Writer: Donny Cates
Art: Ryan Ottley, Frank Martin, and VC’s Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: November 24th, 2021
The unruly fury of the HULK has achieved an all-new level (as if that’s possible). And the worst part is, not even the AVENGERS are equipped for what’s coming… and they just dealt with the IMMORTAL HULK! However, is it really the HULK they’re up against? Is he really the one in the driver’s seat? Or, is there some other Mad Scientist at the helm? Let’s smash into HULK #1 by Donny Cates and Ryan Ottley to find out just how this new era is going to take shape.
Anyone who’s read any Donny Cates knows that he’s an idea man. He always has clever, new concepts to bring to the drawing board with his characters. Even dating back to THANOS WINS, his recent VENOM runs, DOCTOR STRANGE, and currently THOR, he instantly drops his twisted nuggets into the narrative. And normally, it’s something authentic, original, and unique to the character. VENOM is now the new KING IN BLACK controlling all symbiotes. THOR instantly became a Herald of Galactus, fought an evil Donald Blake, and who knows where the Black Winter will truly end up. Heck, THANOS WINS brought us, Frank Castle, as the COSMIC GHOST RIDER. Now, why do I bring this all up? Simple. Cates kicks off HULK #1 in the same fashion with a concept you’ll never see coming.
Immediately out of the gate, readers quickly get thrown into a story cluttered with ambiguous pronouns solely to confuse readers, which in most circumstances would anger me. However, Cates uses this subtle trope as to not reveal the main concept of his first arc until the end of the issue… nor will I reveal the amazing twist as to keep this review of HULK #1 spoiler-free. Still, readers will discover the premise of at least the first arc halfway through HULK #1 as Cates pumps up the adrenaline and intensity from jump street. Moreover, it’s all done through a clever weave of mystic arts, meets future tech, meets psychic telepathy that’s pure genius. This really is Cates’ at his best.
Basically, readers will see two stories in this issue. The first anecdote involves the inner mind of Bruce and ultimately the repercussions of the events after IMMORTAL HULK. The parallel story is an exceedingly brutal fight between the HULK and IRON MAN. This is where Ryan Ottley takes center stage and shines with the help of Frank Martin. First of all, the color transition is super important. It appears as though anything placed in a red glow or tone is what’s going on in Bruce’s mind. Yet, then outside in the real world, we see an epic fight with HULK that’s saturated in action, movement, and detail.
From green blood dripping off the HULK to literal bone hanging off his body, it’s Ottley and Martin who raise the intensity of the issue. Moreover, any HULK title centers its focus around the anger and rage that we know is the character’s M.O. Well, it’s the art team that fuels that madness in spades. The pedal is literally dropped to the metal people. And even though the story beats are original and imaginative, the aggression, look, and excitement are all from Ottley and Martin.
It’s hard to top IMMORTAL HULK. However, it was also hard to top Jason Aaron’s THOR or to revive VENOM. Now, I’m not saying Cates has in one issue topped what Ewing and Bennett created. By no means. Furthermore, I’m not saying his THOR run is better than Aaron’s, which is practically a master classic. I am saying that it seems Cates relishes the opportunity to follow big shoes and goes out of his way to fill them in. And truthfully, he does it well. He always finds a way to hook readers immediately with something crazy, new, large, authentic, and fierce. Readers, that’s exactly what HULK #1 is this week. After the horrific style, tone, and events of the past three and a half years surrounding the IMMORTAL HULK, we need something different, exciting, and fresh yet still the HULK… without forgetting about what just transpired. Well, that’s right in Cates’ wheelhouse.
HULK #1 is nothing like you’d expect, especially from the solicits. I thought I knew what we were getting… and then I read the issue and was completely blown away by the sheer invention from the entire creative team. If you want to hop on board but feel overwhelmed by missing out on IMMORTAL HULK, just don’t! You can easily jump in right here and now. Your knowledge of past events simply needs to be that the HULK did something really bad in El Paso. Otherwise, you’re up to date. So, what are you waiting for? You definitely need to pick this one up and add the series to your pull list. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!