Seriously? How could I not come back to post this review at least? OMG This was like a Hulkgasm in my fingers! I freakin’ loved it! See, here’s the thing – they have been building this match up ever since we learned the Hulk’s son survived – and it’s finally here! AND… get this – IT DELIVERED! Jeph Loeb must have read this and scratched his head in amazement that all this goodness was wrapped up in one issue. He’s probably still telling Pak that he should have stretched this out for 6 to 7 issues.
So, before we get into the comic, I just want to thank everyone for their emails and their concern. I even thank KHM for his email – even though I think it was more self serving than anything else. So, just to catch everyone up, my family and I are doing real fine. My daughter is walking. She also rocked’ a Hulk shirt at Preschool today. She is so freakin’ cool! So, I plan on spending the rest of the summer hanging with my wife and daughter. I will be posting again in September – and yes, there will be a new posting schedule. Most likely, Tuesday, Thursday and then either Sat or Sun. Thanks to my partner in crime David – and it is David, not Dave – he hates that – for posting some reviews of his own. I had to twist his arm to review a freakin’ Hulk issue rather than another Hulk appearance – and his tastes are… questionable at best – but he’s still a riot. So thanks.
Now, on to the issue! First off – JRJR does a pretty sweet job on this cover – and a small kudos to Marvel for not completely trying to bleed us dry by making this a wrap-around cover rather than a 50/50 variant. So, the Hulk is back! And we are served some smashingly wonderful action for his return! We also revisit his very troubled childhood. The issue opens with Bruce talking to his Father – telling him, even in his happiest memories, he is there. Calling him a monster. Bruce knows he is a monster – or at least knows the monster inside him will return. The same monster that everyone fought back in WWH. The Hulk that took on every hero without breaking a sweat. Bruce asks that the heroes step aside and let Skaar do what Bruce has been training him to do – take the Hulk down!
Right away we know this will be a huge spectacle! A blow out of awesome proportions! Skaar makes the first move and throws his sword at him. The Hulk charges forward – but Skaar, using the Old Power and shifting the tectonic plates draws enough power to punch the Hulk that send him flying for miles! Across state lines in fact! Skaar comes right behind him ready to land a killing blow – but the Hulk, of course, is ready! He moves out of the way and slams Skaar, telling him that HE is the strongest there is. And then, as always, the Hulk shows his compassion. He tells Skaar he could crush him like an egg but instead he tosses him aside and starts to walk away.
But Skaar doesn’t let his Father get away like that. He says that Caiera told him that the Hulk was good – but he didn’t know that meant “weak”. The Hulk doesn’t believe that Skaar ever talked to Caiera – because she was dead. But then Skaar reminds his Father that she survived in the stones of the planet – until he fed it to Galactus. The Hulk remembers – first Caiera – then his Father again. “You’re always there, ready to destroy anything, anyone, I was stupid enough to love”. Skaar laughs and asks if he remembers now. Hulk answers by sending Skaar into orbit.
The fight continues where Skaar lands – under the sea. Huge swells begin to form and gets the attention of Betty (Red She Hulk). Skaar punches the Hulk right out of the water – and tells him that, with all the training, what Bruce really wanted to know is if he’d have the will to kill the Hulk – and Skaar says he does. He attacks the Hulk with the Old Power. Betty tries to distract him and tells the Hulk to run. “Hulk doesn’t…” Betty tells him to run again – but Skaar delivers a punch that sends Betty into a parking structure, cracking the foundation. The people inside scream for help. Hulk flashes to his Father, hitting him, abusing him, even while Skaar continues his assault. The Hulk does a sonic clap that has the sand hold up the parking structure.
Skaar, a bit shocked that he didn’t even see the people, is amazed that the Hulk saved them. But the Hulk is still enraged, enraged about his Father’s abuse, about everything, and he turns his anger on Skaar. A bigger and bigger blow after blow – he leaves Skaar bleeding and broken on the ground. Skaar quips “Fun show.” He says that Banner sent him to kill a monster – but “he doesn’t really know you, does he?” Skaar says he’s done. He’s says for them to work it out. And then Skaar transforms back into his child persona.
The Hulk sees himself as his Father was. A real monster. He transforms back into Bruce and says he’s sorry. Betty tells him to hug his son. Bruce moves in and Skaar runs into him, holding him tight. “You’re always gonna be there” it says, showing the Hulk and his son together.
I won’t lie, this is an emotional issue that really packs in the action – but end up making you want to call your Father and tell him he’s always been your hero. Pak can write a story that really pays off in the end. Nicely done. This issue belongs up there with the Death of Betty Ross. And Paul Pelletier’s beautiful illustration is outstanding! Grade: A+