I’ve always thought the best re-starts keep what’s great about a series and change what doesn’t make sense – or is out of date. There is a whole lot right with Season 1. Rick Jones is probably one of the biggest changes – he’s no longer the goody two-shoes orphan who didn’t like to be called “chicken”, now he’s a drug addicted loser who is tied to the wrong people. He’s still the reason Bruce Banner goes running out into the middle of a Gamma- Bomb explosion – and he’s also intertwined with the Gremlin – who is the leader of the Teen Brigade – although they aren’t a bunch of happy go lucky good samaritans armed with short wave radios. Now, well… think of the teens from The Foot in the 1990 opus Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Betty Banner is also pretty unrecognizable – no longer do we see a mousy, love struck, General’s daughter – now she is serious, ass kicking G.I. Jane. Lieutenant Ross does still have a thing for Banner – but she’s way more forward than she ever was in the original 6. And this Betty is not content to sit on the side lines – if she sees an injustice she jumps in with both barrels!
There are some things missing in this re-boot – Igor is no longer the crux of Banner’s transformation and the original grey hue is discarded, but the additions are great! AIM and the genetically grown human batteries, Monica Rappaccini and her side plot to use Bruce’s cells for government bid to fund her trials, Special Agent Derek Halperin and his quest to discover Banner’s secret – at a fatal cost – The Gremlin’s underground Teen Brigade – and the best part is how the Hulk takes them all down!
Enough of the classic story is there to appease the most die-hard Hulk fan. Hulk’s original transformation takes place only at night, the secret lab with the rocky prison cell to keep the Hulk from getting out – and of course Hulk’s hatred for everything Banner. Even Bruce’s violent childhood trauma makes it back into the fold. There are many things in Season 1 that will make you root for more – and, in my opinion, that is what a great re-boot does!
Pick up this gem – in a time where great Hulk stories are becoming a distant memory – this issue is a welcome change. Grade: B+