Mediocre conclusion to a monumental run.
First off, it really cool to see a writer stick with a character and a series the way Greg Pak has stuck with "The Incredible Hulk(s)". Over five years of smashing comes to an end for Pak in issue #635, the sixth part of his "Heart of the Monster" storyline. In many ways this issue epitomizes the entire arc for me - it's a mixed bag. I've never been able to get fully on board with Pak's story and when the dust clears it still feels like an arc that could have easily been told in four issues. It's also been a roller coaster of sorts, never giving us consistently fun issues.
In this issue, Pak wraps everything up but not in a way that I feel does this book or his amazing run justice. We get lots of magic, plenty of Hulk smashing, astral projections, and loads of debate and discussion on whether to leave the Hulk in the Dark Dimension or bring him back. But even with all of that, the issue feels flat and never generates the interest that a finale like this should. Pak attempts to inject some emotion at the end but even it feels more contrived than genuine. This issue also misses the little injections of humor that we're used to seeing and that really help make this series fun. In a nutshell, the story is ok, but it didn't work for me on several levels.
Paul Pelletier handles the art on the main story and, as with the previous books, he excels on the big, over the top, action pages but struggles on the character driven panels. There's no glaring mistakes or painfully bad pages in this book. But there's nothing here that will blow you away visually either. Tom Grummett pencils the final few pages and it's pretty much the same thing.
I suppose this issue would qualify as a disappointment for me even though it follows the same inconsistent trend of Pak's final story arc. I don't want to say this issue is simply going through the motions because I don't believe Pak would handle his final book of his monumental run that way. But the story flat-lines and was never able to draw me in. It lacks the humor and emotion of previous books and the ending did nothing to make me reflect back or even care for what's ahead. While my review may not indicate this, there is some good action and Hulk smashing. But as a whole this book just didn't deliver.