Mike Deodato Jr.

The Incredible Hulk 72 (July 2004)

The Incredible Hulk #72Deodato has some kind of painted thing going on. It’s not good and it’s often unclear what’s going on–and there are real problems with montage–but at least he’s not doing the little panels for big action.

The issue continues with the Iron Man guest appearance. There’s a strange fight scene where Bruce is in Iron Man armor fighting Tony. Because Tony wants to prove his innocence regarding a girl who committed suicide. It makes no sense; Jones’s editors must have been napping.

Even though Bruce Banner is front and center again, but Jones is more using him as an add-on to an Iron Man story. And the Iron Man story is bad. Jones doesn’t have much insight into Tony as a character; none of his actions make sense. He’s just around for the murky art crossover.

The crossover is a complete misfire. Jones has lost his grip.

D 

CREDITS

Big Things, Part Two: Strange Bedfellows; writer, Bruce Jones; artist, Mike Deodato Jr.; colorist, Rainier Beredo; letterer, Randy Gentile; editors, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Incredible Hulk 71 (June 2004)

The Incredible Hulk #71Bruce is in L.A., no matter why, and he runs across a Tony Stark press conference. So they fight and team up. They fight because Tony can’t recognize Bruce in his sunglasses. Very convenient disguise.

There’s a lot of talking, some confusing art from Deodato–though he’s better than usual–and more of Bruce being able to turn immediately into the Hulk. One thing about that instantaneous change? Jones has never really said how Bruce feels about it. Has he turned the Hulk into a tool? Isn’t the Hulk his own guy to some degree? How does he feel about it?

All these questions go unasked and unanswered and are far more interesting than the comic itself. It’s unclear what Bruce is on the run from this time, which is another thing Jones could have explored but does not.

Worse, the arc’s four parts and Iron Man’s a lousy guest.

D 

CREDITS

Big Things, Part One; writer, Bruce Jones; artist, Mike Deodato Jr.; colorist, Hermes Tadeo; letterer, Randy Gentile; editors, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Incredible Hulk 70 (June 2004)

The Incredible Hulk #70Deodato is back once again. And, once again, the art is bad. This time there’s a lot Deodato can’t do. He can’t do the talking heads, he can’t handle Bruce willfully turning into the Hulk for a quick emergency.

And it’s too bad, because the issue’s a reasonable done in one where Bruce meets up with a clairvoyant on the FBI payroll. Most of the issue is the two men talking while the clairvoyant can see things unfolding.

Jones doesn’t exploit it as a narrative device enough, but Deodato couldn’t handle it if he did anyway. But the issue’s decent. Bruce and the guy talk through the issue, Jones getting in a couple twists. It doesn’t explain why the guy didn’t try to find the Hulk before, like during the national manhunt, but whatever.

Too bad Jones didn’t do his run more episodically, it would’ve worked. Minus Deodato, of course.

B- 

CREDITS

Simetry; writer, Bruce Jones; artist, Mike Deodato Jr.; colorist, Hermes Tadeo; letterer, Randy Gentile; editors, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Incredible Hulk 65 (March 2004)

The Incredible Hulk #65Here’s the thing. If Jones had structured this series better, been less concerned with diversions like the Absorbing Man, he might have been able to do a fantastic storyline regarding the Banner, the bunnies, Doc Samson, the evil conspiracy. It would have worked. The issue works to some degree just because Jones lets the characters all feel the weight of what’s occurring.

Terrible Deodato art. His page composition, not panel composition, but his page by page layouts of panels is atrocious.

Even though this issue’s a big wrap up–hopefully Jones will soft boot the title next issue–there’s a lot of good action sequences. There’s Samson and the bunnies going into the base, there’s Nadia and Bruce Banner. Jones is very deliberate about how he pulls one over on the reader, but it’s kind of all right. He’s doing the same thing to his characters.

Shame about the art.

B- 

CREDITS

Split Decisions, Part Six: Double Exposure; writer, Bruce Jones; artist, Mike Deodato Jr.; colorist, Studio F; letterer, Randy Gentile; editors, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Incredible Hulk 64 (February 2004)

The Incredible Hulk #64Oh, good grief. When Deodato goes for artistic it’s a really bad page. Also when he goes for Hulk action. Hulk rips open a mountain. Is it any good? Nope, it’s boring.

But the issue is otherwise not bad at all. Between the Hulk smashing the evil organization, which brings those two parts of the arc together, and Doc Samson and his bunnies–Sandra, Mr. Blue (nope, not spoiling because it doesn’t matter yet) and Nadia–fighting the mean little monsters. It’s effective stuff, the people in crisis, out of bullets. Not sure why the women had to take off their clothes but Jones is maybe trying to tell the reader Doc Samson shouldn’t be trusted.

Then there’s the cliffhanger. Jones has always had problems with his big hook for the series. The cliffhanger just reestablishes the hook and the problem.

The series is slowly improving, even with its problems.

