HULK #1-7 (1999)

In 1998, Marvel was desperate. They rebooted the Fantastic Four and brought in Chris Claremont. They rebooted Spider-Man and brought in John Byrne and John Romita, Jr. Thor got a reboot by Dan “Death of Superman” Jurgens. Some of these things worked. Some were just okay.

Hulk was just okay. Garney’s art was solid, often really good, and the stories were acceptable. The opening arc has the series moving closer to the TV version: Banner has a new name (“Bruce Roberts”) and he’s wandering the U.S. He goes to sleep at an Bed and Breakfast in Kansas, dreams of Hulk destroying the small town, and wakes up to learn his dream actually happened.

He befriends a little girl who is the daughter of the local sheriff, who figures out that Banner is really Hulk.

While Banner wrestles with his own complete lack of control over Hulk, the Avengers are called in to assist. Banner is put into captivity and Hulk’s old enemy, Tyrannus, looks on and plans to capitalize on his imprisonment.

You know what happens next: The chaos level increases. Avengers get involved. Etc.

There’s are several subplots including an interesting Man-Thing one where a cult is using him to create and Edenic place to live, and it is all building to a bigger story involving Apocalpse in #8. But Hulk is best when he’s just beating stuff up. These complicated storylines, interwoven and full of subplots and dangling issues, read like X-Men stories. It doesn’t work as well for me when it’s done with Hulk.

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