Review: The Incredible Hulk Vol. 2

The Incredible Hulk, Vol. 2The Incredible Hulk, Vol. 2 by Bruce Jones

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Hollywood buddy read with my Shallow Comic Reading pals!

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Solid follow up to Return of the Monster. This one includes the Transfer of Power and Abominable storylines. Bruce Jones ties up a few loose ends and keeps it more interesting than I was expecting. Teach me to stereotype a Hulk story. Those mysterious agents are still at it trying to wrangle the big green guy. Jones finally fills a few holes left from Vol. 1 and gives a bit more background on who they are and what their deal is. Doc Samson continues to get fleshed out a bit more in this one as well. I’m a little more interested in him as a character now and that’s after hating on him in Vol 1.

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While I did enjoy the first half of this collection, I really felt like this one picked up on the ass end. I’ve loved big-ass monsters duking it out since I sat glued to the TV on Saturday afternoon as a kid watching Godzilla take on all comers. Jones delivers just that when the Abomination steps to the Hulk and it’s ON. Liked the slow build to the final throwdown. Bruce paced the story well and certainly gave both Blonsky and Banner lots of motivation to wanna beat the piss outta each other. Jones continues to focus primarily on the Banner half of the monster in this one, but as long as he keeps it interesting, I’m cool with it. That, and Banner gets his freak on, the dirty hobo.

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Stuart Immonen provided the art for the first half and it’s not his best work. Not horrific, just seemed sorta muddy. Not my thing. Deodato, however, ends the book on a high note with his kick-ass work in Abominable. Not always a fan of Mike’s shit, but he kills it here. This really reminded of his work on Original Sin, which could be the high water mark of his career to date. For me anyway. Kaare Andrews continues to provide some great covers as well. His Where the Wild Things Are inspired cover was pretty boss.

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So Vol. 2 is a recommend. Bruce Jones’ stuff, along with Greg Pak’s Planet Hulk , is on the short list of Hulk stuff I would tell any comic fan to look up. Still some loose-ends, but overall fun stuff.

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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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