HULK #1 – Mark Waid (Daredevil) and Mark Bagley (Cataclysm) chronicle the triumphant return of the Jade Giant from his long hiatus…of a month. He is sans the Indestructible title. It’s another All New Marvel Now #1! We get a bit of Hulk origin recap as remembered by the surgeon and onetime classmate of Banner. Surgeon you say? Yeah it seems ‘Ol Brucie got two caps put in his dome. Who is behind it is not entirely clear. We do learn who they aren’t and a bit as to why they had him shot. All told though, it is only a mildly interesting, bland, by-the-numbers mystery involving a conspiracy to control Bruce Banner’s transformations into the Hulk for their own purposes. Serviceable art by Bagley, solid storytelling technique as usual. The last page reveal does work in terms of being shocking and different. It is sure to piss people off. The connections between characters were telegraphed and fairly weak. For me, it wasn’t enough to elevate Hulk #1 above simply-average status. Call it: smashed. 2/5.
SOLAR: MAN OF THE ATOM #1 – Every week it seems there is another Frank Barbiere book hitting the racks. Five Ghosts, White Suits, and Blackout are just three that he has gotten critical acclaim for recently. So how does this reinvention of the former 90’s Valiant hero measure up to the rest of the ever growing resume? The atomic wordsmith is joined by nuclear artist Joe Bennett (The Savage Hawkman) in crafting what is a decent debut. Part of Dynamite’s re-introduction of the Gold Key characters they recently acquired the license to, Solar joins the already debuted — and magnificent — Turok and Magnus: Robot Fighter. The pace of the first issue is rather brisk. It feels like we are dropped into the middle of a story and are missing a few key backstory elements to feel all caught up. Divorced as it is from any old continuity, this seems to be a stylistic choice designed to make the reader feel as though we have hit the ground running and can pick up the details along the way. It works, to an extent. Thankfully, the use of Solar’s Powers are presented in a pretty clever way. It is all about the math you see; so already this English major is completely lost. That said, Joe Bennet’s veteran special effects technique adds some nice flare to Solar’s power usage. Nice start overall, with my only gripe being that we are not given enough right of the bat to truly care deeply for any of the characters. 3/5.
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