on February 22, 2009
I'm hard pressed to find a more enjoyable tradepaperback than this collection, the latest in Marvel's Hulk: Peter David Visionaries line of books! Watch as Banner transforms from the green Hulk to the gray Hulk and even both at the same time! MPD at it's finest!
While the first couple of Hulk: Peter David volumes (with artwork by a young Todd McFarlane and containing the first appearance of the Las Vegas Joe Fixit persona of the Hulk) are excellent, this collection is really the pinnacle of David's entire run on the series.
The issues contained inside this collection feature the climax of a years-in-the-making storyline highlighted by the introduction of a New Hulk. All loose ends from David's beginning on the Hulk nearly 3 years prior are tied up and new plots are started! The New Hulk (later known as the Professor Hulk) is a merger of the green hulk, the gray Joe Fixit Hulk, and Banner himself. Also, the supporting cast swells with the introdution of the Pantheon (a super secret think tank dedicated to pushing mankind headlong toward their ultimate future destiny) are seen fully for the first time, and would factor into the series for several more years.
While these issues were sell outs and extremely popular at the time of their initial publication, time has not dulled their enjoyment one iota! I enjoyed them just as much as I did nearly 20 years ago!
My only (very, very minor) complaint is that there are a two filler issues contained within. These were written by David, but the artwork was by non-series regular pencillers and were intended as one-offs to give primary series artist Dale Keown a chance to catch back up on the series. The two stores in question are not bad by any means, they're just jarring when read in context of the larger storyline. One issue features a Grey Hulk vs. Rhino battle during Christmas shopping season at the mall, and the second contains a Doc Samson spotlight issue.
on January 8, 2010
This is one of Peter David's best volumes of comics' work, with one major exception, and that's saying quite a bit for a writer like David who has written some excellent stories and whose career in comics now spans some decades.
This is the volume where David elevated Hulk from a pedestrian comic book cliche' into one of the more genuinely intelligent, interesting and pyschologically engaging reads of its time. In this volume, David completes a character journey he had begun at least two years prior, by completing a transformation of the Hulk from a savage childlike creature into an intelligent but brutish thug and finally into a smart, tough, capable and apparently well adjusted character. For long time readers of the Hulk, this 'fix" is of course deft sleight of hand on David's part. There's a secret to this new, "combination Hulk," with various aspects of the Hulk persona finally appearing "unified." The devil is in the details, and readers discover some years hence, that the Hulk created in these pages isn't a healed, well-adjusted Bruce Banner, but a new persona entirely, albeit possessing some of the qualities of all of the previous incarnations up to this point.
David's approach to the Hulk here is similar in scope to what Alan Moore managed with the Swamp Thing, namely using an existing origin and extrapolating from that origin in an organic, logical way that does not fundamentally change what we already know, but enriches the tapestry in a new and refresing way. For David, the Hulk is essentially a victim of multiple personality disorder, and therefore the changes in personality and appearance by the Hulk all appear to have a rational explanation, as opposed to the usual comic arbitrariness.
The stories themselves are full of humor, action, and old fashioned Hulk smash goodness, and this volume marks the entry of artist Dale Keown, whose rendition of the Hulk became a fan favourite in the early ninetees and continues to be a definitive take.
My only complaint about Peter David's work here, and this volume in particular, is that David, right after the pivotal issue in which he introduces us to this major plot development of the new Hulk, wastes the next two stories on events that are completely unrelated to this development. The first, is a somewhat silly though mildly affecting christmas story about the gray Hulk guest starring the Rhino, while the second is an admittedly interesting prison drama in which the Hulk doesn't even appear. After spending two years of readers' time setting up this major development, David then spends the next two issues completely ignoring it. I removed one star for that boneheaded decision on his part.
When the Hulk finally shows up two issues later, it is oddly in a bar in his hospital pajamas having a beer with some friends, and the usual choas ensues. It was the 80s, comics were about 'action' and the rather blaze' attitude of the new Hulk to his new circumstances were precisely the point, and very much in character, but David might look back on these stories now with a slight hint of embarrassment that he didn't treat the development more seriously or take it a little slower, in the intial stages.
