Avengers Now Review: Hulk #5 By Gerry Duggan, Mark Bagley & Andy Hennessy

Editor’s Notes:

Spoilers follow.

HULK #5 Review

“The W Hulk” chapter 1

Story by: Gorgeous Gerry Duggan
Art by: Monstrous Mark Bagley and Dandy Andy Hennessy
Colors by: Racin’ Jason Keith
Letters by: Cool Hand VC’S Cory Petit
Covers by: Amazing Alex Ross, Gregarious Gary Frank with Rad Brad Anderson
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Gerry Duggan on HULK?!? I have to admit I was minutely skeptical to have a man who’s known for main claim to fame is comedy, he does quite a smashing job here (pun intended!)

There’s no rest for the wicked. Hulk in his newest persona of Doc Green gets busy dismantling gamma-powered weapons from the fictional country of North Valnon. So much for another attempt at invasion. Gerry can’t completely remain humorless and uses a tidbit on the second page when some climbers in the Himalayas mistakenly assume the Hulk is the famed Yeti.

I admire writers with encyclopedic knowing, thus having a penchant for using obscure characters. Case in point: The Enclave. In one succinct sentence you know who they are — former would-be conquerors and that their headquarters is colloquially known as the Beehive. New characters are introduced as this group is all science-minded. Doc Green has assembled his own crew to further him in his newest endeavour: Patricia Woman, microneural biologist. Randall Jessup, renewable energies. Damon Veteri, molecular engineer. Melinda Leucenstern, climatologist and astrophysicist. There’s no beating around the bush as the Hulk Doc Green tells them all they will be dismissed after their help with the task at hand. The Jade Giant makes use of a clever pun in telling them that they will all get a big, “green” retention for their service.

Down to the nitty-gritty. Doc needs these scientists to help him develop a serum that will cure gamma radiation induced transformations. As such, like every other cliché out there from every other scientist playing God, “the world is in peril and only we can save it.” You say potato, I say whack-job!! Right from the get-go, one of the scientists blurts that such a feat is “impossible”.

I’ll admit that I’m not an avid Hulk reader. I love the big green guy enough and realize that he is a multi-layered character but the mystery deepens with Bruce Banner’s fate. The recap page is an excellent reminder and indicator. Extremis saved Bruce’s brain but also allowed the Hulk to retain full control and evolve past the dichotomous/symbiotic relationship. What has me real curious is who shot Bruce? I don’t know if that was revealed at the end of Indestructible Hulk or in the first arc of this series.

Mystery abounds — (1) Hulk no longer exists according to this persona. It is a name he abhors and it was given to him by his “captor”. (2) The new members of the Enclave had a previous relationship with Doc’s “silent partner”. (3) Pursuing Bruce’s attacker is not a priority and a “private matter”.

Here’s the twist, the bombshell to it all (pun intended again!) — Doc will rid the world of all gamma-irradiated individuals but this cure will not work on himself!! *gasp* Quite convenient, isn’t it? It’s obvious who the first ‘targets’ or ‘victims’ will be as vials coloured in red, blue, and green are shown.

NERDGASM ALERT!! Melinda deduces that adamantium is needed to produce the nanites. Doc affirms her deduction and takes her into a portal that leads to………Kang the Conqueror’s trophy room!!! She logically asks “Where as we?” while Doc corrects her by asking “When are we?” The portal is the ‘end of time’. Even I was stricken with some fear when I saw Ultron’s ‘lifeless’ body hanging there while Doc makes use of one of his limbs. Any connection to the upcoming AVENGERS movie sequel? I wonder…

Final act. Our first lucky contender is none other than Rick Jones n.k.a. (now known as) A-Bomb! As is expected, the diplomatic approach is used first but failing that, Rick plows one into his long-time friend with the new personality and attitude. Looks like this Doc isn’t so smart after all if he assumed that the history between the two would make Rick “the easy one”. The best line is delivered at the very end — “*sigh* Guess it’s time to smash.” Yes! Score for all the fanboys (and girls)

Gerry delivers a solid script. Anyone who can write science mumbo-jumbo or technobabble gets my wholehearted applause. There’s the right mix of action, dialogue, and acknowledgements to past Marvel history. He expedites the story quickly since the sera are already developed and ready for use by the end of this chapter. This makes sense since the plot must advance quickly and Doc Green is not one to dilly-dally. I will confess that this was just an assignment to me but I’m hungry for the next four parts!!

Mark Bagley’s a true veteran. His art is clean, crisp, and clear-cut. There are two full-page spreads of Doc Green descending towards his target and pounding it with just one fist. The blur effect is opposite on each page. When descending, the blurred lines go upward. They are also diagonal from one another. When pummeling, the blurred lines are in a downward motion. The glares or blasts are also coloured differently: bright white to represent the sun, and red-orange to represent the full effect of the fist. Andy Hennessy inks expertly and Jason Keith compliments with colours. They use the right amount of shadow for nuancing and bright palettes for exposure. Cory Petit makes great use of onomatopoeia with words like “BWOMP” and my abso fave “SKRBLAMMO”.

One last thing: the page count. 20 pages or 22? There’s the recap and a ‘shameless’ full page of all black with the green letters “one week later”.

Observations:

  • Doc Green is no saviour. He purposely fired the rocket to wreck the train Rick was on.
  • I’m glad that the blue vial broke and that A-Bomb won’t be another annotation from yesteryear.

Lastly, looks like the former Hulk wants to be a solo act as he is determined to take down his Agents of S.M.A.S.H. starting with the ever-ebullient Rick Jones.

On the Gamma scale, this is a 9.0 achieving critical mass!!!

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