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)
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.
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+