Hulk: The Movie Comic Books | My Reviews 30 AUG 2008

HulkYou won’t like him when he’s angry – Bruce Banner endures a life without a past, yet filled with dreams. Adopted as a child, he knows nothing about his parents and their story. Plagued by unexplained nightmares, Bruce continually struggles with tumultuous fits of anxiety, embarrassment and rage.

As a genetic scientist studying the regenerative effects of gamma radiation on damaged tissue, Bruce wages an escalating battle with the unknown monster inside him. Catalyzed by a freak lab accident, his inner conflict culminates when he becomes the most powerful being on the face of the earth – the Hulk.

General “Thunderbolt” Ross – backed by an army of tanks, helicopters and soldiers – aims to destroy the powerful and ever-growing Hulk. In this exquisitely told, brooding, romantic tale, Banner – a hunted abomination – strives to mend his relationship with General Ross’s daughter, Betty, and uncover the answers to his enigmatic past.

…Well, I’m not sure where the copy writers pulled that last bit of text from because unfortunately nothing could be further from the truth, especially the “exquisitely told, brooding, romantic tale” part if you ask me.

Hulk: The Movie is the trade paperback released as the official movie adaptation of Ang Lee’s 2003 Hulk and is written by Bruce Jones (based on James Shamus’ screenplay), penciled by Mark Bagley and inked by Scott Hanna. Thanks to the rather short length of the movie adaptation, the trade paperback tries to pad things out by also adding material swiped from Incredible Hulk #34 by Bruce Jones, John Romita Jr. and Tom Palmer, The Ultimates #5 by Mark Millar, Bryan Hitch and Andrew Currie, and Ultimate Marvel Team-Up #2 and #3 by Brian Michael Bendis, Phil Hester and Ande Parks.

Firstly it must be said that the quality of the actual movie adaptation section is surprisingly poor, particularly when you consider that it is crafted by three professionals that usually produce rather fine work. The story by Bruce Jones reads very rushed, very disorientated and very broken, leaving you with a disappointing “I paid money for this?” feeling when you come to the end of the Hulk: The Movie chapter. It is seriously so bad that you should consider just skipping the first half of the book completely and move on to the other harvested material that they have thankfully chosen to add to the volume.

Even more surprising than the poor level of writing is the rather poor artwork from the usually interesting and solid Mark Bagley that has wowed us so much with his Spider-man work in the past. I’m not sure if it is just because Scott Hanna’s clean style of inking doesn’t mesh that well with Bagley’s inks, but whatever the case is, the artwork leaves a lot to be desired and is certainly not the quality you would expect from a top flight comic book artist team.

Thankfully though the trade paperback is saved by the inclusion of some really good bonus material and the stuff pulled from Incredible Hulk #34, The Ultimates #5, and Ultimate Marvel Team-Up #2 and #3 present a nice varied bit of reading with some great, stylish artwork and some decent writing, particularly the chapter out of The Ultimates, that although inconclusive provides some great Hulk material and actually teases you into wanting to pick up the continuations of those bonus books as soon as possible.

Sure Hulk: The Movie comes in a glossy, full-colour package with an awesome cover that calls out “good stuff inside”, but seriously, you can safely skip the rather poor movie adaptation and it would be best if you went out and bought something else rather than waste your money on this bit of a letdown of a book.

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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.