Marvel Knights: Hulk
W: Joe Keatinge
I: Piotr Kowalski
I will admit to never reading Glory. I have heard decent things about it – but have yet to pick up an issue. That said, this is my first introduction to Keatinge as a writer – and I wish it was better. The Hulk – for as long as I remember – has always been an American problem. He tears up the US and then is seen in South America – even ventured north and bothered Canada for a while – but mainly stuck around the US of A. Keatinge – according to the interview in the back of the final issue – decided to tackle the idea of “What if Hulk was set loose in other countries the way he is here?” and then wrote a lackluster 4 issue mini-series tackling that quandary. I always enjoy the idea of seeing the Hulk starring in more than one title a month – but when they turn out like this I would rather they just save everyone some time.
In this mini, Bruce Banner runs around Paris unsure of who he is – who is following him – and what kind of danger he is really in. A mysterious and deadly organization seem to be hot on his trail, killing people without a pause who get in their way or who decide to help Banner. Trouble surfaces in the first encounter with this mysterious group after Banner shoots one gentleman – the other shoots a green glowing ooze into his neck and “Hulks” out. I immediately thought to myself “Oh no – not another group who is after a Hulk serum” but sure enough… and even worse I got Ang Lee flashbacks as these Hulked out henchmen grew to enormous size. Of course, it didn’t end well for them as they blew up and left a crater in the middle of Paris…
As SHEILD tries to put together the pieces a dastardly woman named Nikoleta Harrow kidnaps Banner and injects him with the Hulk serum – which now makes Hulk enormous. Even worse – Nikoleta now controls him. She makes Hulk attack AIM who has come to claim the Hulk and the gamma serum for themselves. This, of course, means that MODOK makes his appearance – working with Doom and another fellow named Midas they soon learn that Nikoleta has double crossed them. What follows are a series of confusing and false flashbacks where there is no Hulk but Betty dies of gamma radiation.
When they return to the site of the original gamma bomb – the spot where Hulk was created – Nikoleta unleashes her final phase, which is to become a Hulk herself. Huge Hulk and huge Nikoleta Hulk battle it out in the midst of another AIM attack. Nikoleta blows up and kills or knocks everyone out. Now it is revealed that Doom and Midas were playing a game of their own (one that Doom won) and SHEILD comes to take Banner away.
If this sounds like a terrible story – that’s because it is. With the chance to do a Hulk mini-series you would think that maybe the writer would have some original ideas to bring to the table. But cobbling bits and pieces from other stories to tell an awfully familiar tale about trying to harness the power of the Hulk only for it to go horribly wrong seems like a waste of time to me. Grade: D