Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Artist: Nic Klein
Color Artist: Matthew Wilson
Cover Artist: Nic Klein
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The Hulk is back and people are already out to kill him. While Bruce Banner was just trying to move along as the drifter he is to get further and further away from civilization, an undead cult has captured him and planned to sacrifice him to their slumbering god, Brother Deep. Their plan backfired. Read The Incredible Hulk #3 to see how the enigmatic Brother Deep contends with the might of the Hulk.
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Let me just say, this comic is fun and feels in the same ballpark as Immortal Hulk only it gets directly into the big stuff a little faster as fans will know from this issue. So, the comic picks up after Bruce transforms into the Hulk and starts doing what he does best, smashing the zombie cultists who tried to sacrifice them. All while a creepy lullaby song is sung the whole time about the mysterious Brother Deep. There will be some slight SPOILERS here and there in the review.
Here’s your first SPOILER: You do get to see Brother Deep in the comic in all his glory and learn quite a bit about his origin and connections to the Marvel Universe’s cosmic side. This whole comic is really just about the clash between the Hulk and Brother Deep, which makes learning about him make sense. On top of the fight, the comic also begins setting the dynamic between Hulk and Charlie, their unwanted traveling partner. There’s solid writing, pacing, cool action, great artwork, all of which make a great Hulk comic book.
The pros are both the writing and the art. Phillip Kennedy Johnson is doing excellent work with how he writes the voice of Hulk as a surly, brutally honest, brutish figure with his own unspoken sense of savage heroism. This is reflected well in his interactions with Charlie and Brother Deep and his cultists. The pacing is also great too as the comic transitions from one thing to the next in a natural, thrilling way that makes sense to the environment Hulk and Charlie find themselves in.
Then there’s the art from Nic Klein just being immaculately dark, gritty, grungy, yet able to be big and grand with the set pieces, the lair of the cultists, Brother Deep, and of course Hulk himself. It all just comes together so well in this issue, particularly with the facial designs which could easily lack detail in most other comics but he gives them that detail anyway. The only thing I’m worried about is that Nic Klein won’t stay as the main artist for this series for long. Just part of the disappointing trend in Marvel and DC Comics where the headlining artist on a comic title leaves after one story arc or two. Hopefully I’m wrong and Nic Klein actually stays for the rest of the series, or at least most of it.
Now, with all of this praise, some might be wondering why the score’s not a “10” or “9”, and the reason is Brother Deep himself. I won’t spoil much, but while he has an interesting origin that links to some pretty significant figures in the Marvel Universe, the monster himself isn’t that big of a deal to Hulk. All I’ll say is that while Nic Klein makes the big monster look cool, Brother Deep’s backstory is more interesting than the actual monster himself which is a bit of a letdown for this reviewer. The comic book’s still fun, though.
The Incredible Hulk #3 concludes this brief clash between the Hulk and the mysterious Brother Deep. Readers will learn a bit about Brother Deep, and thanks to Nic Klein’s art, the monster certainly looks the part. However, the monster’s origin ends up being more interesting than the actual monster himself. That said, the writing for the characters’ dialogue and the story pacing is good, and the Hulk just shines as the best part of this comic book from start to finish.