I’ve been paying attention to these Marvel Knights books recently and I am rather curious about them. They sound pretty good and the word is the artwork for them is just beautiful. So, I’ve decided to check out their Hulk story and see what all of the fuss is about. Is it good?
Marvel Knights: Hulk #1 (Marvel Comics)
Somewhere in Paris, a woman discovers a man floating in the river with a gunshot wound. She takes him home and lets him rest up, only to discover that he has no memory of what happened or who he is exactly. All that wes know is that something very bad is afoot and that both of their lives may be in grave danger, especially now that she came into contact with him.
Please, the guy just has some heartburn. Nothing to worry about.
Okay, you probably already know who the guy with amnesia is from just an educated guess, but that’s not the point. The point is that Marvel Knights: Hulk #1 is a pretty solid comic all around. The opening is very strong, grabbing you right off the bat with a mystery (one part of which you can easily guess) that makes you want to know more and how exactly things ended up with the guy in the river shot. From there, the characters are introduced and they are given enough characterization for us to get a bit of understanding of them and so they are not just props. It then continues to build from there, extremely tight and well-paced, as we start getting hints of what exactly happened and the constant dread of something looming in the background.
However, a little over halfway through, the slow and methodical pacing and tension are instantly tossed away. The comic immediately shifts gears and becomes overblown with excitement and insanity as the whole issue turns from a mystery to extended action scene for the remaining half. The change is so jarring that it felt like I got whiplash or I had turned over three pages by accident. This part of the story is where we start learning about who the cause all of this and what their plan is, which is actually nice in not wanting to draw the mystery out for too long. The revelations in themselves are also interesting and makes me want to see how this will continue to play out throughout the rest of the mini-series.
Right at this moment is when subtlety is tossed out of the window and into a wood chipper.
Now neither part of the story is necessarily bad, like I stated. The quiet, calm, but tension building of the first half is great at easing people into the story. The hectic, action-oriented, but plot importance of the second half is great at giving people who have been craving some action exactly what they wanted. It’s all very well written with how both halves are paced, structured, and presented overall (though the villains are kind of so over-the-top and evil that might have well stepped out of an 80s action flick). It’s just the change is very abrupt and may throw some people off a bit.
The writing by Joe Keatinge is good overall, but what about the artwork by Piotr Kowalski and the rest of the art team? Well, he does a great job on the book. His artwork is very good at presenting unique looking individuals, locations, movement, subtlety of expression & emotion, and action. A particular standout though that really helps the penciling a lot is the colorist, Nick Filardi. The color palettes are just great here with helping separate everything; the flashbacks, the inner thoughts, the quiet part of the story, and extreme action portion (you know, the reds and browns). It really makes everything pop and provides a visual treat for the reader.
He really needs to get out of that water. His jacket is turning it green and stuff!
- Both parts of the story are well written in different ways.
- Extremely engaging.
- The artwork looks great in general.
- The tonal and writing shift in the middle is abrupt.
- Villains are not that deep.
- Needs more Hulk.
Is It Good?
Marvel Knights: Hulk #1 is a great start to this mini-series. While the first and second halves of the story may be light and day between one another, the writing is just great overall and it can really suck you in. If you are looking for a good Hulk book right now, give this a shot for sure.
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