If you drink too much coffee, you'll be up all night. If you eat too many cookies, you'll get fat. If you watch too much television, you'll miss out on life, but what happens if you read too many books with Hulk-like characters in them? Well, scientifically speaking, probably nothing. However, too much of a good thing can't be good, can it? In the past five years, since Planet Hulk, we've seen an explosion in Hulk-like characters burst onto the scene. As cool as it may be to see more than one of the same character, are we beginning to feel a bit of a Hulk-Overload?
Hulk has been around since 1962, and you pretty much know what you're going to get with the Hulk, even if Mr. Fixit pops up now and again. However, he's gone through so many changes over the years, from a mindless beast, to a ruler of Earth, to a Worldbreaker, and to a father. The beast that gets stronger as he gets angrier has been a staple over at Marvel comics, so who can blame them when they decided to copy and paste the idea into the book numerous times?
I've always liked She-Hulk, mainly the 2005 series, by Dan Slott. It had a great sense of humor and focused more on Jennifer Walters as a lawyer. It was a great, comical book that didn't tie into the rest of the Hulk world. It was a breath of fresh air to a lot of readers, and She-Hulk got her own little cult following.
At the point when She-Hulk was introduced to the world, 1980, there really was no other Hulk character running around, other than the Hulk himself. It was a new take on an old favorite, minus a Y chromosome, and adding an extra X chromosome. She was a cool female character that didn't fall into the world of "helpless over-done cliched" character.
The idea of two Hulks was pretty darn cool, seeing as they were both so different from each other, but over the years, we saw more and more Hulks rise to the surface, like Hulk 2099 and Hulkling. In the recent half-decade, though, things have gotten a little out of hand with the introduction of four new Hulks. Yes, you read correctly, four new Hulks.
After the Planet Hulk story arc, we were all introduced to Skaar, who, again, was a pretty cool character. The son of Hulk had his own story, powers that separated him from apart from his father, and he didn't feel like a carbon copy of his father.
Sure, the characters look similar, but they couldn't be more different. Skaar is less scientific and more enveloped in his own planet's culture. He follows the teachings of the people of his home planet and some of his powers are based on the Old Power, which some people from his home planet had. He's not just a throw-away character because he is seemingly a M2 Universe-esque character. He's a strong, interesting character regardless to whether or not he's the son of the incredible Hulk.
Not all of these Hulk-type characters are any good. In fact, a few of them are pretty throwaway. Take Red She-Hulk and Red Hulk for example. Red Hulk worked pretty well as a character, before it was revealed who it actually was. It's not just because Red Hulk is Thunderbolt Ross though. When Red Hulk was just Red Hulk, the fun in the character was guessing who he was through the various clues in the series. Sure, he was uber-powerful, and he didn't play by the rules, but there are so many characters like that in the Marvel Universe. So, what do you do after you create a Red Hulk?
What if we make She-Hulk red? What if we make this new Red She-Hulk the actual daughter of the man behind Red Hulk? Even before anyone knew the two were related, the character seemed flat. It was just a female version of the Red Hulk, and although she was the lover of Bruce Banner, who is the Hulk, there was nothing that grabbed the reader's attention. You could almost hear the collective groan as she was first introduced in the series. Aside from that, there's one other new Hulk character: Savage She-Hulk.
She comes from another dimension, but with the addition of all these other characters, Savage She-Hulk gets passed over. Her stories are back-ups in the other Hulk books and many people will skip out on her adventures rather than reading them, but why?
Most people are just Hulked out. There are so many of these Hulk-type characters, and with the addition of the Warbound and A-Bomb (who are some really cool characters, especially if you've been following the Warbound since Planet Hulk), the Hulk team is too large and too much of the same. Hulk is an extremely cool character, and he always will be, but if the Hulk books want to stay strong stick to the Warbound, Skaar, Hulk, and She-Hulk as a "Hulk Team." These other characters really don't add too much else to the book. They seem to be more filler than anything.
What do you guys think? Are their too many Hulk-like characters running around? Who would you get rid of?
~Mat "Inferiorego" Elfring is a comedian, teacher, writer, comic store employee, and a man you'd hate when he gets angry... because he'll blog about it.
Follow his antics on twitter: @ inferiorego