Greg Pak's five year run scripting the adventures of the Hulk has been a large-scale galaxy-spanning epic with hordes of brand new supporting characters for the Jade Giant, but that's all over now. Jason Aaron and Marc Silvestri are on board for this October's Incredible Hulk #1, which the writer calls "going back to basics."
"The first run on the Hulk that really pulled me in was John Byrne’s short stint," Aaron says. "It was really the first time Hulk and Banner split apart, and was certainly an influence on what I’m doing here, [though] obviously I’m taking things a different direction than what Byrne did. I also read Peter David’s run as it was coming out, and he pretty much defined in every way how I think of The Hulk and the Hulk/Banner dynamic. Beyond that, the Bruce Jones run fairly changed the tone and flavor of what a Hulk story was, and I enjoyed that. Probably what I’m trying to do in the new INCREDIBLE HULK series is somewhere in the midst of all of that; Peter David’s characterization, the crazy antics of Byrne’s run, and the darker elements brought forward by Jones."
So what's Aaron got in mind, exactly? "In some sense, I’m attempting to balance the scales in the whole Hulk/Banner dynamic portrayed for most of Marvel history up until now," he explains. "The typical set-up is that Banner is the genius scientist and The Hulk is a burden that’s always held him back. I wanted to flip that on its ear, and show it from the Hulk’s perspective. As you can imagine, he sees it very differently. As we’ll see in issue #1 after they’re split apart, The Hulk finds peace for the first time. He is free for the moment, until he gets pulled back into the craziness because of his connection to Banner. This series shows Hulk as the hero and Banner as the monster."
Might be a little weird, considering how much effort Pak has just put into illustrating that Banner and the Hulk are not different people at all, but with any franchise character like this – especially one with a movie coming out – no matter how much development happens, they will eventually get rolled back to the core concepts to try to grab new readers.
"Initially the series pretty much stands alone," Aaron notes. "I wanted to do a book that was very reader-friendly and focused on The Hulk. In the future however, given what’s happening next summer with the Avengers movie and The Hulk playing a prominent role in that, readers could expect to see The Hulk integrated in Marvel’s comic universe as well."
As you can see in the preview pages below, Silvestri is still doing that thing he does best. "Well, you know what you’re going to get with Marc Silvestri on-board," Aaron beams. "He’s a legendary artist and his work continues to be on-target even going back to his stuff on Uncanny X-Men when I first became a comics fan. When you see his name on a Hulk book, you can imagine what’s inside: Marc drawing the Hulk smashing things."
So what do you think? Will you be interested in this new-but-old-fashioned take on the Hulk, or will it be too much of a departure from Pak's run?