Bruce Jones & John Romita Jr - The Incredible Hulk: Return of the Monster (3 stars)

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Hulk

(Marvel)

SUPERHERO

This year’s blockbuster roster is jam packed with comic adaptations, and Marvel’s second big hitter of the year, The Incredible Hulk (after the considerable success of Iron Man) smashes it’s way onto the big screen this month.

The Hulk is one of the most intriguing concepts in comics. After being exposed to Gamma radiation Bruce Banner turns into the monstrous Hulk when provoked. You don’t have to dig much deeper to see the depth in the idea as the id is released and humanity gives way to pure animal rage.

No wonder celebrated director Ang Lee was so interested – it’s just a shame he fumbled the ball with his 2003 adaptation. However it was the classic Bill Bixby/Lou Ferrigno TV series which introduced many of us to the temperamental green behemoth, a pretty solid interpretation of the iconic character as created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

There have been some classic runs on the series over the years: Peter David, Stan Lee, John Byrne and Bill Mantlo have all had a crack at the big green fella, but in recent years it was Bruce Jones who launched his critically acclaimed take on the emerald titan, Return of the Monster.

It’s a subtle interpretation of such a huge figure in comics (both literally and figuratively). Jones cuts the action as the Hulk explodes into a rage of fury, focussing on the events that trigger the transformation and the aftermath of the destruction. While it’s an innovative take on the jade giant, you can’t help but crave some hardcore ‘Hulk smash’ action.

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