Friday, August 17, 2012

Books I've Read This Week

Hulk Season One is the latest in the (now defunct?) line of Season One books from Marvel Comics. The book is written by the always funny Fred Van Lente and art duties are handled by local Ottawa boy, Tom Folwer. I was lucky enough to be able to pop down to the Silver Snail this week where Tom was doing a book signing. So my copy of the book includes an illustration of the Hulk looking like his anger is about to boil over. It really is these extra bits that make me continue to buy physical books instead of going totally over to eBooks.

So let me get into the book a bit more. First the good. Van Lente's writing is at times hilarious. This man really knows how to interject comedy into a story. If you've read his Action Philosophers or his long run on The Incredible Hercules you'll know what I mean. However, it isn't all fun and games. Van Lente gives us a real reason as to why the Hulk's alter ego, Bruce Banner, is such a weakling with repressed rage issues. I thought this was a great portrayal of both sides of the Hulk's persona. Also, the book has a beginning, middle and end so you feel like you are getting a full story. Honestly, that is one of the main reasons I rarely get monthly comic books anymore as you don't get much story anymore.

Although you can't have a great comic without great art to go along with it and Folwer really delivers. This isn't the dumb mindless Hulk that many comic book readers are used to. Tom really brings a very expressive emotional Hulk to the page. You can see a number of panels where you can tell the emotion of the Hulk without needing any words as he goes from anger, pain, rage to cold calculating fury. Check out some of the in progress pictures Tom posted. If you are not familiar with some of Tom's work then you really need to check out Mysterius the Unfathomable by himself and Jeff Parker or some of Tom's recent work on Deadpool or Venom.

Now onto the bad and it's not anything I can pin on the creative team rather it is all on Marvel Comics themselves. First at $28 CDN for 136 pages of story the price is a bit high. Especially when you consider at least 20 of those pages are from a reprint of the recent Incredible Hulk series that Marvel published and is about to reboot anyway. Now I paid $21 for my copy with the discount the Snail was able to provide and as I said I got an illustration on the inside cover so I feel like I got a real deal.

Also, the book is shrink wrapped to protect the digital download code that comes with the book. I thought the point of Season One books were to pull in new readers. Don't you think they'd like to flip through the book first? Also, maybe the price could've been a bit lower without the download code. Maybe, I don't know I'm not in marketing but that just seemed dumb to me.

Anyway, I don't want to end on a down note as I really enjoyed the book. If you saw the Avengers this year and wanted to get a better idea of where the Hulk is coming from than this is a good book for you to pick up. It's filled with good story and great art.

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