Duggan, Bagley, Hennessy, Keith
I will most certainly be SPOILING!
After the climactic conclusion of the last story arch, Tony Stark took it upon himself to fix the damaged portion of Bruce Banner’s brain with Extremis. Not only did it work faster than any of his scientists, including himself, had expected, they had no idea just how effective the treatment would be. In essence, they just made one of the leading minds in the Marvel universe smarter, they just didn’t know how much.
It is hard to say how much time has passed between the end of the fourth issue and the beginning of this one, but there have been some intense changes. This issue opens up with the Hulk traveling by literal leaps and bounds to the united republic of Valnon. The country, which is clearly a parallel with real world China, is unveiling it’s Gamma-powered military might. That grand unveiling does not go as expected under the shadow, again literally, of the Hulk.
This wholesale destruction is par for the course for the Hulk, and being aimed at Gamma weapons really doesn’t come as a shock either. The next page, however, I was not prepared for.
The Hulk is a genius.
He no longer wishes to even be called the Hulk, but Doc Green. He is apparently running a lab that is hyper funded by someone, we don’t know who, with a particularly intelligent staff. His main focus appears to be curing Gamma induced transformations. Most of the team asks basic questions, but Dr. Leucenstern shoots to the heart of the issue.
“Is Bruce ok?”
From the panel following the question, we can assume that he is not.
In another room, the two doctors who are formulating the serum from his blood that will cure Gamma transformations stumble upon seven vials; three red, two green, and two blue. The Hulk’s other project, some kind of nanite that can survive in his blood stream is going to require some heavy-duty material. Adamantium, to be exact. To that end, Hulk has created a Tachyon portal and steals what he needs from Kang the Conqueror’s trophy room. He does this casually and off handedly. His genius is actually a bit unsettling in it’s portrayal and I really dig the mad scientist vibe I am getting from it.
A week later, Hulk is working in his lab and sees Rick James, former Captain Marvel and current gamma monster who goes by the name of A-Bomb to set himself apart from his predecessor, the Abomination. He has just used his power to clap hard enough to put out a fire to save a bunch of people in a burning building.
Hulk shows up and tries to convince Rick to give up his powers, appealing to a sense of loyalty and history that I assume comes from their meeting during the Red Hulk saga. A super strong punch is A-Bomb’s curt reply to the offer. I absolutely love Hulk’s resigned final words of the issue:
“Guess it’s time to smash.”
This is an incredible direction to take this hero. For one, it kind of returns him to the semi-villain state that he was born to. While he is still in the mad scientist role, I can’t help but notice taking away everyone else’s Gamma strength is just a smarter way to say “Hulk is the strongest.” I have no idea what the nanite’s are for, but I love the throw back to the Mr. Fixit era of Hulk, with Hulk keeping Banner locked inside. If things keep up in this vein, I foresee a long fun for this series of the Hulk.
My rating 5 / 5