Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Lesser Known Joe Casey Comics: The Incredible Hulk #468

[Continuing my look at Joe Casey's totally forgotten run on The Incredible Hulk. It has been lost to the sands of time and recovered by me with all my mighty blogging might. Best to stay on my good side or I'll bring back Fantastic Four 2099. Yeah. I'd do it, too. New posts Monday, Wednesday and Friday.]

"In which Bruce Banner discovers he was not the cause of his wife's death..."

Not much happens in this issue beyond that. Bruce gets Rick Jones to help him sneak onto the army base where a new scientist, Dr. Katherine Spar has been hired to take over the Hulk-related science stuff--and she's kind of Banner-friendly, which General Ross doesn't like because he's having nightmares similar to the Hulk's origin about Betty dying.

This issue begins Casey's effort to make Bruce Banner a strong character--I remember an article in Wizard where he was making fun of the number of times we've seen Bruce in the fetal possition, crying like a little kid, and points out that this is an adult and should probably begin acting like one. We see him like that at the beginning of the issue, actually: curled up and weeping, but Casey is using that as a starting point to illustrate his growth. Bruce will be the focal point of Casey's run, not the Hulk, which is how it should be (Bruce Jones took a similar route in his run--which I read online when Marvel was offering comics online--remember those pop-up panels?.

Javier Pulido provides the art for five of the seven issues this run lasts (well, six and eight if you include last issue's two-page story) and his retro style works well with Casey's writing and the subject matter. It's actually kind of weird to look at the artists Casey has worked with as a number of them use styles that allude to older artists (Ladronn, Pulido, Tom Sciolli, Steve Rude... and weirdly only one of those draws one of Casey's "fill in Stan Lee's plotholes" books--and, yes, that series of books WILL be the focus of posts at some point in the future).

This is a solid beginning to a solid run. Nothing spectacular happens, but it's not boring or bad, either. In next issue, Bruce is kidnapped and fixes the Super-Adaptoid. Exciting.