I’ll admit that I’m an ‘easy mark.’ I walked out of the cinema after seeing The Incredible Hulk thinking, ‘decent movie… it didn’t suck.’ The next day I kept thinking about the film, liking it more and more. Seeing as how it’s the first movie my soon-to-be-born son has ‘seen,’ maybe I’m being sentimental. My wife attempted to block out some of the dolby sound with her purse, but I’m sure the lil’ growing boy got the gist of the film.
After the movie I found myself ravenous for Hulk comics and it seemed like there was not enough to be found. For some reason I had missed out on the Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale project Hulk: Gray until now. As part of what has been called their Marvel Color Project Series (also consisting of Spider-Man: Blue, Daredevil: Yellow and now Captain America: White), I was sure that the story would be a sentimental take on the classic character, but I wasn’t ready for such a strong story.
The comic opens with Bruce Banner meeting with psychiatrist/super hero Leonard Sampson… not knowing why he has come to his old friend. The date is significant, the anniversary of his wedding to Betty Ross, now long dead. Following the development of Banner‘s first transformation into the Hulk, the comparisons between Betty’s hot-tempered father General Thadeus ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross and the Hulk‘s rage forms the spine of Hulk: Gray. A lost and confused character unsure of what he has become through the exposure of the gamma radiation and how much of the responsibility of the Hulk‘s destruction rests on his shoulders, Banner attempts to knit together his experiences into a cohesive history with Sampson‘s help. A self aware tale, Hulk: Gray is a powerfully emotional mini series that proved to be a pleasant surprise.
The guest appearance of a certain armored avenger just sweetens an already great comic.
If you find yourself, like me, hungry for Hulk comics after watching the summer’s blockbuster film, I can think of no better place to start than with this book.