Hulk is the Funnest One There Is

January 12th, 2010 by | Tags: , , , , , ,

Over the last year or so, I’ve really grown to appreciate Jeph Loeb. I don’t think that he’s a particularly good writer, and he’s been justifiably parodied in Gavin’s Ultimate Edit series, but I do think that he fills a niche that I’ve come to enjoy. He writes very simple, completely un-self conscious stories about superheroes. If you want a dumb comic about dumb dudes wearing dumb tights fighting each other… Loeb’s Hulk is very entertaining.

I’ve liked a few Loeb books before. Spider-Man: Blue and Daredevil: Yellow were entertaining and very pretty, thanks to quality artwork from Tim Sale. While they tended to be fairly emotionally manipulative, they also really got at what makes Peter Parker or Matt Murdock work. A sheepish Peter Parker being tended by Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane, looking they best they’ve looked since John Romita Sr. last drew them, is dead on.

Loeb’s Hulk, though, is his All-Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder. ASBAR is distilled Frank Miller, all of his idiosyncrasies and interests packed into a bullet and fired directly at your brain. Hulk is Loeb jettisoning any semblance of emotional connection or nostalgia-as-crutch, instead choosing to focus on the purely superheroic aspects of the superhero genre. There are no secret identities, no real subplots, no supporting cast, none of that. Everything is about Red Hulk. Everything in the book ties back to him, or was caused by him, or is about him.

Hulk is distilled superheroics. While Captain America, Daredevil, New Avengers, and even books like Batman & Robin feature overt influences from other genres and mediums, Hulk really only has two influences: comics about the Hulk and other Jeph Loeb comics. There is no noir, spy, soap opera, manga, or exploitation influence to be found here. Every single twist and turn and plot can be traced back to comic books, whether it is the unstoppable new creation beating up All Your Favorites or a group of women teaming up seemingly because they are women.

Large and in charge.

This is a book where Moon Knight, the Sentry, and Ms Marvel team up because they kinda resemble Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman– DC’s Trinity. They not only team up as a replacement Trinity, but Loeb’s dialogue for them is exactly the same as it would be if they were the real thing.

The introduction of Red Hulk is equal parts appealing and off-putting. He beats, outsmarts, embarrasses, and harasses everyone he goes up against, coming out on top each time. He’s the unstoppable force and immovable object all rolled up into one being. We’ve seen this before, where an author’s pet character is put over by beating up a recognizable character, but Loeb ups the ante to an absurd degree. Red Hulk punches out the Watcher in a beautiful spread. He beats Thor with his own hammer through the kind of plot maneuvering little kids routinely practice.

It is loud and it is dumb and it is on a scale that is extremely entertaining. It’s like being in a speeding car on the highway, doing 90 in the fast lane, during a pouring rainstorm. You know how things should work, and generally they perform as expected, but there’s that moment when you pull the wheel left and the car’s momentum shifts and suddenly you’re spinning and completely out of control. Then you stop spinning and you laugh and shake and laugh some more. It’s stupid, and it isn’t a good thing, but you get a weird rush off it.

Basically, what I’m saying here is that, when it comes to Hulk, the best possible comparison is Big Boi and Gucci Mane’s Shine Blockas. Jeph Loeb is the Gucci Mane of comics. He’s not great, but he’s catchy and doing something familiar in a slightly different way. He’s passable, just there to provide a little background noise (‘s gucci) and provide a way for the artists to put some drawings on the page. A little lowest common denominator, not very clever, but gets the job done. At the same time, the artists are the Big Boi in this extraordinarily tortured metaphor, banging out art that’s intended to impress you and drawing the kind of things they’ve apparently always wanted to draw. You check for it, and you feel a little bad over it, but you still seek it out to see what’s next.

You can look at the plot and work out the mystery yourself (Glenn Talbot is pretty clearly Red Hulk, Red She-Hulk is probably Betty Ross, Thunderbolt almost definitely isn’t dead), but all of that is beside the point.

The mystery is just a storytelling engine, something to throw Red Hulk into fight scenes with other characters. Loeb builds it up and ignores it in equal amounts. Domino sees Red Hulk transform, which sets off a story arc about Red Hulk trying to protect his secret identity. During the course of the story, there are no hints about who he is or what she saw, besides a guy in a hat turning into a monster.

