Savage Hulk #5 & 6 (2014) – The Review and Series Overlook

CCF11302014_0000

Well, that was short-lived.  I really thought we were going to make it past a measly 6 issues.  I know that technically, with the Hulk/Thanos mini-series coming next week, since it was supposed to be part of this title that this series did surpass the Rampaging Hulk series from the 90’s – but it’s still a bummer that a second Hulk title can’t even last a year.  What happened exactly?  If you can remember, the Rampaging Hulk was brought out because there were a lot of fair-weather Hulk fans clamoring for a Hulk series that starred the classic, savage Hulk.  Of course when Marvel responded by releasing the underrated and fun Rampaging Hulk series those said “fans” still didn’t buy it and it was cancelled after 6 issues.  Almost a complete 20 years later they have done it again, releasing a second Hulk title with the classic Hulk – this time keeping within the continuity of the Hulk and having the series cover sort of the “untold” tales of what has happened in the past.  It didn’t exactly go as planned…

Savage Hulk (2014-2014)
W: Hardman/Bechko
A: Hardman

What I thought was a fantastic and brilliant move, the Savage Hulk started off exploring the classic X-Men #66 – bringing in the Hulk’s greatest villains right out of the gate – he was facing the Leader and the Abomination!  How can you go wrong?  The story was written and beautifully illustrated by Alan Davis and moved in a decent pace with a good amount of action and, like I said, it was good to have the Hulk battling his classic rouges gallery.  Seeing the Leader in all of his original glory was a thrill – and of course having the REAL Abomination back in a new story was real like having an old friend come in the room and smack you across the face… but in a good way.

The Hulk was fighting his foes along side (and sometimes against) the X-Men in trying to save Professor X.  Just like back in the day there was plenty of subconscious battling inside Banner’s head while the real action is taking place in reality.  That and seeing the Leader with his humanoids, the gamma-irradiated desert roamers and even a Hulked out Professor X made the first arc a must read!  Banner fought his others selves for control, the Leader was defeated – but wasn’t – and the Hulk’s allies still didn’t trust him in the end.  It was nothing short of smart and entertaining story-telling with that classic flair.

Issues 5&6 jump ahead to Hulk #300 where the Hulk was sent to the crossroads by Dr. Strange.  A story line that I wasn’t all that entertained by when I first read it and was a little bummed when I saw that this is where they were headed.  The Hulk is sent to different lands where he can be by himself – but the plan goes astray when Hulk lands in a reality where the inhabitants age so quickly that the Hulk is a new threat to a historic destructive force in a matter of hours.  Strange comes to the rescue in the end – and avoids a gamma-catastrophe with the by convincing a mind-less Hulk to dispose of a gamma bomb.

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I’m not sure why this series didn’t catch on more – I mean it didn’t come screeching out of the gate with initial sales but, unfortunately, dropped by half with the 3rd issue.  That, of course, spells certain death with books.  This series seemed to be doing everything right – the only thing I can think of is that people may have been turned off of the timeline jumping – having to know their Hulk history to really enjoy the stories.  Even then, the authors did a fantastic job of catching you up so you weren’t lost and maybe even inspired a few to go back and read the original issues these stories were taken from.  I guess that’s really a pipe dream since issue 6 was the last.  I’m bummed to see this series go.  It was an enjoyable side series for the Hulk fans out there.  As mentioned before, this coming week we will see the continuation of this series as the mini Hulk vs Thanos.  While it looks real fun it comes at a price knowing that this could have given the Savage Hulk the sales bump it needed to get some new readers on board.

I miss the old days where new readers jumped on a title without loyal readers seemingly getting punished with reboots and cancellations.  This series was a perfect title for old and new readers alike – the only set back being that it may never had a chance to get solid footing with a new writer and artist on the book every few issues.  Of course, with the state of comics today that doesn’t seem too far off of what regular series seem to be doing. Grade for issues 5 & 6: B / Series: B+

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5 responses to “Savage Hulk #5 & 6 (2014) – The Review and Series Overlook

  1. I’m sorry to see this one go. I was hoping for a Grey Hulk tale at some point.

  2. I only read the second story arc but plan to collect the first 4 issues by Alan Davis. The series by Glen Greenberg came out in 1998 so it was not quite 20 years.It was actually quite good. He also wrote some Star Trek comics around the same time. Untold Voyages,was the title. It was also pretty good.

    The thing about this last story was it could have answered the question about Banner’s personality,which was supposed to dead and then Banner coming back near the end of the crossroads. This is a inconsistency that nobody has ever tried to cover.

    Ratchet,you gave away the plot twist of the second story. You might want not to do that in the future for people,who unlike us, had not yet read it.

    • Hey Zeno – you’ve been coming on to this blog long enough to know I have spoilers in my reviews. Always. I usually post a warning – I did forget this time – but I figured the people who come to the blog KNOW by now to expect spoilers

  3. I meant for those whose other people who are new to the site. Having read the story myself it was no big deal. Anyways,you are right it is quite sad that
    we have not a real second Hulk series that lasted more than 6 issues with the exception of the late 70s early 80s Hulk magazine. Those were good issues. Hence this would have been the third try at a second series not including the two Marvel Adventures series that were for younger audiences.

  4. I havent read these yet, but it seems to me that the format doomed it from the start. While I love the idea, jumping around the timeline really limits the audience to hardcore hulk fans. Many comics fans these days seem only interested in the new – as exemplified by the death of the back issue market (you can buy many classic issuses for less than a new comic!) A shame really as from a hulk fan’s point of view rather than a marketing one its a great idea and could have produced some really interesting stories. It Revisiting Mr Fixit in Vegas (sorry Las Vegas), Pantheon, Maestro etc etc, brining back classic hulk writers and artists (oh to see Purves on Fixit again! – probably only me and you rooting for that one Ratchet!) – all stuff I would love to see new material for. They could have also brought in big name artists and writers on occasions – Alan Moore, Fank Miller would have been nice! It could have been great – but unfortunately its all about economics in the end and Marvel can make more money by doing and X-something. Sad but true.

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