I did not subscribe to The Incredible Hulk series when it started. I was skeptical because though Jason Aaron is my favorite writer, I was unsure that he and Hulk were a good match. I loved the World War Hulk event that Marvel Comics ran in 2007. In 2008, the Hulk title was released under the writing skill of Jeph Loeb. I collected the first fifteen issues of that series. I also collected the Skaar series (twelve issues). But when She-Hulk ended and turned into She-Hulks and then there was the Fall of the Hulks, I kind of got really lost. Hulk got really confusing and I just gave up on what was happening. The last I had read was Incredible Hulk #601.
But then it’s Jason Aaron. And I actually went on Twitter and asked him directly if I needed any of that background or if a reader could just pick up issue #1. He answered me saying that readers could easily just pick up the first issue. Now, sure, I suppose Marvel could make him say that (sales and such), but I think Aaron is a pretty straight shooter. So, I grabbed issues #1 and #2 and read the heck out of them. I really loved the artwork. The storyline seemed unique and to have a lot of potential, but I was not sold on the matter. I needed to see more about where Aaron was taking the character in order to really want to read along on a monthly basis. Hulk and Banner have been separated. Of course, Aaron does not really tell you how or why any of this occurred until issue #5. Which is okay, because I trust in Aaron and I was willing to read four issues without having that question directly dealt with.
Issue #6 was a good issue that explained many of the threads in the previous issues. It also contains lots of battles and action. The dialogue is also very good – as is to be expected from this particular writer. The cover was done by Leinil Yu. Overall, it’s an okay cover, nothing in it makes me want to say it’s gonna make it to this year’s top ten covers.
The interior artwork is by Whilce Portacio. For the first three issues, the artwork was Marc Silvestri’s and I think that that art was superior to Portacio’s. In fact, I felt like Silvestri and Aaron had a really good product together – the frames of Hulk were striking and unique. Together, they were able to establish a Hulk that was different than ye olde Hulk, which I think is what Aaron was striving for. In issue #6, Portacio’s art is similar to what Silvestri was doing, but it seems a little less “finished” than the early issues. Nevertheless, I really like the framing on most of the pages. I like the close up shots of faces and I definitely appreciate the last page of the issue! Still, I would rather see Silvestri’s art.
My biggest complaint about this issue is the costume/uniform that Amanda Von Doom is wearing. Not all of it, but just her. . . . . boob shields. Okay, so we can easily see that Amanda Von Doom is wearing a one-piece outfit that is mostly blue. The sleeves roll up exposing her forearms and the collar covers her neck. But there are a couple frames that make me think that Portacio is not really drawing the costume…um… correctly. If the material of the outfit is absolutely skin-tight, this explains why in this particular frame, we are able to see Von Doom’s navel. But yet, the folds on her back show that it is not really skin-tight at all. And then there are these “boob shields” that sort of just hang out on the outfit. How are they on there? I mean, does this material really take the soldering/sewing of such “shields” onto boobs? And what purpose do these serve – obviously, just to draw attention to Von Doom’s boobs. But her shirt does not even seem natural for showing off her boobs. I don’t know how to explain it; there’s just something really bizarre looking about her costume. Now, I am not usually one to make too much of a fuss about female characters because I know all the reasons artists draw them the way they do. One learns to accept some eye-rolling silly female outfits in comics. But this one? This one is just crappy.
One of the things that I like about this issue’s writing is how Aaron focuses on the choice-making that Hulk does. This Hulk is not just a brute who takes orders or who gets angry. It seems Aaron wants to show us that Hulk is an autonomous, initiative-taking, choice maker. This makes the story have a lot more depth than just showing us that things happen or that the Hulk battles enemies. It makes the story interesting, which is one of the reasons I buy and read comics.