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HULK #40

There is an old saying that goes ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend’. However, is this pithy remark a valid one within the confines of this Hulk series without the Hulk in it? Hmm? I think that it would be best to ask Writer: Jeff Parker; Artist: Gabriel Hardman; and Publisher: Marvel Comics, about this – especially in September 2011.

Due to the actions of Uatu, the Watcher, the supreme being known as Omegex has come to Boston to kick Red (Thunderbol Ross) Hulk’s ass. Still, as luck would have it, Rulks enemy, Black Fog, is at hand to give him a hand, POW! Whilst from a distant parallel frequency, Uravo, another Watcher, explains to Amy why this is all happening in the first place, OOOH!

However, when one of General Forteans armoured colleges, Reggie, starts to do to battle with the Rulk as well, Black Fogs ally, Zero / One, manages to approach Uravo and Amy, whom in turn explain to her why Rulk is important to her own origins. So what does Zero / One do about this? Correct – she plucks him out of time so that they can both explore there intertwined origins together. Prudently, the result of this is a revealing one – as fact are relayed – time is delayed – and Rulk knows what he has to do next.

But can he accomplish this task? Or will Omegex kill him once and for all? To be continued...

So the writing is finally upon the wall (figuratively speaking of course), and we all now know that Hulk is ready for a reboot. Still, where does that leave the characters in this Hulkless title, huh? Well, at the moment, it appears that Rulk is either going to be: (A) De-powered. (B) Dead. (C) Dumbstruck. Or (D) Another word beginning that begins with ‘D’ that that I cannot think of at the moment. Also, in essence, this series feels as if it is ready for its ‘final hurrah’ – as the sense of finality in this issue is very much apparent.

Personally speaking, I kind of like this vibe, because it shows what a great creative team – writer, Jeff Parker, and artist, Gabriel Hardman – really are. They have taken a character that nobody really liked (Rulk), built a network around him, gave him villains to fight, and in the process made us – the reader – care what is happening to this schmuck. Moreover, within the last couple of issues or so, they have incrementally built up upon this conclusion in a way that I really dig. Its progressive – it makes sense (in places) – and on top of that, it has also exhumed a feeling of dread for the future for these characters. Who will live? Who will die? Can Rulk shag a robot? Why can’t we see Zero / One’s genetalia? Can Omegex pee in that armour? These, plus many more question unlike it, comes to the fore while I was reading this penultimate chapter of this Hulk series.

Bravo Parker and Hardman, you both deserve a pat on the back for making this book a nice little segway into whatever is going to happen next. Heck, I have not seen a creative team do something like this since Denny O’Neal and Barry Kitson took Azrael out of the Bat-books and placed him into his own title. In addition, I really liked the way that all the pieces are fitting into place within this issue (well, except for that time shift thingy, seemed messy).

Overall, a solid story, a good read, and a creative team that I would like to see together again in the future.


HULK #40 HULK #40 Reviewed by David Andrews on September 27, 2011 Rating: 5
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