The Not So Incredible Hulk!
When This series launched, i'll admit, i was very very excited, Though i was mad about the fact that hulk was yet again separated from banner, the way the series oped was very good, awesome in fact, i was hoping that Jason would give a proper explanation to why banner went mad and that the series would deliver what it had promised, and for 3 issues it was decent, however after silvestri left, everything went down the cr*pper.
Honestly, i don't even know where to start, there were sooo many things wrong with this series, but , i think it's logical to get the art out of the way. I personally don't know who's idea it was to keep shifting the art this much, it made no sense to me and kinda made the series a bit to bizarre Still, considering the direction the series itself took at a certain point, the Staff Members or Jason Aaron probably though that shifting artists would be a good idea because it could have fit the adventure tone. This turned into a Major disappointment simply because of two major reasons. first of all, the story was very very monotonic and formulaic, which means that the art shifting only further worsened the experience. secondly, the artists they decided to go with were basically the few people at marvel who should never draw the hulk, ever. Not because they are bad artists, but because they just simply don't fit the character. for Example, Steve dillon, is a great Punisher artist, But his hulk is so terrible that i barely sat through issue 8. His hulk looks like a bald green body builder, or like some ugly version of drax. As for Whilce Portacio ,his characters and backgrounds are usually full of detail and accuracy, but his hulk was honestly really bad, i don't know why, but some of the scenes seriously made me uncomfortable, though that could been me. It felt like Jason Aaron or marvel Specifically selected the artists that just don't seem to do a good hulk, which again, made the experience that much unbearable. .
Something i've further notice is how hulk seemed to fluctuate in power, more than usual. Hulk is someone who is supposed to be one of the strongest and most durable things one the planet, yet ,at times he was absolutely pathetic, and then at other times he could have crushed a continent on his skull. let me elaborate, how can one survive a nuke, swim in lava, cause earthquakes around the earth, but then get priced by mere needles, get knocked around by a hammer welding Russian super soldier, get beat up by a mutant dog who is barely even hulks size, and then get dozed off by a few drugs even though huge amounts of gas hasn't worked on the hulk in years, hell tony has even made a comment previously how hulk burns through sedatives that would make glactus dizzy( relatively speaking of course, but it kinda shows how tony was expecting hulk to fade out) . there was also the fact that Hulk had fought Thing and Wolverine at the same time ,while being weakened by banners radioactive brew, and he beat both of them, but then on the other hand he was KO'd By one hit from Banner on Gamma Steroids. All of this makes Zero, if any sense at all(I suppose Aaron was trying to show how good banner was with prep, but it is never explained not implied since banner didn't really prep, he just injected himself with radioactive chemicals). I don't know what Jason wanted to show by this, it's possible that he simply wanted to make the series fun, but when there are gaps of logic such as this, the whole scenario becomes a huge mess that leaves the reader with tons of questions
To be Fair though, managing power levels power levels sometimes, especially with characters such as thor and hulk , is not an easy job, because we have to consider how it is tied to the plot as well. Then again, when you have a character nick named the "strongest There is", you could at least give him Scenarios in which he could show his strength off without damaging the plot.
Now that i reached the writing section, i will say this. I loved the first 3 Issue. They were brilliantly written and Hulks character was depicted perfectly. But, still, i was not a fan of the direction, because it clashes with a lot of developments that have taken place prior to this event. Greg Pak, have established that Hulk and Banner finely started collaborating to save the world from threats no other heroes could face, and while change is welcome, it should be organic. Here however, it comes out of nowhere, yet again, everything has potential, and Jason Aaron set things up perfectly, but the thing is, many things are left unexplained and unanswered, so the series initially became really, REALLY bad.
, Before getting to the juicy details on why i disliked the writing of this book, i'd like to mention how i hated how Supporting cast was depicted. While trying to figure out what supporting cast would be good for a character, writers usually choose people who have at least shared some history with the main guy, and if they want a new supporting cast, it is very important to provide a LOGICAL reason to why these people are in the series in the first place. Jason Aaron does give us a good reason, in fact it made SENSE, but the problem lies in the fact that it's not further developed, it feels that there characters are just here just for the hell of it. After the point of their interaction, they added absolutely nothing new, which i sad because they did seem interesting. The Cast also brought a lot of inconsistencies too. If you are going to somehow integrate or tie someone to a already existing character, you should execute it in a way that makes sense, like when we were Shown how Victor was tied to Ultron in the Runaways series. Here, when Arron creates Amanda Von Doom, it is revealed that she is supposed the daughter of Victor Von Doom. This is fine, but it's pretty much all you know about her connection with Victor, which again, leaves unanswered questions. I was hoping that, at least some type explanation would have been provided, but no, that does not happen. and just like that, Amada became nothing more than simple eye candy, nothing more. As for Brain and Gor? the same goes for them, their potential was thrown away.
also, the Main villain was supposed to be Doom himself, which doesn't stop Aaron from getting creative, but damn, it's like he wasn't even trying. When a villain is created, they must somehow be tied, or have some meaning to the protagonist of which the title belongs to, otherwise they make less sense. They don't have to be related to the Main protagonist, but they must have a REASON to why they are there in the first place. For Example, Peter David created the Stalker, who only existed for ONE issue, but he played a purpose, and then was deposed off. that is how it should be. Given the circumstances however, Jason Aaron set up a situation in which he could have made new villains that didn't have to be tied to the Hulk, nor did they have to play any significance other than the sheer fun it could have provided, but even then, he did not do a good job. In other words, the villains were pathetic. I get that Jason aaron wanted to create Villains for ONE singular issues only, but they should have been better developed, considering they felt generic and rushed. OR Aaron could have looked upon this as potential to make Cool hulk villains that could come back later. So to explain how displeased i was, i'll list the villains.
