REVIEW: ‘Hulk’, Issue #5

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Hulk #5

Hulk #5 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 five of “Smashtronaut” finds Starship Hulk going up against its deadliest threat yet: a gamma-irradiated version of Peter Parker who can transform into a massive spider-like beast. As Bruce Banner fights a desperate battle against the unfriendly neighborhood Spider-Kaiju, he decides to increase the power in the “Engine Room” — and unleashes a new menace in the process.

Throughout this first arc, the creative team has introduced the idea of the “Engine Room” as an escalating set of enemies for the Hulk to fight, which provides the power his Starship version means. They crank it up in this issue; escalating stages pit the Gamma Goliath against Thor and the entire pantheon of Asgard, as well as a host of Marvel’s most dangerous demons. All of it pales in comparison to what Ottley, Rathburn, and Martin bring to the table with the Spider-Kaiju. It literally dwarfs everything in its path, and it has a set of long black pincers for arms. The rest of its body is depicted as a bright red mass of sinew and muscle; a spider-shaped emblem and soulless white eyes present a dark take on Spider-Man’s classic costume. The Kaiju even growls “Rssspnsiblity!”, with Petit’s lettering giving a twisted take on Peter Parker’s classic mantra.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Ottley cuts between the Starship Hulk/Spider-Kaiju fight and President Thunderbolt Ross mercilessly whaling on that world’s Bruce Banner. Blood flies in every direction as Alt-Banner’s face grows swollen and bloodied, with a sadistic smile crossing Ross’s face. And that’s saying nothing of the other “Abominations” that Ross chooses to sic on Starship. Though it’s not as gory as Ottley’s work on Invincible, this still isn’t a comic for the faint of heart. It pushes the envelope of its T+ rating as much as it can though that’s for the best.

But all of the violence and gore means nothing without a good story at its center, and that’s where Cates delivers. He’s been open about how his Hulk run has opened up some fierce debate on the internet — especially in the wake of Al Ewing and Joe Bennett’s run on Immortal Hulk. However, I think this issue may turn folks around as it digs deeper into Banner’s head. Throughout the issue, Banner is struggling with both his inner thoughts and the ghost of Betty Ross, who points out that his imprisonment of the Hulk will have consequences. “Hurt people hurt people,” Betty says to Bruce, whose abuse at the hands of his father led to the creation of the Hulk. The final page shows that Banner has once again created a monster.

Hulk #5 pits Starship Hulk against his most dangerous opponent yet and unleashes a new monster in the process. That monster, dubbed “Titan,” will be unleashed in the pages of the next issue. Judging from how its debut has been teased, Bruce Banner may have created yet another lifelong demon that will haunt him for the rest of his days.

Hulk #5 is available now wherever comics are sold.


Hulk #5
4.5

TL;DR

Hulk #5 pits Starship Hulk against his most dangerous opponent yet and unleashes a new monster in the process. That monster, dubbed “Titan,” will be unleashed in the pages of the next issue. Judging from how its debut has been teased, Bruce Banner may have created yet another lifelong demon that will haunt him for the rest of his days.