June 19, 2024

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Noteworthy Issues: The Incredible Hulk #3 (August, 2023)

The Hulk doesn't have much time for religion.

I don’t know what exactly made the Hulk so much more hostile to Banner than he used to be, but that does lead to a more promising series regardless.

Issue:  The Incredible Hulk #3, August 2023

Writer:  Phillip Kennedy Johnson

Artist:  Nic Klein

The Plot:  The Hulk faces off against a very old thing with a lot of zombie slaves at his disposal.

Commentary:  I have said that I like the way that this run of The Incredible Hulk is leaning heavily into the horror aspects of the character.  The Hulk is a monster, and he may be at his most monstrous in this run.  Yeah, the Immortal Hulk had his scary moments, but he was there to help Banner.  This one?  Not so much.  He may hate Banner more than any other incarnation of the Hulk to ever exist.  This is a Hulk who comes out when he absolutely has to, and he makes the transformation as painful as possible to Banner, and while he will take in teenage runaway Charlie when all is said and done, he also makes it clear that he will not allow her to stay if she does anything to make like easier for Banner.

I know this is probably because of the “Starship Hulk” storyline, but Banner and the Hulk seemed to patch things up by the end there.  Plus, I am pretty sure there were other Hulk personas, so maybe this is just one I haven’t seen before.

Regardless, a Mother of Monsters is coming back, and her Eldest is rallying other monsters from across the Earth to try and do something about the Hulk.  First up is a Lovecraftian nightmare that would probably not be something the Hulk would ever go after if the thing just left the Green Goliath alone.  Since that isn’t going to happen, well, it might get ugly.

There’s some good mythology for Brother Deep the monster, for what it is worth, and Johnson apparently wrote up a prose origin story for the last page, written in character as the Eldest recounts how the One Above All was responsible for a lot of what happened to this things, and since the Hulk is empowered by the One Below All, the One Above All’s own “Hulk,” well…that does explain why the Hulk may have roused this particular creature.  Of course, if they’d just left him alone, they could probably get what they wanted a whole lot faster.

Grade:  A-