C 

CREDITS

Split Decisions, Part Five: Deja Vu; writer, Bruce Jones; artist, Mike Deodato Jr.; colorist, Studio F; letterer, Randy Gentile; editors, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Incredible Hulk 63 (January 2004)

200834I guess this issue’s an improvement; the series is so far along at this point it’s hard to tell. But the banter between characters goes away a little. Doc Samson and Sandra (she’s the regenerating spy who started out Jones’s run or somewhere towards the beginning) don’t have any banter. It’s just Mr. Blue and Nadia. Jones again feels the need to turn every female character into an action hero. They aren’t heroes in the moment, they’ve had training. It’s ludicrous.

The comic sort of feels like Jones wanted to do some kind of espionage thriller and married it to Hulk. This issue, though the Hulk’s in the comic far more than usual–even for Hulk issues–he’s just a sideshow attraction. The real story is the giant conspiracy.

It’s boring to read a comic without a main character. Especially a comic called The Incredible Hulk.

Still, the cliffhanger’s not half bad.

C 

CREDITS

Split Decisions, Part Four: Blue Moon; writer, Bruce Jones; artist, Mike Deodato Jr.; colorist, Studio F; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Incredible Hulk 62 (December 2003)

The Incredible Hulk #62I can’t think of a more boring artist to do night scenes than Deodato. All of the art seems hurried, though some of it couldn’t be. Jones introduces little monsters who hunt Mr. Blue and Nadia. Except, of course, this issue is also where Jones reveals Mr. Blue’s identity.

He could have hinted at it better, especially during the endless conversations with Nadia. Two essentially unarmed women against hundreds of little alien-like things (alien like Aliens, no design originality award here) and Jones has them banter. It’s all exposition, so why not exposition with subtext.

There’s also some stuff with Doc Samson and his lady friend. Bruce Banner drives. Supposedly the lead character in the comic and he drives around.

Bringing all the supporting cast together is just revealing how little Jones needed them for except for expository purposes. Hulk hasn’t just lost texture, it’s lost Jones’s ramblings too.

C-

CREDITS

Split Decisions, Part Two: Night Eyes; writer, Bruce Jones; artist, Mike Deodato Jr.; colorist, Studio F; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, Warren Simons, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Incredible Hulk 60 (November 2003)

The Incredible Hulk #60Poor Bruce Jones. He gets back to the conspiracy storyline, brings back in Doc Samson–reimagined as some kind of super-spy–and generally gets the series moving again towards something. Sure, Banner barely has anything to do but the narrative works. Jones splits it between Banner, Samson and Nadia (the Abomination’s wife) and ties them all together trying to get the mystery laptops to work.

All in all, the narrative is successful. Jones goes for an artful cliffhanger rather than a rewarding or intriguing one but artful’s okay.

But Deodato’s back on the art and he butchers it. The juxtaposed fight scenes are awful, the Doc Samson fight scene is awful, even the Banner sitting in a cafe is awful. Deodato misappropriates his artistic attentions. The fight scenes should be compelling, what with Jones’s placement of them in the narrative, instead they’re painful to the eye.

It’s a shame.

B- 

CREDITS

Split Decisions, Part One; writer, Bruce Jones; artist, Mike Deodato Jr.; colorist, Studio F; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, Jennifer Huang, Warren Simons, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Incredible Hulk 54 (August 2003)

774294And here’s that double-issue long Hulk fight Jones has never done before and now it’s clear why… Because he’s no good at it. Jones and Deodato have a rhythm to the fight. There’s the fight, there’s the side action (sometimes the Abomination’s wife, sometimes the bad guys in a helicopter). Those are usually six panel pages. So you get little panels for big fight moments. Or there’s the half double-page spread device, which Deodato uses a lot.

Here’s the thing about Deodato’s art. He knows how to compose the frame. With the half double-page spreads, action starts on the left page, moves to the right. It’s wholly competent and incredibly boring. The fight’s just Hulk and Abomination saying nasty stuff to each other between punches, at least it could look engaging.

Jones sort of resets the ground situation at the end, which is good, Hulk needs it.

C 

CREDITS

Dark Mind, Dark Hearts, Part Five: Welcome to Entropy; writer, Bruce Jones; artist, Mike Deodato Jr.; colorist, Studio F; letterers, Richard Starkings and Wes Abbott; editors, Warren Simons, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Incredible Hulk 53 (July 2003)

901318I haven’t talked about Deodato’s tendency towards wide faces because there have been more interesting things to talk about. Not anymore. Sadly, Jones’s stalling has continued and gotten worse–this issue and the previous easily could have been wrapped into one.

What happens this issue? Bruce finds out about the girl, whose motives are simple and noirish but way too small for such a big story, and the Abomination gets out.

The problem’s how Deodato breaks out the story. He doesn’t have a good way of visualizing Banner’s forced hallucinations, he doesn’t have a good way of visualizing the Abomination’s rampage. Yes, he can do a splash page of destruction, but there’s no gravitas to it. There’s no sense of mood. Sure, the art’s dark, but dark isn’t mood.

The cliffhanger promises a final issue to the story arc. Hopefully Jones can correct the series’s decline once he’s done here.

C 

CREDITS

Dark Mind, Dark Hearts, Part Four: Enemy Mine; writer, Bruce Jones; artist, Mike Deodato Jr.; colorist, Studio F; letterers, Richard Starkings and Wes Abbott; editors, Warren Simons, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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