By Mark Waid, Mark Bagley, Andrew Hennessy & Jason Keith
Out of the current Avengers (Hawkeye, Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America and Black Widow) roster for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Hulk is the only one to get a relaunched title for All-New Marvel NOW after having one launched in Marvel NOW. Black Widow didn’t get one in the first wave of relaunches in the first place, whilst Hawkeye’s series ran straight through. Regardless, Thor, Iron Man and Captain America all kept their original numberings, having .NOW editions of titles. With the same creative team and the same price, it should have really been a .NOW edition for Indestructible Hulk, rather than a Hulk ongoing.
This book does what most #1s from All-New Marvel NOW have done, and serve as a great new introduction to the reader. If you’re unfamiliar with the Hulk’s origin (which is fairly simple), it’s explained here. If you ever felt like you’ve wanted to jump on board a Hulk comic having missed out on the previous relaunches, now’s your chance. The problem is though, despite the talent of Mark Waid, as we’ve seen on Daredevil, not everything is quite there, and as a result, Hulk #1 ends up being one of the weakest new titles to come out of All New Marvel Now, which is a real shame considering how well the previous Indestructible Hulk series started.
For such a big change in the status quo of Bruce Banner’s life, you’d think that Mark Waid would have been able to craft a better tale. As it stands though, Hulk #1 plays with something that affects Bruce’s life heavily and it doesn’t really work as well as it should. Whilst on paper the concept on display here looks interesting – what if Bruce Banner was no longer a genius? It isn’t handled very well and whilst the cliffhanger may get readers back for future issues, this book isn’t even as half as good as Mark Waid’s excellent Daredevil (the fact that it still gets a 3 shows just how good Daredevil is).
If you’re looking for big Hulk action, you might want to look elsewhere. This book isn’t about Hulk smashing stuff, with most of the book taking place on an operating table, but there’s hopefully going to be more scenes in the future with a mystery that does have enough grab to keep you around for at least one more issue, even though the execution may not quite be as good as expected.
Mark Bagley handles the pencils for the issue delivering some solid work. He does some great Hulk action where there is some and it’ll be interesting to see how he handles future books. Andrew Hennessy also brings some good pencilling to the table, whilst Jason Keith impresses with the colours. There’s nothing mind blowing artistic wise within this issue, but it’s still strong for the most part.
Whilst this book feels like a new story arc rather than a new number one – with the shooting of Bruce Banner taking place in Indestructible Hulk (but you don’t have to go back and read up on that event – I didn’t – to understand what’s going on here), and the book lacks the quality that we’ve seen from Mark Waid in the past, Hulk #1 is still a relatively decent comic that comes with a cautious recommendation.