Another very enjoyable issue of Waid’s Hulk, and one that has a lot of fun revisiting the character’s origins.
The first few pages, before the plot really begins, are just a massive ball of awesome, as Hulk and Banner-ROB try and make their way to the final Chronarchist, only to be waylaid by all sorts of villains in crazy time-periods and situations. So we see Hulk fight the Abomination on the Moon, during the Moon Landing, he goes up against Sandman in Ancient Egyptian times and finally, against Fin Fang Foom on Christopher Columbus’ ship. This is Waid just having a blast with time-travel, and as I’ve said before, it’s a nice break from the more dour, realistic (if such a concept can be realistic) time-travel stories in other Marvel books. Adding to the fun is the fact that Hulk himself keeps shifting into other forms. So whilst he starts as the current version, we also get to see Mister Fixit and Gladiator Hulk from Planet Hulk show up again, which is always cool.
Eventually, Hulk and Banner do get to where they are trying to go, which is the Hulk’s point of origin. Waid does a good job here of reminding us of who the players were on that day, like General Ross being a dick to Bruce Banner, and the villainous Igor, but for Hulk aficionados, it’s nothing new. Luckily, we do find out more about the Chronarchists, and it turns out that Zarrko, the dude who sent Hulk on this quest, has been behind everything the whole time! Which in hindsight, is pretty obvious, but hey, the best twists always are. Basically what happens is that, just as Bruce Banner pushes Rick Jones into the trench and is about to get irradiated and Hulked up, present-day Hulk and Banner arrive, and Hulk pushes Banner into the trench too. Robo-Banner is able to get himself back inside his own, younger body, but what happens to the Hulk is much more interesting. What the hell happens when the Hulk is irradiated by Gamma Radiation? He becomes a Double-Hulk! With spikes and all kinds of hair and glowy eyes, it’s pretty awesome. Double-Hulk! How the hell is Banner supposed to stop this, and how has it fucked up the time-stream?
Next issue is going to be crazy.
The art here was a bit of a mish-mash, with Mahmud Asrar drawing the first 5 or so pages, but then Kim Jacinto the rest, and they don’t have styles that mesh very well. In the previous issue, Jacinto’s style did complement Scalera’s, but here, one is very smooth and fluid, and the other a bit jagged. Both are good, but it was a disconcerting change. I did love Jacinto’s Double-Hulk, and seeing Asrar draw Fin Fang Foom did really bring to mind how similar he is to Immonen (although unfortunately, Fin Fang Foom didn’t put anyone in his pants this issue). So yeah good artists, but perhaps too different. But at least we got Double-Hulk.