Let me come clean – I’m a bit behind on my Marvel events. Are Avengers still fighting X-Men, or each other? Skrulls, they still around? That Ultron thing, how’d that turn out? OK, I’m not THAT out of the loop, but needless to say my Marvel-ese is a tad rusty. Luckily, being current is not a requirement in reading Hunger, the new Galactus mini written by former Ultimates scribe Joshua Hale Fialkov. Though it spins from the pages of Age of Ultron (seriously, did we win?), Hunger stands on its own merits as a cosmic epic featuring everyone’s favorite purple planet eater.
Despite the name and hulking visage on the cover, Hunger is actually Rick Jones’s story. You know, Rick Jones, Hulk’s bosom buddy and former A-Bomb, Captain Marvel and one-time Bucky. Well, in this (Ultimate) universe Rick is Nova, a herald chosen by the Watchers to protect the universe. He’s had the gig for a while now, and while cosmic powers are pretty neat, every now and then a man craves a cheeseburger. Ah, relatable. Rick decides to take a time out from universe protecting in order to grab himself a patty, but before he can say “Burger Shack” he’s whisked into the cosmos to bear witness to a rapidly approaching threat. No, not the massive space war between the Kree and the Chitauri; this threat has three syllables and an insatiable appetite.
To many writers, this book would be a tough sell with its many moving, confusing parts, yet Fialkov steps to the plate and gives it a solid whack. For starters, his take on Rick Jones is amazing; he’s boisterous, exasperated, and a little bit cheeky. Basically, he’s fun! Fialkov imbues Rick with such a human sense of holy-shit-that-just-happened, that even when things get big – I mean BIG – the book still feels grounded. Eventually the big beluga makes his reality tearing entrance, and a situation gone wrong gets much, much worse. I love how above it all Galactus is; to him a giant space battle is as interesting as two moths flapping around a light. I’m not sure where this series is going, nor if it will have any ramifications beyond the Ultimate universe, but either way it’s setting up to be one doozy of an affair. Shoulda ordered that burger to go, Rick!
Leonard Kirk shines on art duties, his panels expansive and engaging. A book like this needs someone who brings that extra oomph, and with his deft character work and large scale awesomeness he definitely delivers. There’s a personality to the art that meshes well with Fialkov’s amusing narrative, and with the rich colors provided by Jesus Aburtov this is one damn pretty book. A cosmic ripple leads to one amazing splash page as Kirk shows Rick in all of his previous incarnations, proving once again that the continuity of certain characters is absolutely bonkers.
I went into this book not sure what to expect, and went out not sure what comes next. Still, the stage has been set for some epic interplanetary (and possibly universe ending) action with journeyman Rick Jones dead center. Fialkov is off to a good start here, and with Kirk on art I’m confident this book will continue to impress. In the meantime I’ll wait, unflinching, as I am Jeff, THE DEVOURER OF COMICS.