Jason Aaron has been writing this title for over a year now and has taken this character to places never seen. He has managed to permanently separate the Hulk from Bruce Banner. His first arc begins with Hulk being a quiet moody giant who travels underground to live in peace with the Moloids. Bruce is beside himself and becomes a mad crazy scientist who is obsessed with finding his counterpart because he is weaker without him. The story ends with Bruce forcing a confrontation with Hulk and the big guy using a gamma bomb to kill him. An ironic fate it appears but Bruce didn’t die but somehow remerged with the Hulk with dire consequences. The second arc is a series of Hulk misadventures as Bruce is still crazy and while in control is creating an intricate plan full of madcap capers. Hulk follows his breadcrumbs and often wakes in fatal circumstances clueless to Bruce’s intentions. The only way for him to remain in charge is to stay angry but Bruce does not make it easy for him.
Jason Aaron has the unique ability to write completely different types of comic books in varying styles. Compare this concise deep personal book to Wolverine and the X-Men and you notice a wordy, amusing light-hearted schoolbook. There are some delicately written scenes of dialogue revolving around Bruce talking to Dr Doom (The architect of his separation), a blind underground doctor and the resolution with the Hulk. All three scenes are distinct and emotional and add depth to the plot of the story. Unfortunately the artwork by Jefte Palo is average at best as the cast is made somewhat caricaturist and chunky. I really do not like how he draws faces and his action sequences are just static. Justice is really not served to the final big reveal scene between Bruce and the Hulk which is essentially a beautiful confession. On the whole Jason Aaron’s writing makes the issue but Palo predecessor, Marc Silvestri, would have made the artwork more appealing.
The tragedy of the Hulk is appealing to every man or woman as he is a man with ultimate anger issues. The manifestation of this emotion is not an argument or physical confrontation but a transformation into a big green incontrollable monster. We all have our frustrations, which we try to control, but Bruce has no control and the monster takes over making everything a lot worse. There have been many variations and combinations to this theme over the years but no one has made Bruce into the bad guy as a mad scientist. It fits well with the fact that Bruce was working on a nuclear bomb for mass murder and it’s reasonable to think he would become insane with the pressure and guilt. Hulk has never been as clever as Bruce and so the Hulk is then in trouble when his crazy side takes over. The only way to stop this transformation is to remain angry, an unenviable task well explored by the book. The beauty of the culmination of this arc lies in the fact that Bruce needs the Hulk; he prevents him from going full on psychopathic. The Hulk does not reflect Bruce losing control but Hulk actually stopping Bruce from losing control. It’s a delightfully original concept that Bruce could do more damage than the Hulk. I have always been a huge fan of the Hulk and this book adds a new dimension to the Hulk lore and I have loved reading it.
Great work 8/10