x35's Incredible Hulk #84 - Terra Incognita, Pt. 2 review

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I think he's the part of you that lives to prove you're superior to everyone else.

AF Reviews: Avengers
AF Reviews: Avengers

The "Aboriginal Hulk saga" by Peter David continues with Bruce Banner reluctantly joining forces with A.I.M. to defeat Exodus and his Darwin Force (Pyro, Unus and Vanisher) so that they can no longer hassle the indigenous tribe he has come to belong to.

First off, a lot of what I thought was great about the first part of Terra Incognita isn't here, this reads more like an almost typical comic where the hero joins forces with bad guys to stop badder guys. The Aboriginal element is more of a footnote here, although there are a few allusions and mentions to it. Despite that, Peter David still manages to explore the relationship between Banner/Hulk really well.

The highlight of this issue is probably the great use of Monica Rappaccini (aka A.I.M.'s wannabe Madame Hydra and Carmilla Black's mother) and her attempts to manipulate Bruce AND Hulk against the other. Amidst her manipulation, there's also a certain level of romanticism and infatuation with Banner/Hulk coming from Monica. I'm guessing this was all obviously meant to hint at and help the whole "Hulk is Carmilla Black's father" angle Marvel were exploring at the time, but it's not really intrusive here. There's also some great humor and dialogues particularly one exchange between Hulk and Monica where Hulk confronts her about her attempts to manipulate both Banner and he.

Hulk by Jorge Lucas
Hulk by Jorge Lucas

Carmilla Black (aka Scorpion) is, funnily enough, less prominent in this issue in the last and unlike the last has more of a reason to be here. Machine Teen on the other hand, who is captured by Exodus, remains to seem bizarrely unnecessary to the story. It feels like Scorpion and Machine Teen are here more so to boost their own profile than actually being necessary to the story. Although, as I said in the last issue, this was the period where they were very set on making Scorpion part of Hulk's history, Machine Teen on the other hand really doesn't have much point being here. But much like the last issue, I am not too concerned with these detractions from the plot.

Jorge Lucas' art again is very nice to look at. Unfortunately, there's not much action or interesting visuals in this issue (most of it is in an A.I.M. submarine) and when it comes to the fight between Hulk and Exodus it instead is very brief and Lucas doesn't get much chance to draw much. In fact, Hulk himself doesn't make many appearances here, by no means a bad thing, but it does mean the art is stifled some what by limited scope. With that said, there is a page where Hulk steers a whale(!).

I wouldn't say this is a bad issue by any means, there's definitely good stuff still there, but I do feel it's some what of a disappointment after Peter David was doing something very interesting and different in the previous issue and here he kind of just abandons the whole "Bruce Banner is happy" angle and instead explores "Bruce Banner agrees to help someone even though it means becoming the Hulk" which has been done a lot. While the stakes do seem higher, since we saw Banner is genuinely throwing a way his happiness to do the right thing and stop Exodus, it's kinda disappointing to not really explore the side of Bruce Banner we never see. At ease with himself and no longer haunted by his inner demons.

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