Comic Book Review: Hulk #3
After a quick catch-up, I have to say I am more than impressed by what has been done with Jennifer Walters as a Hulk. It was anyone’s guess what would happen when they decided to call this book Hulk since Bruce Banner was dead. Seeing how Amadeus Cho was distanced from taking on that title, it only made sense that Jennifer having the strongest connection to Bruce should carry on that name in an ongoing. But more than this, what grabs you is how this one character had the most genuine story that came out of the events of Civil War II. An event that could have been so much better, but you thank it for this version of Jennifer that we are able to experience.
Right now I would give this book the label of a mental thriller. Not just for the PTSD-like troubles Jennifer experiences, but the general fear of losing herself. That is a dangerous thing in a world like this. Anger at what was done to her in that fight against Thanos, anger at a world that praises Hawkeye for killing her own blood. That can leave you in a very irritable state, or in Jennifer’s case hyper-irritability. Just as they say she wakes up, goes to work, helps her new clients, goes home, watches a cooking video, and goes to sleep. But those are all normal things she has to do just to stay herself in-between everything else. It knocks you at the edge of your seat to see the small things that sort of triggers her. In fact I love that they use that word here because so often today we forget that the word trigger really does relate to mental trauma. Triggers are usually serious, and this is as serious as it can get being a Hulk.
Seeing what her personal life is like now was a tough pill to swallow. This change in Jen they took very seriously as you would expect her to even be able to face those closest to her.
It goes without saying that I do like the support system they are developing for Jennifer along the way. I want to say supporting cast, but Jennifer is someone who can handle herself. What she needs is a support system who can acknowledge the fact that she is not okay and will need a hand here and there to keep her from completely falling apart by herself.
The escalation of this case for Maise you could see coming a mile away when you saw there was someone she had to protect her, but the execution was great. A situation that could have been so simple for Jen has not been made complicated by murder, the last thing someone like her needs to be dealing with at the moment. Though before that, looking into Masie’s personal life for who she used to be was heartbreaking. It was then that you could understand why Jen was so drawn to this case and why Maise’s situation overall was one to sympathize. In this kind of Marvel Universe it is hard not to get the short end of the tick between unfortunate circumstances, becoming mutant or inhuman. So many possibilities and she turned into a shell of who she once was.
This art team for Hulk is so fitting for what this is. It is one thing to call a book grounded, though it is another thing for it to look grounded. Following Jen through her daily activities makes this feel as normal as things can get. Nico Leon and Matt Milla take every opportunity to show you the world around Jen. The good and the bad. I did feel that they could have rolled back a bit in whatever it was that this thing did to Tick. From the impact we saw of that strike from the issue before, it would have strengthened the description of what happened to him to see just a hint of the damage. I get this is Marvel, but some things you can take a chance on. Aside from this I just loved the transition in the way Leon draws who Maise was and who she is now. You could in so many ways take in what was stripped from her after that attack. And that same impact you could feel from the way he draws Hellcat as well. I do enjoy when the mask doesn’t keep you from finding way to expression an emotion or reaction. The continued way Milla uses muted colors adds to the appeal of seriousness of Jen’s story. This isn’t your average superhero story and she isn’t trying to be one. So you want to have more natural colors and take advantage of the opportunity to go bold when there is a hint of the Hulk emerging. That look in her face every time just screams that someone is close to getting it whether they deserve it or not.
I haven’t felt touched like this in a good while. Hulk right now even being on issue #3 is not the book you want to sleep on. There isn’t a stronger story out there from Marvel that tries to address all the things that can ruin you in the business of being a superhero. Not everything you can bounce back from, and Jen will have one hell of a climb to anything normal. Just losing control of her Hulk is bad enough.