Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist: Mike Deodato Jr.
Publisher: Marvel Comics
As the Krill with the sample of the Hulk's blood races back to the hidden underground base of the Secret Conspiracy with the Hulk in hot pursuit, we see everything comes to a head when the Halk smashes his way into this base, and proceeds to go on a good old fashioned rampage. However we see the Secret Conspiracy is not completely without resources for dealing with this situation, and they set in motion a plan that involves the young Ricky Myers.
It's nice to see this arc is bringing everything to a head, as in this issue the Hulk smashes his way into the very belly of the Secret Conspiracy's underground base, and we also learn the mysterious leader is willing to sacrifice this entire place and every operative within it in order to secure his sample of the Hulk's blood. The issue also offers up a rather unexpected development in the final page as we see Ricky Myers the young boy that the Hulk was shown killing, is brought back into the picture and he plays a fairly unexpected role in this issue's cliffhanger. However, while it's nice to see this story looks to be on the verge of delivering the answers to the big mystery that has been running through the pages of this book for well over a year, the simple fact of the matter is that the extended wait that we've had to endure, combined with the various red herrings and false surprises makes this issue feel a bit underwhelming, as the material is pretty much along the lines of what I went in expecting to see, and in spite of the last page cliffhanger, there's no real big moments that I consider all the rewarding. Now yes the scene where the Hulk exposes the underground base is an impressive display of power but that's all it really is, and frankly I'm looking for more from this arc that the Hulk smash moments that we've been denied. The book also continues its obvious attempts to appeal to the audience by having its female cast members running around half-naked, by using plot devices that feel like they were ripped from the script of a porno film.
As for the art, Mike Deodato Jr. remains one of the primary reasons why I'm willing to give this book the benefit of the doubt, as he's a wonderful artist, and he's proven himself fully capable of delivering the various moods that the story calls for, from the sinister back-room dealings of the Secret Conspiracy as they discuss the Hulk's approach, to the blockbuster quality of the Hulk's arrival, as the scene where the Hulk rips open the hidden base is a fantastic Hulk moment. Also while I'm on the topic of the visual presentation of the Hulk's strength I do have to say that this book has some of the best looking covers I've come across is quite some time, with this issue's presentation of the Hulk's ground pound maneuver being particularly impressive. I mean I love the way that the cover logo is worked into the art, and the Hulk looks fantastic.
There's moments in this issue where I find myself ready to embrace this issue as a solid mixture of pure action and intrigue, but frankly this dance has been going on for far too long, and the simple fact of the matter is that the answers that are offered up are hardly enough of a surprise to justify the wait. I mean the whole point of this entire Secret Conspiracy is to get a sample of the Hulk's blood? This is the reason we've been jumping through all those various hoops? To say this is a bit underwhelming is a bit of an understatement as frankly I can think of far simpler methods of acquiring a sample of the Hulk's blood than staging a numerous highly destructive battles and emotionally charged scenarios in the hopes that one would be able to slip in unnoticed to collect a blood sample from a raging Hulk. Still, I will credit this latest arc for coming up with a fairly engaging way for them to gain their blood sample, and while the scene offers up a painfully obvious bid to have one of the characters forced to offer up her top, the overwhelming nature of the Krill is nicely presented.
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