The Incredible Hulk #8 Review
- Published on Thursday, 31 May 2012 08:08
- Written by Rokk
- Hits: 1286
I have not read The Incredible Hulk since Greg Pak left the title. I should be up front in disclosing how much I loved Pak's run on Incredible Hulk. Now, in general, I enjoy Jason Aaron's writing. When he is not busy crying he is capable of turning out some great reads. However, I never thought that Aaron was a good match for the Hulk franchise. So, I passed on picking up Aaron's debut on this title. Having said that, when I saw that Incredible Hulk #8 was the beginning of a brand new story arc I just could not resist giving it a try just to see if I had been missing a quality story. Let's hit this review and find out.
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Steve Dillon
Colors: Frank Martin
Story Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 2 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Luckily, Marvel provides us new readers with a handy re-cap page in the beginning of the issue to get us properly up to speed. (Do you see that, DC? When are you going to finally do the same? Oh wait, I guess you don't need re-cap pages if you are just going to reboot your entire line of comics every year or so.) We learned that Bruce Banner is a villain and is criminally insane. (Um, oooookay.) That Banner is now trapped inside of Hulk instead of how it used to be the Hulk trapped inside of Banner. (Uh-huh.) And that when the Hulk stops being angry then he turns into Banner. (Ha! Get it? See what Aaron did there? I'm not sure this is going to change Alan Moore's mind about the lack of new ideas and creativity among many of Marvel and DC's current writers.) Therefore, the Hulk has to constantly stay angry.
We see the Hulk waking up in a crappy hotel in Mexico. He is attacked by a bunch of thugs. (The Hulk is bald. Why is the Hulk bald? Is this part of being fresh and creative?) The Punisher happens to be on the scene fighting the same thugs. The Hulk does not fight the Punisher because the Hulk believes that if anyone has a gun that could kill the Hulk then it would be the Punisher. (What? Really? Does the Punisher have a nuclear bomb? All he is pointing at the Hulk is a dinky pistol that looks like a .45.) The two heroes realize that they must be after the same guy who is the head of the thugs that attacked them. (What does that mean? TEAM-UP!!!!)
The Punisher and the Hulk beat up some more thugs to find out who they are working for. After the Punisher spends two pages torturing one thug (At this point, Punisher is the star of the show.) The thug states that they are all working for the Pit Bull who is a drug cartel leader. (No, no, no. Not this Pit Bull. CULO!! The character in this issue is a half dog half man creature.) The Pit Bull is looking for a new chemist. The thug tells our "heroes" where they can find the Pit Bull. Unfortunately, the Hulk starts to get calm. (Oh, no! Didn't the Hulk read the title of this story arc? He has to STAY ANGRY!!!) The Hulk tells the Punisher to shoot him in the face. The Punisher shoots Hulk in the face until the Hulk is good and angry. (I see this gimmick will be a good ecxuse for Aaron to do all sorts of scenes like this to the Hulk.)
The Hulk and Punisher find Pit Bull and some of his men and we officially have a braaaaaawwwwl! In the end, we find out that banner agreed to become the Pit Bull's new chemist. In return, the Pit Bull chopped off one if his fingers and gave it to Banner. The Hulk wonders why Banner would want one of Pit Bull's fingers. (I'm sorry, but each time I see the Hulk I keep thinking of a green Mr. Clean. Mr. Clean SMASH!!!)
Hulk wonders what Banner is up to. Hulk beats up the Pit Bull and then goes to the location in Mexico where Banner was keeping Pit Bull's finger on ice. Suddenly, gas fills up the room and knocks out the Hulk.
We cut to Banner transforming from back into the Hulk. The Hulk notices that there is a surgical scar on his chest. We can see that Hulk is in Atlantis. An the Atlantean doctor says "I only did what you told me to don't be angry." (Nooooo! Didn't you read the title of this story? He has to STAY ANGRY!!!) End of issue.
The Good: The Incredible Hulk #8 definitely has plenty of action. You get blood. Punisher shooting people in the legs. Blood. Punisher shooting people in the face. Blood. Chopped off fingers. Blood. Plus, Hulk smashing. Oh yeah, and Punisher shooting people. Seriously, action fans will definitely enjoy this issue. Aaron never makes the reader go more than a page or two without seeing someone punched or shot. The amount of action in this issue makes up for the rather dumb story. The Incredible Hulk #8 is much like a 1980's action movie. You laugh at the cheesiness of the story but are fully entertained by the action.
This issue is also incredibly fast paced compared to your average modern comic book. Also, Aaron cranks out an impressive amount of plot progression in this issue. Seriously. Aaron introduces a new villain and a short term conflict for the issue all while building upon the longer over-arching plot-line concerning what Banner is planning. Hulk vanquishes the villain in this story and gets one step closer to figuring out what Banner is up to.
