Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Ryan Ottley
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: March 30, 2022
Hulk #5 pits Hulk against Spider Hulk as alt-General Ross reveals some hard truths about their world to alt-Banner. It’s the penultimate issue of the Smashtronaut arc!
Was It Good?
Hulk #5 (as the issue states) is the penultimate issue before the arc finale next month, and the timing is a bit of a head-scratcher. It’s a head-scratcher because the majority of the arc up to this point is almost all setup and smashing with very little by way of plot or direction. We’re just getting going, and now, it’s almost over. Ah, well. C’est La Vie!
In this issue, Hulk begins his rage-fueled battle against Spider-Hulk. We get very little action because more focus is placed on the interrogation between alt-Ross and alt-Banner. Alt-Ross wants to know where this Hulk came from and how to kill it, but alt-Banner’s explanation falls on deaf ears.
As the characters verbally spar back and forth (with alt-Ross using his fists on a bound alt-Banner for good measure) we learn this world’s military has taken to using a few captured Hulks as weapons of mass destruction with the help of a scientist named Richards. This is good stuff with cool little Easter Eggs that give you a “What If…?” feel but Cates either ran out of time or spent too much time with pointless smashing to remember to show instead of telling what’s going on in this alternate reality. There’s a cool story here that Cates isn’t telling you.
What we do get are dropping bombs, escalating rage settings in the Hulk mind machine, and the reveal that there’s another person in Banner’s brain who has his/her own agenda for the Hulk machine. things are happening, but again, it feels like the arc is just getting started before it’s getting ready to conclude, so I have no idea how Cates can end the arc in a satisfying way without rushing.
Was it good? It’s fine. There are cool concepts and ideas, and the Ottley/Rathburn art is great, but that’s really all you can say.
Hulk #5 is just starting to get to the good stuff before it prepares to end the arc. We learn a little about this world, but not much. Hulk goes up against Spider-Hulk and Abomination but we barely get to see it. There’s a lot of rushing that doesn’t give cool ideas their due.