Knowing how ComiXology likes to withdraw accidental sales of comics that go on sale early, ripping them from your very iPad, I decided to make a back up copy of this comic when I bought it yesterday. Looks like I was wise to do so.
Much has been made of the eleven artists working on this book. But does it matter? What if the artists are good? Does it make a difference? You bought the book for Marc Silvestri after all, is it any different that Whilce Portacio, Billy Tan and friends are pitching in? The guy’s in hospital after all.
Well, yes, it does make a difference, though not as much as you’d expect. There is certainly an attempt to merge the styles together, but there are moments when Silvestri’s trademark sketchiness is replaced with cold hard lines or other artists that seems really out of place, especially moving from shark to shark.
Monster shark to monster shark that is.
Because, while hinted at in the first issue, this is a very entertaining twist on the classic monster hunter tale. The monsters are hunting the mad scientists who made them. Whether that be a living brain that has outlasted its creators, or Gor… who is clearly Igor, the classic scientist assistant, with hunchback and all, with all his remaining skills.
And now The Hulk.
And with Dr Bruce Banner repeatedly being described as a new Dr Moreau, with his own white whale in The Hulk, it’s clearer what this book is now. The League Of Extraordinary Mad Scientists And Monsters. Analogues gathered together, bearing centuries of mythology on their hunched shoulders, letting a battle of philosophy as much as fist, as Free Will Vs Responsibility is played out across the Marvel Universe. While the comparison between Hyde and Jekyll has often been made with The Hulk, at it’s core it’s far more Frankenstein, with both creatures trapped in the same body. And so it is here, when the two are separated. But with the Hulk being recruited more as… a Val Helsing character. And lots of killer robots as well, the detritus of scientific madness, combining to seek its creators and his like out. There’s a lot Jason Aaron is playing with here, including the kind of familiar husband-and-wife conversations given the kind of fantastic twist that this book has specialised in, such as this beachside retreat that Bruce takes Betty to.
Wonderfully romantic. Bruce has certainly never seen more monstrous, more extreme in his desires, more driven to madness. What was it that the Hulk once gave him that is now absent, and in his drive to retrieve it he’s only demonstrating his loss.
And there’s a shark fight too. Some drawn by Silvestri;
Isaac Asimov talke about the kind of science fiction he called “clunk, clunk, aaargh, there are some things mankind is not meant to know” and this a rather postmodern take on that, the subject of the clunking finding a way to try and put an end to the “aargh” for good. And with the Hulk on their side, well, you just never know.