Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Leandro Fernandez
Publisher: Marvel Comics
With the Absorbing Man using his new power to possess the bodies of others to wreck havoc in the underground lab where he is being held, we see he's also able to reach out an make contact with Bruce Banner. We then see the villain makes an active effort to awaken the Hulk, so that the raging beast can become the latest host of his body jumping ability.
I still have some serious reservations about Bruce Jones willingness to have key plot elements dependent on random chance encounters, and I also can't say I'm warming to the new power that the Absorbing Man has been given, as it's so far removed from the abilities he's been shown to have previously that the material needs to offer up a better explanation for this new power beyond the he just discovered he had it one day. The book also offers up one of my personal pet peeves, in that it offers up a false scare, where it looks like Banner has shoved the woman in front of a speeding car, only to turn the page to discover it was only in his mind. I don't like when writers resort to tricks like this, and I have to say I'm a little disappointed to see it make an appearance in this book. Still, I will credit this issue for have a couple genuinely entertaining moments, as the sequence where Banner gets pushed in front of a speeding train is quite strong, as is the scene where he takes on a truck that is being driven by one of the possessed. The story is still a bit light in the plot department, but it looks to be picking up speed in this second chapter.
As for the art, Leandro Fernandez's work has a nice moody look to it that manages to convey the more sinister aspects of the plot. He also does some fine work on the scenes where the Hulk is unleashed, as the subway crash is a well crafted exercise, and the explosive impact of the truck is also a very effective lead in to the Hulk's second appearance.
This arc has yet to convince me that Bruce Jones isn't simply rehashing a rather familiar plot, as once gain we have Banner stumble his way into the middle of a dark, mysterious plot. Having the Absorbing Man displaying a new, never seen before ability also struck me as a bit awkward, as frankly there's about a half dozen mind-controlling villains who would make a better fit, and if nothing else this material seems to be woefully ignorant of the role that the Absorbing Man is playing in the rest of the Marvel Universe. Still, as strictly a mood piece I will give the book credit for a pretty effective use of the idea that the Hulk is something that is better left contained inside Banner, and here's hoping the last page results in something big (e.g. an encounter with the Avengers).
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