Saturday, December 10, 2011

Hulk: Scorched Earth TPB

I shouldn’t be surprised, but once again Jeff Parker’s story has left a smile on my face.

Jeph Loeb’s uneven (but fun) Red Hulk epic went on too long and never totally made sense, but it seems it left behind a few new viable characters. Thunderbolt Ross was always a jerk but seeing him red and Hulked out has added a lot to him. The best part about the first few issues in this trade is that it is one long run of folks getting revenge. Loeb really let Rulk go crazy through the Marvel U; Parker makes him pay the piper.

In the first issue, it’s Iron Man, next up is Thor, then the Watcher, followed by the Sub-Mariner. Each of these guys got punked a bit, but Parker lets each of them wail on Rulk for a bit to re-establish their cred. Thor’s is the best; Iron Man has some legit reasons to beat on Ross, Thor doesn’t exactly have that excuse.

The overarching plot that drives Rulk (and Rick Jones as A-Bomb) is the doomsday plan left in place by the Leader and MODOK should their Intelligencia fall. Since it did at the close of Loeb’s run, it’s up to Banner to put together a team to clean up the mess. There are some nice tie-ins to Parker’s Thunderbolts, the biggest being the reveal of Monster Island. Every comics company needs some reason to have some kaiju/giant monsters lurking around, so this just makes sense.

Gabriel Hardman continues to impress me with his beautiful artwork. His use of blacks is among the best in the business, along with Chris Samnee and Francesco Francavilla. He gets to design some epic new monsters and his new MODOK is wonderful. I’m a huge MODOK fan; I can recognize when a new design pays respect to the classics while still being modern. This book is gorgeous.


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