This is a rather self-contained story that offers a legitimate beginning, middle and end. It also ends with a good cliffhanger that flows the reader into the next issue complete with a different setting and group of characters. Incredible Hulk #8 is close to being a one-shot issue that also moves along longer plot-lines. I appreciated that Aaron delivered such a condensed read. It is so refreshing compared to all the ridiculously decompressed issues that dominate the current comic book landscape.
The Bad: Once you get past all the action, teh fact remains that Incredible Hulk #8 is a pretty stupid issue. There are so many gaps in internal logic that are made just to push the story forward in the direction that Aaron desires. No, sorry, I do not believe that the Punisher little dinky pistol can kill the Hulk. Nor do I believe that the Punisher has anything that can kill the Hulk. And the Hulk should know this as well. Hulk is, arguably, the strongest character in the 616 universe that we saw destroying pretty much every super hero, god and alien in the 616 universe during World War Hulk. There are little moments like this that make no sense and only exist because Aaron wants to tell his story his way no matter if it may conflict with existing logic.
The story comes across as rather unimaginative. The basic flip of the roles of Banner and Hulk must have taken all of two seconds to come up with. It seems like such an easy and obvious way to rearrange the chess pieces on the board without delivering an inspiring new story. I cannot believe that this was the best that Aaron could have come up with.
Even if this flip of Banner and Hulk is an idea that you might enjoy, the fact remains that Aaron's execution of this idea is terrible. The entire delivery of the story is incredibly cheesy. From the plot-lines to the dialogue, this issue comes across rather schlocky. The story is shallow. There is very little in this issue that will engage the reader's mind.
Also, there is absolulely no character work in this issue. Hulk and Punisher have next to no personality at all. The dialogue is completely generic. The result is that there is zero chemistry between the Hulk and the Punisher. In fact, I do not think they interact much at all with each other. It is mostly just blank staring at each other and the Punisher shooting the Hulk in the face. Upon finishing this issue, I wondered why the Punisher even appeared in this issue. The Punisher appears to serve absolutely no purpose at all in this issue. I have no idea why Punisher was even in this story other than to serve as a security blanket for Aaron.
Aaron also fails to get the reader emotionally invested in the story. Everything is so flat that I never feel sympathy for the Hulk. Nor do I ever view Banner as much of a threat or a compelling villain. Even worse, at no point do I really care to see what happens next. There is nothing in this issue to hook a new reader like myself into wanting to come back for more.
I am still not sold on the belief that Aaron is the proper writer for this title. This issue felt rather street based as the Punisher took more of the spotlight. Certainly seems that Aaron feel so much more at home and more comfortable writing the Punisher than he does the Hulk. Aaron did not demonstrate a food feel for the Hulk's character. No feel for the vibe and mood and tone of a Hulk story. This issue never feels like a proper Hulk story at all. Pak's run felt grand, epic and wildly imaginative. Pak gave us a story where absolutely anything could happen at anytime. On the other hand, Aaron's Hulk feels small, boring, simple and very grounded.
Steve Dillon is simply the wrong artist for The Incredible Hulk. Now, I will openly admit that I am not the biggest fan of Dillon. In general, I think all of his characters' faces look identical, the characters all look stiff, there is a lack of details and the layouts are unimaginative. Having said that, I do think that Dillon's style of art works much better on titles that are more "realistic" and dealing with "real world" stories and featuring more street level characters. Dillon on the Punisher or a Nick Fury title makes total sense. Dillon on the Hulk? Not so much.
Dillon is not a super hero styled artist. He is not a Sci Fi styled artist. He does not convey wildly imaginative scenes. He does not deliver over the top and larger than life characters. The result is that The Incredible Hulk #8 looks rather boring and subdued. This is not at all the look for such a bombastic character like the Hulk that is a mixture of both the Sci Fi and super hero genres. Incredible Hulk #8 was one of the most dull looking issues that I have seen for the Green Goliath in a long time.
Overall: Incredible Hulk #8 was a miss with me. I feel good in my decision to avoid this title. I would only recommend The Incredible Hulk #8 to big action fans or to die-hard fans of Aaron and Dillon. Outside of those readers, I do not think that this issue offers up enough quality in order to justify the popular character tax in the $4 cover price. Save your money and use it on some of the other titles on the market that are far more worth it. Some of them even at a cheaper price than $4, too.
Rokk began his little Blogger blog known as Rokk's Comic Book Revolution on January 24, 2006. One wife and two little boys later he is now the Editor In Chief of the Comic Book Revolution and works with some great fellow comic book fanatics. You can keep up with Rokk and his musings through various formats.