“Writer” Jason Aaron has finally turned a corner with Incredible Hulk 7.1, though I doubt it’s one he wanted to. Thus far, The Incredible Hulk has been a mess. The first few issues of Aaron’s run were okay, but as is usual with his work, it has devolved into something close to unreadable. That’s changed with Hulk 7.1, because Aaron’s take on the green goliath has become unintentionally hysterical. This really is the jumping on point for readers not hip to Aaron’s tragic Hulk debacle, because now this series is so stupid, so ridiculous, that nothing but comedy ensues.
For those out of the loop, the last seven issues of Hulk have dealt with the incredibly uninspired "Island Of Dr. Banner" arc. Essentially, Banner went kooky after he and Hulk were separated and started building “Hulk Men” out of animals. A mercenary chick that has a tenuous connection to Dr. Doom recruits the Hulk to stop Banner. Many awful issues later, a Gamma Bomb is detonated that destroys the island and supposedly kills Banner.
Issue #7.1 picks up right after that. Hulk is standing on the deck of a ship with the Von Doom mercenary chick watching as Banner’s ashes are lowered into the ocean. Once again, the Von Doom chick makes sexual advances to Hulk who just jumps away. From there, we get multiple pages of Hulk doing Hulk things. Climbing mountains, killing sharks, swimming with whales, taking a lava bath (yep, you read that right), wrestling a squid and so on.
Then, in order to kill the pain of being alone, Hulk starts drinking. Apparently, after forty or more years of desperately wanting to be alone, Jason Aaron’s Hulk suddenly realized he’s a people person. About to pour more libations, Hulk is interrupted by Red She Hulk aka Betty Ross, who is pissed that Hulk killed Banner. They fight, exchange horrible dialog, and then fuck.
I will repeat that.
Hulk and Red She-Hulk fuck. That’s not the best part, the best part is after busting a green nut, Hulk suddenly transforms back into Banner! GET IT! The gamma bomb didn’t kill Banner; it just melded the two personalities again. WOW!! Way to pull the wool over our eyes with an incredibly insipid plot twist. See what I mean though? This is some of the best unintentional comedy in recent comic history. I’m sure Jason Aaron considers all of this his A material, which would be correct if he was writing Mad Magazine’s Hulk. Hulk 7.1 is nothing but a steaming pile of literary feces. Letters from desperate men in the back of porn mags have more literary content than this hysterically awful issue.
Then there’s the art. Oh my GOD the art. It’s so bad it ramps up the comedy to a new level. “Artist” Jefte Palo fails on every level. First and most laughable is how he draws the Hulk. Imagine the main character from Sling Blade crossed with Curly from The Three Stooges and just a little bit of Luke Cage. For the first time in many, many moons, an artist has made the Hulk look like a big troglodyte pussy. I also loved how Palo penciled the Von Doom mercenary chick to look like Tina Turner in a S.H.I.E.L.D. costume. Oh and Bruce Banner. He looks like something out of Dave Berg’s "The Lighter Side Of…" The rest of the work looks like a bad issue of Invincible. Hulk 7.1 could go down as the worst drawn book of 2012.
Marvel, House Of Ideas, whatever you’re calling yourself these days, I implore you to put this madness to an end. The new Hulk reboot is a complete and total failure. The promise of Marc Silvestri’s art has fallen through; Jason Aaron has managed to derail the series in just seven issues, and the art post-Silvestri has ranged from bad to laughable to unacceptable. Bring Greg Pak back, give Ed Brubaker the series or Zeb Wells or Greg Rucka or Mark Waid or Dan Slott or even hand it over to Bendis. Do something before you do some damage that we all, finally, walk away from.