By Jordan Jennings
Incredible Hulk #714 picks up after the events of Planet Hulk II while Amadeus Cho returns from Planet Skarr, seemingly at peace with his Hulk self. Not all is at seems as an old foe returns and the Totally Awesome Hulk begins to display a more sinister side, kicking off World War Hulk II.
The original World War Hulk was a solid summer event that, while not as deep as the prior storyline, Planet Hulk, it was a smash to read. Incredible Hulk #714 is not as epic as its predecessor, but it still has its merits. Longtime Hulk scribe, Greg Pak, continues the story of Amadeus Cho as the Totally Awesome Hulk begins his downward spiral to his likely end. The writing on the issue is solid set up with some of the motivations of the Hulk being fleshed out. Pak provides some genuinely cool moments, with Hulk smashing to save something. Sounds like using fire to stop a fire, but it is a neat moment in the book.
With the story focusing on the build up to WWH2, it has to move quick. The pacing of the issue is breakneck at best, and sloppy at worst. A conflict with an old foe is resolved in a matter of pages. Incredible Hulk #714 goes from intergalactic prison break to final fight in just eight pages. I’m not one to complain about compression in story lines, but this conflict needed some internal build up. There was no drama about what was one of the major villains coming to Earth to exact their revenge on Hulk and the rest of the Earth. This could be chalked up in-story as Hulk being so arrogant about the fight that it is not a big deal. The out-of-story explanation seems to be more business-related.
The solicits implying the story and series will conclude at #717 justifies the pacing, but some story decisions could have been made to help the story breathe better. The content not dealing with the Antagonist from Sakaar was really solid. It shows the changes in Amadeus as he has been hijacked by the Hulk, but the whole conflict that sets off WWH2 just feels underwhelming.
The art by Carlos Barberi, Waldben Wong, and Frank D’Armata is great. Barberi’s pencils and layouts are a solid and masterful display of framing an action sequence. As there are complaints to be had about the pacing, the action in this book is fantastic thanks in large part to Barberi. The aforementioned smash saving a building scene was great and the conflict between Hulk and the antagonist was well framed. Wong’s inks are clean and crisp with everything rendered perfectly. D’Armata’s colors are vibrant and fitting with each character. No questionable coloring or inking choices. All around, there is great art in the book. Though there is not much in terms of groundbreaking comics work, it is a solid effort and something to be desired in a monthly title.
The art of Incredible Hulk #714 was great and while the writing has issues with pacing, it is serviceable in set up and justified in the rushed nature with a looming final issue. This book may not be on the epic scale of the original World War Hulk but it doesn’t try to be. It is not the event torchbearer for the entire line. It is a natural progression of a storyline. It can’t be faulted for that. I would recommend Incredible Hulk #714 for current readers and fans of Amadeus Cho, as this is likely the swan song for his time as the Totally Awesome Hulk. For the more casual readers, I would recommend waiting for the trade.
Incredible Hulk #714 released on March 21st, 2018 from Marvel Comics.