The first issue of the new Hulk series was… alright overall. It needed some work in a few areas for sure, but overall a decent start. Let’s see how the second issue fares. Is it good?
Hulk (2017) #2 (Marvel Comics)
The easiest way to sum up this comic is that if you liked the first issue, you’ll like the second since it’s about the same in terms of quality. The story continues to proceed at a slow pace, taking its time to reveal what Jennifer looks like as She-Hulk and investigating Maise Brown’s case… sort of. That’s about it for the story though, with not much ultimately accomplished or learned until the very end of the comic. It’s all about building to when the Hulk bomb drops while showing Jen trying to desperately keep it together.
Writer Mariko Tamaki’s approach to the comic’s storytelling, though much slower as mentioned, is also thoughtful as a result, showing how Jen is barely keeping herself together and likely about to snap at almost any second. Like before, the issue is not written badly, but there is a small problem that is out of the writer’s hand. I get the idea of setting up for when She-Hulk finally makes her appearance and we see what she finally looks like, but the cat is already out of the bag. Between Marvel’s promotions, the solicits, the actual covers, variant covers, and Civil War II, everyone already knows what Grey She-Hulk looks like. As such, the buildup doesn’t feel nearly as tense as it should be and we’re just kind of waiting until she finally blows. It’s like if a movie company revealed the killer or twist for a movie on the poster or in the trailers, despite its creators trying to keep things a secret until later. The creators of the piece of media have the best intentions, but the company itself already screwed the pooch on things, so the effort ends up wasted.
Kids are constantly destroying my wonderful snowmen! I’ll never recover!
The characterization for Jennifer Walters is questionable like mentioned in the last review, but the writer continues to show us her inner pain and torment. It works a lot better in this issue than the last, since Tamaki spends some time focusing on Jen’s loss of her cousin and her reaction to how people perceive the (Banner) Hulk’s death. It also thankfully tones down the narration significantly, letting the artwork do more showing and also comes across less heavy handed. The dialogue still struggles at times with awkwardness (Jen’s interaction with her assistant), though not too bad in some areas, while most the supporting cast don’t make much of an impression. Probably the weakest part of the writing is how uneventful the comic comes across; there’s just really not much going on other than exploring Jen’s psyche (which isn’t bad, but kind of limited) and the buildup, which is something we’ve already seen. For a monthly series at four-dollar price tag for about 20 pages of content, it feels like there should be more to this comic than there is.
The artwork is done by Nico Lean and another artist named Dalibor Talajic jumps in to assist. As with first issue, Lean does a good job overall here. The layouts are put together well with the story, usually at least, flowing well from panel to panel. The characters are decently drawn and Lean does a solid job with their expressions, outside of one or two points. Matt Milla’s colors looked pretty good here as well, definitely helping to create the right mood and tone in areas (like the Snow Hulk moment). Then there’s Talajiic, who is not a bad artist. He’s just as good with layouts and a conveying a scene, and with Milla’s colors, it’s not too obvious when the artists switch places. That being said, Talajiic’s a bit more detailed and has a grimier tone in his line work, while Lean’s more cartoonish/anime-equse in a way. Neither of them are bad at all, but I hope this isn’t a bad sign that there will be multiple artists on future issues or that a new artist will have to take over for the book already.
I’ll never able to enjoy these glowing green contacts in peace!
Is It Good?
Hulk #2, like the first issue, is not a bad comic. The issue handles its subject matter about a character who is suffering from PDSD as best as it can. However, it’s very slow moving approach and buildup, despite the audience already knowing the reveal, keeps things rather uneventful and light on story. With a lack of content, excitement, and its plodding nature, Hulk is still not yet showing its true potential. It’s not a bad comic, but for what it offers right now, it’s not enough. Again, just sit and wait on this for a little while longer to see where it goes.