The Incredible Hulk #-1
Marvel Comics (July, 1997)
WRITER: Peter David
PENCILER: Adam Kubert
INKER: Mark Farmer
COLORIST: Dan Brown
LETTERER: John Workman
EDITOR: Bobbie Chase
Hulk finds himself in a graveyard where spirits force him to watch a play of his own memories, or rather one he kept buried. But with the Bruce Banner part of his mind currently in the Heroes Reborn universe, it’s now coming back. It’s the time just as Robert Bruce Banner was discussing the creation of his Gamma Bomb. Bruce’s father Brian was being released from the insane asylum after years since killing Bruce’s mother, believing his son was a monster. It was soon apparent to Bruce that Brian was not as cured as they though, and it came to a head in the cemetery where the late Mrs. Banner was put to rest. Brian attacked him and Bruce fought back, accidentally forcing him into his mother’s gravestone, killing his father when his head hit the gravestone. Now that he remembers, the spirits departed as Hulk wrestled with this revelation.
What they got right: Here we get a look into how the Flashbacks were run. Stan Lee, as a character (not the actual writer) tells these tales, and each writer set up his or her own framing device for how Lee gave the story. In this case, Lee shows up as a gravedigger Hulk comes upon, who calls forth other spirits to start a play, all of them resembling Bruce. They hold up masks of the character they’re playing. Yes, even the Bruce Banner playing Bruce Banner. However, that’s not how the entire story is told, thankfully, as we get proper flashbacks as well. Peter David even works in an explanation on why Hulk first started turning at night rather than just when he got angry. The backstory itself I admittedly don’t have an opinion on. It’s well-told but was it necessary to Bruce’s character?
What they got wrong: Speaking of which, if “Bruce” is currently separated from the Hulk and in another universe with all new memories and a new Hulk persona, how does “Hulk” of 616 have any memories of Bruce killing Brian? And why was it necessary to Bruce’s character; to show that Brian was right and the gamma radiation just brought it forth as the Hulk? I’m also not a fan of the art style. After seeing the art in Thunderbolts I can only imagine Busiek knew how to get the good art team as this is just the usual 90s bad.
Recommendation: It does reveal an important part of Bruce’s history and the way it is told is rather interesting. I wouldn’t tell you not to but that’s the only reason I see to get it, or to see the imaginative way Peter David tells this tale.