ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Hulk,’ Issue #1

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Hulk #1 - But Why Tho

Hulk #1 is written by Donny Cates, illustrated by Ryan Ottley, colored by Frank Martin, and lettered by VC’s Cory Petit. It is published by Marvel Comics. After an unspecified event in El Paso, Dr. Bruce Banner has taken his final measures to solve the ‘problem’ of the Hulk by transforming the jade behemoth into a living starship-with his mind in the driver’s seat! But Doctor Strange warns the heroes of the Marvel Universe that the Hulk may have been protecting us from Banner all along.

I freely admit that I’ve never been a major fan of the Hulk. The few times he’s clicked for me was when a writer was willing to delve into Banner’s psyche and how it influenced the Hulk, mainly during Peter David’s groundbreaking run on the Hulk and Al Ewing’s Immortal Hulk saga. (Side note: the irony that Cates and Ewing have essentially swapped series is not lost on me). Thankfully, a writer of Cates’ caliber is more than up to the task of approaching that challenge. Cates’ script takes an approach from one of my favorite writers, J. Michael Straczynski, and turns what we know about the character upside down. As Strange explains in his opening monologue, for years the world has considered the Hulk the most dangerous force on the planet. But what if Banner was the danger all along? Cates is no stranger to radically reinventing characters, having transformed Venom into a god and making Thor the Herald of Galactus; I trust that he has plenty of twists and turns in store for Banner.

Comic fans will best know Ottley for his artwork on Invincible, specifically its hyperviolent and gory fight scenes. That makes him the perfect artist to tackle the Hulk, and he does so with gusto. The issue is comprised of mostly splash pages featuring the Hulk doing what he does best: smashing. In Banner’s “mind palace,” Hulk is trapped fighting an endless string of army helicopters and tanks; in the real world, “Starship Hulk” plows through multiple copies of Iron Man’s Hulkbuster armor. Ottley also designs an impressive look for Starship Hulk, including a hi-tech helmet and a suit for Banner that feels heavily influenced by Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Rounding out the artistic team is Martin, who employs a simple color scheme to divide the scenes happening in Banner’s mind with the ones happening in the real world. Banner’s mind palace scenes are tinted with a blood-red hue, hinting at the unstoppable rage that drives the Hulk. The scenes in the real world have bright, eye-catching colors including the Hulk’s bright green skin and Iron Man’s trademark red-and-yellow hues for his armor. The colors even contrast when it comes to Petit’s captions; Strange’s are red and yellow while Banner’s are grey and green.

Hulk #1 flips the jade-jawed behemoth’s mythos on its head, with Donny Cates and Ryan Ottley taking Bruce Banner to the stars. With a top-notch creative team at the helm and an interesting pitch, I’m definitely happy to be a passenger on Starship Hulk.

Hulk #1 will be available wherever comics are sold on November 24, 2021.


Hulk #1
5

TL;DR

Hulk #1 flips the jade-jawed behemoth’s mythos on its head, with Donny Cates and Ryan Ottley taking Bruce Banner to the stars. With a top-notch creative team at the helm and an interesting pitch, I’m definitely happy to be a passenger on Starship Hulk.