I’m calling foul on “Incredible Hulk” #608 being the conclusion of “Fall of the Hulks.” Because, as a conclusion, it doesn’t work at all. What we get is really the halfway point of a larger storyline, but one that’s been split into two halves. Next month is “World War Hulks,” which I can only imagine gets its own name because the original “World War Hulk” mini-series and crossover did so well in the sales charts. But this issue? It’s not a conclusion by any stretch of the imagination.
Once you take that looming disappointment away, it’s a so-so issue. We finally get to see Bruce Banner besiege the Intelligencia, and I like how Greg Pak writes Banner as being just as dangerous an opponent as the Hulk, himself. This is, after all, one of the smartest characters in the Marvel Universe, and Banner’s attempts to rescue his wife mean that he’s knocking out all of the stops and leaving no tricks up his sleeve. That’s easily the high point in what is otherwise just one massive fight scene raging across the issue. The problem is, the issue doesn’t so much end as it merely halts, swerving to an epilogue so fast that readers need to make sure they don’t get whiplash. It’s actually not a bad cliffhanger, but it’s not the smoothest storytelling by any stretch of the imagination.
Paul Pelletier’s pencils seem a little more detailed than I remember, perhaps due to Danny Miki inking them. Overall it works, but there are some scenes where it’s actually a little too much detail crammed onto the panels; it reminds me of an attempt to channel Ladronn but not quite succeeding. Overall, Pelletier does a good job, but even then I find myself missing his cleaner, more iconic style that he used to exhibit.
There’s also a backup story starring the Red She-Hulk that feels like filler, through and through. I don’t think we needed a story showing what happened in-between scenes of “Hulk” regarding the Red She-Hulk attacking Elektra and Domino. With dialogue disasters like Domino’s, “X-Gene, don’t fail me now” and maneuvers like Red She-Hulk deliberately tearing off Domino’s clothes, well, this is painfully bad. At eight pages, this back-up feels like a small eternity.
“Incredible Hulk” #608 would be slightly disappointing because its non-ending, but the filler in the back of the issue means you end your reading experience on a sour note. If this is how Marvel wants to justify raising the prices on some of their books, I think they need to rethink the back-up story policy. Hopefully April will bring something better, Hulk-wise, for readers.