Artists: Todd McFarlane & John Ridgway
Peter David is probably one of the most well loved Hulk writers over the years, with his run being considered one of the best on the character. I however have unfortunately never read any of this run, as although I am a huge fan of the stories I've read from David, as well as Hulk himself I have never gotten round to reading his Hulk run. I am however rectifying that now having just bout this first volume of his Visionaries collection, and hope to get the others as soon as possible.
Bruce Banner has finally rid himself of the Hulk, but unfortunately his friend Rick Jones has become him. In an attempt to save Rick from this curse Bruce turns himself back into the Hulk, but gets more than he bargained for.
This was simply a phenomenal collection, and I'm am extremely happy that I've finally gotten round to reading it. Peter David truly did something wonderful here, and it's easy to see why his run is considered one of the best. David also did an excellent job of showing both Hulk and Banner's characteristics in this volume, and I especially enjoyed how he managed to balance both characters appearances, something that some of the other Hulk writers haven't necessarily been able to do. The best thing about David's writing however had to be his amazing dialogue, which added a lot of depth to the story. I especially loved how David handled the Hulk's dialogue, as it was perfect for his current characteristics, showing the differences from his greener self brilliantly. On top of all this David also did an amazing job of keeping this volume as exciting as possible, with the action throughout being extremely entertaining.
The artwork on this volume was also outstanding, and Todd McFarlane did a fantastic job, with the one issue from John Ridgway also being brilliant, though not quite as good as McFarlane's art. Now I have always enjoyed McFarlane's artwork over the years, and especially on Spider-Man and Spawn, but I have to say his artwork on the Hulk is some of the best that I've ever seen from him. I especially enjoyed the way that he drew both Hulk's in this volume, but especially the grey Hulk, as besides the sheer power of him, and the classic look I loved the way that he showed the maniacal characteristics of this Hulk. The detail and layout of McFarlane's work was also amazing, as it really added a lot of tone and depth to the story. On top of this McFarlane also handled the characters emotions and facial expressions, as well as the action perfectly, with this adding a lot of excitement as well as a great atmosphere to the story.
This volume would start off with Rick Jones as a green Hulk. Now this is a development that I was unfamiliar with, as although I know that there have been many Hulk, as well as the fact that Rick Jones has had many persona's, I never knew that he was once a Hulk. Anyway I did enjoy seeing this, and how he still managed to have some of the traits that Bruce Banner had whilst being the green Hulk. I also liked that it was explained how this had happened to Rick as well, as it helped put everything into perspective, helping to make it very new reader friendly. I also loved seeing Banner's reaction to this Hulk, and how he feels responsible for Rick's misfortune.
Due to his guilt Banner went to the furthest extreme to save Rick, by turning himself back into the grey Hulk. Now this was my first experience of reading the Hulk during his grey period, and I have to say that I really enjoyed it. What I loved most about this version of the Hulk was how he really felt like a villain, as although he'd been seen by the characters in the comics as this all along, he was really just misguided, opposed to this version who's very cunning and conniving, being much more intelligent. I did however also enjoy seeing the regular Hulk traits shine through, as although he had a completely different attitude, you could still see hints of compassion. On top of all that I also found the way that he would now only transform at night to be much more interesting, and McFarlane did an amazing job at drawing these sequences.
This volume would also see the Hulkbusters and S.H.I.E.L.D. involved, with them originally working to stop the green Hulk that was Rick Jones, and eventually moving their targets the the grey Hulk. I really enjoyed the addition of these characters, as although most of them I am unfamiliar with, it was nice to be introduced to them. I also liked seeing Clay Quartermain as the leader of this group, as although I'm not overly familiar with him, I know that he's been a key friend to Bruce Banner and Nick Fury in the past. I also enjoyed the different characteristics off all the members as well, with the soldiers including LaRoquette wanting the Hulk dead, and the scientists and Quartermain wanting to find a way of stopping the Hulk without killing him.
This volume would also see X-Factor make an appearance. Now David has had a lot of history with X-Factor, having written them at various points over the years, also being the current writer. Now this would be the original X-Factor group, consisting of the original five X-Men (though only Cyclops, Jean Grey and Iceman are featured in this volume), also being prior to David's main X-Factor run. Anyway, I found their appearance in this volume to be amazing, as although it would have still been amazing without them, they added extra excitement to it, also allowing a different view point on Banner's current development. I also really enjoyed their interaction with Hulk as well as the fight they had against the Hulk, with the latter being very exciting, as well as being well thought out. I also felt that Iceman was easily the most entertaining character from the team in this story due to not being able to control his powers properly.
This was a phenomenal collection, and truly one of the best Hulk collections that I've ever purchased. It does a great job of reintroducing the grey Hulk, and showed both his characteristics as well as Banner's perfectly, showing why David is considered one of the best Hulk writers ever. It also has wonderful artwork from the legendary Todd McFarlane with the dialogue, excitement and suspense throughout adding the perfect tone and depth to the volume. Due to all this I'd highly recommend this volume to anyone, as you'll not regret it.