Waid, Bagley, Hennessy, Keith
I will most certainly be SPOILING!
I am going to start early by saying the fresh feel of the previous issue, showcasing Hulk’s vulnerability, is completely gone by the beginning of issue #2. This bummer of an issue answers one of the basic questions raised by it’s cover immediately upon opening the cover. Abomination, whom I distinctly remember being murdered by Red Hulk back when the character was new and interesting, has apparently been regrown and rebuilt by the same frightening shadow agency that shot and harvested our big green friend last issue.
We find that SHIELD has stowed Bruce, who is going by the name of Bobby now, in a humble Midwestern town in Kentucky. His brain damage has allowed him to be happy, but it feels almost as if the writer has taken him too far, as Bruce is capable of only child like interactions and menial chores. He plays the part of the lovable simpleton well, but like Lenny from Of Mice and Men, he has his moments of emotional intensity. We know this is like living with an atom bomb when rage brings out the most terrifying monster in the Marvel universe; Hulk.
The entire town, or at least the lion’s share of it, is populated by SHIELD and they are continuing to monitor Bobby at all times. With the attack on Mr. Banner being treated like an inside job, there is a lot of clandestine observation of even the people who are working in the town, even the SHIELD agents.
While Hill and the agents most directly involved with Bobby are discussing possible theories about who did it, a proximity warning begins to go off. Something has been show at Bruce. SHIELD attempts to evacuate the town when the “missile” is revealed to be the now completely rebuilt Abomination!
Here is my first question. If you go through all of the trouble of shooting and harvesting the Hulk, then use it to rebuild the Abomination, why would you send that new resource after the Hulk?
In an attempt to keep Bruce alive, Maria forces his change moments before the Abomination lands atop him. For the second issue in a row, Hulk doesn’t even seem to be the main character in his own ongoing series. The fight that ensues is all the broad stroke devastation that we have come to expect from two gamma monsters duking it out. The most interesting part of this fight is actually the monologue of one of the town’s civilians as he watches the destruction blossom in the center of his home. While the brutish combat continues, the issue ends with soldiers from the shadow agency showing up and declaring their intent to shoot Maria and the civilian.
Now, the issue wasn’t exactly boring, per se. The combat is exactly what we want when we open up most comics with the Hulk in the title or on the cover. But I thought the point of Marvel Now was to take a different approach or to tell a different story? The strong start with the new direction from issue 1 feels like it was immediately tossed to the wayside. As far as the Hulk portion of the comic, he feels like little more than an action distraction while the writer tells the SHIELD story he really wanted to tell. I suppose the new secret agency is intriguing enough, although Marvel is just chalk full of them already.
Despite all of these issues, I still enjoyed reading this month. It wasn’t my favorite pull this week, but it was far from horrible. I can’t put my finger on it, but Hulk #2 still draws my attention. Perhaps it is the art, or perhaps it is loveable simpleton that Banner has become. Either way, I’ll be reading for at least one more month, and I think you should too.
My rating 3 / 5