Hulk Issue 25
And so ends the Loeb era of Hulk. I must say, it had it's ups and downs but now that it's over I think I'm gonna miss it, because it offered something most comics don't and that is plain and simple goofy fun. That being said though, I am interested to see what the new Hulk has to offer, especially since it's got a team from a very different book coming onboard (Parker and Kardman just did Atlas). Hopefully their track record of great books will continue though, so let's check out Hulk issue 25!
The issue opens with an attack on a science lab, as people are getting organic weapons grafted onto their skin. Interrupting the mayhem is the Red Hulk, throwing a truck right into one of the creatures. Flashback to the end of last issue, we see Rulk being approached by Steve Rogers and Green Hulk but promptly being shunned due to his attitude. After some interesting therapy and talking to both Rogers and Bruce briefly on their own, they inform Rulk of the Intelligenceia's fail-safe, a project called Scorched Earth. Back to the present, we see Rulk fighting the creatures, soon to be joined by Iron Man, but it would seem that sending a man in an armored suit may not be the best way to take down these creatures...
Jeff Parker is no newcomer to the world of Hulk. In fact, Parker has been closely involved, having written Fall of the Hulks She-Hulks and Red Hulk, in addition to work in the World War Hulks specials. Now, those books weren't perfect, but they did have a certain flair that I couldn't help but enjoy. His work here though is different in that it's not supposed to be fun, instead he crafts a serious story with some lighter elements to keep the tone upbeat and it pays off in a story that is very enjoyable and hopefully this book will lead to an interesting examination of Rulky.
Gabriel Hardman does the art on this book and it's about as different as you can get from Ed McGuinness. That's not a bad thing though because that's exactly what this book needed with the new launch to show the change in styling that these stories will bring. Plus, thanks to the lovely colors of Bettie Breitweiser we get a book with its own visual identity and a deserted feel that plays off of the story well. I actually prefer this to what we saw from McGuinness, because while I am a fan of his, I've grown tired of his Hulk work and am excited by the new look Hardman brings.
As an added bonus we get a back-up tale by Parker and Mark Robinson about A-Bomb fighting another creature in California. I really enjoyed this little tale and it's nice to see that A-Bomb's not being forgotten with all the new hulks around the place. The art here is quite good, reminding me of Skottie Young and Jamie Hewlett (Of Gorillaz fame). Granted, the whole "He could be the greatest of them all" bit was a bit yawn worthy, but nevertheless, I enjoyed it.
Overall, I'd give the new start to Hulk a 4 out of 5. It isn't perfect, but I think it's definitely a new Hulk book targeted towards those turned off by the goofiness of Loeb's Hulk. For $3.99, it's just barely justified, but I think it's worth picking up.