"Terra Incognita, Part 1"
Writer: Peter David
Art: Jorge Lucas
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Plot: The book opens in Australia where the human race is being forcibly exterminated by the country's ruler, who we eventually discover is the mutant Exodus. However, when a group of humans seek shelter in the Outback, they manage to cross the path of Bruce Banner who had taken to living with the Aborigines. Needless to say, the Hulk finds himself in conflict with the hunters who were chasing these fugitive humans.
Comments: The big question that Peter David doesn't look to have addressed with this book's voyage into the House of M is that if all the characters have been given their fondest desire than why isn't Bruce Banner freed of the Hulk? One would think that Bruce Banner's fondest desire would be to be living a normal, Hulk free existence. Perhaps Peter David has plans to address this idea in future issues of this arc, or perhaps Hulk's personality was also given a seat at the table when it came to dishing out the perfect life for Banner. Then again it could be Peter David coming to realize that there's not much story to tell if Bruce Banner is living a normal life, happily married to Betty, and as such the Hulk brings some much needed drama. In any event, the simple fact of the matter is that this story feels like it's playing outside the premise that was established for the House of M. Right now it looks like Bruce Banner was short-changed when they were busy handing out the perfect, new lives that were supposed to keep the heroes from rushing forward to restore the timeline on its proper path. In fact, it looks like Bruce simply traded in his old crummy life for an equally unappealing one, and I can't help but feel Peter David missed a golden opportunity for an engaging character study of Bruce Banner in that I don't imagine Bruce will have any problem making the jump back to the proper Marvel universe. His House of M life isn't exactly peaches and cream. Still this issue benefits from a couple nice moments where Peter David reminds us why we should be pleased as punch he's back in the saddle as the Hulk's regular writer. How can one not love the scene where the Hulk deals with Unus the Untouchable? And the exchange regarding the extinction of the dodo is a perfect encapsulation of the Hulk's personality.
Jorge Lucas is a very good artist, as I'm always pleased to see his name gracing the credit box, though there are times when I wish he offered up a little more variety to his cookie cutter bodies. There are confusing moments during scenes where characters gather together in a group, and you have to take that extra moment to remind yourself which surface accessory goes with what character, as they all look the same. Still the most important detail when it comes to this title is the job that the artist does on the Hulk, and while I've seen the transformation scene hundreds of times, how can one not be impressed when the Hulk makes his first appearance in this issue? The art also has some fun with the Hulk's battle with Unus the Untouchable, particularly the panel where the Hulk starts kicking him around like a soccer ball. I also have to mention the cover as it would appear that Marvel have found themselves a pretty impressive Ian Churchill clone, and I'd be curious to see if Andy Brase can clearly detail a story.
What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!