Written by: Donny Cates
Art by: Ryan Ottley, Cliff Rathburn
Colors by: Marte Gracia, Matt Hollingsworth
Letters by: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover art by: Ryan Ottley, Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Cover price: $3.99
Release date: October 5, 2022
Hulk #9 begins the Hulk World arc wherein Bruce Banner responds to a signal on a Gamma beam that leads him to a strange world with inhabitants expecting the Hulk’s arrival.
Is It Good?
Hulk #9 continues Bruce Banner’s voyage of self-discovery through the membrane between universes with an odd start. Broken up into two sections, the book takes an earth-splitting tone shift at the midpoint to build out the history of Bruce Banner while launching Starship Hulk on his test mystery adventure. Does the issue hold up compared to the previous eight? Mostly, yes.
Cates and Ottley have a strange series on their hands because it doesn’t appear to have a point or direction. Like Bruce Banner wandering the membrane between universes, this series wanders from one battle to the next. Sometimes those wanderings lead to spectacular battles, but if you’re looking for a method within the mayhem, this series is woefully lacking.
However, fortunes may be changing as Cates and Ottley have finally decided to add meat to the story, even if their selections of choice cuts may seem a bit odd.
The first half of the issue is dedicated to Bruce’s regular therapy sessions with his holographic recreation of Doc Sampson, and today’s session focuses heavily on Bruce’s abusive childhood. While the flashback to Bruce’s abuse may be beneficial to new Hulk readers, it doesn’t add anything to existing fans, doesn’t (yet) appear to add anything to the story in the present, and the scenes of abuse tip almost over the line of gratuitous. In short, the flashback is well done, but it doesn’t seem to have a point.
The latter half of the issue begins Banner’s latest mystery adventure as he follows a Gamma signal in the membrane to a strange planet. The inhabitants are not friendly, and there’s plenty to suggest that the planet is modeled after a strange reverence for the Hulk. Cates and Ottley create loads of intrigue in the second half to get readers invested in the mystery. For now, this issue is interesting enough to keep going with the series on story points alone.
The art by Ottley, Rathburn, Gracia, and Hollingsworth is good to great. The heartbreaking moments of Bruce’s childhood are (mostly) handled with tact, but the balloon-sized heads of the children add a comical element that probably wasn’t intended. When Hulk arrives on the mysterious planet in the second half, Ottley’s art shines through loud and clear with plenty of dramatic panels and brutal action.
About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.com, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.
Bits and Pieces
Hulk #9 begins a new arc with a little more focus on the story and less on mindless action. However, the first half takes a very long time focusing on Bruce’s abuse as a child, calling into question whether or not the flashback was needed for the present story or if the creators simply needed to fill page space. The second half of the story is all Hulk action, so arguably, there’s something for everyone.