Friday, 20 November 2015

Planet Hulk #3 - Marvel Comics

PLANET HULK No. 3, September 2015
“The Storm” arguably demonstrates both the strengths and weaknesses of writer Sam Humphries, with a narrative that is not only absolutely packed full of bone-jarringly good action sequences. But also an abundance of nonsensical dialogue as Doc Green populates numerous word balloons during a heavy multi-panel theological discussion concerning “the restrictions of morality and judgement found in Man [which] are absent in Hulk.”

Indeed having started the twenty-page periodical depicting Steve Rogers desperately struggling beneath the waters of Gamma Lake whilst “The Devil” bites chunks out of a formidable-looking, part-octopus, “touch of shark” Sea Hulk, the subsequent scene depicting the green-skinned scientist goading the “gladiator” because “Gamma burns away all that is false and impure, and reveals what is already within us” proves something of a dissatisfyingly surreal moment. Certainly it is evident as to why Captain America “can make no sense of Green’s rubbish” and describes his Greenland guide’s “prattle” as “maddening.”

Fortunately however, this absurdly lengthy one-way conversation is thankfully sandwiched, if not squashed, in between some incredibly tense and dynamically charged altercations, including a high octane flashback sequence showing “super-soldiers Rogers & Barnes” battling one of the four Horsemen of Apocalypse, Holocaust “before the fall. Death and destruction.” In fact Humphries’ narrative genuinely manages to manufacture an impressive, almost instant, recovery from its “Hulk is the reality we deny ourselves” gobbledygook courtesy of an ultra-suspenseful cliff-hanger depicting the Sentinel of Liberty getting trapped by a party of “Tribal Hulks” within a dark restrictive ravine and being viciously riddled with half a dozen throwing spears; “I am Captain America of the super-soldier program! Face me! In the name of--”

The high point to Issue three of “Planet Hulk” nonetheless must be Marc Laming’s impressive illustrations, most notably his savage portrayal of Devil Dinosaur as he claws, gouges and rips the barnacle-covered flesh of his sea-faring foe. The Hartfield-based artist has gone on record to describe how “much fun” he had playing “with some classic monster movie ideas” whilst creating the Sea Hulk… And such ‘boyish’ enthusiasm, coupled with “a large dose of Ray Harryhausen all thrown into the Hulked-out blender” and some genuinely delightful touches by “Star Wars: Legacy” colorist Jordan Boyd, really shows throughout the book.
The variant cover art of "PLANET HULK" No. 3 by Alex Maleev

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