So, I finally received the issues I've pre-ordered from Midtown's online site since the 1st of April. I didn't know if it was just an April fool's joke while awaiting for the package or what, but long time coming I received it and at last, could write myself some new reviews. Now, as we first pick up the issue and stare down at the art of the cover we already have some sort of feeling that there will be a "new" Hulk being depicted in this new story arc. With the title being sketched out by a new talent, Walt Simonson, the characters, specifically Hulk and Thor are shown to take up more of a classic Marvel appearance. Some may not agree with this roster change, but I seem to enjoy the style of drawing that Simonson brings to the table; although I do wish that Leinil Francis Yu will come back in the next story arc. I do believe some of the older timers really want to maintain the Golden Age appearances of these characters, and think Simonson is at a really good start in trying to do so. However, some may say his sketches are similar to those that Romita Jr. draw, I do believe he has a distinct blend with the flavor of art that they portray. I mean if you compare their Hulks, both are almost similar in style, though I think Simonson has more of a modernized look to the classic Hulk; which makes it a more of a fitting Hulk than the one of Romita Jr. I do believe Simonson is a good asset to the series and although he's not the best, Simonson will definitely make a statement with his work through this title. That being said, however, like every other Hulk fan out there, I also wish to bring back the more brute and muscular Hulk that Leinil depicted in the beginning of this series. Simonson does a great job with sticking to what's comfortable to him, and as a result worked out really well. If he was to change up his style to somewhat match the one that Yu sketched out, then it would probably not turn out like the same Hulk. It's like having an anime artist draw for a mainstream comic, it doesn't work out and not gonna happen! Every artist has their unique style that they bring into their profession and not all are the same; so when artist do leave their respected title, yes it is a huge impact on the entire series. However, it's also a positive thing to "freshen" up the series to a new beginning, but it's also depending on the artist to fill in the shoes of his predecessor.
Now, diming the lights on the attention of Walt Simonson, the title also introduces a new colorist by the name of Andres Mossa who's the talent that is responsible of the brilliant marvel colors that lightens and polishes up every page of this issue. His colors really compliments Simonson's art and think it really shines light on what he's trying to deliver. The collaboration of them both are a great team-up and think they'll do really well with the title as proven with their first issue together.
Although Hulk makes a main appearance in this issue (of course), it's what Waid brings to the title and that's Thor and the Frost Giants. I believe he does a phenomenal job with this prologue to the new story arc and think it's a great kicker to start it off with. He does an exceptional job setting up the plot of this story as we see Bruce and his four assistances, specifically focusing on the Uru Metal, the same material from which Thor's Mjolnir is made out of to open up portals to other realms in order to discover unfound material, which they ended up accomplishing and make way to Jotunheim, one of the nine realms of Norse mythology. However, the thing that really caught my attention while they were trying to open the portal was of the part when Bruce claims that his assistances were chosen for certain secrets they supposedly have. Knowing how smart Dr. Bruce Banner is, this really stirs up some questions to my conscious and makes me very anxious seeing what this will lead to.
Now, as Banner and his associates arrive to Jotunheim, they are greeted by Thor who claims that his Mjolnir brought him to their presence (due to the Uru) and as they stare each other down, I had a slight feeling there was about to have a little Hulk vs Thor showdown, but sadly there wasn't and just a short confrontation as to why they were actually in Jotunheim. This Thor also takes up a uniquely retro-like design than the one that is portrayed in Thor: God of Thunder and is of a more classic appearance, almost in comparison to his Golden Age appearance. At first, it almost seems like this is a clone of Thor or from some other universe, but after some panels later it all soaks in and we get to see the side of Thor that we're so used to reading about and that's busting some heads with his hammer! Being so anticipated since Bruce and his comrades arrived to Jotunheim, we also see the appearances of the Frost Giants, which definitely warms me up a bit and makes me feel like a child again reading those fantasy sci-fi comics I used to read back in the day (I forgot what the title was called, but I was a huge fan!). And instead of a Hulk vs Thor battle, we see both powerhouses team up to try and take down the group of giants. This sort of brings up memories of what might be Thor's plan of action as to how to defeat these Frost Giants. Either by using brute strength, or the strategical tactics Hercules used to defeat the giants, and that's to challenge them into a beer chugging game and drink them to sleep. In the end of the issue, we also have the honor to be apart of something so momentous in the comic book history as we see Hulk trying to lift up the Mjolnir, which could only be wielded for those deemed "worthy" and are presented with a very impressive splash page of the more Hulky side of the Green Monster. Will he be worthy enough to lift the Mjolnir? Pick up the issue and find out!
This is pointing out the concerns I have on the artistic aspect of the issue. Even though I believe Simonson and Morras produce some fantastically brilliant artwork together, I feel that this title deserves artists that would be able to sketch out the more brute and intense Hulk and fill in the shoes of Leinil Yu's, instead of the John Romita Jr.'s Hulk.
This is definitely an issue to pick up, especially if you're new to the series or looking for a classic Marvel story to read. I mean, this is the start of a new story arc and would be a great time to jump into the new series. It'll be easy for you to catch up on once the first TPB is released, which will explain more of what you've missed about Bruce Banner and the Hulk. If you are one of those people waiting for the TPB, please feel free to look through the other Hulk reviews I've written up to get more of an understanding on what you've missed up to now. I believe some of these titles are definitely bringing about the revival of classic Marvel appearances in some of these characters and have noticed it through this week's releases as we see the Golden Age looks of characters such as Deadpool, Iron Man, Hulk and Thor. For me, I'm really intrigued with this style of drawing as I wasn't reading comics, more so born when these ages of comics were in print; so in terms, this artistic style is somewhat fresh to me and simply enjoy reading issues of this taste. Although I do have back issues to Golden Age and Silver Age comics, it still feels all too new for me. If you do wish to read and witness this revival of the once forgotten era, this issue is highly recommended. This is again, the first issue of the new story arc written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Walt Simonson.