Amazing to me with as long as this blog has been running that I still have to post this – but here it goes – if you haven’t read the issue and you don’t want spoilers – DON’T READ BEYOND HERE! This is a spoiler heavy review from an extremely busy and telling issue!
I am not sure what has happened to comics in general these days. The core characters that founded Marvel sell the least unless some inane event is surrounding the title (See: Red Hulk) and we’re talking great characters like Cap, Thor and even Iron Man. And, yes, the Hulk. When the book was being written without any sense of continuity or, what seemed like, any kind of sense the book was selling through the roof. Now that we have a decent writer on board with the chops and idea how to clean up the mess he inherited the sales are pretty dismal. Hovering just below 40,000 copies a month it sells not even a half of what the Red Hulk sold – even though Duggan is writing a riveting, funny, and action packed story that not only seems pretty on spot – but also makes sense. It’s too bad. A lot of comic readers complain about the state of comics but it seems they are the same people to blame. I’ve read Hulk every month for an easy 24 years now and I long for the days that fans supported genuinely fun stories that also show comics can be well thought out.
One of the worst atrocities that Loeb’s run committed was making Betty Banner the Red She-Hulk – although it can be argued that Marvel committed a bigger travesty by keeping Betty alive all those years ago after PD wrote an amazing swan song putting her to rest. Duggan finally resets that bad idea back to zero and gets rid of Red She Hulk – but it’s not even Doc Green who implants the cure. No, it’s Rick Jones, working with the Doc, to help take Betty down.
There are more pressing issues to reveal – such as Leucenstern was the one to shoot Banner in the back of the head – and it was Betty, working for SHIELD, who gave the order. Or more to the point – the Order of the Shield. A terranometer (a machine that predicts people who will bring about the end of the world type scenarios) spit out Banner’s name (Is this a sly nod to Future Imperfect?) and Betty had her hands tied. She had no other choice. After the Doc shows up, and a quick tussle, Betty is told that Bruce is gone and she comes to a realization. Then we are given an ending so poetic it harkens to the days of PD. Back at the lab Doc Green is told that Leucenstern has disappeared.
I am loving these issues and the direction Duggan has taken the Hulk. Hopefully more people will talk about the good work he is doing and get the sales into a more respectable place. This issue is awesome – Grade: A
By the way – I know this issue has a variant – but my LCS did not get any of them. I have one on hold for me but I will not be able to pick it up anytime soon – so you’ll have to wait for a post of it.