Other than that, this is a great collection of stories and Marvel is taking way too long to release new volumes in this series. This is the kind of volume where you buy one and enjoy what you read so much you buy the rest in the series right away. Buy this if you want great superhero goodness that's also smart and fun.
on June 6, 2013
The problems are piling up for Bruce Banner. While his wife, Betty, has finally been found, his long-buried savage Hulk personality has also resurfaced, disrupting the balance between himself and the gray Hulk, and threatening to destroy them all. Banner also has to deal with an alien conspiracy involving his old friend Rick Jones, as well as the unexpected appearance of a former girlfriend he never thought to see again.
The culmination of Peter David's vision is finally reached. The battle between the gray Hulk and the savage Hulk, with Banner caught in the middle, is impressive, seen from two perspectives as the effects spill over into the real world. Delving further into the shared mind of his lead characters, David revisits the tragic past of Bruce Banner as depicted by Bill Mantlo, finally having them attempt to heal their deeply rooted wounds. The result is the creation of a stronger, smarter, and more stable combined form of Bruce Banner and his two alter-egos. Or so it would seem.
Dale Keown continues to establish himself as a Hulk legend. In this volume, he depicts not one, but three versions of the Hulk (the savage, the gray, and the new merged incarnation). Keown sets them apart from each other with distinctive differences, yet enables them to retain enough similarities to make them all immediately recognizable as the Hulk.
Also making a formal introduction here is the Pantheon. Not the run-of-the-mill superhero team like the Avengers or the Fantastic Four, they are a mysterious group of anti-heroes inspired by Greek mythology, and will play an important role in the Hulk's life in times to come.
The stories, including the light-hearted Christmas Special with the Rhino and the self-contained "Crazy Eight" starring Doc Samson, are indicative of the psychological depth, irreverent humor, and character development that has since become Peter David's trademark. The Hulk was in good hands.
on June 23, 2012
This trade collects Incredible Hulk issues #373-382.
After years of battling with his inner demons, in this case the green and gray hulks, Bruce Banner is finally breaking down. Complications with Skrulls, Rick Jones and an old girlfriend of Mr. Fixit's put his sanity and life in danger, leading to a dramatic change for our favorite "monster." And waiting in the wings all the while is the mysterious Pantheon...
This volume is the beginning of some great stuff for the Hulk, and Peter David really makes the most of the change in status quo going forward. The build up and conclusion to the saga of Banner's personalities is very well done and opened up a lot of intriguing possibilities. There's only a couple of issues of Pantheon stuff here towards the end, but it gives them a good introduction. Dale Keown's artwork is excellent and works perfectly with David's stories.
There are two stand alone side stories in the middle - a farcical Christmas flashback featuring Gray Hulk and Rhino, and a fantastic tale featuring Doc Sampson and a death row inmate. These stories break up the flow of the overarching plot a bit, but as they feature a different artist I'm guessing their publication timing might have been unavoidable. The art (by Bill Jaaska) is a step down from Keown's, but still very good.
Overall Volume 6 of Hulk Visionaries: Peter David is a strong collection that contains pivotal developments and sets up a lot of interesting threads to follow in future volumes. It's also an easily accessible point for new readers interested in David's Hulk to start with if they don't want to go back to Volume 1.
on September 5, 2011
In this sixth volume of the Hulk visionaries, Peter David finally hits his stride on the series. David gets into the psyche of Bruce Banner, to find out what makes him tick, and to explain his multiple personality disorder. The highlight of this collection for me is when Doc Samson helps Bruce to explore his past and deal with his rage issues. The result is a merging of the three personalities (Bruce, Green Hulk and Gray Hulk) into the all-new smart Hulk (my personal favorite). It's just refreshing to see Banner in control of his alter-ego. Also in this volume: a skrull invasion, the return of Marlo Chandler, a fight with the Rhino on christmas eve, and the introduction of the Pantheon! Also, I would be remiss if I failed to mention how great Dale Keown's art is on this series. This man was born to draw the Hulk!
on March 7, 2009
Smart, thrilling, action-packed, and -- believe it or not -- funny! All of these describe the incredible (sorry) job Peter David did in his 10+ years run on The Incredible Hulk. This trade paperback catches the Peter David run at the beginning of the "professor" Hulk persona and is also chock full of elements that will continue to resonate in the Hulk books for years to come. I cannot recommend this book enough!