Remember when “Identity Crisis” came out and then Marvel put out a series called “Identity Disc”? And remember when Marvel and DC both had comics with “Nemesis” in the title? Well, Chaos War, which started as a charming Hercules adventure where he enlisted a bunch of other superheroes to fight the Chaos King has now become a storyline where, across the Marvel Universe (get this) the dead are coming back to life. You almost hear the dead characters of the DC Universe spinning in their graves. Actually you probably can, since “Blackest Night” only ended a few months ago and they’re all probably still settling back in. It’s not exactly the same, of course. There’s a bunch of goings-on among the myriad of cosmic forces in the Marvel Universe but, still, the dead are coming back to life.
This issue involves one of those dead characters, the Abomination, beating the crud out of the Incredible Hulks (yup, plural) in an attempt to track down Marlo, an old character made prominent during Peter David’s run on the character, who had at one point been possessed by Death? Or infected by Death? The comic is a bit unclear on this point, but whatever it was makes her very important to the plans of the Chaos King. Or at least someone who wants Death to return to power and, basically, kill all the people currently “dead” (there are a whole bunch since everything everywhere seems to be on fire), but aren’t really dead because Death has been put out of commission by the Chaos King. I think. It’s probably best not to dwell on the details. Focus on the big fights and all the green blood everywhere. As a big fight comic (and this is a Hulk book, so…), it works fine. But in terms of overall plot, it’s a bit muddy.
Art-wise, Paul Pelletier continues to evolve into a much more versatile artist than his earliest work belied. There’s not a huge amount of variety given to him here, mainly just a city on fire and lots of punching, but he and inker Danny Miki handle everything admirably, and colorist Paul Mounts does a great job rendering all the property damage and searing flame.
There is also a backup story about an early adventure of A-Bomb by Jeff Parker, featuring art from Yacine Elghorri, who I have to believe was given maybe a day or two to work on it. It’s not necessarily a lack of talent, but rather a startling lack of refinement that, at many times, makes the story almost unreadable.
Overall, this issue of “The Incredible Hulks” is inoffensive, and well-tied into the main “Chaos War” storyline. Marlo may end up being a red herring, unimportant to “Chaos War” as a whole, but you can do a lot worse in a Hulk comic than have a bunch of angry gamma irradiated monsters beat the crud out of each other in order to protect their friend’s wife.