It’s kind of sad that the most exciting moment in “Hunger” so far actually took place in another series — at the end of “Age of Ultron,” before this one even began. “Hunger” #2 by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Leonard Kirk brings the series to its midpoint, but there is little excitement to be found inside as the double team of Galactus from the Marvel Universe and the Gah-Lak-Tus swarm from the Ultimate U make their way through the galaxy looking to devour everything. In other words, doing exactly what they’ve done countless times on their own with really no reason or explanation as to how this so-called event is any different from any other Galactus / Gah-Lak-Tus story.
Questionable logic aside (like why the Gah-Lak-Tus swarm would so readily join with Galactus rather than simply try to consume him), the main focus of the issue is on Ultimate Rick Jones. Jones remains the prototypical slacker-drafted-as-hero, and like the concept of Galactus, Fialkov does little to really provide any kind of fresh spin on the notion. Admittedly, Jones’ role progresses as he reluctantly and tentatively steps into the role of hero in this issue, but it’s merely a cosmically-dressed take an all-too-familiar story of a regular guy being thrust into events well beyond the scope of his meager life. Halfway through the series, there’s still no indication as to why so much potential is seen in this unremarkable character that really isn’t even all that likeable. There’s nothing that makes readers want to pull for him, and his misplaced, lighthearted quips do nothing to help.
HiHistorically, Galactus has not carried much in the way of a strong personality. Thus, a well-developed central character is essential to the story and the lack of such really impacts this issue. The Silver Surfer doesn’t command much of a presence and in fact isn’t really all that much more important than Jones’ character. The Watcher’s role is downright annoying as the pestering would-be mentor. On a bigger scale, a story that should be larger than life, set amidst the backdrop of a galactic war, instead seems mundane and only echoes the whole been-there-done-that feel of the issue. Rarely has the destruction of a planet, for instance, seemed so inconsequential and carried so little emotion.
Kirk, at least, gives the issue a moderately grandiose feel, highlighted by a large spread of an immensely imposing Galactus that’s atypical of the rest of the story. Adi Granov’s cover is gorgeous, as his covers always are, but ironically it symbolizes the problem with the story: the best part of the issue is before it even begins. The whole idea of Galactus invading the Ultimate Universe is compelling, but the execution falls woefully short of its promise. Instead of delivering any kind of awe or astonishment, the entire issue is embedded with a detached feeling of emotionlessness; things that should have been awesome simply are not. “Hunger” is aptly named, as anyone who craves intergalactic, multidimensional, cosmic wonder is going to remain hungry.