Review: Incredible Hulk by Jason Aaron, vol 1

The Incredible Hulk by Jason Aaron, Volume 1The Incredible Hulk by Jason Aaron, Volume 1 by Jason Aaron

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Boy does Silvestri like drawing lots of wispy, sharp pointy things. Hell yes, sharks with a million teeth! Water (or maybe fire? The colourist gives us conflicting cues) that looks like shredded burned tissue paper!

Isn’t he the dude who came up with WitchBlade – the chick with the spiky metal costume and glove, makes lots of prickly-looking swords and shields out of her costume? It’s like Marc lives in a world where everything will stab you dead if you trip and graze anything around you. Must be rough trying to get a good night’s sleep with those razor pillows and barbed-wire sheets.

On to Aaron. Banner going all Moreau on us I can take or leave, but the team tasked to bring in the Hulk? These loons are right up my alley, and straight out of the same mad gene pool from which Aaron’s craziest ideas slither. Killer robots, evil henchman, floating brain? I’ll take one of each Mr. Aaron, why thank you.

Well done, how you box Hulk into the only thing he doesn’t want to do. I really believe that Hulk has no fucks to give, and only signs up when there’s absolutely no other way to make his life less miserable.

Aaron is absolutely unafraid to blow the budget – he cuts to massively destructive scenes for effect but doesn’t linger, or pulls out all sorts of oversized creatures and weapons that would be impossible on TV. It’s a joy to see him turn the toy chest upside down and give it a good shake.

Admission made without shame: I haven’t read any Hulk solo titles since I started back with comics twelve years ago. It’s not that there haven’t been notable runs, but that the basic premise seems a bit aged and thin, gaunt by now. It just doesn’t excite me to read Hulk – not Pak, not Parker, especially not Loeb.

I don’t have a lot of context for how well or poorly he’s been portrayed recently, but the Banner that shat out of Aaron’s brain is positively cookoo for cocoa puffs. And amazing. Fun. Scary as hell, unbalanced and maniacal. (view spoiler) I mean, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near him in real life – if he walked in the room I’d probably walk away from my drink and find the nearest, darkest exit – but he’s a great slice of character on the page.

When Portacio takes over, the art improves immediately. Cleaner, less washed out and more evocative. Just look at Banner’s face and you’ll never wonder just what’s going through his mind again.

Banner is so Id, and Hulk slips dangerously close to Ego. Banner is a completely manipulative psycho, and Hulk is about as straightforward and above-the-line as you can get.

The further into this struggle between these two forces, the deeper the emotions run. Hulk’s quiet disgust for Banner, Banner’s increasing mania and rage at what Hulk takes from him – the life he never lived, the love lost, the potential foundered on barren rock of solitude.

I don’t remember the last time I experienced this much of a sense of sympathy for the endless losses that mounted up and dragged what little dignity each of these shells of men possessed.

Again I have to call out how much fun Aaron brings to this tragic story – the source of Banner/Hulk’s separation is nearly as much fun to watch do their thing as Otto/Spidey has been in the Superior run.

In fact, how much smarter everyone in this story is than we give them credit for it probably the great lesson Aaron is teaching us. Don’t underestimate an insane scientist and all the weirdos attracted to him like Rice Krispies in a bowl of warming milk.

This book give Banner/Hulk *pathos*. And brings a great new anti-hero to us in the skin of another Von Doom.

My favourite character is easily Amanda Von Doom, leader of the Mad Squad. Foul-mouthed, irreverent, fearless. Awesome. Is she still single?

Banner punch Hulk

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