Review: The Incredible Hulk Vol. 1: Return of the Monster

The Incredible Hulk, Vol. 1: Return of the MonsterThe Incredible Hulk, Vol. 1: Return of the Monster by Bruce Jones

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Buddy read with my Shallow Comic Reading pals!

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Got this bad boy on sale and man was this a good call. Haven’t read much of the Hulk historically and I’m starting to think I’ve been missing out.

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Bruce Jones really surprised me by focusing more on the Banner half the big green guy. Might have skipped this one had I known in advance. Sorry, I like to see Hulk SMASH. In this collection, a lot of said “smashing” happens off camera and Jones frequently picks up immediately following most of the destruction. Turns out in the end that I’m glad I didn’t give this book a pass. Liked the way that Jones strung together what could’ve been a bunch of stand-alone stories into one longer cohesive tale. I wasn’t quite clear on what was up with a couple of the agents and their “powers” that were hunting Banner, but ultimately, it didn’t really matter. I’m guessing it gets addressed in later issues down the road.

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Brian Azzarello’s story was completely separate from Jones’ stuff and was more of what I would presume to see in a Hulk story. Wall to wall smashing. General Ross, Doc Samson, and the U.S. Army all make appearances while on the hunt for the green guy. As one would typically expect from Azzarello, it’s dark. Guilt is eating away at Banner and he is really at an all-time low in this one. It was also interesting to get an idea as to what Samson’s all about. Never really knew much about the guy outside of his green hair. Wonder if the carpet matches the drapes?

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I’m cool with John Romita Jr’s artwork. Typically, the inker makes all the difference for me with his stuff. He’s a middle of the road guy as far as my tastes. Lee Weeks is about the same. Just ok. Being a fan of the old school Heavy Metal magazine, I really liked Richard Corben’s unique take on the monster in Azz’s story. No mistaking his stuff. Sorta weird really, but whatever, works for me. Although, I can definitely see why others might not appreciate Corben’s offbeat style. Kaare Andrews provides a couple of covers that were off the hook. Loved the riff on the Norman Rockwell classic.

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Hulk fan or not, this one’s a good choice for the average comic fan. If you’re only looking to see the Hulk break some shit, you may not enjoy this one as much as I did.

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About Lono

I spend most of my time thinking about comics, tattoos, guns, beer, comics, my kids, comics, my wife, bourbon, samurai, comics, boobs, and English Bulldogs. And very rarely, if ever, think about work. I’m the less literate, rarely appropriate, knuckle-dragger of the bunch. I’ll make any excuse to hang out with my Shallow Reading pals, nerding out about comics, and avoiding responsibility at all costs. Only my name has been changed to protect the justifiably embarrassed. For completely un-waxed full frontal nudity, hit me up over at Goodreads.

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