Hulk #40 was a fairly solid progression of the Omegex story arc. It filled the reader in on just what the Omegex is and how it came to be fighting Red Hulk and provided set up for what’s to come in the rest of the arc. However, it also felt a little too heavy on exposition in parts.
For the first half of the issue, Red Hulk actively fights Omegex. The focus is not on the battle, though, but rather the interaction between Annie and Uravo, who are later joined by Zero/One. It’s explained that they’ve moved out of the timestream that Red Hulk is in so they can converse without being affected by the battle. It gives the bulk of the comic the sense that it is indeed removed from the action, and I felt at times like the more engaging story might really be taking place somewhere else. We’re given quick glimpses at the Red Hulk, but most of the pages are devoted to heavy dialogue and exposition that seem to weigh things down instead of move them along.
That’s not to say the comic didn’t have engaging moments, however. One moment in particular that carried some resonance was when Red Hulk traveled back into the time stream with Zero/One and was able to look at his human self in the past, viewing Betty before she was Red Hulk and deciding whether or not to accept the Leader’s offer to become a hulk in exchange for helping Betty. While General Ross was never a character who was winning anyone’s Father of the Year Award, you can see concern for his daughter there, as well as a willingness to sacrifice for her. It’s that tie to a human self that I’ve always found made the original Hulk compelling, and it was interesting to watch it playing out here with Red Hulk as well.
The art definitely added to the book, with Gabriel Hardman making the issue visually compelling in places where it may have been a little less engaging in the narrative. I especially enjoyed the color choices, as the use of sepia and light blue tones for much of the book made Red Hulk pop even more and called your attention to him even when he was in the background of the story.
Overall, I’d say the issue would most likely be a good read for people who are already invested in the Red Hulk storyline, but it probably won’t draw the attention of too many new or more casual readers.
Sara started reading comics in the third grade, and now puts her English degree to good use talking about them on the Internet. She currently resides in Western Massachusetts with a roommate, three cats, and an action figure collection and spends the time she isn’t reading comics working for a non-profit. You can visit her blog at Ms. Snarky’s Awesometastic Comics Blog.