Writer: Peter David
Pencils: Pat Olliffe
Inks: Sal Buscema
Colors: Chris Sotomayor
Letters: VC's Randy Gentile
Publisher: Marvel Comics
When Rick Jones wanders onto the gamma bomb testing range we see General Ross heads out to get this silly teenager out of the way so the test can continue. However, this results in Ross being caught in a gamma bomb blast, that transforms him into a gamma irradiated monster. While Ross' mind remains in control of the creature, but his inability to clearly express himself has him becoming involved in a clash with the military, and this fight in turn results in a tragic accident.
A new Hulk adventure written by Peter David was pretty much all the incentive Marvel needed to offer up to add this book to my weekly stack of comics, as I'm sure I'm not the only fan who has been eagerly anticipating his return to the character, and this one shot serves as an advance preview. However, truth be told, while this is a perfectly enjoyable "What If" adventure, it's not really a Hulk comic as the creature that General Ross transforms into is not really the Hulk. Now sure he's a hulking beast who goes rampaging across the country side, but rather than a conflicted soul who is unaware of the Hulk's actions, General Ross looks to be in full control of the Hulk's actions, and as such it becomes a little more difficult to warm to the character. Now the book does benefit tremendously from a pretty powerful finish as General Ross learns a painful lesson about the cost that comes with the reckless use of his power, and while it was a little difficult to embrace the idea that a randomly thrown tank would land in such a convenient local, I can't deny the emotional impact of these final pages, and the last page development managed to catch me by surprise. There's also a couple cute moments of humour that have become a regular part of Peter David's work, as the fate of Rick Jones was a nice bit of dark comedy, and how can one not smile at how conveniently Banner comes to realize what happened to Rick Jones.
Pat Olliffe has been keeping himself busy on books that I don't pick up, but I was a big fan of his work on the "Untold Tales of Spider-Man", so I was quite pleased to see his name gracing the credits of this one-shot. He certainly turns in a solid effort when it comes to clearly detailing the material as the story requires one to follow a fairly complex series of events, as General Ross takes Banner's place out on the testing range. The art also does some nice work conveying the sheer power that the Hulk commands, from his arrival at his home, to the battle where Ross is tossing tanks around like tinker toys. Now the visual appearance of Ross as the Hulk did look a bit silly, but I suspect that this is largely due to the moustache. This one-shot also has itself a great looking cover image, as Gary Frank returns to the Hulk to deliver a fun homage to one of the most famous covers that's ever graced a Hulk comic.
What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!