ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Hulk vs. Thor: Banner of War Alpha,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Thor vs. Hulk Banner of War Alpha #1 - But Why Tho

Thor vs. Hulk: Banner of War Alpha #1 is written by Donny Cates, illustrated by Martin Coccolo, colored by Matt Wilson, and lettered by VC’s Joe Sabino. It’s published by Marvel Comics. Both Thor and Hulk are dealing with massive changes in their lives, the former is now King of Asgard and dealing with the fact that his reforged hammer Mjolnir now carries the spirit of his father Odin, and the latter is now a spaceship with Bruce Banner at the helm, fueled by the Hulk’s rage. Now the two have encountered each other, and Thor is determined to bring Hulk to justice for a mysterious event that happened in El Paso. But Banner plans to give the God of Thunder a hell of a fight.

Thor and Hulk join Spider-Man in celebrating their 60th anniversaries this year, and throughout those decades they’ve often come to blows. However, this time is different, given that both characters have a wildly different status quo and are being written by the same man. Cates has taken his penchant for bold character work and creative ideas and applied them to both the God of Thunder and the Green Goliath; under his pen, Thor’s been a herald of Galactus, and Hulk’s fought a kaiju version of Spider-Man. He takes things up a notch when it comes to Banner of War, as Hulk and Thor’s battle takes them across the universe to the Black Hand of God—the severed hand of a Celestial that doubles as a gladiatorial arena. Hulk and Thor are also struggling with voices in their heads. Banner is being haunted by a malevolent presence passing itself off as his wife Betty Ross, and Thor has to deal with Odin constantly offering him unwanted advice.

Cates is joined by Coccolo, whose artwork will grab the reader from the first page and doesn’t let them go. From a pair of two-page spreads that recap the events of the main Thor and Hulk titles (with Uatu the Watcher narrating) to the Black Hand of God itself, which is populated with a mass of alien viewers, Coccolo brings the scale and spectacle that one would expect from a Hulk/Thor fight. And their battle is so, so destructive.

Rounding out the comic are Wilson and Sabino. Wilson once again brings his vibrant colors to the proceedings, which vary based on the setting. Sakk-Reen, the planet where Hulk and Thor first land, is bright and sunny, which fits with its population of cartoonish characters. When Thor calls on Sif to use the power of the Rainbow Bridge, there’s a literal explosion of color. And the titular combatants are quite colorful themselves, Hulk’s skin is a dark green, and bolts of blue-white lightning crackle around Thor. Sabino’s lettering also shifts based on whether Hulk shouts his titular catchphrase—the “Smash” is now large and lime green—or when Thor speaks in the trademark Asgardian dialect. There’s even lettering that feels like it’s ripped from a fighting game alá Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat when they get to the Black Hand of God, which is perfect for this story.

Thor vs. Hulk: Banner of War Alpha #1 celebrates the title characters with a blood-soaked and brutal battle royale. If you’ve been reading Thor and/or Hulk, this storyline looks to pay off plot points from both titles. If you haven’t, it’s still a storyline with an easy jumping-on point and a hell of a hook. Either way, this is a comic that’s worth your time.

Thor vs. Hulk: Banner of War Alpha #1 will be available wherever comics are sold on May 11, 2022.


Thor vs. Hulk: Banner of War Alpha #1
5

TL;DR

Thor vs. Hulk: Banner of War Alpha #1 celebrates the title characters with a blood-soaked and brutal battle royale. If you’ve been reading Thor and/or Hulk, this storyline looks to pay off plot points from both titles. If you haven’t, it’s still a storyline with an easy jumping-on point and a hell of a hook. Either way, this is a comic that’s worth your time.