Marvel’s Hulk Faces a Giant X-Men in Cates & Ottley’s Run – And It Works (Review)

In Donny Cates and Ryan Ottley’s Hulk, Bruce Banner’s many personalities come to life like never before. The series follows Bruce as he pilots the jade goliath like a massive mech-suit while utilizing the Hulk’s anger as a source of fuel. This wily premise pushes the hero into uncharted territory while keeping the toxic relationship between Banner and the Hulk in check. After a spectacular debut, Hulk #2 raises the stakes and pits the Hulk against an array of oversized enemies while challenging readers to keep up with the pulse-pounding pace.

Hulk #2 opens with the Alternate Universe Timeline Hazard Operations Response & Intervervention Team confronting the Hulk on the outskirts of the known Marvel Universe. After escaping the Avengers at the end of the last issue, Bruce aims to use the Hulk’s anger to fuel his journey into the great beyond. Unfortunately, massive vines reach through a mysterious portal and threaten to pull the Hulk into a dimensional fissure. Recognizing that he needs more power to continue, Bruce increases the threat against his internal Hulk by generating a horde of monsters to anger him — creating more fuel for their voyage. Regrettably, these beasts prove to be inadequate adversaries for the Hulk, which forces Banner to increase the threat against himself by bringing back an iconic foe. However, when this conflict proves to be insignificant against the Hulk’s might, Banner discovers that his current dilemma may be coming from a familiar source.

RELATED: Hulk’s Worst Marvel Enemies Are Both Founding Avengers – Which Ones (and Why) Are Tragic

Donny Cates is the only person on Earth who could land Hulk‘s premise. As evidenced in his Venom run, Cates is a master of reinvention and is adept at approaching classic characters from new angles without abandoning their core principles. In the case of Hulk, the series has often been a vehicle for exploring how one’s inner demons can be a source for eventual prosperity. By turning that into the literal premise of his series, Cates honors the character’s history in the most imaginative way possible. On top of that, the book is just entertaining. Cates has an unparalleled ability to capture the spirit of kids playing with their toys, pitting the Hulk against some ridiculous threats so he can smash them. There’s nothing wrong with having some good ol’-fashioned nonsensical fun, but the fact that Cates supports this spectacle with genuine character work makes Hulk something special.

RELATED: How Marvel’s Worst Movie Villain (and Forgotten TV Thug) Became a Hulk-Level Hero

Still, the real draw of Hulk is the work of artists Ryan Ottley, Cliff Rathburn, and Frank Martin. The three are firing on all cylinders in this issue, as the Hulk fights Gorgilla, Goom, Googam, and Fin Fang Foom, before confronting a giant-sized X-Men. The issue’s action sequences are terrifically violent without feeling scary, existing like an extreme episode of Looney Tunes. It is exciting to see Ottley channel what made Invincible so successful in his work here. This skill is perhaps best showcased in the book’s opening when the Hulk tears through a group of interdimensional heroes as if they were a bunch of jabronis. The sequence has a kinetic quality that leaps off the page in a way no other artist could deliver. To that point, Rathburn and Martin make for a dynamic pairing, turning the issue’s frenetic imagery into delectable eye candy. This team is perfect for each other.

Overall, Hulk #2 is another enthralling chapter in the life of Marvel’s strongest hero. Cates, Ottley, Rathburn, and Martin continue their exceptional work while raising the stakes and positioning Bruce Banner as the real monster behind the Hulk’s hardships. While some may be shocked by the bombastic tone in contrast with Al Ewing and Joe Bennett’s Immortal Hulk, it is refreshing to see a character of the Hulk’s stature embark on a journey that feels genuinely unprecedented. Just like the titular hero, there’s nothing quite like Hulk — and that’s what makes it so incredible.

KEEP READING: Marvel Revealed the One Way to ‘Stop’ Hulk – But It’s Not What You Expect

from Ultimate Comic Blog

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