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Incredible Hulk Epic Collection: The Curing of Dr. Banner
Marvel Comics

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‘Incredible Hulk Epic Collection: The Curing of Dr. Banner’ review

A fascinating look at the psychology of Dr. Robert Bruce Banner, and the sacrifices he is willing to endure to be a hero.

The masterful The Incredible Hulk Epic Collection: The Curing of Dr. Banner trade paperback is the perfect addition to any Hulk lover’s growing collection. Volume 8 of Marvel’s quickly expanding Incredible Hulk Epic Collection series sees the final issues of Len Wein’s iconic run on Incredible Hulk play out as the story is deftly handed over to Roger Stern, ushering in a new era of introspection for the Jade Giant.

The Incredible Hulk Epic Collection: The Curing of Dr. Banner collects issues #201 – #226, which debuted between 1976 and 1978, considered by many Hulk fans to be some of the most iconic Hulk stories of the 1970s. Featuring writing by the beloved Len Wein and absolutely gorgeous art by Sal Buscema, The Curing of Dr. Banner is a fascinating look at the psychology of Dr. Robert Bruce Banner, and the sacrifices he is willing to endure to be a hero. A particular highlight is issue #222, the heartbreaking tale of the monstrous “Billy,” a classic Jim Starlin story with tragic art by Starlin and Alfredo Alcala, as well as Starlin’s amazing cover for issue #217.

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The Incredible Hulk Epic Collection: The Curing of Dr. Banner

Marvel Comics

The Epic Collection also features The Incredible Hulk Annual #6 from writers Len Wein and David Kraft with art by Frank Giacoia and Mike Esposito, an interesting issue featuring Doctor Strange and the Enclave. Forcing Strange to do brain surgery on a new being in their cocoon, after their perceived “failure” of Adam Warlock, the creation of the new being is interrupted by a rampaging Hulk. The Enclave’s newest creation emerges as the Paragon, an intriguing character who eventually transforms into “Her” and then eventually into “Kismet” in later stories.

One would be remiss to not highlight the heartbreaking and devastating death of Jarella, princess of the sub-atomic kingdom K’ai, at the hands of the Crypto-Man. Jarella was a captivating love interest of the Hulk, unabashedly loving both Dr. Banner and the Hulk with no shame or fear, allowing Banner/Hulk to experience true acceptance for perhaps the first time since his initial transformation.

The Incredible Hulk Epic Collection: The Curing of Dr. Banner

Marvel Comics

Jarella shows her true spirit during Hulk’s battle with Crypto-Man, as she saves a young boy from being crushed by a collapsing wall, leading to the loss of her own life much to the Hulk’s dismay. Even though writer Len Wein wrote that he planned to have Jarella come back to life, this story never came to fruition, and Jarella’s death remains one of the saddest events to occur to the Hulk in the 1970s. Inspiring one of Hulk’s most relentless rampages, Buscema masterfully depicts Hulk’s rage and grief, humanizing the Green Goliath in an impressive manner.

The Incredible Hulk Epic Collection: The Curing of Dr. Banner features the first major reintroduction of Doctor Druid, formerly Doctor Droom, into Marvel Comics. Hulk teams up with Druid to battle Maha Yogi, empowered by a piece of Ulysses Bloodstone’s gem, and the Sandt gladiator Mongu. Their battle is incredibly well illustrated and plotted, and the end result with Maha Yogi’s rapid aging is as horrifying as it is satisfying. Plus, the tender dedication of Mongu’s loyalty to his villainous master is surprisingly sweet!

The Incredible Hulk Epic Collection: The Curing of Dr. Banner

Marvel Comics

Throughout The Incredible Hulk Epic Collection: The Curing of Dr. Banner there are a multitude of fun cameos and appearances, like that of the Defenders, Doctor Strange, Betsy Ross, and the Leader. As the collection wraps up the titular Curing of Dr. Banner occurs in issue #23, one of Roger Stern’s first Hulk comics, with Bruce briefly being cured of his Hulk affliction before needing to sacrifice his humanity once again to save the world from the Leader. It is a great way to end the collection, as Banner once again chooses to become the Hulk, condemning himself to a lifetime of rage and oppression.

The Incredible Hulk Epic Collection: The Curing of Dr. Banner has an exciting collection of supplemental material at the end of the trade paperback, including several pinups, reprinted covers, and original art from artists like Jim Starlin and Sal Buscema. It also includes an impressive unused cover for Incredible Hulk #208 by Dave Cockrum, the artist who partnered with Len Wein for the iconic 1975 relaunch of the X-Men Giant-Size X-Men. A true delight is the inclusion of five pages of gorgeous Hulk art by Bernie Wrightson, co-creator of Swamp Thing alongside Wein, for a Hulk story concocted by Wein and Wrightson that was never completed or published.

Fans of classic Incredible Hulk tales will undoubtedly love The Incredible Hulk Epic Collection: The Curing of Dr. Banner, a fast-paced and bombastic exploration of Bruce Banner’s grief, rage, and psychology. From the tragic death of Hulk’s lover Jarella to the reintroduction of Doctor Druid and the Leader’s reappearance as a major Hulk villain, this collection has everything a classic Hulk fan could want. Featuring stunning art by Sal Buscema and beautiful writing from Len Wein, The Incredible Hulk Epic Collection: The Curing of Dr. Banner is a perfect addition to anyone’s Hulk collection and a great sendoff for Wein’s iconic run on the series.

Incredible Hulk Epic Collection: The Curing of Dr. Banner
‘Incredible Hulk Epic Collection: The Curing of Dr. Banner’ review
Incredible Hulk Epic Collection: The Curing of Dr. Banner
Featuring stunning art by Sal Buscema and beautiful writing from Len Wein, The Incredible Hulk Epic Collection: The Curing of Dr. Banner is a perfect addition to anyone's Hulk collection and a great sendoff for Wein's iconic run on the series.
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
Collects the final arcs of Len Wein's masterful run on Hulk
Supplemental material is beautiful and includes unpublished art
Jarella's tragic death emotionally stands out amid Banner's many adventures
The "curing" of Dr. Banner is a much more minor plot than the title would suggest
8
Good
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