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“Savage Hulk” #2 gives readers everything they could hope for in a Hulk comic book: Alan Davis art, some retro X-Men and a fight between the Abomination and the Hulk. The second chapter of a four-part story written and drawn by Davis, the issue celebrates aspects that made Silver Age comics and Marvel’s earlier days fun in a bombastic story that rumbles across the desert landscape.

As the writer/artist of “Savage Hulk” #2, Davis is able to write to his strengths and interests, which includes an X-Men roster filled with Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Angel, Iceman, Beast, Havok and Polaris. Davis also includes an agony-filled stunning transformation of Bruce Banner becoming the Hulk captured on the spread of two pages while the story continues around the behemoth’s emergence. As expected, Davis’ art is top-notch, despite the ridiculous high heels on Marvel Girl. The heels may be a nit to pick, as Davis is more likely than not translating costumes and characters from a bygone era, but it does stand out, especially couched in recent costume reveals and updates several female characters have received. What isn’t expected from Davis’ art is just how much he evokes the spirit of Neal Adams’ work, given that Davis’ story features the X-Men from the Adams era. In addition to being Alan Davis artwork with a Neal Adams sheen (which may be at least partially attributed to Mark Farmer’s inks and a little extra effort there) Davis includes tech that is decidedly Kirbyesque.

The story, like the Hulk himself, charges forward full strength and full-speed. Davis manages to sneak in some comic book science and even packs in a few surprises, including a final page shocker that sets up what is certain to be a tremendously explosive third installment. Davis doesn’t waste time with character development, since most readers would already have a base understanding of several of the participants in this issue anyway. Instead, the writer/artist just dives in, showing readers what everyone is capable of and what it looks like when the bodies and powers smash together.

It doesn’t take much more than Alan Davis art on a comic book to catch my eye, but Davis has packed “Savage Hulk” #2 so full of characters and action that it feels giant-sized. With a brawl that starts out as Abomination fighting the X-Men, then Hulk, and brings in the Hulk-hunters under Major Talbot’s command, “Savage Hulk” #2 has something for every fan and more than enough to get excited about. Davis is only getting started and has already shown readers some surprises cresting the horizon.