Saturday, June 16, 2012

Incredible Hulks: Heart of the Monster TPB

I’m not sure what the deal is with Greg Pak’s last few trades. I know he’s heavily influenced by Bill Mantlo, but for me, this magic thing just isn’t working. I like my Hulk straight-forward and smashy, and mixing in all these mystical baddies and plots is just blurring the point of the character.

The crux of this story balances on the wishing well, a Las Vegas attraction that is granting warped wishes for the core cast. I’m unclear on who wished for what or how it affected the story, exactly, and that’s frustrating.

Now, are there elements I love? Absolutely. The friggin’ Bi-Beast is in this, and they call themselves “skull-brother!” That gets a rating boost right there. I would have liked a bit more from She-Hulk, since we don’t get to see Jennifer Walters much these days, but I think her panel time is already ceded to Red She-Hulk. I like her too, Betty Banner is way more interesting smashing folks and keeping up (or surpassing) the Hulk’s rage. Dr. Strange is wasted. I hate it when outside stories rob a character of his rightful gravitas, and Dr. Strange in street clothes is a prime example. I don’t care if he’s not the sorcerer supreme in some book I don’t read. Give him that cape and puffy shirt!

Paul Pelletier couldn’t have asked for a more perfect comic. For 2/3 of this trade, every page is filled with gigantic monsters trying to break each other. Heck, at one point Fin Fang Foom is shooting gamma missiles out of his mouth! His Umar is pretty fun too; it’s amusing seeing Hulk and Red She-Hulk cheat on each other with the Hulk’s rogue’s gallery like this. (Although I never quite understand how Tyrannus can be a threat on his own).

I almost wonder if the pacing might have been better reading this monthly. I felt like each issue had to lay out the wishing well rules (and that really didn’t make them any clearer). I loved Greg Pak’s run over all, it has been a great few years. But I do think it’s a wise move to let someone else come in and re-focus, bring the green Hulk back to the center of the book.


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