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Review: Hulk #1 from Marvel Comics

Comic and television writer Jeph Loeb and superstar artist Ed McGuinness chronicle the mystery surrounding the murder of the gamma-powered villain The Abomination in Marvel Comics’ latest new title: Hulk #1.
In their infinite wisdom, Illuminati members Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic Four, Dr. Strange, Iron Man and Black Bolt of the Inhumans concocted a plan to rid the Earth of the Hulk once and for all. After tricking him into going into space to stop a rogue computer virus, the Hulk’s former “friends” refused to return the Hulk to Earth, instead sending him on a crash course with a planet that was supposed to be a tranquil utopia, where the Hulk could live in peace. Instead, the Hulk ended up on Sakaar, a brutal planet ruled by an evil megalomaniac known as the Red King, thus beginning the Planet Hulk storyline. Weak from his long journey, the Hulk is beaten, tortured and forced to fight in a gladiatorial arena for the amusement of the Red King.

The Hulk ultimately overwhelmed his captors and went on to lead a small army of warriors—his “Warbound”—in a coup against the Red King. Successful in toppling the Red King, the Hulk was celebrated as the “Sakaarson,” the savior of the planet, and married Caiera, one of his Warbound. Shortly thereafter, however, the warp core of the ship he arrived in exploded, killing Caiera and the Hulk’s unborn child she carried inside of her. The Hulk blamed the explosion that decimated Sakaar on the Illuminati and set course for the Earth, intent on exacting revenge on those he felt were responsible.

The Hulk returned to Earth announcing the beginning of World War Hulk by declaring, “Puny humans. I’ve come to smash.” Having already defeated Black Bolt on the moon on his way to Earth, the Hulk called out Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic and Dr. Strange and explained to the world their role in the deaths of countless Sakaarians. After skirmishes with a number of heroes, the Hulk captured his enemies and imprisoned them in a gladiatorial arena his Warbound had built out of Madison Square Garden.

The Sentry, arguably the most powerful hero in the Marvel Universe, remained on the sidelines until the Hulk ordered Mr. Fantastic to kill Iron Man after besting him in combat. The Sentry engaged the Hulk mano-a-mano, and the two unleashed unimaginably powerful blows upon one another until they both fell to the ground in their human forms, completely spent. It was revealed that Miek, one of the Hulk’s Warbound, was actually the one responsible for the explosion that killed Caiera and countless others. Feeling betrayed and enraged beyond measure, the Hulk began to seethe with deadly gamma radiation. Iron Man realized that he could no longer take any chances with the Hulk and unleashed a satellite weapon that left the Hulk in his human form once again, that of Bruce Banner. Banner was quickly taken into custody and imprisoned deep below ground in a S.H.I.E.L.D. holding facility. Which brings us to…

Hulk #1 begins with Leonard “Doc” Samson and She-Hulk investigating the murder of Emil Blonsky, AKA The Abomination, and the devestation of an entire Russian village, alongside Iron Man, Commander Hill and General “Thunderbolt” Ross. There is evidence of a struggle, with enormous footprints left at the scene and a high level of residual gamma radiation, but The Abomination appeared to have been shot to death and the Hulk has never been known to use—or need—a gun.

Before the team could exhume The Abomination’s remains, however, Russia’s home-grown super team, The Winter Guard, arrives to claim Blonsky’s body and take over the investigation. Iron Man manages to keep a clear head and tells them that S.H.I.E.L.D. has clearance to run the investigation, but Crimson Dynamo points out that General Ross, Doc Samson and She-Hulk are not S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. The usually cool Doc Samson explodes, unleashing a powerful blow that staggers The Winter Guard’s Captain America-esque leader, Red Guardian. Chaos ensues as the two “teams” go at it, until a small girl staggers into sight. Over and over again the girl mumbles the Russian word for “red.”

Meanwhile, Rick Jones awakens to find himself half-dressed in the freezing climes of the Alaskan Frontier, apparently no worse for wear after being impaled by Miek and left for dead. Below him a fire rages and Rick wonders what is happening to him.

Back at Gamma Base in Death Valley, Nevada, Doc Samson and General Ross proceed through incredibly tight security to see Patient #113, Bruce Banner, the incredible Hulk!

Hulk #1 was a lot of fun! For the first issue of a new Hulk title, there is just as much mystery as action, which was a pleasant surprise. Jeph Loeb’s writing is always crisp and his dialogue is fluid. Ed McGuinness’ unique artwork is always a joy to behold. His disproportionately muscular anatomy and anime-influenced action sequences explode off the pages.

Who killed Emil Blonsky? Is Rick Jones the new Hulk and if so, how did he survive being impaled by Miek? Is this new Hulk really red? We’ll have to check in on Hulk #2 for the answers to those questions!

I rate this book as four FISTS out of five!

4 Strong Fists

Hulk #1 is on sale now!

PRICE: $2.99

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Brent Sprecher
Earth's Mightiest

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