Marvel Adventures #1
Marvel Comics (April, 1997)
The Hulk: “A Titan In Trouble”
WRITER: Ralph Macchio
PENCILER: Andy Kuhn
INKER: Rob Stull
COLORIST: Kevin Tinsley
ENHANCEMENTS: Graphic Color Works
LETTERER: Jon Babcock
EDITOR: Mark Bernardo
Marvel Adventures (at least this version) is an anthology series that doesn’t take place in the regular Marvel continuity. It claims to be in the animated style, but I don’t think it’s based either on the cartoons of the time (on Fox Kids, UPN, and in syndication…unlike the DCAU the connection was reduced to sharing voice actors while the second seasons of Iron Man and Fantastic Four shared an art style and a showrunner with UPN’s Incredible Hulk) or the other “Adventures” titles with the X-Men and Spider-Man that were wiped out of their own continuity thanks to the last issue of Adventures Of The X-Men. So for now let’s assume it’s completely new continuity.
The series starts out with the Hulk. Bruce is still trying to find a cure, using a cave base. However, Rick goes for help to General Ross and accidentally reveals enough for Ross to find where Bruce is. It’s bad timing because he believes the Hulk just kidnapped Betty, which is what the Leader wants, turning a man named Emil Bronsky into a gamma mutant called The Abomination. Abomination tricks Hulk into following him after helping fight the Hulkbusters, but it turns out to be a trap. The Leader wants to use Hulk’s power to take over the world, but when the Abomination threatens Betty, Hulk breaks free. The Leader escapes just before Bronsky learns that he’s actually dying from radiation poisoning and decides to hunt the Leader down. As Hulk and Betty escape someone takes the Abomination away.
What they got right: I suppose this is a way to introduce newer readers to the Hulk, and they’re setting up a recurring storyline, like Adventures In The DC Universe have with McKinney and Cypher.
What they got wrong: But animated style does not mean the art either, or that’s a grave insult. The Adventures Of Spider-Man could claim that and the art was good there. Here we have worse perspective and foreshortening issues than anything I’ve ever done. It looks more like the usual bad 90s artwork. Uncanny Origins is more “animated style” (whatever that actually means) and it’s set in the regular Marvel Universe. Also Leader tells Abomination he can “you may do with (Betty) as you wish, Emil–and then kill her” (emphasis mine)…maybe it’s just some comics I’ve looked at recently but I don’t like the connotation involved. It’s also odd seeing Talbot wanting to bring Hulk in unharmed. Usually he’s depicted as more than willing to kill the Hulk (possibly to get rid of Banner, his competition for Betty, at least in the UPN show).
Recommendation: I’m curious where the Abomination went to and if the result is any good. Otherwise, It’s a basic story with horrible artwork. I can’t really recommend it unless it leads to something better.