Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Incredible Hulk #600
Loeb, McGuinness, Lee, Buschemi, Van Lente, Ryan, Espin, & Sale
The big, giant, anniversary takes over classic numbering using very fuzzy math to achieve 600 issues is here with a puzzling assortment of stories. Essentially there are two new stories, a backup story and one reprint along with a cover gallery, some previews and a two page cartoon. Depending on how you personally view an anniversary issue you may find this largely disappointing. Fortunately, Marvel has published quite a few of these types of issues recently for their characters so there are plenty of options for points of comparisons. I found the content to be perplexing at best and a waste of $5 at worst.
If you view an anniversary issue as a celebration of a character then you’d have to wonder how this type of an issue doesn’t make use of its amazing history. For example, they dust off Stan Lee to provide a story for the issue but how do you not include Peter David at all for this comic? On other hand, if you view this as a neat way to bring in new readers and build up future stories then how do you not include Greg Pak who had success on this title in the last two years and is penning the title going forward? It seems like Marvel couldn’t decide whether to set up the future or fully honor the past so it tried to do a little of each leaving me confused on the purpose of giving over 104 pages of material without either one of David or Pak.
The main story is told out of continuity but try not to think too hard where it fits into established continuity. It seems that the idea here is to reset the previous issues of red Hulk into this one story to provide a condensed, slightly different version of the stories published in the previous twelve issues. The story actually makes good sense in the self contained pages of this single issue. It makes no sense when you jam back into the fold of the last year’s worth of stories.
Basically, Modok is behind this sinister plot to create a super soldier army of Hulks. Doc Samson has an alter ego now as well as Rick Jones and whoever is the red Hulk. In this installment we are led to believe this all takes place right after World War Hulk but after the Abomination was killed by red Hulk. The story wraps up with what appears to be the end of Banner turning into the green Hulk and he’s rescued from Modok.
The problems are many with this story. It seems, based on its placement, that any story with a battle between red and green Hulks took place before this issue. If this is the case then Skaar should still be lurking about. However, we aren’t explicitly told how green Hulk gets captured in the first place. Or is it that this story takes place before Skaar shows up? If that’s the case then how did Banner turn into the green Hulk to fight the red Hulk when Skaar does show up? And where is Modok in all of those stories if not with the red Hulk? I’m sure someone out there can figure out how this fits in.
Moving along we get a Stan Lee – Rodney Buchemi story that is pretty good as it explores an isolated battle between the two Hulks that is simply hysterical. It’s packed with one-liners and surprises. It doesn’t have much of a point other than a nice fight, with some pretty artwork that makes you chuckle.
Finally, we have a backup story about Savage She-Hulk (Banner’s daughter not cousin) that picks up threads explored in her mini series and will continue in Incredible Hulk #601. We also have a reprint of issue one of Hulk Gray, a cover gallery and a two page cartoon from Aubrey Loeb.
As I mentioned this issue isn’t exactly entirely new reader friendly as the She-Hulk story is a continuation of previous stories and the red Hulk story barely gives you any context for the story. On the other hand, long time readers barely get any green Hulk in it. It’s just a confusing floor plan here.
The stories aren’t bad but the issue as a whole really pertains to someone looking to find out about the red Hulk or people already reading it. If you are looking for the green Hulk of the past then this issue might be your speed. It’s too bad a nice round numbered issue is for completists, but that’s the case here. The art is pretty fun though so if you like $5 worth of art then this could be something to check out.
3 out of 5 geek goggles