REVIEW: ‘Hulk’, Issue #4

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Hulk #4 Review

Hulk #4 is written by Donny Cates, penciled by Ryan Ottley, inked by Cliff Rathburn colored by Frank Martin, and lettered by VC’s Cory Petit. It’s published by Marvel Comics. Part Four of “Smashtronaut” continues Starship Hulk’s exploration of Earth-112, which became an irradiated wasteland due to its Bruce Banner perfecting his atom bomb. This allowed General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross to rise to the ranks of President and turn the U.S. into the world’s biggest superpower — and when he learns there’s another gamma-powered creature on his world, Ross pulls out all the stops to bring him down.

Alternate universes have become all the rage at Marvel lately; even if you haven’t seen What If…? or the latest trailer for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, comics like Heroes Reborn have painted a different version of the House of Ideas than we’re used to. Cates continues that tradition, as Earth-112 has lost the majority of its heroes. Tony Stark never became Iron Man and wound up drinking himself to death after he lost his company, and the X-Men were systematically eradicated by Ross’ forces. Even a fan-favorite Marvel hero was transformed into a horrendous Kaiju-esque beast in this universe. Anyone who’s read Cates’ run on Venom knows that he excels at injecting horror into any genre of comics and that tradition continues here.

It also helps that he has Ottley and Rathburn providing art. Though this book is nowhere near as gory as Invincible, it’s still not for the faint of heart. Cyclops has his head blown clean off. Starship Hulk is pierced by lasers from massive Iron Man-style mechs and tanks, leaving dark green blood splattering everywhere. And back in the “Engine Room”, the Hulk is confronted with “Stage Four” of countless enemies – and Marvel fans will love who shows up. Readers will also be treated to another magnificent splash page featuring alternating panels of Bruce Banner piloting Starship Hulk and smashing through Ross’s forces, while the Hulk lays waste to anyone who opposes him in the Engine Room.

The duality of Banner and Hulk’s battles is reflected in Martin’s colors. Not only is the omnipresent red hue of the Engine Room still present, but the battle between Starship Hulk and Ross’ forces takes place in the middle of the desert, the shining sun and sandblasted cliffs providing a serene backdrop to the carnage that occurs. Petit’s lettering plays into the larger-than-life aspects that come with the Hulk. Laser blasts give off a deafening “CHOOM” sound that fills entire panels, and when the Hulk gets enraged, he gives off a primal yell that grows into massive red letters. This is a book that isn’t afraid to go big in all of its aspects, and I appreciate that.

Hulk #4 pits Bruce Banner against the horrors of a gamma-irradiated Earth while continuing the creative team’s penchant for eye-popping carnage. The final page teases another horrifying foe for the Hulk to battle, and it looks like the maiden journey of Starship Hulk may be over before it starts.

Hulk #4 is available wherever comics are sold.


Hulk #4
4.5

TL;DR

Hulk #4 pits Bruce Banner against the horrors of a gamma-irradiated Earth while continuing the creative team’s penchant for eye-popping carnage. The final page teases another horrifying foe for the Hulk to battle, and it looks like the maiden journey of Starship Hulk may be over before it starts.