Although it’s the shortest of the titles ending this week to pave the way for it’s Marvel NOW! counterpart, it’s still the final issue of The Incredible Hulk, and the end of an era. Jason Aaron brings his short tenure to a close here before Mark Waid makes the Hulk Indestructible next month.
I seem to always be disappointed when I expect for a Hulk book to lead directly into it’s successor. When I was reading through Greg Pak’s run, I thought “Heart of the Monster” would give some clue on how the character got to where he was at the beginning of this series, and when I finished this issue, I thought it would leave us on the doorstep of Mark Waid’s upcoming title. It kind of does… but more so it doesn’t.
It does in the sense that it leaves Bruce Banner and the Hulk in a different place; they’re united, just as the title of this arc would suggest. In these last three issues, we saw Banner and Hulk working as more of a team than they ever have in the past. While one is in charge on the outside, the other is taking control on the inside, making sure Banner’s mind is doing alright, and they’re constantly communicating with each other.
However, I found myself expecting that, by the end, we’d see Maria Hill come into contact with Banner or the Hulk and ask them to act as a new agent of SHIELD. Maybe it was a bit too much to ask for, but we could have gotten at least a bit more from Aaron. However, I could be being unfair as I’m treating Aaron’s short run as a segue from one series to another (between Pak and Waid) rather than treating it as it’s own series. And on that point is the question whether Aaron’s series was always planned to run for just 15 issues, or if he originally had the impression he’d be the next long-running writer for the character. Either way, Aaron might not give a good lead into Waid’s upcoming series, but he caps off his own run very effectively.
If Jason Aaron’s aim with this series was to bring Banner closer to the Hulk than he’s ever been before, then he’s greatly succeeded in that mission. The series started with them being physically separated into two separate beings, and now we’ve got them working together more than they have any time in the past, even if there were some odd steps in between. Aaron does a similar character deconstruction to that which he’s done in the past with Wolverine, while instilling his knack for insane ideas throughout making for a series that’s been both fun and thought provoking.
The issue itself doesn’t disappoint, but I do wish that Aaron was given a longer run on this series, as he’d be sure to introduce a lot of interesting elements to the character’s mythos. Well, at least in the end we got a monkey slinging gamma irradiated poo.
GO Rating: 4/5