After the cataclysmic finale to the last issue, all the players scatter to regroup. Doc Samson is retrieved by Gamma Flight. Reporter Jackie McGee continues to map a horrifying trail for her story. Bruce, or Joe, or whoever he is today, regroups on the outskirts of town to make sense of it all. But the monstrosities surrounding everyone aren’t big on letting up.
I can picture Al Ewing, surrounded by dusty blackboards in a dank basement setting explaining to a wide-eyed Joe Bennett his plans for this brilliant series. Like some dark and twisted take on Doc Brown and Marty McFly.
This is truly a series that continues to evolve while still staying true to the very essence of a character created more than 50 years ago. It can still cut it. Not only as an iconic comic character but as a paragon of new ideas and with a distinctive voice in the horror genre.
Al Ewing takes the psychology of Peter David’s run and goes deeper with it. Using the edges of his story to explore the multiple personalities that have warred within Bruce for years.
He uses the Hulks collection of sometime-foes and Doc Samson to expose the workings of the story. Where it’s been, where it’s going, and what it all means. Keeping the reader informed without talking down to them.
He pulls together elements of other creators runs and fashions them into a working, breathing, continuity. Much in the same way Geoff Johns took every element of Green Lantern and put each piece in the exact right order. The way Grant Morrison refused to be embarrassed by the most trivial aspects of silver-age nonsense in creating his Batman epic.
Al Ewing gives commentary and purpose to every facet, big or puny, of Hulk lore, and he does it all with the utmost respect.
Vertigo in its famous beginnings produced work like this on a regular basis. Growing up a fan of Dale Keown/Gary Frank era’s decidedly super-hero genre Hulk, I never thought I would revel in a time that the Hulk worked so well as a Vertigo-type book.
The three-pronged horror approach never loses a step. The psychological fear is ever-present. The sci-fi/body horror feel is perfectly pronounced. The atmospheric and visual frights are right on the money.
Joe Bennett can scare you simply by showing you how ancillary characters react to the monsters. The expressions, the sheer mood, in his work tells a thousand sleepless night’s stories. It’s EC comics transported into today’s era.
Tell me his Lovecraftian like re-design of Abomination isn’t terrifying and terrific. The sudden appearance of Betty and some other luminaries are on par with the most wincing, shrieking, the terror of your favourite celluloid creep fests.
This series continues to pulsate and thump like an ominous throbbing heartbeat.