Comics / Comic Reviews / Marvel Comics

Incredible Hulks #619

By Colin Andersen
December 29, 2010 - 21:22

I can’t think of any other mainstream book that has surprised me in such a good way as Incredible Hulks has managed to. Like many others, I was one of the people that absolutely hated Jeph Loeb’s new Hulk series that debuted a couple years back that introduced the Red Hulk. I couldn’t stand the book and hated the Red Hulk and nearly every other character for the awful plots and characterizations and ridiculous events that seemed to happen in every single issue. Yet, for some reason, I couldn’t stop reading. It was like watching a train wreck and I just had to see what the body count would be. So imagine when my surprise when Greg Pak shifted Incredible Hercules back into Incredible Hulk (singular at the time) and managed to make me care about the characters again. Suddenly, I didn’t hate the Hulk anymore or his annoying son Skaar and I even started to warm up to the Red Hulk after his identity and motivations were revealed. Those issues were only helped in finding a place in my heart through the gorgeous and powerful illustrations of Paul Pelletier so when I found out that he would be rejoining with Pak Incredible Hulks crossover with Chaos War, I knew I had to check it out.

I’m very pleased to say that Pak and Pelletier have not disappointed me. While the “Dark Son” arc that ran in Incredible Hulks before this crossover fell a little flat for me, in an ironic twist, the Chaos War is working out rather well for the book. The Hulk family finds themselves having to protect Rick Jones’ (AKA A-Bomb, a name I still hate) wife Marlo from the original Abomination, back from the dead and stronger than ever working for the Chaos King, as he tries to re-ignite a trace of Death in her so that everyone on Earth can be killed. Needless to say the stakes are high but things only get worse when the demon Zom, once used by Dr. Strange to fight the Hulk, has taken over Strange’s body and is helping the Abomination. This is a solid plot that very successfully combines quite a few different elements of Hulk lore, both recent and older, into the narrative of the Chaos War. Initially, I didn’t see why the Hulks had to have a an arc intertwining with Chaos War but Greg Pak has done an excellent job at finding a way to include them.
    However, the fun plot is just gravy over the mashed potatoes that is the characters themselves this issue. Nearly every member of the Hulk family gets some time in the spotlight in this issue and the all talk just like you would expect. The Hulk is authoritative and powerful-feeling while characters like Marlo and She-Hulk bring some much needed levity into the mix. By far the best part comes in the latter half of the book though when some unexpected (and dead) allies come to the aid of the Hulk family. It’s an amazingly emotional scene that leaves an impact even if you have little knowledge of who the characters actually are. What’s even better than that is that Pak carefully suggested just which dead acquaintances he wanted to bring back to have maximum emotional effect on as many characters as possible. It helps ratchet up the tension and emotion in a surprisingly realistic manner. My biggest complaint is that, aside from emotional effect, I’m not sure what the strategic value of one the characters that was brought back is. He allows for some great moments, particularly for Betty Ross, but he does not seem as though he will be particularly helpful. A small nitpick, but it still struck me as odd.
    I honestly do not think I have ever seen a panel illustrated by Paul Pelletier that I haven’t liked. He’s one of the consistent best of the artist in Marvel’s stable of artists and I’m always glad to see his work and his stuff in Incredible Hulks is some of the best to date. His punches look so powerful and each one of the Hulks look as powerful as they should and his characters really do seem to be in pain when they’re being hit. That is probably where his work is best in fact: the faces. Unlike some artists, Pelletier’s characters actually emote and react to what’s happening around them. When they’re upset, they look it and when they’re sad, you feel a little sad too (I dare you to not be a least a little touched at the faces of Hulk, Betty Ross, and Korg when their dead allies arrive). Quite Simply, his work is perfect for a story like this and I am glad to have him. Paul Mounts and Danny Miki deserve equal credit on colors and inks as well and really help make this book pop visually as well verbally.
    I rarely have high expectations for books crossing over with some larger story, but with Incredible Hulks, I dared to hope and I was rewarded. I only wish more stories like this could be equally as well handled. What could have been complete throw-away issues have been handled with real love and care and it is apparent throughout the book. This is a must-read for any fan of the Hulk or any of his current supporting cast.

Rating: 9 /10

Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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