"Terra Incognita, Part 3"
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Jorge Lucas
Publisher: Marvel Comics
As Banner questions whether he's the ideal choice to run a country, the people have spoken and they are happy to live their lives with him in the driverís seat. However, Banner slowly becomes aware that his A.I.M. allies have been busy making their own plans, as they realize that the House of M is going to move against them and are building an army to fight this impending conflict using less than willing volunteers.
The book gets off to an amusing start as Banner makes a cute "what if" argument to explain why he's not the best man for the job of running a country, complete with a hilarious visual presentation of this idea. The story slowly introduces the idea that A.I.M. is not the type of organization who can sit back and enjoy the show, as while Banner struggles with the idea of whether he's the best man for the job of running a country, they are busy assembling a secret army that will advance their own interests. Given the guards were quick to move against the Hulk, maybe Banner's continued position as the top dog is merely a temporary part of their plans. I am a little disappointed that Peter David has taken this story down such a predictable path, as I had figured that when they were first introduced that A.I.M. was up to no good. Peter David still has plenty of room to take this story in an unexpected direction, but this issue doesn't give the impression that he will do so. Still, he writes a great Hulk, from the hilarious credit page to the cold, and calculating, conversation that he has on the final page. There are also comedy bits, from the memo that Banner has sent out to the other nations, to Banner questioning why intruder alarms are so incredibly annoying. However, the highlight sequence is the response that Banner gives to the request from his underlings that the Hulk make the occasional public appearance. In the end this was an entertaining issue, but I'm a little concerned that it looks to be heading down the most obvious path.
Andy Brase deserves much praise for his covers, as they are detailed affairs, and I hope he sticks around after this book emerges from the House of M, as I'd love to see what he does when he has the full cover space to play with. As for interior art, the book gets off to a cute opening visual as the Hulk deals with mind numbing bureaucracy, and he also gets a nice scene later on when Banner transforms as he plunges toward the ground far below. The one page shot where the full scope of the underground lab is revealed is good, as is the Hulk's expression as he shrugs off the barrage of gunfire from the army that has surrounded him. The only quibble that I have about the art is there are times when Jorge Lucas' inks are a little on the heavy side, and this detaches the characters from the backgrounds, with the final action sequence being the most noticeable example of this problem.
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