Gamma Flight was a spin-off from Al Ewing’s classic Immortal Hulk that took many by surprise. Ewing, Crystal Frasier, and Lan Medina took characters like Absorbing Man, Puck, Titania, and Dr. Charlene McGowan and put them on a kind of team to face off against some Hulk mainstays. Does it work, what kind of team is this, and does it stand alone? These are questions I pondered as I read through the new trade paperback out this week.
AIPT writer Ben Morin wasn’t wrong when he said the first issue had great characters and an ordinary plot. That ends up being the biggest takeaway, in fact, after putting this book down. The variety of super-powered monsters, each with their own hangups and ailments, is an intriguing place to start for a series like this.
Through their adventure, we get to see them interact, connect, and relate on levels that are deeply moving. They are rejected by society, either because of how they look, their temperament, or because they are transgender. Ewing and Frasier are very good at humanizing and connecting the reader to their experiences. No matter the character it’s easy to connect with their experience, which is the crowning achievement of this series.
The plot at hand involves some major Hulk characters, like the Abomination who is up to no good messing with people using gamma science. An entire town is affected and Gamma Flight is accidentally sent there, which inevitably results in a resolution. That’s part of the problem with the narrative: this team accidentally resolves the big conflict, which makes the plot a vehicle for character development and interaction more than anything else. Even the ending resolution is a weaker idea, as if the writing duo’s interest wasn’t in vanquishing a villain or making a statement about his acts but instead the heroes on Gamma Flight.
Medina does a good job with the characters and their various monstrous looks. There’s a costume these characters wear, but then you have Doc Sasquatch and the disturbing Rick Jones and Delbert Frye combination is a sight to see. Characters tend to be up close and in your face, which gives scenes a larger-than-life feel. Scenes of labs and destroyed streets covered in rubble give the book a similar feel to Immortal Hulk.
Gamma Flight has plenty of good character moments to enjoy, making this a good purchase for most. In the grand scheme of the Hulk mythos, it also adds some new developments for key Hulk characters, some of which are not even named in this review. That said, the plot is quite thin and only serves as a means to throw the eclectic mix of characters together for one last mission.
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