Hulk is a book where the plot is secondary, at best, to the action. This is due in no small part to just how Jeph Loeb writes comics. From an interview on CBR a couple years ago:

Hulk fans will surely agree Ed McGuinness’ exaggerated and highly expressive style is uniquely suited for depicting the adventures of Marvel’s green goliath. Appropriately, the artist is himself one of professional comics’ most zealous Hulk devotees. “Ed has wanted to draw the character since he was a kid (and if you know Ed that was like two years ago) – so it’s just a pleasure giving him cool stuff to smash!” Loeb remarked. “And there’s a lot of that!”

“The Hulk is the type character that has affected me on the genetic level, ” Ed McGuinness told CBR News. “There’s just something so cool about this guy who has all the power in the world and can’t do anything to control it. I love the misunderstood monster idea, too. I want the Hulk to be a force of nature! I want the Hulk to wreck stuff! Who doesn’t?”

Writers always talk about “tailoring their scripts” to their artists. Sometimes it means adjusting the number of panels, adding or removing wiggle room, or something like that. When Loeb does it, though, I get the feeling that he’s just writing what his artist wants to draw first, and then fitting his story around that. Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers was tailored to all of its artists, but it was still primarily Morrison’s story. Hulk, though, gives Ed McGuinness a chance to draw almost every major Marvel hero doing what they do best: battling each other. And it continues on for all the other artists, too. Frank Cho gets to draw the lady-centric arc. Art Adams draws monsters. Ian Churchill gets to work some new artistic muscles. John Romita Jr gets to take a tour through the Marvel U and draw an amazing Kirby-style spread of the Fantastic Four versus the Hulk.

Comics, for me, are a 50/50 affair. Half of the appeal is in the writing, the other half is in the art. Hulk is a book where more than half of the appeal is in the art. Loeb gives these guys a chance to go wild, often leaving the plot or common sense in the dust, and the book is better for it. I wouldn’t want every book to be like this one, but Hulk? I like it a lot.

There are three, technically four, collections out right now. The hardcovers are annoyingly priced (25 or 20 a pop), but the first volume is available in softcover. Personally though, Hulk: Green Hulk/Red Hulk is the way to go. It’s in Marvel’s oversized hardcover format, which is honestly the absolute best way to read Marvel books, and collects the first couple arcs. Ed McGuinness, Frank Cho, and Arthur Adams’s art looks great at the size. If you’re in the mood for something loud and dumb, give it a try.

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26 comments to “Hulk is the Funnest One There Is”

  1. Great assessment – especially distilling the “mystery” at the center of Loeb’s Hulk.

    But I think the thing that frustrates me most as a reader and a critic of Loeb’s work is that the resolutions to his mysteries seldom make sense with plot point sort of dropped into the end of the story helter skelter. Consider the slapdash oddity of Ultimates 3, or the resolution to The Long Halloween (which I really still quite like in spite of how little sense the ending makes).

    He’s often doing fun things in Hulk but my sense is that yet again the resolution to his plot will be something odd, out of left field, and totally nonsensical (see: his disastrous but pretty run on Wolverine).

  2. I might have to give this another try. Superman/Batman, Ultimatum and Ultimates 3 soured me to Loeb, and issue #1 of this didn’t impress me. That said, I’ve been looking at the previews and it seems to be going absolutely bats**t loco.

  3. I never did understand the virulent, frothing hatred towards a comic about brightly colored giant men punching each other.

  4. You bring up the ASBAR reference when talking about Loeb’s Hulk, but it makes me think of Loeb as comic’s Sarah Palin figure. There are people who genuinely love it, some people who go insane in anger about it, and some people who are able to enjoy it by turning their brains off and laughing at the stupidity of it all.

    There was a webcomic I saw recently that would illustrate my point really well if I could find it or remember what it was from. It’s got someone at a bookstore with a copy of Going Rogue, asking if the clerk can note they’re buying ironically. The second panel is a list with only a few dashs under For Real and dozens under Ironically. The final panel is Sarah Palin totally rich and she doesn’t care whether or not your purchase is ironic.

