Alright, Donny Cates’s Hulk run has been a lot of fun so far. I expect as much. Bruce Banner somehow converted the Hulk into a rocket ship to travel the multiverse after…something happened.
So, what’s up with that Betty?
Issue: Hulk #6, April 2022
Writer: Donny Cates
Artists: Ryan Ottley and Cliff Rathburn
The Plot: The Hulk’s first trip to another reality comes to what could be a very literally explosive finale.
Commentary: So, kudos to Cates for setting an antagonist in plain sight. From the first issue of his run, there was a Betty Ross-Banner on the “bridge” of the mindscape of Starship Hulk. The best thing to assume is she was some other delusion of Banner’s while he acted as captain and the Savage Hulk was the power source, pounding his way through whatever threats were sent his way virtually to give the physical body power. The various levels in there do seem to be too much at times, and this issue showed “Level 9” is the Inhuman Royal Family, Thanos, and a bunch of cosmic gods that included a Hulk-faced Galactus.
So, where did this Betty come from? She commandeered the Hulk at the end of issue 5. She doesn’t seem to be someone who has the best of intentions for anyone at heart. She must be somebody.
Well, she claims to be the Hulk’s Hulk. Her name might be Titan, and when she comes out in the real world, the Hulk gets a whole lot bigger, meaner, and monstrous.
Now, the Hulk having a Hulk isn’t exactly new. The AXIS storyline where a group of heroes and villains had their moralities switched around showed a timid Hulk eventually getting mad and turning into the slate-skinned Kluh. He said he was the Hulk’s Hulk. But does anyone even want to remember AXIS? I don’t. This Titan character seems much more dangerous somehow, and the reasoning that everyone, including the One-Above-All as revealed at the end of the Immortal Hulk run, has a Hulk means, well, why can’t the Hulk have a Hulk, a being that comes out at different times? The only difference is that Titan doesn’t seem to be triggered by rage. Why would she? The Savage Hulk is always angry. She just comes out when Banner lets his guard down enough for her to take over. The Hulk is restrained in the engine room, and most noteworthy is the Hulk actually apologizes to Banner in this issue, but Titan, well, might be defeated as much as the facet of someone’s mind can be defeated.
And while this is going on, the powerless Banner of this other world has a final confrontation with President Thunderbolt Ross.
This is a lot of fun as a series, but as I said, I expect as much from Cates. The biggest downside is the next issue is the start of a crossover with Cates’s Thor series, and I am a bit behind on that one. So, I might not be back on Hulk for a little while.