- Pit-bull- a mutant Dog drug dealer. he has no background, no meaning, and plays a minor quick part. ( and actually put up a fight against hulk, even though being clearly less tough)
- Vegetable - The Idea of Mental assassin was interesting, this is one of the ones that actually seemed cool, especially the design,but for someone who is meant to be the main villain, or turned out to be the main villain, he was pretty lame, i mean, he came out of nowhere, punched banner a couple of times, and then died, only to be forgotten. and don't get me started on the name....
- Father- This one was one of the decent villains, at least he has some origin and background.
- Old Sharky- who is a hill billy redneck in the ocean. another card-board villain, no real Motive, just some hill-billy ruler of some part of the ocean. yeah, not even kidding.
Also, considering the hype of the main villains, i expected to at least get a good HULK VS DOOM action! but yet again my expectations were not met. the Doom-bots were the closets thing we got to the real deal, and even they weren't acting like their master, one of the even pissed themselves. Again, i am not kidding. The team Ups weren't much to speak of either. Most of them played minor roles and just appeared out of thin are because....well that's just it, there are no reasons.
I've Ranted a lot thus far, but the funny thing is that these issues aren't even close to the biggest problem of the book. My Major Gripe was that neither Hulk Nor Banner were acting in character. The title is called "incredible Hulk", which is funny because the Jade Giant was not present in this book, there was only some impostor.
Let Me Explain.
Banner goes insane, and that's pretty much the only explanation Aaron gives , it seems that to him, That the separation from Hulk is something that would drive banner insane. This COULD have been good in concept but it fails miserably since this isn't the first time banner has existed without the hulk:
- back in peter davids/john byrne run, rick becomes the hulk, and banner is a normal human, until his inner voice, who was the grey hulk trying to get out, forces him to become the hulk again. Strike #1
- During world war hulks event, banner was Hulkless for a long time due to the gamma radiation being absorbed by the Red Hulk. Sure Bruce had some revelations, but he never showed any sings of Insanity.. Strike #2
- Heroes Reborn. Strike #3
- Bill Mantlos Run. banner looses hulk conciousness and inhabits hulks body. Hulk basically doesn't exist anymore. Strike #4
see what i'm getting at? it's been done before, so it makes no sense for Bruce to go Bonkers. it would have made sense if doom had caused the insanity somehow, but we never really get a reason for banner going nuts. Plus he never liked the Hulk and has often dreamed of getting Rid of Him
Which Brings me to my next point. Hulk, went from a brooding badass to a whiny little B*tch. Maybe i'm being to harsh, but this is the way i saw it. Hulk, should Never, and i repeat, NEVER, cry over Bruce banner. It's a well known concept that hulk hates, or at least doesn't trust Nor LIKE banner. Now don't get me wrong on this, it COULD have been something interesting if developed well, but it was yet again rushed , which made it very very bad. Hulk has tried to get rid of Banner on many occasions, and vice-verse, so the sudden "concern" for one another came out of nowhere.
The Whole stay angry revolves around the fact that banner is Playing hulk as a Puppet. Hulk is taken into to the deep ocean , space, the woods, and has faced monsters of all types and at the end of it it is revealed that banner is making a cure. At this point i was interested in where the story might go, but yet again we get something which just simply Does not only add up, but it's completely stupid. sorry to say this but that's how i see it. Hulk was dragged across the world, tortured and faced crazy odds, but when banner comes up to hulk and tells him that they have to stop doom/the doom-bots for reasons not even he understands, and hulk blindly agrees. What? so banner, just put his and hulks life at risk all for nothing ? it would have been more interesting to see banner use the cure, only seeing that it fails, which would have led to mark waids much superior indestructible series.
Jason Aaron doesn't seem to understand how the Banner/hulk dynamic works . For some odd reason he thinks that when hulk becomes calm, he becomes banner. Hulk has been calm before, many times in the past, and he didn't turn back into banner. the truth is that hulk and banner are always at war on who should take control over once body, hulk has never had the problem of turning back into banner WHEN he is calm, he is however most vulnerable to turn back at this time, but it DOESN'T mean hell turn back immediately.
i don't think jason Aaron wanted this to turn out this way, there are two possible reasons to why this series became so dull. Either Aaron lost Interest( which is highly unlikely since no writer wants a title to be bad on purpose), or he had is hands full with the projects that were comic up as a result of marvel NOW!
to make it short , don't read this, it's not good, Nothing personal against Aaron but this series was a real disappointment for me. if you want a good hulk story, pick up anything with greg pak( Chaos War, Heart of the Monster , Planet Hulk, World War Hulk, and etc) Peter David( Peter David Visionaries), Bill Mantlo ( Regression, Pardoned ) or even Mark Waid( Indestructible Hulk).