Graphic Novel Review: Fall of the Hulks Vol One
SUPERVILLAINS unite to bring down the Hulk and his allies in the new Panini graphic novel
(Panini Books �14.99)
FOLLOWING the catastrophic events of World War Hulk, in which the greenskinned goliath led a cadre of alien gladiators to wreak revenge on the superheroes responsible for exiling him to a distant planet (see Planet Hulk and World War Hulk for more, also available from Panini), Bruce Banner has been incarcerated in prison. Meanwhile, his old foe the Abomination is assassinated by a new, red-skinned Hulk, leading to a brutal battle between the two monsters which results in Banner being drained of the gamma radiation which instigates his change, leaving him human once more.
Add into the mix the arrival of a mysterious new Red She-Hulk, the transformation of old Hulk ally Rick Jones into the blue-skinned A-Bomb, and the arrival of Banner’s adult daughter from the future and his alien son from space, and things are only just getting started…
All of these developments take place before the events of World War Hulk, and admittedly the story-so-far synopsis and character biogs contained in this first volume probably don’t go far enough towards explaining everything, but hey, that’s what Wikipedia’s for isn’t it?
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Despite that overwhelming amount of back-story, this collection is actually very accessible, and very entertaining in a back-to-basics, superhero slugfest sort of way. The two predominant plots revolve around the murder of long-term Hulk adversary General “Thunderbolt” Ross by the mysterious Red Hulk, and his subsequent funeral, and the machinations of a group of supervillain geniuses called the Intelligencia.
It is the latter concept which really appeals, retconning the alliance of the Leader, the Mad Thinker, the Red Ghost and his Super Apes, Wizard, MODOK and Egghead into past events in Marvel history. It makes perfect sense for these ultra-intelligent scientists to join forces, as does their scheme to capture the eight smartest minds in the Marvel universe to secure their power base…
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Quite where this storyline is going is yet to become clear, but it’s a surprisingly refreshing journey getting there. There are no pretensions of literary greatness in these stories, just a determination to produce entertaining, popcorn superheroics which will keep you reading.