Hulk: Raging Thunder #1

This book seems to be just another Hulk comic flooding the stands of late. Marvel can, at the very least, pride itself on supplying no shortage of product for fans ravenous for stomping and smashing from the green-skinned Goliath. Of course, those same fans may be a little overwhelmed when they look for a Hulk book to pick up and see a new #1 every single week.

Not to be outdone by the specials that have preceded this one, this oversized comic provides a new tale and a relevant backup tale from yesteryear. The new tale seemingly focuses on Hulk and Thundra (duh). The backup relates the tale of Thundra's encounter with the Fantastic Four, which is re-presented from "Fantastic Four" #133.

Parker offers a fast-paced tale that provides ample explanation for the warrior known as Thundra. He has a fabulous perspective of the character and her world, and doesn't hesitate to spend time fleshing out that world for the reader's enlightenment. That's not to say that we are overwhelmed by the details of the 23rd century, but we certainly are given enough of a glimpse of the struggles that pervade that time.

Parker tracks the Hulk's struggle alongside Thundra's, juxtaposing present and past through the narrative monologue. Mitch Breitweiser supplies a marvelously detailed, if somewhat dull world for the story, which further heightens the commonalities between Hulk's struggle today and the struggles being waged in the future. Moose Baumann lends his always vivacious coloring skills to this book to further deepen the art that might otherwise have struggled a bit. Together, these two creators provide a nice ocular treat.

Despite an overly cliched plot (how many times have people been sent to the past to save their future?) the story presents a slightly different angle and thereby allows the Marvel Universe to widen the legacies of and legends of both Thundra and Hulk.

The backup story is classic entertaining Marvel fare. Thundra challenges the Thing to a fight and we get to see more than a few Marvel heroes sound off on their thoughts about the fight, including the Hulk's, "Fight dumb. Everyone dumb." The fight is a knock-down drag-out tussle, and, following the lead story has much more meaning and added depth.

This oversized comic clocks in at a mere 49 cents more than the book I reviewed last week, but it certainly seemed to have a lot more value to it. The lead story is a solid read, worthy of a spot in the regular Hulk book (but is there a regular Hulk book any more?). It's not every week that you can buy a book with two full-length summertime stories including a classic by industry legends, but it certainly should be. I wouldn't mind seeing more of this type of offering. This one weighs in as a champ in my reading pile this week.

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