The Incredible Hulk #2 is published by Marvel Comics, written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson, art by Nic Klein, colors by Matthew Wilson, and letters by Cory Petit. Bruce wakes up to find he has a new sidekick, but soon they both end up facing the first of the monsters that the mysterious Eldest has sent after The Hulk.
The horror comic continues with some of the most personal and gentle moments so far, although that is interspersed with some terrifying interludes and appearances. The comic fluctuates between sitting by a campfire and witnessing something horrifying at its beginning, never wanting us to get comfortable. There are unknown horrors on their way to find Banner, for comfort will be impossible to find. The pace is relentless but methodical, allowing for long, unsettling scenes to unfold. There are two dream sequences, one for both Charlie and Bruce, that break up the parts of the comic.
Whilst there are some horrifying glimpses before the dreams, the monsters make their move afterward, adding more to the lore. The dead have risen, but there is a folk horror element that feeds into a much larger story. It elevates the classic zombies and turns them into something more insidious and unnerving. Instead of being this full-on brawl, the action is minimised to make the most out of the tension, giving the monsters time to ingratiate themselves into the book before smashing them.
The dialogue is phenomenal. The conversations are long and filled with personality. Johnson relishes conversation and stirs up the uncomfortable feeling that is in the pit of my stomach whilst I read Incredible Hulk #2. There is no safety, no nice person. Bruce does not want Charlie with him, especially whilst he is so afraid of the Hulk. Even the girl, young and traumatised, displays moments of darkness. But she is important as someone for Bruce to bounce off of when the green guy goes quiet.
Both of their dream sequences are creepy and menacing, carrying the story forwards in both instances. For reanimated corpses, the monsters are remarkably chatty, but that only makes the more sinister. Their words aren’t always directed at someone, like mad ramblings. Except, we’ve already been made aware that there is someone listening: the Mother of Monsters. Having Charlie adds something vulnerable, killable. The Hulk is not reliable, not even wanting Bruce to stay alive.
The art is stunningly terrifying. It is part of the reason why you can’t get comfy, as every single panel is brimming with horror. Even in the parts where Banner and Charlie are just talking, the style makes the area unsafe and haunting. The dream sequences are fascinating as the art team never changes but the style does. It looks murkier, painted on instead of drawn with some mesmerising imagery. The shadows and the lines get thicker when the zombies enter the picture. It creates more demented, decomposing faces, just about human. The level of detail is intense on every single one of them, right down to individual teeth.
The colors are phenomenal. The shades don’t need to remain the same in a dark, dark comic such as this one. Wilson can alternate the light source so that the blue background becomes a vicious red when the campfire lands on faces and makes the scene uncomfortable. The dream sequences are different because they are actually painted by Klein. The palette alters for both Charlie and Hulk’s individual moments. The paints can be vibrant and atmospheric but still subtle and eloquent. The lettering is fantastic for so much of the book, with the large pieces of dialogue laid out superbly.
Incredible Hulk #2 is a horror comic through and through. It is difficult to find superhero elements in the story as there are few. It’s scarier than Ewing’s run, more primal and intrinsic in how the frights are instilled. Banner’s disinterested and Hulk isn’t much better. He’s languid and murderous when he is supposed to be the savior. The undead are just the first in a long line of incoming monsters, but they’re an excellent warm-up act.
Incredible Hulk #2
Incredible Hulk #2 is a horror comic through and through. It is difficult to find superhero elements in the story as there are few. It’s scarier than Ewing’s run, more primal and intrinsic in how the frights are instilled.