me disgusted-the art just BLOWS!!!! , a bad storyline with good art is I can almost deal with, But a bad storyline and CRAPPY art just ruins the whole book…also there is a “Venom” variant of this issue-I don’t know why/how Venom made the cover but he did.

  6. Whilce’s arrival on this book is about 15 years too late to get me excited – back in the 90’s I would have been exploding with excitement. But as someone else has already said at least he wont stay around too long if he stay true to form. However a small glimmer of hope is that there are plenty of artists whose work I didnt like at first but then came to love. Look at McFarlane’s early issue’s – it certainly took a few issues for his style and his Hulk to develop. The inking on Dale Keown’s first issue didnt suit his art and looks inferior compared to his later stuff. So there is hope for Whilce and I sincerely hope that he can turn it around and become a legendary Hulk artist, but I doubt it somehow. As for Red Hulk, I again agree with the previous posters. Ross as a more powerful Hulk would have made a classic Hulk arch enemy – right up there with Leader, Abomination and Maestro (where is he by the way?). Red Hulk could have been Hulks equivalent to Venom. Again the ray of hope is Red Hulk’s comic will eventually run out of steam and get cancelled (probably soon after Parker leaves). Hopefully a decent writer will then get hold of Red Hulk and make him the super villan he should be.
    Here’s hoping we all actually enjoy a Hulk comic again soon (its been far too long for me as I am one of those rare people who didnt enjoy Pak’s run).

    1. Just an fyi – Venom is following the path of Red Hulk and is becoming a hero as well. Previews show he’s joining the Secret Avengers too. Some Spidey fans are happy with it.. some are not. It’s very similair.

  7. I have to admit, to me now, this storyline has a cool edge to it. Sooo much better than the Loeb run, and I even think it’s better, than Parker’s Red, coz it is about the REAL HULK. Banner Rules. This Zen Hulk is cool too. I am starting to enjoy the Hulk again. This Hulk is savage, intelligent, and spiritual. I think separated Banner is awesome with his rhetoric, and his kick ass mentality. The dualities that Aaron is presenting about the human mind, has a lot of potential. Also, about the parts of Banners psyche Hulk owns. Banner is now crazy as the ambition of who he is, is in total control, and he will do anything to further that, even if it may be perceived as evil. Hulk is at peace with himself, does not want to do anything, and is noble. The Hulk is about dualities, not anyone that can get juiced up on gamma and become a hulk like Ross, or any other “hulks”. Colossus, now, is more like the Hulk, and, again, I would love to see him destroy Red in A vs. X.

  8. Whist I dont think think the comic is great, I disagree that they are ruining Bruce. He has been separated from 50% of himself, has a massive brain tumour and is injecting himself with radioactive isotopes. Any of these individual factor are sufficient to explain a massive personality shift, combined they almost demand it. However if we’re looking to who ruined the character of Bruce Banner, I lay the blame elsewhere: Pak’s run from the end of World War Hulk onwards. All the gun-ho action hero stuff and arrogance about being one of the most intelligent people on the planet certainly wasnt the Bruce Banner Ive known over the last 20 years. To me one of the most interesting themes of the book is the polemic of the meek scientist who transforms into a raging brute and how he deals with this. Under Pak he was more like any other standard superhero such as Colossus (ie heroic guy transforms into more powerful version to fight baddies). Under Pak Bruce was not the unwilling anti-hero I have come to know and love.

  9. Hi Rachet,
    I know Im im in the minority with my views about Pak’s run – no writer is ever going to be able please everyone – as long as the majority like his work, he’s done his job. Personally Im loving Scott Snyder’s work on Batman and would love to see him tackle Hulk. While Im at it Id like to see Brian Azzarello have a shot as Ive got the feeling he’d come up with an interesting take on ol’ Brucie and Green Genes.
    Big compliments on youre site and collection. Its a lot of work and I appreciate you sharing your collection with us. Ive been a Hulk fan since the TV series and have been reading the comics since 88. My lifestyle doesnt permit me to undertake a collection such as yours, so it nice to read about yours instead!
    To be honest I actually look forward to your blog posts more than the comics at the moment!! Hopefully that will change soon (i mean the comics getting better, not your posts getting worse!).
    Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing your collection with us.

  10. I really dislike what Jason Aaron has done in these last four issues. He does not seem to have any grasp on the characters of Banner or the Hulk at all. You really have to wonder if he has even read this title before writing this. That was one of the problems with Bruce Jones. Jones at least started out with promise before falling apart.

    Let’s just hope his run does not last as long as Bruce Jones’ did.

    1. I almost want to think of this as an Ultimate Universe storyline. While I am okay with how Aaron has written the Hulk, Bruce is another story. For the 35+ years, Bruce has never shown any personality traits like this at all, not even close, and he has been separated from the Hulk a number of times. Or maybe this is some twisted What If storyline.

  11. Zeno,
    I think Aaron just does things just for shock factor. I read most of his run on Ghost Rider and instead of Blaze being possessed by Zarathos come to find out that the Rider was an angel and that there was more than just one Rider. In fact EVERY cultural had their own version of the Rider. He also took heroic characters and turned into them villains. The former Rider Daniel Ketch i.e. 90’s Rider had his Rider exorcised from him and went mad trying to fill the void left behind after his exorcism. So he than went to great extreme’s trying regain that power and became an evil more powerful Ghost Rider. So his current run on Hulk is just the some basic ideas that used on Rider just slightly reworked.

    1. I did not know that. See….A Lack of Originality permeates the Marvel comic world! Just glad there is a Hulk and Banner to read about, but, C’mon!…….. To Digress….McGuiness is boring and Sucks…. Loeb Blows…..And Quesada is Cheese…..Fucking ruined my favorite comic character.

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