Incredible Hulk #14
Recommendation: Sigh, I guess, but be warned…
Man, I really thought after the last issue, this would have been better. My expectations were super high, because Issue 13 felt like the come back needed to save this series from the disastrous Stay Angry! arc.
So, my expectations were smashed - and not in a good way. Sigh.
It does feel like Jason Aaron is not taking this book seriously. The characterization of the Doom Bots seemed WAY off. If they are all replicas of Doom, how could they possibly work together in this cult-ish way? And where is Doom? Is this in continuity with the FF/Fantastic Four run where he “sacrificed himself” to give the team their much needed 28 minutes? Who knows. Either way, this series is being treated as a joke.
There is only one issue left. There is not a lot that can be salvaged from this 3-issue arc if this charade keeps up. I mean what happened? Issue 13 was great! And then we get this.
It is filled with all the weird stuff that made the Stay Angry! arc undesirable (gross sexual undertones from Amanda von Doom, misrepresented characterization, juvenile jokes…) - and hey, I all for juvenile jokes when it fits the tone of the book, but this just seemed out of place.
One of the most strange turn of events is the way Doom is represented. In my last review I stated, “My favorite part of the issue was Banner in Latveria. I do not want to spoil what happens, but it was perfectly written. I love Doom, and this was a perfect reflection on his character in this circumstance.” - this is not the case for this issue. Most of the Doom stuff represented my least favorite aspects in this issue.
There were some redeeming factors for this book - the art was better than it has been. In fact, is places, it was fantastic (flying Doom Bot at the beginning). Though I do not like how Amanda and the Mad Squad was represented. It fits with the style of this artist, but not with the book (and previous great issues). The other thing - did anyone notice that at the end of the last issue, the Mad Squad was Hulked out? I figured they took some “make me a hulk magic potion”, but at the start of this issue, they were just their normal selves. No mention at all to their appearance in the last issue. Did I miss something? Is this something that will be brought up later?
Too many questions. Sigh.
Okay, back to the redeeming characteristics… the new villain that is introduced to help Doom kill Hulk - interesting premise, poor execution - right down to his name. So what is redeeming? Well, the premise. Just like the Stay Angry! arc - the idea is awesome, but the execution leaves you wanting. Either way, the “internal battle scenes were somewhat more interesting than the rest, so I will give it that - even if the art changed drastically (I am hoping this was on purpose to illustrate being inside the mind of the Hulk).
The final redeeming characteristic of this issue - the way Hulk handles the Mad Squad during their first confrontation. I am glad that it went down the way it did - even Amanda’s attitude was spot on for her character (cocky and ill-informed).
Overall, I rated this book based on its juxtaposition to prior great issues by Aaron. Issue #14 has fallen 1.5 points from Issue #13. It does rate on par with the Stay Angry! arc, though.
So there you have it.
The only real reasons to pick this up would be for collection completion aspects, and to see if I am as nuts as Jason Aaron. I would love to know the truth about this series - why is it a joke? Why does it go from great to cheesy in a blink of an eye?