As much as I respect Gerry Duggan's abilities as a writer, right now the most appealing quality of THE HULK is the visuals. Artist Mark Bagley, inker Drew Hennessy, and colorist Jason Keith are making this book fun to look at. Whether it's something as simple as Hulk drinking coffee or slugging a dinosaur, these animated visuals do a fine job keeping my eyes locked on each and every panel. Nothing here will drop your jaw or blow your mind, but it's consistently enjoyable and the style fits the tone Duggan establishes very well.
Even though HULK #7's cover implies an intense encounter between Hulk and Skaar in the Savage Land, I'd say the book's best moment comes from the very first scene. Now, I won't spoil who it involves, but it's essentially Hulk lecturing someone on the dangers of gamma radiation. It's pretty much a ridiculous twist on a drug PSA and it's a surprisingly funny way to open the chapter and show us we're dealing with a new take on the Green Goliath. While I wasn't the biggest fan around of the encounter with Skaar, I will say what follows does an adequate enough job teasing a new element while also building interest in who Hulk will go after next. Hopefully it'll be a more engaging conflict and resolution, though.
Oh man, Skaar fans are not going to be happy. Duggan addresses why the cure could potentially not work, but then it does anyway and it feels like the character is just quickly taken out of the picture. I understand Rick Jones has been a big part of Hulk's life, but it feels a little odd to give the conflict with A-Bomb more material than the one with Skaar, especially since Skaar stemmed from such a terrific story and has become fairly popular among fans. While A-Bomb, well, let's just say opinions haven't been so great. I don't even consider myself a big fan of Skaar and even I felt disappointed by how quickly that situation was addressed and where it left off.
Duggan's writing can always make me laugh, but there are panels where the slapstick comedy feels odd coming from the Hulk. For example, he goes from screaming about lava and exclaiming how it's hot (I know he's previously handled that kind of heat, but I'm fine with overlooking since it fits the story's tone) to talking with a seemingly level-head when his actual head is being submerged in lava -- the same substance he was just screaming about. I'm not saying I need Hulk to be an unstoppable monster when it comes to action, but that comes off as inconsistent.
Gerry Duggan and Mark Bagley's story still has my interest and there's no doubt I want to see how it'll all unfold, but aside from a funny opening, the rest of the chapter went by without ever leaving that much of an impact. The laughs that aren't that big, the action isn't epic, and the developments feel more like teasers. It was just an okay chapter and, instead of reflecting on what just happened, I'm left feeling far more curious about what will happen. That said, I'm guessing big fans of Skaar will have a pretty unpleasant reaction to this issue.