Jason Aaron wraps up his “Stay Angry” arc here in grand fashion as Hulk is trapped in an Antarctic prison cell and pitted against both Wolverine and the Thing, with Banner’s plan finally revealed. This issue makes up for a lot of the shortcomings of the previous parts of this arc, but it still leaves the reader wanting more.
Read on for my review!
Through the first four issues of this arc, we’ve seen Hulk put in a lot of crazy situations; he was in Mexico against a dog/human drug lord, he was in Atlantis with some drunken fish-men, he was then in space with some Russian cyborg-bears, and then finally wound up hunted by Kraven in a hidden village of yetis. Now the Hulk wakes up deep underground in a SHIELD prison facility where he’s decided to stop playing along with Banner’s plan and stop being angry. However, Banner won’t exactly allow that to happen, which is good because it allows us for an issue full of great action sequences.
The banter that Aaron gives throughout the issue between Hulk, Wolverine, and the Thing is spot on and perfect, providing an amusing side to the awesome action between the three brawlers. That sums up the majority of the issue until the very end where Aaron finally reveals what he’s been doing in this whole arc. Honestly, his endgame seems like it should have been obvious by this point, even if the places he sent Hulk could really have been any crazy locale that Aaron could think of. In retrospect, it kind of makes the previous issues of this arc almost pointless as the materials Banner had Hulk gather for him could really have been anything.
This finale is definitely the best issue of the arc, but instead of making me look back at the previous four issues thinking “oh, so that’s why that had to happen,” it made me look back at them, thinking they didn’t really need to happen. More elements could come into play as Aaron heads into his final three-issue-arc to validate everything he put the character through, but I doubt it’ll be anything more than the writer just wanting to have some fun with the character; probably trying to buy some extra time before the inevitable end of his run due to the Marvel NOW! movement.
Carlos Pacheco delivers the best artwork we’ve seen yet on this arc for multiple reasons, but mostly because his style seemed to match that of this series more than the styles of the previous four artists. In fact, I think this is the best work I’ve seen from Pacheco yet in anything that he’s done.
Overall, while the issue kind of invalidated (or rather just made it seem less important) most of what we saw Hulk go through for four issues, it was, on its own, a strong chapter in this title with great action and great artwork. Looking back, if you just wanted to take this entire arc as an example of Hulk given the opportunity to smash things in new locales, then it would have been overtly successful, and overall, a simply fun arc to read. The issue doesn’t end without giving us a big cliffhanger, though, and I’m more than happy to see what’s coming in the next few months as Jason Aaron closes out his run with the character.
GO Rating: 4/5