Brandon Borzelli's Geek Goggle Reviews
Incredible Hulk #635
Pak, Pelletier, Grummett, Miki, Hamscher, Hollowell & Aburtov
The five plus year run of Greg Pak on the Incredible Hulk wraps up with an issue that further explores what makes Banner and the Hulk tick. As you might guess, it wouldn't be a conclusion to any Hulk arc without a lot of fighting. Overall, this issue is a solid read containing a main story, an epilogue, afterword, interview and a cover gallery of the seventy or so issues that Pak was written. The conclusion to the arc, though, I found to be only so-so. Either way, if you are fan of Pak's take on the Hulk then this is a definite to pick-up.
The main story is a little confusing to discuss with some minor spoilers. Basically, the wishing well still works and those that have some of the power to make wishes, use that power, but it is diminishing with each iteration. However, the order in which the wishes are made determine the final outcome. This is all compounded by the fact that despite the previous events that left the Hulk (and others) stranded in the Dark Dimension via the wishing well, Doctor Strange has the means to remove them from the Dimension. To make things even more confusing, characters have the ability to piggyback on Strange's power to pull themselves out of the dimension. All of this means the wishes can seemingly be undone left and right. It took a couple of reads to fully understand how characters were able to negate things so easily and I suspect re-reading the entire arc in one sitting is a must as well.
The bulk of the subtext in all of this is trying to figure out exactly what Banner (and the Hulk) actually wants. At the end of the day, the Hulk seems to be doing a lot in his power to push his friends and family into situations that are favorable to them, whether they want it or not. But what does the Hulk want? Is it different from what Banner wants? If the Hulk truly just wants to be left alone where does that leave Banner? Pak has been working on these themes all along and now we get a conclusion to them.
I have to admit I was slightly disappointed that the Hulk didn't battle it out more with Fin Fang Foom, especially with Pelletier on art. However, the scenes that Pelletier created for the fight are excellent but not the highlight of the issue artistically. Pelletier handles the ending where the characters realize what Bruce and the Hulk actually want with utter perfection. The whole issue is alive with color and action but the true beauty is the expressions on the faces of the characters. Overall, I simply loved the art in this book no matter what the panels were expressing from the story.
I found the epilogue to be a very fitting ending for Pak's run. However, I did feel that not everything was resolved. I'm not suggesting it needed to be but there were some nagging things I would have liked to see get tied up, for example, the Warbound could have been mentioned by Cho at the end. In the end I think Pak wrapped up an awful lot though.
I have enjoyed Pak's run on the Hulk as much as any other character/creator run in the last fifteen years. He had the perfect voice and storylines for the character. I may not have been crazy about the nesting nature of the wishing well arc but, I think this is an issue that shouldn't be passed up on. I definitely recommend this comic book.
4 out of 5 Geek Goggles