In Hulk #5, Gerry Duggan takes the reigns from Mark Waid, who never quite found his stride in the previous four-issue run, and introduces readers to an all-new version of Bruce Banner’s juiced-up alter ego. After taking a bullet to the head, Bruce Banner’s been resuscitated by Tony Stark using his Extremis technology. This has had a drastic effect on the Hulk, who has attained a genius intellect and cunning, and despises the monicker, opting instead to be called “Dr. Green.” We’ve seen an intelligent Hulk before; “Professor” Hulk in the 1990’s, and much like that other intelligent Hulk, the new one has a nice new haircut, this time a mohawk, to visually differentiate him from the behemoth brute we all love. But that’s not the only big change. Unlike the amicable and intelligent Bruce Banner-controlled Professor, Dr. Green is brash, driven, and when we’re given a brief glimpse of Banner trapped inside, we see that Dr. Green’s somewhat menacing personality has taken over. Dr. Green has his own mission involving the eradication of gamma weaponry, but whether he means “all gamma weaponry,” or gamma weaponry that isn’t himself is left ambiguous. Presumably the good doctor’s real intentions will be revealed as Duggan’s arc continues. Bagley’s art carries the early parts of the issue with huge splash pages dominating, though some of these could be seen as wasted space where we could have gotten a little more story. By the end of the issue you get the impression that Duggan has revealed everything he wanted the reader to know.
Michael Alan Nelson
This was a blind grab for me. Having not read any of the previous four-issue Hexed series, I wasn’t sure what to expect. This new #1 from Boom! Studios throws a lot of mythology at a new reader right off the bat. We’re introduced to the main character, sorceress and magical artifact thief, Lucifer with very little of her backstory revealed until the end of the issue. This comic’s primary flaws lie with the character’s seeming lack of flaws. In our opening scene, we’re shown her combat prowess when she summons a giant serpent to fight a group of heavily armed thieves, and readily puts them down. The purpose of this scene is just to show just how tough Lucifer is so that when she’s beaten down later, we can see just what kind of a threat we’re dealing with. Dan Mora’s pencils are clean and consistent, which gives the book a very well put-together feeling, and Gabriel Cassata’s colors carry the art to the next level. This #1, I will warn, is not a great jumping on point, and if a Buffy-esque strong female lead in a world of demons and interdimensional travels is your cup of tea, I’d suggest picking up the first trade paperback over starting the series from here.