Hulk #6 is a special issue not only because it’s the finale to Donny Cates and Ryan Ottley’s first story arc, but it introduces a character called Titan (which is not much of a spoiler since Marvel has teased the character in multiple press releases). In addition, we get some finality to Hulk escaping an army of Hulks in another dimension while also setting up his big Thor crossover too. There’s a lot of ground to cover, but under the pencils of Ottley, we’re in fairly good hands.
As the preview shows, Hulk is not only punching off heads, but he’s also facing a Hulk Galactus. One can imagine this climactic issue to the story arc is pushing everything up to 11 to maximize entertainment and surprise. Smartly though, Cates scripts this so the various versions of Hulk actually serve a purpose. They all play into an idea around how there are just so many Hulk versions of characters. The narrative then takes that idea a few extra steps to reveal Titan.
I won’t spoil what Titan is, but it’s the kind of crackerjack idea you can practically feel the pitch for when Cates got this idea approved. It’s also an idea that will make your inner 10 year-old squeal. It’s wildly fun, seemingly obvious, and at the end of the day an interesting exploration of Hulk’s identity. It’s also an idea that’ll make you roll your eyes as your brain tries to comprehend the silliness of it even if it’s totally radical. Whether you like it or not will depend on whether you want 100% fun or deeper psychological meaningful comics.
Titan is only a fraction of what this book is about, though, and Cates closes things out well. Hulk and Bruce Banner must face off, which has been building well given Bruce has basically tortured Hulk to make his starship more powerful. The starship itself still hasn’t been explained, but given how outlandish the narrative is–think Fast and the Furious with green skin–that isn’t much of a problem. That conflict is resolved well along with General Ross’s attack on Bruce, too. The issue is quite economical as it speeds along with emotional moments and crazy violence.
Ottley continues to deliver big time on art in a way that’s shocking since a mainline Marvel series like this tends to not be so graphic. Ottley is backed up by inker Cliff Rathburn and color artist Frank Martin and every page and panel looks like a million bucks. One minor gripe might be how layouts tend to be simplistic, which in some sense makes sense given the level of detail, but it also makes the book speed by quickly too.
There’s a level of creativity here from creature design to effects that shows Ottley’s doing some of his best work ever. Key closeups help remind us Bruce is a person reeling from all this chaos while you can also enjoy the mayhem in all its glory between those panels. Technology looks great too, like gadgetry in the starship or the gizmos that pop out of Hulk’s back.
Hulk is escapism to the max. Hulk #6 closes out its first story arc efficiently while introducing a new concept for the Hulk series, setting up the next arc involving Thor, and even making you feel for Bruce and Hulk. It’s the kind of comic some might throw down in annoyance, while others will pull out their air guitars and start shredding in excitement. It may be polarizing, but it’s undeniably raw entertainment.
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