We’re catching up on X-Pile goodness, folks! There wasn’t much by way of X-Men books this week, but luckily that doesn’t stop us from reviewing the places the X-folk show up!
Savage Hulk #1
Writer & Artist: Alan Davis
It just so happens that my good buddy Decapitated Dan just sent me his almost-complete run on X-Men: The Hidden Years, which was John Byrnes’ 2000 series that filled in the gap between Uncanny X-Men (vol. 1) #66 and Giant-Sized X-Men #1. If you remember your X-history, you know that the series got cancelled and/or put on hiatus, and they started reprinting old issues. Story-wise, Professor X was dying after saving the world from the alien Z’Nox invasion. In order to save him, the X-Men had to find Bruce Banner and get his help. Funny enough, in reading Byrne’s XM:THY, I have found that I really love and miss those old original X-Men stories. I picked this issue up on a whim, seeing that it was written and drawn by one of my longtime favorites, Alan Davis, not realizing that it was going to fill in another small gap between Uncanny X-Men #66 & X-Men: The Hidden Years #1.
It might seem strange to start a new Hulk book at this point in Marvel history, but for me, it really worked. At a point when Hulk was still wandering and struggling with his personas, teaming him up with the equally oppressed X-Men really makes a lot of sense. I always loved how Hulk ended up being the reason for Xavier’s healing as he ends up being the hero and connecting to X-Men lore forever.
For my entire life, Alan Davis has been drawing comics, and doing a helluva good job. His character work is still flawless after all these years. In fact, I don’t recall any other old-school artist who’s work has held up like Davis’. Walt Simonson, Neal Adams, and heck, even the aforementioned John Byrne have all put out books in the last few years that have been underwhelming. But this issue looks like someone reached back to 1987 and plucked this jewel from a long-lost story that Davis had done. It is crisp and beautiful. It is action packed and dynamic.
But perhaps the most poignant scene is when Hulk is by himself staring into the sky. Because of his super-gamma-irradiated sight, he doesn’t just see stars when he looks at the sky, but the entire galaxy, which is stunningly portrayed. Hulk reaches up to touch the vastness of what he sees only to shift back to Bruce Banner and the white-speckled darkness of the night sky. I don’t recall ever seeing the Hulk transformation from this point of view, and Davis captures it perfectly. It almost made me want to cry.
While this is technically not an X-Men book, X-Men fans will want to pick this arc up as it does connect to those “lost” days between the new and old teams. If you miss that, then you will rejoice when you see how Alan Davis returns to glory by rejuvenating the Hulk and the X-Men in one fell swoop.
Oh yeah, and Jean Grey back in the go-go boots and green mini-dress? Yowza! -JJ
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