Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Martin Coccolo
Color Artist: Matt Wilson
Cover Artist: Gary Frank
Publisher: Marvel Comics
It’s the fight of the decade in Marvel Comics – Hulk vs. Thor! These two Avengers have been rivals of strength for many years. And now that rivalry is coming to the forefront as these two heavy-hitters clash once more in Hulk vs. Thor: Banner of War Alpha #1!
This comic has everything you want in a Donny Cates comic book: fun, tension, drama, epic art, balls-to-the-wall dynamic action, and father issues. Yes, even the latter in a certain capacity. Anyway, this comic is exactly what you get: Hulk vs. Thor in a new epic brawl. There’s not much else to say other than this is a fun comic, like a pure popcorn action flick for you to sit down, kick back, and get ready for the epic story in front of you.
Now, the comic does provide the necessary recap behind what’s motivating both of the fighters. You get Thor’s backstory from everything he’s been dealing with in his series and everything that Hulk’s been dealing with in his series. This builds the foundational tension and drama to show why these two heavyweights don’t just talk it out and get right to beating each other’s brains out.
Donny Cates wastes no time in establishing the popcorn flick tone from the get-go, letting all readers know the kind of story they’re in for. The pacing is evenly balanced as he manages to get the characters’ dialogue correct, at least as far as how he writes them. Both Hulk and Thor are given agency and significance in this fight as neither one overtakes the other which reflects the inherent back-and-forth nature of this comic. This way, Cates keeps the story entertaining from start to finish.
Not to mention, the art by Martin Coccolo is great. It is a perfect match-up with Donny Cates’ crazy story as it goes from epic to wacky and cartoonish back to epic again. The art is just downright fun all around as Coccolo uses every panel on every page well. Plus, the colors by Matt Wilson help give this comic a lot of colorful vibrancy in more ways than one. Together, this art team makes sure nothing goes to waste and makes every page in the comic feel fun and epic.
This creative team has made something fun for everyone to enjoy in this clash between the Smashtronaut Hulk and All-Father Thor. However, this is not a flawless comic book. It’s great, but not perfect. For starters, there are a couple of continuity issues here and there in the comic, sadly that’s to be expected in Marvel comics nowadays. Another thing is the third-person narration constantly trying to balance being humorous and operatic. This mixture is a hard thing to achieve for many writers, and Donny Cates is no exception as he’s tried to implement this hybrid fun & wacky, yet dark and edgy tone for years in his Marvel stories with plenty of successes and failures. So, readers’ mileage will vary on that. Other than that, the comic is just plain old comic book fun.
Hulk vs. Thor: Banner of War Alpha #1 delivers what’s on the cover – Hulk vs. Thor! The story is pretty straightforward with the necessary recap to catch readers up to date on everything that’s been going on for both heroes. The art by Martin Coccolo is dynamic and compliments Donny Cates’ high-octane story, pacing, and dialogue. Hulk and Thor both maintain the spotlight while getting their licks in as the story follows through on the epic art, smack talk, tension, and action from start to finish.