Hulk #1 smashes expectations with Bruce Banner as Marvel’s new bad guy

Of all the arenas in which Bruce Banner’s damaging change ego has actually done fight, The Never-ceasing Hulk may have been Marvel’s many enthusiastic yet: a mental scary onslaught of cosmic percentage, where discomfort and torture manifested into all sorts of horrible monsters and nasty deeds. It was fantastic, it was painful, it was legendary — and as far as the Hulk legend is worried, Never-ceasing Hulk was a showstopper. For any innovative group, it would be a hard act to follow.

Which brings us to Hulk, a raucous brand-new series from Marvel that tries to break brand-new ground for the Hulk legend while bending its Banner bonafides in a manner we’ve never ever seen prior to. Donny Cates and Ryan Ottley have primed their brand-new Hulk tale by transmogrifying Banner into his newest and perhaps most goofball personality yet — a “smashtronaut.” In the middle of all this flashy phenomenon are we provided adequate area to understand and fear the really mortal Banner who has taken control of the monster within?

Who make Hulk #1?

Sustaining Hulk #1 with its full-tilt, rage-funneling, earth-quaking amphitheatrics is author Donny Cates and artist Ryan Ottley, with Frank Martin on colors and Cory Petit on letters. Cates and Ottley have actually increased to Marvel super star status throughout the years thanks mostly to the method both have actually picked tasks that play to their strengths: Cates has actually exercised a lively specific niche for himself as the author of paradigm-shifting, eardrum-bursting arena rock anthems like Thanos, Silver Web Surfer: Black, Venom, and the Venom-centric occasions Outright Carnage and King In Black. Ottley’s long, wonderful, bloody period on Skybound’s violent teen-hero melodrama Invincible caused a prime-time gig relaunching The Fantastic Spider-Man with Nick Spencer.

What Hulk #1 about?

The Hulk, left, seen from below, slams his blurred fist into something off panel right, green blood splattering. “What if he exists to protect us...” a narration box muses incompletely in The Hulk #1 (2021).

The elevator pitch for Hulk is published in nearly laughably little letters at the bottom of its front cover: “What if the Hulk exists… to protect us from Banner?”

To put a finer point on it, a Hulk-related occasion in El Paso has actually left a frightening death count in its wake and the Avengers have actually put together to find out what’s to be done about their old relentless pal. Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are presently operating at DEFCON-4, going over how Bruce Banner’s newest frame of mind may wind up ending up being the most unstoppable hazard of any that they have actually dealt with prior to. (Physician Unusual, particularly, is troubled by this turn of occasions.)

On The Other Hand, Banner is trying to penetrate an off-the-books Stark setup that houses top-secret and insufficient cosmic-level innovation, with Iron Guy tossing himself and numerous other A.I.-controlled Hulkbusters into his rampaging course. Banner’s factors? We’ll get to that.

It looks like a brightly-hued, expectations-demolishing launching like Hulk #1 would require an overall reset from what has come previously, if not in story then definitely in character and tone: In Never-ceasing, the mind of Bruce Banner was something of a macabre time-share chamber of scaries, however in Hulk? The Hulk’s noggin has actually ended up being the U.S.S. Business with undersized Banner being in the captain’s chair. Banner’s prepared for a brand-new apotheosis as he charts a savage brand-new frontier — and whoo, is he pissed.

Why Hulk #1 occurring now?

The simple response is “because the Marvel Universe abhors a vacuum.” Al Ewing and Joe Bennett’s Never-ceasing Hulk run ended with problem #50 simply 6 weeks earlier, however it simply wouldn’t do to not release a Hulk book, not even to let readers capture their breath after experiencing the once-in-a-generation sort of impact Never-ceasing Hulk had on the Marvel Universe, seriously and otherwise.

Any Hulk reading?

While you need to absolutely check out The Never-ceasing Hulk, not to point out Peter David’s character redefining 12-year work on The Unbelievable Hulk — as both are going to have an impact on any subsequent Hulk run, either by the way or intentionally — you can leap right into Hulk #1 apropos of definitely nothing. And you should! Due to the fact that…

Hulk #1 great?

The Hulk squints angrily and then punches a barrier over and over again, green blood spattering, with a resounding BOOOM in Hulk #1 (2021).

Yeah. Yes.

Beyond the craze of Hulk #1, there’s a bigger mental drama at play here. Bruce Banner’s journey as the Unbelievable Hulk, as Teacher Hulk, as Joe Fix-It, as the World-Breaker, as the Master, as the Devil Hulk — it’s been an amazing trip. However what follows all of it? What occurs when the immortality of the Hulk has been strongly developed? What occurs when Banner recognizes that there will come a day when he becomes the Hulk and Banner never ever, ever returns? Cates & Ottley’s Hulk is all over this.

There’s a great deal of psychobabble in the early pages of the problem, however it’s essential to develop this brand-new shift in power characteristics in between Bruce Banner’s psychological self and his traditionally more powerful physical self. Here, Banner has actually been separated into “three distinct parts.” There’s his hulking physical kind, imbued with A.I.M. innovation; his “mind palace,” which is stated to be both huge and impenetrable; then there’s “the engine room,” where Banner has actually caught the Hulk’s mind in a psychological world where he can royally irritate Ol’ Jade-Jaws whenever he requires extra smashing power. Simply put, Bruce Banner is managing the Hulk to self-centered ends, and whatever is anticipated to fail, however quickly.

(There’s a repeating bit in this problem where Hulk tosses punches at a solid psychological door which we’re implied to view as the only barrier in between Banner and the furious beast that he’s playing with. It stimulates the inevitability of DC’s “The Death of Superman” legend, which started with the hulking personification of Superman’s death damaging away at the story restrictions that held it in location up until they lastly couldn’t any longer.)

It’s simple to lose your mind over the lots of double-page spreads provided by Ottley, Martin, and Petit. Iron Guy goes Hulkbuster on Banner however Banner has actually implanted A.I.M. innovation onto his invulnerable green conceal. Ottley’s outright systems fill the pages with Herculean passion; their punches land, the earth shatters, and thanks to this expertly-rendered trouble you typically feel the effect in your chest. (Practically to the point where sound impacts nearly appear unneeded.) The action of Hulk #1 is nearly provided like a simple sneak peek of what’s to come, which alone provides its own ludicrously alluring delights. However the genuine muscle of Hulk #1 occurs inside the jade giant’s enormous dome.

There, Banner sits alone. He’s haunted by ghosts and he’s afraid of death. What Hulk is going to smash next is any person’s guess, however it’s particular to be standing in the method of Banner’s brand-new desire for life.

One panel that popped

His arm pinned to the ground by a tangle of metal, Bruce Banner (piloting the Hulk’s body) rips the Hulk’s arm from the metal, shucking the flesh of his bones to the elbow in Hulk #1 (2021).

It’s not precisely subtle, however this minute made it generously clear that Banner is utilizing the Hulk’s body to attain his objectives, damn the repercussions. Issue is, those repercussions are presently mauling the only staying barrier in between the mad physician and his unavoidable comeuppance.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.