The Incredible Hulk #1 is the first time in a long while I’ve been split down the middle with the direction of a series. Half of me is really excited with this first issue, I like the feel of the separated Hulk and Banner. The other half of me is pissed that after Greg Pak’s brilliant work with Hulk, where he showed how the monster and the man are one in the same, that new Hulk scribe Jason Aaron has decided to forget any of that happened. I count Aaron as one of those talents that doesn’t care about other author’s contributions or the continuity of a book as long as he makes his point. It’s a conundrum, one that will be answered only with time and further issues.
Issue #1 opens in a underground world where small creatures live alongside their protector and provider, The Hulk. This is a grizzled mountain man style Hulk, long hair, bone necklaces and a beard. In the first scene, The Hulk kills a giant creature, quickly, even offering it some sympathy. Taking the beat home to his new family, Hulk’s celebration is cut short by the arrival of the U.S. Government who have a unique request. They need help against a new foe, Bruce Banner. Apparently Banner is in the jungle screwing the with DNA of local animals in hopes of recreating the Hulk. Is Banner crazy? Who knows, but he is the enemy, for now.
I’m not a fan of Jason Aaron’s writing and while The Incredible Hulk #1 is a great issue, my opinion hasn’t changed. Aaron is a powerhouse out of the gate. He writes huge intros and even nice middle arcs but always, always fails with the end. Schism, Wolverine, Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine, the list goes on. That being said, Aaron outlines the attitude and presence of the newly separated Hulk very well. It’s hard to create a separate identity for an iconic character that has long been connected to a second iconic character, but Aaron makes it work. There’s very little of Banner in issue 1 so I’m fascinated to see what Aaron does with him.
Now let’s talk about the glorious artwork from Marc Silvestri. I have long been a fan of Silvestri’s talent and he knocks it out of the park with issue 1. First up is his redesign of the Hulk. Silvestri’s uncanny knack for detail brings out an entire new dimension to how the Hulk is built, his entire physical presence. I wasn’t too sure about the Hulk as a mountain man but Silvestri’s creation is so gorgeous that it not only works but it leaps off the page. Every single panel is a singular work of art. You don’t just look at Marc Silvestri’s work, you drink it in, you experience it. Even the lack of action in the issue doesn’t matter with artwork like this. As long as Silvestri is behind the art on The Incredible Hulk, I’m on board for the long haul.
With all the positive things happening in Incredible Hulk #1, it’s hard to ignore how the new story arc dismisses a lot of the themes Greg Pak brought into the history. In order to enjoy the series you have to separate it from what Pak has done, which is a shame since he had the greatest run on the strongest one there is in recent memory. That aside, The Incredible Hulk #1 was an excellent kick off to the next stage of the character.
CRAVEONLINE RATING: 8/10