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Incredible Hulk #1: Review

Jun 2023
Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Nic Klein

Story Name:

Age of Monsters

Review & Comments

Rating:
4.5 stars

Incredible Hulk #1 Review by (June 21, 2023)

Review: Promising opening, drawing us back to the IMMORTAL HULK’s milieu, presenting Hulk as a monster in a world of monsters, stressing the horror aspects of the character. Herein he is portrayed in grittier art by Nic Klein, Hulk not as grotesque as portrayed by Joe Bennett so we may be dodging some of his more grotesque body horror moments. Klein’s Hulk is a big scary guy with long hair, which is already enough to terrify an ordinary human; his transformation gets quite gruesome, as he changes in parts: first his arms grow big, then his teeth (!), followed by his shoulders and then the complete body. Spoke too soon about the body horror. There’s also a callback to HULK (2021) as Hulk’s psyche being harnessed to power Starship Hulk has naturally made the big green guy angry with Bruce, carrying on the psychological metaphors built into that series. And there’s a monster family on his trail to provide some grim conflict with more to learn about Betty “Harpy/Red Harpy/Red She-Hulk” Banner. A very promising first issue.

Comments: Hulk closed the Green Door at the end of IMMORTAL HULK #50; the Starship Hulk phase was in HULK (2021), the immediately preceding series. The group led by the Eldest first appeared in HULK ANNUAL #1 (2023). Tony Stark is mentioned as working with the FBI on their Hulk Mission so Iron Man may show up for a guest appearance in the future. The scenes of the climactic summoning of monsters includes glimpses of Moloids and Man-Thing. Issue includes a brief essay by new writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson about his vision for the series.






 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Incredible Hulk #1 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

One year ago, a band of robbers entered a newly discovered tomb in Iraq, only hours before a university team was to arrive. They discover a huge headless monster on a throne, with mummies at its feet. As they look around for valuables to steal, Trudy, a female member of the team, picks up a small skull and is possessed by a spirit. A huge monster, crocodile jaws and huge claws, bursts through her skin and slaughters the others. It then addresses the mummies, promising to free them now that the Green Door is shut….

Bruce Banner shows up at a Kentucky diner, ordering sandwiches to go. He stops to feed a fellow patron’s dog. Then the waitress speaks to him in Hulk’s voice, “Warned you, Banner. Should have stayed away.” Terrified, he flees the diner for the woods nearby, pursued by the voice of the Hulk///

///then he wakes in the woods, dressed only in tattered pants, with a dead dog by his side. He pops a dislocated shoulder back into place and sees police and emergency vehicles at the diner, wrecked, with the words “Your fault” written on the wall as the lady’s dog sits alone, barking at him….

A teen girl called Charlie sneaks out of her home past her drunken father and tries to put the car into working condition so she can run away from home but her dad catches her and she dashes into the woods….

An FBI team convenes at the diner, suspecting the Hulk and taking all cautionary measures. Another group, the family of monsters in human form led by the Eldest (resembling Trudy from the prologue), also arrives to search for Hulk. One of them asks Eldest for permission to feed. It is granted and the monster bursts through its human skin and heads out….

Charlie’s dad in the car catches up to her on the road. She dashes to the side and the car hits a tree just as, mere yards away, the FBI team has caught up with Bruce and has him trapped in a force field. Bruce tries to explain that Hulk is now his enemy, bitter about being trapped in Bruce’s psyche to power Starship Hulk—and then Hulk bursts out, clobbers the Agents, telling them “Leave me alone,” before stomping off into the woods. Charlie’s dad drags himself out of the wreckage and years of pent-up anger over abuse she has suffered lead to Charlie beating and kicking the injured man, screaming “Leave me alone!” She walks away and the monster seen earlier drops from the trees and feasts on the man’s body, taking his form. The rest of the family arrives and he is able to tell them where the Fractured Son, the one called Hulk, has gone. Eldest is glad the vessel (Bruce) wants to be free of the godflesh. It is then revealed that a mind-controlled Betty Ross Banner is with them, called a child of the Mother of Horrors. The Eldest then calls on all the monsters of the world, to seek out the Fractured One, mentioning that his flesh is the key to freeing the Mother of Horrors, issuing the Age of Monsters….



Nic Klein
Nic Klein
Matthew Wilson
Nic Klein (Cover Penciler)
Nic Klein (Cover Inker)
Nic Klein (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Cory Petit.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Betty Ross
Betty Ross

(Elizabeth Ross)
Bruce Banner
Bruce Banner

(Robert Bruce Banner)
Hulk
Hulk

(Bruce Banner)



> Incredible Hulk: Book info and issue index

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