Hulk #2 picks up where Hulk #1 leaves off—with spaceship Hulk hurtling through the unstable pocket dimension after leaving behind a brutalized and battered Tony Stark with one final warning, “none of you will know how to deal with what I will become.” Well then… So many questions going into this issue: Uh, what’s Banner planning on becoming? What the heck happened in El Paso that made him start down this path? Given what Dr. Strange said about the levels of magic and tech necessary to craft spaceship Hulk, how the heck did he achieve the feat? And what shadowed-hand may have provided assistance to said endeavor? What answers are to be found in Hulk #2?
While traversing the pocket dimension—which we find out is called the Arterial Dimensional Between-Space AND is forbidden to Mortals—the Hulk has one heck of a meet-cute with some new characters. It’s a humorous moment between the Hulk and these “Alternate Universe Timeline Hazard Operations Response & Intervention Team” members, considering Banner probably won’t remember it. But it does beg the question, will the meeting have future ramifications for Banner/Hulk—the pocket dimension is forbidden to mortals after all.
And can we take a beat to acknowledge Ryan Ottley’s art? My goodness, he’s good—clean, readable lines chock full of motion and action. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Intervention Team name’s acronym too. Am I the only one that enjoys playful references like this?
After the encounter, Banner finds a need for more engine power. This translates to a caged Hulk-Psyche having to battle it out against unimaginable odds (for anyone else that is). And it’s here we’re treated to a classic battle turned on its ear. Because these battles occur in Banner/Hulk’s mind-space, we get to see the Hulk act unfettered. It’s the kind of brutal, blood-soaked, animalistic assault you’d expect of the Hulk (yet rarely actually GET TO SEE). The engine room battles, meant to produce rage-fuel for spaceship Hulk, is a novel idea. It’s a premise that will, hopefully, allow us to see even wilder WHAT-IF style brawls in the future.
However, by the end of the issue we come to understand that the Hulk’s time in the Arterial Dimensional Between-Space may, perhaps, be short-lived. Whether or not the Hulk will find himself back on track to wherever he was headed will have to be answered later. The more pressing question is, whether the appearance by a familiar face at the end spells relief for Banner or portends something more sinister.
Hulk #2 is another wild ride that doesn’t let up. Donny Cates gives us an issue with strong pacing, humorous beats, bombastic action, and a cliff hanger that has me looking forward to issue #3. Furthermore, Ryan Ottley’s art is amazing and, two issues in, proves how much his style is meant for this title. While all of the questions from issue #1 remain—with a few more added for good measure—Hulk #2 proves itself a good looking comic and an enjoyable read.
Verdict: [8.5/10] Strong Recommendation
Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Ryan Ottley
Cover Artist: Ryan Ottley & Frank Martin
Inks: Cliff Rathburn
Colors: Frank Martin
Letters: VC’s Cory Petit