Review: ‘Hulk’ #2 Is Both Simple And Complicated
by Tony Thornley
When a new volume or run of a series is just starting out, it’s important to give the series a unique hook or identity. It’s not enough to just jump in running, but to create a reason to stick around. So the question here is whether Hulk #2 does that.
Donny Cates, Ryan Ottley, Cliff Rathburn, Frank Martin, and Cory Petit continue down their new path here. It’s an interesting issue with some similarities to another story from these creators.
The Hulk has been transformed into a multiverse hopping starship. As Banner tries to guide his monstrous body to his mysterious destination, his Hulk persona is buried deep. The Hulk does his best to fight the way back to the top, but something might stop both personas from coming out on top…
It was almost two years ago when Cates took over Thor, and while I enjoyed most of his inaugural arc, it has some issues. With the second issue of Hulk, we’re seeing a lot of the same problems, largely with pacing. This issue sees cyborg/smashtronaut Hulk blast through a group of extradimensional warriors (I did chuckle at their acronym once I got it), Banner making the Hulk persona increasingly angry, and then Hulk fights an abstract energy being. It’s simple and it’s over quick, and I’m worried that we’re going to see a repeat of what we saw with the first Thor arc.
Cates really is a good writer, despite how his personality sometimes overshadows that fact. Regardless, he struggles with his first arcs being way more style over substance, and it often turns me off. If there were a little more meat on the bone I think I would be bought in quite a bit more. Thankfully, he’s usually paired with incredible artists, and this issue might be one of his best looking at Marvel yet.
Ottley’s art was good but a little rough last issue. With Rathuburn joining him on inks, it clicks much better. Every page is dynamic, and the opening sequence is timed just right for the action and comedy beats to land extremely well. I still dislike the smashtronaut design, but Ottley seems to be avoiding it as much as he can. His fight scenes in the Hulk’s mindscape are great, with a huge scale and layouts that make them pop off the page. Really the only downside to the art is Martin’s over-reliance on reds, which makes the issue feel fairly monotone.
It’s an interesting issue, and has a lot of promise. But without a lot more substance, this run may end up DOA before the end of the first arc.
Hulk #2 is available now from Marvel Comics.
A completely gorgeous issue ends up with an extremely slight story. It’s still incredibly fun, but needs a lot more substance.