  5. Well, I’m one of the angry peoples. Why? Well, not only because Loeb’s actually written quality works, Long Halloween comes to mind (in spite of its flaws), but because in spite of the industry being what it is, I still expect more from superhero comics. It’s an expectation that is tempered by reality till I see something great like Brubaker, Fraction, Aja, and Swierczynski’s Iron Fist, Priest’s Panther, Lee and Ditko’s Spidey, etc. Can’t be ignorant and act like most of the appeal of the superhero isn’t the escapist purely fun and fantastical aspects. Yet, alone this doesn’t work. Alone, it’s just voyeurism. I love Michael Mann’s Ali and Collateral but that doesn’t mean I can forgive Miami Vice. I call bullshit when I see it. It was one of the most beautiful films I’ve seen, when on mute. The picture, the cinematography, absolutely top-notch. The story–absolute crap. And that’s my point with the comic book; art is half of it. If you really wanna buy comic books just for the art, it’s understandable, especially when it’s great art, but at that point you can’t look at a 90s Image fan who swears by Witchblade, or any Lady Death perv, and tell them why they’re wrong. It’s the same.
    I know the Hulk is a big-ass green monster who’s pants go purple. But over his nigh 50-year tenure, the character has been effectively used to say something more than Hulk Smash without pretension or spite against the very phrase and its implications. So in 2010, I can’t give a penny to purchase great art telling a shit story. Not when too many comic book writers are puttin out real work. If You Put Bullshit On Stilts, It Makes It A Lot Taller.

  6. While I seemed rather casual in my telling, I didn’t mean to excuse the work. I agree with Niles and I am horribly disappointed that a story so poorly written can get such a high place on sales charts. I would agree that its high-place but low quality help to demean the medium.

  7. Rulk = Superboy Prime.

    By the way I kind of like the concept of “getting other superheroes to team up with you = finding people to hang out with on a Saturday night”, even if it is kind of corny since “stopping Mary Sue from destroying the world” isn’t the same thing as “going to see Avatar 3D”. But whatever.

  8. Thanks for this article. I recently discovered Red Hulk(and Shine Blockas yesterday, coincidentally), and its gotta be the dumbest freakin’ book I’ve read in a long ass time. But it sure is pretty, and it sure is funny(if unintentionally). The moment that sold it to me was when Red Hulk smashes a Harrier over Iron Man’s head, and when the army of Iron Men suits can’t save the golden SHIELD carrier, you get this great-looking two page spread of it crashing, with Iron Man actually saying the words “Oh the humanity!” without any irony. It was at that point where I realizes “Hey, this isn’t exactly Grant Morrison”. But I think we can all do with one stupid, fun, pretty superhero book once a month, huh?

  9. @Jeremy: The “Oh the humanity” bit was definitely ironic- the Helicarrier crashed into the same field as the Hindenberg in Jersey.

    @CasinoGrande: “Demean the medium?” How so?

  10. You can’t demean a medium, and if you could this is comics. There isn’t a more demeaned medium.

  11. Y’know, I hear a lot of people defend Loeb’s Hulk work by way of “big stupid mutant man smashing things should be fun, what’s wrong with making it dumb?” And sure… that’s a valid point to make. But here’s what gets to me, and a lot of other people; that’s NOT THE HULK ANYMORE. Or it WASN’T, until Loeb came along.
    World War Hulk went a long, long way towards rebuilding the character as a genuinely threatening, multi-faceted halfway antihero. It tore down a lot of the long standing tropes of the Hulk’s situation, and introduced profound new additions to his mythology. These were things we were looking forward to seeing developed. Did we? No. Loeb, in an echo of Quesada’s reworking of Spider-Man, regressed the character to an almost cartoonishly stereotypical interpretation of his classic identity. Much of what had been built in the previous storyline was flushed away, often with virtually no explanation whatsoever. For God’s sake… the love of Hulk’s life was that microscopic chick!? Right! Was Loeb not watching when he made the freaking alien rock lady his queen?? As with the Ultimate universe, Loeb shows a disregard for continuity that borders on the contemptuous. The man will not hesitate to piss on what has come before to suit his own vision.
    So maybe I could forgive a lot of it if Loeb’s run just wasn’t in continuity. If he had a Marvel Adventures storyline or something. Maybe I could really enjoy some of his work that way. But then I remember… “The good doctor is out. The bad doctor is in.” And I realize that even if he did adhere to continuity, when writing sucks this bad there’s simply no damn excuse.
    Yes, “dumb and fun” can and often do co-exist. But so can “smart and fun.”

