by Charlie Brooks, CMRO Contributing Writer
Written by Greg Pak and Scott Reed, Art by Tom Raney and Brian Ching
Published: November 2010
The Hulk is traditionally a loner, but throughout Greg Pak’s run on the character he has been acquiring allies and family. He now has a son and a daughter, his wife is back from the dead, his best friend and closest cousin are gamma creatures, and he has the remainder of the Warbound who allied with him during Planet Hulk and World War Hulk. So what are the implications of a whole family of Hulks? The newly-retitled Incredible Hulks plans to explore that.
The Incredible Hulks #612 kicks off the “Dark Son” story-line, which sees another member of the Hulk’s family approaching Earth, but first we have an interlude with Bruce Banner and his wife Betty. Well, it’s actually former wife now, since Betty was declared legally dead for over three years and thus their marriage is nullified. Always missing the boat when it comes to personal relations, Banner tries to put Betty’s wedding ring back on, which causes her to freak out at how pushy he’s being and turn into the red She-Hulk. Hi-jinks ensure. By hi-jinks, I mean smashing.
Despite kicking off a new story-line, this story would make a very good stand-alone comic. It’s about Bruce’s inability to get the nuances of human relationships, trying to act like everything is fine despite the fact that Betty is still messed up in the head. In the end, the Hulk comes out, which break Bruce’s wedding ring. Can the marriage be fixed? That is something that we will spend many issues trying to find out.
Once again, Greg Pak nails the voice of Banner and the Hulk, and he is blessed with some good art to back up his writing. The catch in his issue is whether fans will enjoy the Hulk family or not – the Hulk has traditionally been a loner, so it’s a pretty big change in direction. For my part, I enjoy it because it feels like a logical progression of the themes we saw beginning back in Planet Hulk.
The backup story features more of Hiro-Kala facing down Axeman Bone. This is an appropriate backup story due to the fact that the other son of the Hulk is headed into the main story, but right now it’s stuck in neutral as it feels like we’re just counting down the issues before the big fight between Hulk and the titular Dark Son.
Overall, despite the fact that we’re waiting for the next big story-line to kick off, this is a good transitional story. There is a need for downtime like this in order to keep the comics from just jumping from one huge crossover to the next. The highlight of this issue is the interaction between Bruce and Betty which shows us that while Betty may be alive again, things are not just going to go back to the way they used to be.