Much like Hawkeye (issue 4 in this series), Hulk is another departure from the Marvel’s Earth’s Mightiest Heroes norm. This time we’re not given a first appearance at all – which is somewhat disappointing – but rather a complete nine issue storyline, which makes this the largest released in the series thus far.
Hulk’s Dogs of War storyline, which includes the two-part Snake Eyes, centres on Bruce Banner having recently discovered he has Lou Gehrig’s disease. He is slowly dying and having lost his wife he doesn’t have anything left in the world. Bruce searches out an old friend to try and help his mind and body in some way. This leads to a very interesting story about the Hulk not being the only physical manifestation of Banner’s psyche. In fact, there are many other Hulks trapped within him. These beasts are in a constant war and all of them make up Banner’s fractured psyche in one way or another.
But what would a superhero comic be without a “Big Bad”? Unlike his previous military opponent, General Ross (his ex-father-in-law), Hulk’s latest adversary is General Ryker: a cold, deceiving, and all-round bastard of a man. He will do absolutely anything to get hold of the Hulk, which includes the killing of civilians.
The artwork varies somewhat in this book. Hulk – and all of the other monsters – look lush and imposing, while Banner can change between scrawny and gruff within a matter of panels. Two pages had misaligned colours and lines, which made for a very off-putting effect. Overall the artwork is stellar.
The Hulk isn’t the best starting off point for new readers. I personally think the storyline should be read by someone more familiar with the protagonist’s past exploits, or at least some history. In saying that, it is a damn fine story in its own right. Dogs of War gives us a fascinating insight into the psychological relationship between Dr. Bruce Banner and his alternate ego, The Hulk.
This one is highly recommended and I dare say is a close second to the Spider-Man book in this series.
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