  12. @Joe England: Well, no, that isn’t quite right- the Warbound were in another miniseries which ran concurrent to Hulk, Skaar had his own series, and there’s another Hulk book that Greg Pak is writing. Loeb’s Hulk was a different story, which never invalidated the events of the end of World War Hulk. Banner was in jail at the start of it, being held by the government, Sentry and Hulk’s friendship was over, etc. The Hulk has always had multiple personalities, so I don’t think that using Dumb Hulk as a reaction to World War Hulk (which has been explained as Banner keeping Hulk in check) is that big of a deal.

    And if we’re going to argue about the love of Hulk’s life… no Betty? Loeb didn’t disregard continuity at all, he came up with a story that let him use a different version of the Hulk (the fourth incarnation thus far in the run, I believe) and a number of time-lost guest stars.

    What did he piss on, exactly? Because most of your points don’t stand up under scrutiny. All of the things you say he ignored and flushed away were actually handled in the direct follow-ups to WWH, rather than Hulk, which is simply a new series that launched a new character.

  13. Fun fact: Jeph Loeb’s Hulk is the only Deadpool appearance I’ve refused to read!

  14. Every so often my friends talk me into reading an issue of this, and I will be completely honest: the latest one? The Fall of the Hulks tie-in? Was a really good issue. A shrink psychoanalyzing now-evil Doc Samson (yes I am one-note sometimes in that I’ll read damn near anything with psychoanalysis). I was actually kinda getting into that and thinking I’d have to see if he had a new editor toning down the crap parts or something.

    Until I got to the part where Samson said he got off fighting the Hulk. That blatant, too. He pretty much stopped short of “I come in my pants”.

    They’re gonna have to try harder to trick me into reading whatever issue they claim is ‘so good’ next on this book.

  15. @david brothers: Well, when I say “piss on,” I’m talking about a general tendency. Remember Ultimate Pyro? Turned him into a rapist without a shred of explanation. Ultimate Thor? Thorspeak! Ultimate Wasp? Leader of the team, and caucasian. Ultimate Valkyrie? Superpowers! Ultimate Venom? No idea. And speaking of the Hulk series, how did Moon Knight turn back into Steven Grant and zip over to Las Vegas when he’s supposed to be on the run in Mexico? Oh, and 616 Thor’s hammer doesn’t work like that. 92% sure. And how can he kill an Elder of the Universe? Didn’t Death make them immortal? Oh, and 616 Watcher doesn’t work like that. 93% sure. And what is up with the Hulk suddenly changing personalities left and right? Sure, he’s done it before, but it’d be nice to have some kind of catalyst this time for old Joe Fixit to suddenly spring back into existence. And speaking of Jarella… seriously! Between Betty and Caiera, the great love of his life turns out to be a character from the early 1970s?? Crikey, talk about a pointlessly missed opportunity! It’s like Loeb is going out of his way to avoid having anything to do with Pak’s run. And yes, a lot of the problems you mention were resolved… by other writers! Oooh, snap!
    Alright, I’m being unfair, you’re right, he probably did more than I give him credit for… not that anything comes to mind, but honestly I’m not qualified to judge anyway since I don’t read the man’s work too much since his writing somewhat irritates me. Which is a point I’m going to stand by. Seriously… “The bad doctor is in.” He sat down and wrote that intentionally. And what the Hell did anyone expect Hellcat and Tigra to do against the Red Hulk anyway?? Nice fighting force you got there, She-Hulk! I was unaware you were on the stupid pills!
    And getting back to the basic Hulk issue one final time, it’s not really that he regressed the character with or without explanation, it’s that he did so at all. For whatever reasons given within the context of the story, it was still a crying shame to see that formidable, canny Hulk replaced by Mr. Smashy. Greg Pak did a lot of good things that shouldn’t have been cast aside. In my opinion, the reversion was uncalled for. And I guess that’s really my only central point. That, and I think the man’s just not so good a writer.

