Written by: Gerry Dugan
Art by: Mark Bagley and Drew Hennessy
Colors by: Jason Keith
Whoooooo!!! Mowhawk Bruce Banner! Old Man Hulk! Crying and tears! This is not an actiony issue, but, man, Gerry Dugan and Mark Bagley bring it in one of the best issues of a Hulk comic I have ever read. Now, don’t get too jazzed from my opening words. Again, this issue does not have a lot of punches thrown. What you will get is some incredible character development of Doc Green, She Hulk, Jen Walters, and some other supporting cast members in an amazing feat of craft.
Hulk #16 continues (or maybe ends?) the ongoing chapter of Doc Green. Opening with a face-off between the intelligent brute who is not Banner with none other than the Avengers. It is several pages of intense banter, leaving you with continuous anticipation of who is going to throw the first punch.
Jason Keith does a pretty amazing job on colors. Despite all the rage in the dark and gritty shadowy style that pervades today’s comics, Keith whips up a bright, clearly cape-oriented super hero palette filled with rich greens and other bright colors. Mark Bagley draws a great Vision that looks more akin to the Age of Ultron look than past renditions of my favorite android. And he scales wonderfully. There are panels where the camera is pulled way back to fit in several Avengers plus the big guy himself. But Bagley also does not skip a beat when he pulls in close for face shots. The facial work here is pretty amazing as well, as he twists Doc Green into depths of sorrow at his impending plight, and shows She Hulk’s sympathy with well depicted body language.
I have long loved Hulk stories that make me feel sympathetic for he who is most powerful, but Dugan really twists my empathy in a knot with this issue. He has crafted a story that makes me feel sorrowful for both Doc Green and Bruce Banner, punctuated by the schizophrenic scrawls of the dialogue between the two in the opening panel. And when one of Banner’s past loves shows up at the story’s end, you get a double dose of pity as you realize just how much the two halves of our favorite Jekyll and Hyde story have been tragically maligned.
Needless to say, I really loved this issue. It has everything I look for in a landmark issue. Several reveals, a bit of comedy, a bit of tragedy, wonderful character development, solid, while not groundbreaking, art, and a clear, tight story. This is equal in my mind to the Captain America #3 issue, and so it gets the same score, a…