Stuart Immonen

The Incredible Hulk 49 (March 2003)

128321There’s something wrong with this issue and I’m having trouble pinpointing it. Maybe how Jones bookends with what he’s doing next, maybe with how he does a talking Hulk going nuts without any explanation. I can’t believe I’m wanting for exposition, but Jones’s keeping the reader way too far away from what’s going on in Bruce’s head. Especially after an issue like this one.

The design problem remains with the villain; the Immonen and Koblish Hulk make up for it a little, but there aren’t any money shots in this issue. Even the splash page of the transformed Banner is more for mood than it is reader gratification. It’s a dangerous, constantly shifting world. And Jones is just make it more so… and every shift make the characters more distant.

They aren’t just superheroes, they’re corrupt supervillains and the like. Jones has removed the humanity for the sake of narrative.

C+ 

CREDITS

Pratt Fall; writer, Bruce Jones; penciller, Stuart Immonen; inker, Scott Koblish; colorist, Studio F; letterer, Comicraft; editors, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Incredible Hulk 48 (February 2003)

127498In one panel, it really looks like Immonen and Koblish are doing an homage to Byrne-style banner. It’s kind of cool, actually.

With the exception of the opening involving some secret agent in a dinky town, this issue is one of the standard Jones talking heads during an action sequence Hulk. It’s a fine enough example of one, where the biggest problem is how Immonen illustrates the villain. He’s full of Hulk blood–thank goodness they were the same type–and he’s mutating. Immonen shows that mutation, but Jones’s dialogue doesn’t recognize it (as a continuing condition anyway). So there’s a big disconnect.

Jones also gets in a big cliffhanger. Will the Hulk be able to save the day? It’s an odd cliffhanger; the one with the least stake in it is Bruce. Jones really needs to work on that failing–Bruce needs to be active, not entirely reactive.

B- 

CREDITS

From Here to Infinity; writer, Bruce Jones; penciller, Stuart Immonen; inker, Scott Koblish; colorist, Studio F; letterers, Richard Starkings and Wes Abbott; editors, John Miesegaes, Warren Simons and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Incredible Hulk 47 (January 2003)

127497I don’t know how he did it. Jones made everything mysterious literal and still the comic works. It’s a great explanation, but his presentation–more talking heads, but this time during a road trip (with awkward pauses)–is what sells it. He’s got a frantic pace, with Bruce always in some kind of danger, and the exposition just makes it move quicker.

What Jones also does is reward the reader. He brings up all the big moments he’s been repeating, either in flashback and dream sequence, and he lets the reader figure it out. Or, more accurately, figure out how he told the story.

The art makes it all possible. Immonen and Koblish can switch genres immediately–there’s another great action sequence at the end of this issue–and the story needs it. Bruce Banner is never on firm ground and Jones doesn’t let the reader get comfortable either.

Awesome.

B+ 

CREDITS

Transfer of Power; writer, Bruce Jones; penciller, Stuart Immonen; inker, Scott Koblish; colorist, Studio F; letterers, Richard Starkings and Wes Abbott; editors, John Miesegaes, Warren Simons and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Incredible Hulk 46 (December 2002)

114563Jones is bound and determined to confuse. Not only does he make it work this issue, he even makes his returning villain–previously rather lame–engaging. The villain kidnaps Bruce and takes him, inexplicably, to a morgue to investigate the latest murder charges against the good doctor.

On the way, there’s a lot of talking. Jones also employs some flashbacks to heighten to uncanny factor. The villain recaps the previous issue, sort of confirming the reader’s memory to him or herself, and then Jones doesn’t solve it. He’s got this incredible situation–pardon the adjective choice–and he makes it work in the context of the somewhat silly situation (Bond villain organizations) he’s set up.

The finish has a good soft cliffhanger or two and a nice action sequence from Immonen and Koblish. It’s all bad guys–Bruce is an observer; the artists’ skill makes it so good.

Excellent issue.

B+ 

CREDITS

Multiple Organism; writer, Bruce Jones; penciller, Stuart Immonen; inker, Scott Koblish; colorist, Studio F; letterers, Richard Starkings and Wes Abbott; editors, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Incredible Hulk 45 (November 2002)

114562About ninety percent of this issue is good. Jones should have spread it out over two parts–Bruce gets hit by a car (but doesn’t Hulk out?) and the lady who hit him takes him in and nurses him back to health. It opens with a text recap reminiscent of the TV show, which is awesome.

Juxtaposed against Bruce’s recovery–he’s really loopy, lots of strange dreams, which Immonen and inker Scott Koblish do well with–is someone crossing the country, encountering various unfortunate people. Sadly, Jones has a reveal at the end and it’s lackluster to say the least.

The confused Bruce thing is fantastic stuff. The lead-up to it is moody and effective. It feels perfect–rainy streets, Bruce Banner all alone with a strange alluring guest star… why Jones has to ruin it with a scene out of The Terminator, I don’t know.

The rest’s awesome.

B 

CREDITS

Remember Me Never; writer, Bruce Jones; penciller, Stuart Immonen; inker, Scott Koblish; colorist, Studio F; letterers, Richard Starkings and Wes Abbott; editors, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Incredible Hulk 44 (October 2002)

112457Jones does a familiar ruse but then explains the whole bit, which makes it a lot better than not. His secret organization after Banner is still a tad too Bond and a tad too much. But it’s definitely an amusing issue; he just needs to make Bruce half as interesting as any of the other characters. Even the villain gets to sweat this time.

Oh, and he needs to own his cliffhanger resolutions. One of them gets a followup and Jones dismisses the mystery of it in a matter-of-fact way. While it’s matter-of-fact for the characters, Jones is writing for the reader, isn’t he?

No. No, he’s not. That lack of interest in how the reader perceives things is Jones’s greatest strength and weakness on Hulk. Well, one of his weaknesses–Bruce’s too passive a main character.

Very nice Stuart Immonen art too. The comic entertains.

B- 

CREDITS

Now You See It; writer, Bruce Jones; penciller, Stuart Immonen; inker, Scott Koblish; colorist, Studio F; letterers, Richard Starkings and Wes Abbott; editors, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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