  16. @Joe England:

    And speaking of the Hulk series, how did Moon Knight turn back into Steven Grant and zip over to Las Vegas when he’s supposed to be on the run in Mexico? Oh, and 616 Thor’s hammer doesn’t work like that. 92% sure. And how can he kill an Elder of the Universe? Didn’t Death make them immortal? Oh, and 616 Watcher doesn’t work like that. 93% sure.

    Honestly… who cares about the first one? Expecting comic timelines to line up 1:1 is pretty silly, isn’t it? How does Spider-Man appear in New Avengers and Amazing Spider-Man?

    The Thor thing– why wouldn’t it work like that? You can’t lift Thor’s hammer, and several people in the past (including Hulk, I think?) have grabbed onto it while it was in motion.

    The Watcher scene… that was a joke, man. Reread it. Loeb and McG wanted to do something funny. The cliffhanger is “RED HULK VS HULK!” and the very next page is “HULK VS WATCHER!” When it’s done, Red Hulk goes, “Oh, Hulk, I forgot you were here.” It’s as serious as Iron Man’s “Oh. The. Humanity.”

    re: Hulk loves- Spider-Man is still all torn up over Gwen Stacy, Lana Lang is hung up on Clark Kent, Daredevil loves Elektra, etc etc. Hulk still missing some chick he married and lived with for a while is plenty believable.

    It’s like Loeb is going out of his way to avoid having anything to do with Pak’s run. And yes, a lot of the problems you mention were resolved… by other writers! Oooh, snap!

    Yeah, it’s almost like Jeph Loeb has his own side of the Hulk story to write, while Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente and whoever wrote that Warbound book are working in their own lanes. Did you see that Paul Dini’s Batman barely even talked about Jezebel Jet? And geez, JLA barely even mentioned that Batman died!

    Loeb isn’t writing Hulk: The All-Encompassing Adventures of the Hulk(s). He’s writing a book about Red Hulk and his vendetta against Bruce Banner. Greg Pak is doing a book about Bruce Banner tutoring Skaar. Fred Van Lente is writing about Lyra, the Savage She-Hulk. Taken together, you have a full picture of post-WWH Hulk, including why the Green Scar Hulk is gone.

    So of course things were resolved by other writers. That’s why other writers exist: to write other stories.

    And what the Hell did anyone expect Hellcat and Tigra to do against the Red Hulk anyway?? Nice fighting force you got there, She-Hulk! I was unaware you were on the stupid pills!

    Yeah, I can’t imagine what two Avengers (a team known for being composed of people like Black Panther, Captain America, Hawkeye, Spider-Woman, Mockingbird, and Rage) could be expected to do against a new and serious threat. I mean, they’re not experienced heroes or former members of the world’s foremost superhero team or anything. Not to mention the fact that Thundra has gone toe-to-toe with the Hulk before and Valkyrie is the strongest of the actual Valkyries and a demi-god.

    Sounds like a good plan to me. A couple heroes who know their way around a fight (and have probably fought several cosmic-level threats) and then some serious god-class heavy hitters. Or, you know, Loeb arghghh dumb stupid She-Hulk abloo bah.

    And getting back to the basic Hulk issue one final time, it’s not really that he regressed the character with or without explanation, it’s that he did so at all. For whatever reasons given within the context of the story, it was still a crying shame to see that formidable, canny Hulk replaced by Mr. Smashy. Greg Pak did a lot of good things that shouldn’t have been cast aside. In my opinion, the reversion was uncalled for. And I guess that’s really my only central point.

    Greg Pak has repeatedly said that he was involved in planning the new status quo (the reversion you so despise) as part of Bruce Banner’s new character arc. It’s nice that you don’t like it, but your reason for disliking it doesn’t actually have any basis in truth. Loeb didn’t do it to just toss it away- Loeb and Pak both plotted the arc to show the contrast between Green Scar’s scary intelligence and rage and Banner’s calm logic, death wish, and apparent willingness to go too far.

