Thanos vs. Hulk #1 (Marvel)


CREDIT: Marvel Comics

Rating: 5/5 – The Cosmic Fight of the Century!
by Comic Spectrum reviewer Gabe Bustamantez.

Thanos and Hulk are two of Marvel’s biggest and most powerful characters. In one corner, we have Thanos the Mad Titan– whose only desire is absolute power and Death. He’s a cosmic threat on an intergalactic level who has gone up against Cosmic entities such as Chaos and Order, as well as Galactus and almost every Avenger as well as every other Marvel heavyweight. And in the other corner we have the Hulk. Marvel’s green goliath, the alter ego of brilliant scientist Bruce Banner and arguably the strongest character in the Marvel universe, who grows stronger the angrier he gets. But, this is not the first time these behemoths have knocked each other around. They have previously fought during the huge Marvel crossover event The Infinity Gauntlet which shook the fabric of the universe. What huge cosmic threat has brought these two against each other again?

This 4 issue mini series continues the return of Jim Starlin to Marvel’s Cosmic line to write and drawn Thanos stories again after a long hiatus. This issue demonstrates that Jim Starlin has not missed a step. We get a fine story about Bruce Banner, who is still working for S.H.I.E.L.D, taking a much needed vacation only to get kidnapped by Pip the troll to be used as a bargaining chip for the super villain Blastaar. Blastaar has a scheme all set up and ready and of course needs the Hulk to fulfill his mission for Annihilus, but Pip is never one miss a chance to back stab someone on an agreement. Which is where Thanos comes into play. This issue feels and reads like an older comic, and that’s a compliment. Along with lots of exposition that explains what you’re seeing, this issue also has each character introducing themselves which allows readers the chance to feel apart of the story without wondering who Maria Hill is, or why Bruce Banner is working for S.H.I.E.L.D.  It’s all handed to the reader and makes this issue a great first issue, and even a good first Marvel comic for a new reader.

I’ve seen many artist from the 70s, 80’s and 90s return to comic work after a long time away only to have their art no longer resemble how fans remembered them. In Thanos vs. Hulk #1 Jim Starlin lays down the lines just like he used to, if not better. This issue has lots of guest stars from Marvel’s cosmic catalog, and it was great to see Starlin draw some of the characters he help create like Pip and Thanos. Starlin is also able to take this opportunity to add more drama and intrigue to the Hulk and Bruce Banner relationship as well, we get to see a new dynamic to Banner’s mind after the Hulk takes over.

Everything in this story is structured to make the issue a longer and more satisfying read than most individual comics these days.  This looks like a fun series that takes place outside of all the huge and heavy Marvel events going on right now. It’s great to see Marvel let Jim Starlin have some time to play with big characters like Thanos outside of the main story plan of the Marvel Universe. Jim is seemingly able to do what he wants with Thanos vs. Hulk without Marvel forcing anything on him or changing his vision, which I think was what damaged their relationship previously. Thanos vs. Hulk is a series that you can read purely for it’s entertainment merit and not because you feel like you have to in order to stay current with all the Marvel events, or because you feel this story “matters” in the timeline of Hulk stories. Take your time when reading this, Jim Starlin is obviously putting a lot of effort to write and drawn this story. Add it to your list, and read an issue any time you feel like you need a break to step away from all the Inversions, Incursions and other title spanning crossover tales.

Reviewed by: Gabe Bustamantez
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