“Terra Incognita Part 3”
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Jorge Lucas
Publisher: Marvel Comics
PLot: After resting control of Australia from the mutants and setting it up as a safe haven for normal humans, Bruce joins Scorpion in investigating the disappearances of humans who volunteered for medical experiments sponsored by the new government. Their discovery is shocking and Banner, after becoming the Hulk, wants answers.
Commentary: The great thing about Peter David’s writing is that even when presented with something like House of M, he turns in a solid story.
I have to admit that I have not been following House of M. I am not a big Marvel reader (love a lot of their characters, hate the current editorial regime) and firmly believe that the overall concept was thrown together in a hurry to compete with all of DC’s Infinite Crisis preludes. It wouldn’t be the first time they did this as last year’s Identity Disc proved.
Given the terrible premise, Peter David made the best of a bad situation. What I am enjoying most about this storyline is that even though it is an alternate reality (of sorts), Bruce is still Bruce. The evolution that the character has gone through under David’s care is still there. It’s almost like Bruce has come to terms with his other self, but really doesn’t like it. At the beginning of this story he was trying to find ways to suppress the Hulk, but when the chips are down and someone needs to get taken down, and taken down hard, Bruce almost seems willing to change.
David’s humor is also great. The splash page in the meeting room and the Hulk smashing paperwork was hilarious, and I would almost bet it comes from some part of Peter David’s past. I also enjoyed the scene where Scorpion and Bruce are breaking into the lab. This was one of those great moments where a writer uses a cliché for comedic purposes.
Continuity wise I enjoyed the references to his earlier run on The Hulk. The conversation Monica and Bruce have in bed made mention of Bruce’s relationship with Susan Jacobson in college. Not only was the scene amusing with Monica, half-way mocking Bruce about their one night stand, but it really fleshed out that time in Bruce’s life. This is what I really like about Peter David working on The Hulk. You have all of the action and big guys knocking the heck out of each other, but also some great character work that really gets into the character’s head and makes for some engaging and sometime thought provoking work.
Jorge Lucas’ art was very pleasing to eye. He certainly gets the Hulk as a character and knows how to make the character seem big, but not monstrous, because the story doesn’t call for that. There is a great deal of detail in his work as well, which makes the world the story inhabits seem more “real” as far as comic books go. His action scenes were well choreographed and had a lot of impact, but I also liked simpler scenes, such as Bruce and Monica talking in bed.
Final Thoughts: Despite myself, I am enjoying this crossover arc. I was prepared to dislike it because of the overall premise, but Peter David made it work. My only real complaint, outside of the whole House of M premise, is the annoying cover design. I guess it is eye catching, but the red, white and blue stripe motif is also annoying.
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