Writer: Greg Pak
Artist(s): John Romita Jr., Klaus Janson and Christina Strain
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Plot: Two titans collide; thereís almost nothing left to take of Manhattan and after five issues of smashing folks finally burn out.
Commentary: Hmmm. I sit here scratching my head. I did this a few issues ago too. Pak once again has thrown me for a loop. This issue is almost entirely the final slugfest between the Hulk and the Sentry that weíve been promised all along. However, everything about it and everything else in this finale seems rushed. For me the battle is not satisfactory because itís never explained why these two dynamos of power after pummeling each other to a standstill finally burn out their powers. It would have been better had both characters stayed that way, but, moments later Banner is enraged and Hulking out again. So, what does this mean? Banner willfully threw the fight and never actually expended all his energy? Additionally, itís not the man with the power of a thousand exploding suns that takes down the Hulk. Itís a laser beam from a Stark Satellite. Why? If the Sentry couldnít take down the Hulk how could one man-made beam? Prior to this it seems as if the Hulk is radiating gamma radiation as he stomps about rocking the Eastern seaboard from NY to the borders of Canada. If he has the power to do this then isnít he madder and stronger than ever? How could Starkís beam take him down? I think itís about time that Greg Pak let us in on his ďPhysics of the Hulk 101Ē course.
Pakís storyline has hinted that thereís more to the way the Hulk operates than weíve ever known heretofore. Instead of giving us those answers we are left with more questions. I wasnít thrilled with Pakís handling of Rick Jones either. Rick has pretty much stood on the sidelines and done nothing this whole time and it seems the only reason he was brought in was to provide some deep contrast to the Hulkís first alien friend and fellow Warbound, Miek. Itís not that deep of a contrast and what happens to Rick seems lazy and contrived. The mystery of who planted the bomb that blew up Hulkís world is revealed and revenged in just a few panels. I wish there had been more hinting and building up to this reveal.
John Romita Jr. has done a bang up job on the art chores the past four issues. Thereís something not quite up to snuff about this issues interiors though. Again, everything just seems rushed from the penciling to the inking and the coloring. Some of the buildings and destruction are still handled well but the secondary characters just seem to be plopped into panels haphazardly. Did the art crew draw the Hulk/Sentry Battle in splash pages and add the others in later? I donít know, it almost seems that way to me. Whole pages are also just splashes of color provided by Christina Strain which is supposed to be the released energy from the super match. I expect a harmonious mix in a comicís art team. That doesnít happen here. The art on the cover and the two back up advertisements at books end is better than whatís provided for 39 pages. All in all this wasnít a bad ending but it was rushed, confusing and not satisfying on its own. I see a lot of fallout being advertised from World War Hulk and hopefully Pak and Loeb will soothe the scratches on my head in the ongoing Incredible Hulk. After Loebís handling of Wolverine this summer I am apprehensive, but Pak has still set up enough to keep me intrigued about where he will go next.
Final Word: A finale that is unsatisfying on itís own but still whets your appetite for another helping of Hulk from Pak.
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