Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Artist: Nic Klein
Color Artist: Mathew Wilson
Cover Artist: Nic Klein
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The Incredible Hulk has returned, and he’s different than before. Now, no longer in space or with the Avengers, or with Gamma Flight, Bruce is on his own with the Hulk, who’s become more monstrous than before and is haunting him. But Bruce isn’t alone as he has an unwanted tag-along with the runaway teenage girl Charlie. However, a new danger emerges as The Incredible Hulk #2 shows that the call of the Eldest has been heard and it’s waking even the dead to rise.
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Alright, we’ve got a new Incredible Hulk run that’s off to a good start. It’s got a good tone, establishes the main characters well, and sets up who the main villains are, and what kind of trouble lies ahead for Bruce Banner and the Hulk, who’s more monstrous than he’s been before, aside from in the Immortal Hulk series. Fair warning: There will be slight SPOILERS in this review, but nothing too big.
Okay, the comic starts out good with a solid eerie opening as an old southern tune starts playing in the first two pages leading from an old church house. All the while focusing on the grave of one Sister Sadie which is paralleled with panels of an old mine and the deeper it goes, it reveals a monstrous eye. After that, it picks up with Bruce awakening from his transformation into the Hulk and finds out he has a new tag-along in the teenage girl Charlie, who is eager to be Hulk’s new sidekick. Now, let’s be clear, the dynamic between the two is already off to a good start, for readers at least, since Charlie annoys Bruce about being the Hulk and trying to egg him to turn into the Jade Giant. But it’s all done in a way that feels right for a naive teenager.
Soon enough, Bruce and Charlie end up in the location of Red Creek where the comic originally started, and there the horror begins as things go from bad to worse as the comic ends with a brutal Hulk transformation. The good points in this comic are the dynamic between Bruce and Charlie as Charlie clearly wants to be a sidekick but Bruce is annoyed at her persistence and is trying to keep her away since she’s not familiar with the sheer destruction, death, and horror that occurs around the Hulk these days. Plus, the Hulk himself continues to be this haunting menace to Bruce as he haunts his dreams and antagonizes him even at his worst moments as shown in this comic. The art from Nic Klein continues to be stellar and as seen with the residents of Red Creek and the nightmare visions both Bruce and Charlie share, it’s a perfect fit for this action-horror Hulk series.
Admittedly, there’s not much action in this comic, it’s pretty much setup for the big threat of this mysterious Brother Deep everyone in Red Creek keeps mentioning. My personal theory is that “Brother Deep” is the monster or the owner of the giant eye that’s shown in the very beginning of the comic awakening to the Eldest’s call from the previous issue. Everything about this comic feels ripped straight from a horror movie from the eerie song, the macabre undead who are resurrected by this song, and the cultish nature of the Reed Creek residents. But as shown with the Hulk’s transformation at the end, there’s going to be more action in the next issue and we might get to see this Brother Deep everyone’s been talking about.
The Incredible Hulk #2 kicks things off with a new threat emerging to eliminate the Hulk. Phillip Kennedy Johnson does a good job showing the rough beginning of Bruce’s dynamic with the character Charlie, who annoys and prods him about being the Hulk but in a way that feels natural for a teenager. The story surrounding Red Creek and the enigmatic Brother Deep feels like a solid horror story that’s going to get more intense with the Hulk next issue. And of course, Nic Klein’s art continues to be great as it lends itself well to the horror direction this Incredible Hulk series is taking. There’s little action in this issue, but based on the comic’s ending, the next issue will change that.