    Which, honestly, is way more interesting than just having a smart Hulk who wants to kill people.

  17. David I have to say you’re putting a great deal of effort into defending a writer whose BEST attribute by your own description is that he’s dumb but fun. If some people try him and don’t see anything fun then all thats left is dumb…

    And honestly if someone doesn’t want to write something that meshes into a massive shared continuity maybe they shouldn’t be writing a book set in a shared universe owned by a corporation…

  18. Jezz I always try to flip through the Hulk books and try not to get a nose bleed by reading the story, never realized the Moon Knight Sentry Ms Marvel angle. Thanks for pointing that out.

  19. @david brothers: I reiterate, my primary complaints are simply that Loeb took the character to a place I dislike, in his primary series, and that he’s not a good writer in general. You can’t exactly say that either of these assertions don’t have any “basis in truth,” since they’re largely a matter of opinion. Past a certain point, David, we’ll just have to agree to disagree. But if we’re not at that point yet, I may as well go another round. I always enjoy the chance to have a lively discussion of comics with an intelligent fellow!

    So, regarding the continuity glitches… when it comes down to “who cares,” “why not,” and “it’s just a joke,” we begin to descend into a very nebulous realm. These are the sorts of things that should be addressed if we take our comics seriously, and silly as it is we are certainly the sort of crowd which takes comics seriously!
    Firstly, clearly many people care about the continuity gaffes, because many people complain about the same things. Call us geeks, sure, but we’re still the audience. The whole point of having a shared universe is that the elements of each story should be consistent with what’s set down elsewhere. Yes, it’s silly to expect things to always line up, but it’s not silly to expect the writers to try and MAKE things line up.
    As for “why not,” well, that’s something that’s been debated endlessly by countless other geeks already. It’s hard to brush something aside when that many people call foul. I must have read half a dozen reviews wherein the hammer issue is brought up. When a plot element is that widely criticized, it’s hard to place the blame entirely on the customers.
    And “it’s just a joke” is a rhetoric that can be used to excuse a lot of things. Joel Schumacher probably said words to that effect many times during production of Batman & Robin.

    Oh, and getting back to one of the most important issues of all… seriously. Jarella?? I know I’m harping on this, but the last two major storylines revolved around the Hulk finding and falling in love with and then losing one of the only women he ever truly connected with! How do you make a subsequent storyline where the MacGuffin is the promise of reclaiming lost love and not even touch on the love he just lost?? That’s like… anti-logic! Criminy, that microverse storyline is over three decades old! I mean, I suppose Loeb could have been aiming for some kind of subtle satirical irony, but really… was he? This is the man who put “bunghole” into Ultimate Nick Fury’s vocabulary.

    Moving on to the writers issue. Now, I will certainly grant you that it’s important for a writer to make his line of books stand alone as a story which can be enjoyed for its own merits, even in a shared universe. You make very valid points. But let’s keep in mind, this is pretty much the main Hulk book. It is jarring when the tone is so completely altered with the jump from one author to the next. Whatever happened to that intelligent, world-conquering Hulk? If you look for answers in the primary story, you’ll be at a loss.
    But honestly, I’m grasping at straws in this respect. You’re right, other writers cover various facets of the story, and that’s well and good… even if I occasionally get the notion they’re jumping through hoops to cover the continuity holes Loeb’s punching in the central title. And it’s just too bad it is the central title, because that badass warrior Hulk who conquered a whole planet is sort of hard to find now. And I miss him.

    Now, getting to the issue of having the likes of Tigra, Hellcat and… oh, Black Widow in a direct confrontation with the Red Hulk.
    Come on.
    Valkyrie, She-Hulk and Thundra I can understand. I can understand forming a fighting force to go up against the Rulk, though I’m not sure why they all have to be women and I’m even more not sure why that hasn’t been a top priority in the superhero community from day one since something that can defeat the Hulk is clearly one of the most dangerous entities on Earth. Will someone tell me why the Sentry hasn’t been sent out with a small army of Hulkbusters and a Stop-Hulkifier from Reed Richards to handle this thing?
    But I digress. What I can’t understand is the logic of placing people who specialize in covert operations and/or scratching things in a battle with a violent indestructible psychopath. Black Widow can’t sting him to any great effect. Patsy Walker’s going to hop around a lot, and that’s it. Tigra… I guess she can scratch him. Which makes all three of them about as useful as placing a bleeder in the boxing ring with a rabid doberman.
    Let’s be honest. They were written in for the sake of being eye candy. Period. Because in this case, there is no strategic reason to include anything less than the most super-powerful fighters on Earth in a fracas with this thing. Or if there is a reason, then I would very much like to have it explained to me. Preferably by the writer.

