Saturday, 21 January 2017

Hulk [2016] #1 - Marvel Comics

HULK No. 1, February 2017
For a comic which sold an impressive 89,810 copies in December 2016, and, at least according to “Diamond Comic Distributors”, resultantly became the ninth best-selling title of the month, Issue One of “Hulk” contains very little in the way of action. Indeed, Jennifer Walter’s “sensational alter ego” doesn’t even make an appearance within the twenty-page “Marvel Worldwide” periodical, unless one counts the “razor-sharp” attorney’s momentary break-down within an elevator when she buckles the lift’s control panel, or her subsequent collapse whilst listening to a baking video; “Said she couldn’t cook but believed the art of cooking could soothe the savage beast?”

Luckily however, Mariko Tamaki’s omission of penning a dynamic, pulse-pounding plot focusing upon ‘Shulkie’ and her super-heroic exploits doesn’t mean for a moment that the Toronto-born graphic novelist succumbed to the “amount of pressure that goes with writing” so beloved a character as She-Hulk. But instead, simply scribed an incredibly engrossing story which digs deep into the consciousness of Bruce Banner’s cousin, and brutally reveals all of the non-green woman’s everyday fears to the reader. It’s certainly hard to recall such a “meek and mousy” incarnation of Stan Lee’s co-creation since she was first infused with gamma radioactive blood way back inside the first edition of Eighties “Savage She-Hulk”.

Equally as fascinating as Jennifer and her anger management issues, is the Joe Schuster Award-winner’s depiction of the mysterious Miss Brewn. Terrifyingly timid, and imbued with “restorative powers… so nothing hurts me”, the pasty-skinned punter immediately attracts incredible sympathy with her desperate desire to avoid being evicted from her flat by an unseen landlord. Indeed, the petite woman’s need for Walters to promise her that she won’t “lose my home” is wonderfully childlike and is only surpassed by the unease caused by this comic’s cliff-hanger when it is revealed the 'mutant' shares her abode with a dark, potentially malignant presence…

Unfortunately, far less successful than Tamaki’s script for "Deconstructed" are Nico Leon's breakdowns. The Argentinian artist can undoubtedly pencil even the most sedentary of panels when he seemingly wants to, as his detailed drawings portraying the dispirited lawyer’s life within her condo attests. Yet every now and then, the freelancer’s work appears to be either rushed or badly overblown; most notably a double-splash featuring the reception area of Ryu, Barber, Zucker and Scott, which contains several sketchily-drawn ‘super-powered’ clients.
The variant cover art of "HULK" No. 1 by Skottie Young


  1. Having just read this comic, I have to say that i was very impressed with it. Of all the marvel superheroes, She-Hulk is far and away my favourite. Her previous series was badly let down by atrocious artwork that did Jen/Shulkie no favours whatsoever. So I was desperately hoping that Marvel would secure a decent artist to pencil this new series. Thankfully, they did. I know you're a bit critical of his artwork, Simon, but for me, he was a breath of fresh air after suffering through the previous series. Yes, I agree that Nico Leon isn't perfect but I can happily overlook his (few) faults. By the way, I didn't mind the lack of action in this issue. There was enough going on to make me want to carry on reading.

    1. To be honest Bryan, I had no intention of even perusing this title, let alone buying a copy, as I was still flabbergasted by how poorly served Shulkie was in her previous outing. However, I needed one additional title to obtain a discount on a pre-order I was making, so included this #1 within it. I couldn't put it down when I picked it up, as I thought the writing was very enthralling, and as a result have stuck it on my regular Pull List; so there should be a few more reviews coming over the next few months at least.

    2. That's called serendipity, Simon. Oh, I forgot to mention, I didn't know about the Skottie Young alternative front cover. If I had, I would certainly have bought it instead of the regular version. There's nothing wrong with the regular cover, it's just that Skottie's work always makes me smile.

    3. Indeed, it is Bryan :-) I too missed out on the Skottie Young cover. Fancy you liking Skottie's artwork too ;-)