“Hulk” #49 is a strange beast. Guest-starring the Eternals, it’s clearly meant to lead into an upcoming story. The problem is, without the story on the horizon, what we end up with is more of a story fragment than a complete, enjoyable experience.
Jeff Parker tries to make the concept work, tying in the Hulk’s stopping a creation of a new monster from Zero/One with an earlier story of Hercules stopping the Hydra. Both events are connected to the Eternals and from there Parker brings in several of the group’s characters as well as a question on when they’ll shift from monitoring humanity to acting.
We’re given a couple of fun moments within this framework; Machine Man and Annie both get some good dialogue moments and I appreciated Sersi not being able to completely dupe the cast of the comic. However, it’s hard to disguise “Hulk” #49 as more than a generic fight between two heroes (complete with the “stopping the fight to save innocent victims” moment), which abruptly comes to a halt. There’s no resolution at the end of this comic and right now it looks like a continuation of the plot begun in “Hulk” #49 is nowhere in sight.
Elena Casagrande draws this issue of “Hulk” and it’s also a little lackluster. Some moments feel like they’re missed artistic opportunities; the hydra-like creature created by Zero/One feels remarkably non-menacing by way of example, especially in comparison to the original Hydra in ancient times. Faces feel a little underdeveloped here too with very flat expressions. There’s one moment where Ikaris and Sersi are side-by-side and have almost the exact same face, just different hair and lips. The scenes in Olympia with the Eternals are also often lacking backgrounds, making the art feel that much more stark and undetailed. These centerpiece fights of Parker’s script should feel energetic, but instead they’re lethargic.
“Hulk” #49 is more often than not a fun comic, but this issue feels like it’s currently going nowhere. Down the line when a follow-up appears I’m sure it’ll fit into the greater puzzle a bit better, but for now it’s not this comic’s finest hour. We’ve seen better.