    So winding up this particular rant… like I said, you do raise some good points. You’re also right that I’m probably underestimating the cooperation between Pak and Loeb. But my reasons for disliking Loeb’s run of Hulk do not simply have no basis in truth, because the truth of it is I don’t like what he’s done and I do have my reasons.

    And for the record, I do find the smart Hulk who wants to kill people more interesting. That, again, is a matter of opinion. And dude… all I’m doing is stating mine. I’m not saying you can’t like the comic.

  20. I will offer the completely ignorant and speculatively opinion that there are better ways to do mindless fun than creating a completely new character and making him overpowered in every way possible.

  21. @Joe England: My point is that Loeb as the Destroyer of All Continuity isn’t exactly accurate. He was brought into the Ultimate Universe specifically to shake things up and leave it broken so that they could do a reboot. In Hulk, he has kept pretty closely to his own corner of the Marvel U, where the closest he’s come to ruining someone else’s work was having Moon Knight, a dude known for having MPD, appear in a certain persona.

    And the “Who cares?” is valid here. A book like New Avengers or Captain America has less leeway when it comes to having some fun with characters. The Watcher getting punched out, Moon Knight being fake Batman– that’s the sort of thing that’d fly in a book like Hulk or Deadpool, which aren’t 100% serious/hardcore in line with Marvel’s overstory. Playing with the elasticity of the characters works here. That’s where the “Who cares?” comes from. It isn’t breaking the characters and it’s very easy to explain any contradictions (Moon Knight as Steven Grant works perfectly fine when you consider the thrust of the new series, at least from what I’ve read).

    There are plenty of reasons to dislike Hulk, but I get the feeling that a lot of the dislike from it comes from a dislike of Loeb’s reputation, rather than what’s inside the book itself. That’s my point.

    @Drakyn: There are better ways to do a lot of things, but I found something to enjoy in the way the story simply serves as a vehicle for the art.

  22. Hmm, interesting article. I’m not a fan of Loeb’s Hulk run, and the reasons why have pretty much been covered, but I think one thing some people are forgetting in terms of the anger was this; Incredible Hulk (adventures of Skaar and Bruce) only just came back. For a while “Incredible” was just for Herc and if you wanted your dose of hulk, all you could turn to was Loeb’s Hulk. Thus the general strangeness that appeared there was several more times jarring. We didn’t really have the option of going somewhere else if we didn’t like it. That’s really all I had to say on the matter, good day gentlemen.

  23. @Joe Englund

    If you can’t understand why a person who’s just lost his wife *might* be interested in the resurrection of someone who he’s loved before, then you’re a very lucky man.

  24. And as far as the “grabbing the hammer and using it to bring yourself to Thor” is concerned, well, that’s the reason why Thor don’t fight the Juggernaut no more.

  25. @Evil Abraham Lincoln: …What? I’m not sure we’re talking about the same thing here. Of course he would be motivated (though even that’s slightly iffy). But that’s not my point.
    I mean it makes no sense from a storytelling perspective. We’d just gotten past two epic story lines which involved the Hulk finding the love of his life on an alien world and then losing her, and then going on a rampage of revenge out of grief and anger. And then we get a subsequent story which centers on him going on a quest to regain ANOTHER love who he found and lost on ANOTHER alien world. Not the one we just saw, mind. No, it’s another one.
    I mean… what is up with that? It’s bizarre! It’s like if the plot of Diamonds Are Forever was James Bond going on a quest to find a device to resurrect his dead wife who was killed by terrorists on their wedding day. Except it’s not the one from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. No, it’s another, more obscure dead wife.

  26. David, you’re better than this. Don’t settle for Loeb. Have some self-respect, dammit.