How do you like your Hulk ?
Discussing among readers about what makes a good Hulk story is always a complicated matter, some folk usually feel that The Hulk is the perfect metaphor for the consequences of abuse and of the misuse of scientific applications, as such, these readers demand stories of depth and importance that can deliver satisfying payoff in the form of powerful emotional resonance.
Other readers just want to see The Hulk smash.
Both of these notions, about what a good Hulk story should be, have always determined where the character goes, for it influences the direction of the writers as much as the preference of the readers, it's simply a matter of having a goal on the horizon and discovering that there's two sure ways of getting there. In this particular instance, Greg Pak chooses his route, he wants to see The Hulk smash, as he has from the day he succesfully revitalized the character with the memorable "Planet Hulk" story arc.
In issue # 632, Greg Pak gives us what he has done since his days of "Planet Hulk", this issue is the third part of the "Heart Of The Monster" arc, in this instance, The Hulk, with the help of kid genius Amadeus Cho, must face a The Troyjan, a cybernetic warlord who is keeping She-Hulk and A-Bomb as hostages in his massive ship.
The success here is led by the hands of two great talents:
The first, in the writing of Greg Pak, who delivers us scene after scene of Hulk delivering ragings blows while discharging insane amounts of gamma energy that succesfully manage to threaten Las Vegas to be razed to the ground, in between this scenes we have small, yet great interplay with the key characters of title, all these scenes
The second is in the fantastic pencils of Paul Pelletier, whose ability to draw The Hulk is nothing short of astonishing, if people thought Ed McGuiness was the only man capable of drawing massive shapes of overpowering muscle, then now he has a contender in Pelletier as the latter gives us every little detail about The Hulk's massive strength, every vein, every sinew looks as if it was going to explode and kill anyone nearby, it is an impressive sight, and as if it wasn't enough, he brings great life to She-Hulk and Bruce Banner with key expressions that let us know without a doubt what our characters are thinking and feeling at all times, without a doubt Paul Pelletier has earned his place as a classic artist for The Hulk, deffinitely one of the best.
The only bad thing, in very relative terms, that we can say about this issue is perhaps a continuous exploit of The Hulk's perceived lack of limits to his strength, Greg Pak assumes that there really is no such thing as a roof for The Hulk's power, this sometimes leads to impressive fight scenes and incredible display of smashing, but at the same time it delivers inconsistent and sometimes improbable situations that perhaps even The Hulk shouldn't survive, such as his memorable battle with The Sentry, fortunately no part of this issue is particularly ruined by this aspect of Pak's writing, but it was very close to happening at several points, and probably is bound to happen in the future.
Pak has taken a route that I really don't like for Hulk writers to embrace, The Hulk is a much better character with great potential and who is much more than just a wrecking ball for the buildings and cities of the Marvel Universe.
But credit is due where it's due, Greg Pak and Paul Pelletier have done a fantastic job with the path they chose, and they certainly, up to # 632 deserve their well earned praise.