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Monster-Size Hulk #1

Posted: Tuesday, October 21, 2008
By: Troy Stith

Jeff Parker, Steve Niles, Paul Tobin, Peter David
Hardman, Loughridge, Parillo, Williams, Staples, Hardman
Marvel Comics
Plot: Hulk goes up against Frankenstein, Werewolf, and Dracula in this four story, four artist/writer team collaboration.

Comments: When I heard about this title and the creative team attached, I couldn’t wait to pick it up. Then I saw the Guiseppi Camuncoli & Edgar Delgado cover of Frankenstein grabbing Hulk by the neck and I knew there were great things dwelling within.

First up was the cover teaser ,“It’s Alive! ALIVE!!!” by Jeff Parker, with art by Gabriel Hardman. Parker sets up the story in Lyon, France with an on the run Bruce Banner being duped and drugged only to wake up on a train with Dr. Frankenstein’s great granddaughter Victoria. Parker weaves a romantic tale between Victoria Frankenstein and Bruce Banner as he becomes engrossed with raising the patchwork giant. But what’s love without betrayal? Parker delivers a deceptive twist in the love story when he shows Victoria’s true intentions. Then bringing the two monsters together in the end shows the likeness between the two beings.

Gabriel Hardman’s heavily inked artwork is perfect for the shadowed feel of the story. His take on Frankenstein is great, classic but powerful with the Hulk blood dwelling within him. Hardman’s Hulk shows the raw power within the green powerhouse. Yet when the Hulk is downed, you feel sorry for him with the heavy brow and defeated face he depicts.

Between Parker and Hardman, the book was off to a great start. I moved on to the anticipated Steve Niles and Lucio Parrillo story. “Hulk By Night” is a black and white tale of a deal struck up between Jack Russell and Bruce Banner, after Banners awakens in the middle of a forest. Niles spins a tale of friendship and inner demons as Jack tells Bruce that he needs him to make sure he stays in a steel cage inside his home. Bruce agrees just in time as Jack starts to turn into a Werewolf. Resulting in a mishap that turns Banner into the Hulk, then he frees Jack from the cage starting a chase between the two. The werewolf on the lookout for a meal and the Hulk looking for revenge, only one of them succeeds though. Niles weaves in a great fight scene between Hulk and the werewolf. Wrapping up the fight, Niles ends the tale on an ironic note. By the end of this tale I was beginning to fear monster friendship was becoming the common theme of the book.

I liked the black and white take on the tale by Lucio Parrillo but I felt that some of the images became muddled at times by the use of the heavy darks. His sleek take on the eerewolf and the chiseled physique of Hulk made up for the sometimes too dark panels. He also carried me to the end of the story with his smooth transitions in the wrap up fight scene.

Moving onto the cartoon-like “Goom’s Fairy Tales” by Paul Tobin and Dave Williams. Even though this was only a two pager, I thoroughly enjoyed the comedic romp Paul Tobin whipped up. Dave Williams’ overly animate Hulk works perfectly for this light tale. Not the typical Hulk “beat’em up” story but humorous nonetheless.

After chuckling through “Goom’s Fairy Tales” I moved onto the last tale “Blood Count” by Peter David and Gabriel Hardman. Getting a taste of Hardman’s art earlier in the book, I was looking forward to seeing what he and “Hulkmaster” Peter David had in store for the green guy and Dracula. But I wasn’t prepared for what I was met with.

“Blood Count” turned out to be an illustrated short story. Which I was disappointed about since I was hoping for another Hulk comic by the talented duo. This didn’t stop me from reading on though; I’m always up for a different take on the medium.

Peter David’s writing stands up on its own and he tells a tale of a friendship between Dracula and Hulk (once again) then setting the scene for Dracula’s deceit to play. Once I finished the short, I wasn’t disappointed in the tale but I still wanted a Peter David comic.

I don’t feel that Hardman’s abilities were fully taken advantage of, but he did produce some great “classic” illustrations to accompany the short by David.

In the end, I liked the stories but this book left me wanting more. I wouldn’t suggest running out to buy this book but if you’ve got the extra $3.99 to shell out in your next trip to the local shop, then I would pick it up. Worth it just to see Hulk up against monsters.



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