“The Hulks take Manhattan”
Writer: Paul Benjamin
Artists: Juan Santacruz (p), Raul Fernandez (i), Wilfredo Quintana (colors)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
"Marvel Adventures" may possibly be one of the most simple and entertaining imprints on the market. Marvel made a sound decision to feature their classic characters in action suitable for all ages, and while I am still getting fully entrenched into the imprint, I have loved it thus far. I first picked up Marvel Adventures after reading a few reviews of its titles. My hope was to find a series or two that played out like an animated series, mostly clear, simple stand-alone stories. Marvel Adventures Hulk #1 delivered a great story containing the basic origin of the Hulk and the essentials to the character and his supporting cast. As my interest in the green goliath has risen since "Planet Hulk" and World War Hulk, Marvel Adventures Hulk is perfect for “classic” tales.
This issue of Marvel Adventures Hulk starts out fast and moves right into the plot. For a self-contained story that has the expectations of being rather simple, writer Paul Benjamin moves the action along at a great pace. What really roped me into this issue in the first few pages was the appearance of the always fun Jamie Madrox a.k.a. Multiple Man. The appearance by the Peter David “X-Factor Investigations” version of Multiple Man really helped me appreciate the "Marvel Adventures" line even more than I already do. One of the most appealing aspects of the "Marvel Adventures" titles are that they do not exist in one universe, or a clearly defined universe for that matter. Paul Benjamin is able to take the “classic” Bruce Banner and throw him into a modern Marvel NYC where X-Factor Investigations exists. With this move I think that Benjamin has really opened the door for all "Marvel Adventures" titles to play off of ideas in the mainstream “616” universe.
That being said, the motivation of this issue is Bruce Banner’s desire to cure himself of the Hulk with his hetero life-mate Rick Jones. They need Multiple Man’s help to track down the lab of a friend of Banner’s in order to get access to the cure device. Simple really, but the inclusion of Multiple Man is what makes this issue memorable. Benjamin does a fantastic job giving each one of Multiple Man’s “dupes” a distinct personality, each representing a side of the man himself. My personal favorite is the narrator of the story who is simply a dupe sitting on a rooftop narrating the whole issue. It’s really quite hilarious.
It is one of these dupes that causes the real trouble in this issue, and Benjamin handles the story with such poise that it seems to me like he really enjoyed writing this story. The easiest way to state what happens without spoiling too much of the hilarity and great story that follows is to say that the Hulk essentially becomes Multiple Man. Honestly, it is a lot of fun reading this issue. It’s both funny and a bit zany, and the artistic sound effect of “bloop” representing a dupe being made is what makes this title even more fun. Just say “bloop” in a high pitched tone and pick up this issue. It's hours of mindless fun. Benjamin’s use of the Hulk, Multiple Man and Rick Jones is really creative and brings this story together utilizing a great deal of comedy and good old fashioned fun.
As is the norm with "Marvel Adventures" titles, the artwork is really well done and fits the story very well. Juan Santacuz’s pencils work both as realism and as cartoon. The inks and colors by Raul Fernandez and Wilfredo Quintana are vivid and fit well at the right moments of the story. For example, the inks and colors take a much darker tone when Multiple Man is featured as opposed to when only Banner and Jones are featured. It adds an allure of noir and mystery to the whole “X-Factor Investigations” idea that works well even in an all-ages story.
I’ve really got to recommend this issue. Even if you want nothing to do with "Marvel Adventures" you should grab this issue for a fun, creative and quite comedic story away from the “616.” Marvel does an excellent job with this "Marvel Adventures" title as it serves as a great alternative to World War Hulk or any other “big event.”
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