INFINITY GEMS: Hulk Smash
Most comic book fans know of at least one story which they feel never got the attention or appreciation that it deserved. A story they believe can stand up to the very best that a particular character has to offer… or even stand proudly alongside the greatest comic books ever created.
INFINITY GEMS returns with a two issue miniseries from 2001 that provided some insight into what it was like to be a soldier in the MARVEL Universe. It's military discipline versus insane rage as one ordinary man must face down MARVEL's most famous emerald icon at his angriest…
These editorials are a place where comic fans can showcase one - out of what is, undoubtedly, an infinite amount - of these hidden gems which they hold so close to their hearts… Fandom’s INFINITY GEMS.
Hulk Smash, issues #1-2
Published by MARVEL Comics from March 2001 to April 2001
Written by Garth Ennis
Art by John McCrea, Klaus Janson and Chris Sotomayor
How you respond to HULK SMASH, and whether it will make its way into your personal canon, will, to at least some degree, be determined by both your views on the Hulk's character and your perception of the world that he lives in. I have no idea what the official continuity has to say on the subject, but if you are strongly of the opinion that Hulk's rampages never result in any deaths... this probably isn’t the book for you. If you don’t find the opposite notion particularly troubling (or can accept it long enough to enjoy a good tale, strongly told), than Garth Ennis’ peek into the life of a military grunt tasked with stopping the Hulk is not to be missed.
HULK SMASH is an absorbing little character piece focusing on one man as he flinches in the bright green face of the Hulk’s overwhelming fury, abandoning his fellow soldiers to their fate. Discovering what kind of a man the main character is, and whether he is capable of travelling a path that leads him back to his honor, is both captivating and entertaining as hell. Garth Ennis has delivered a Hulk story that reads more like an old WWII comic, and the result is a lot of fun.
Pencils on this two-part story are by John McCrea. McCrea previously worked with Ennis on DC’s hilarious and oddball HITMAN book, a few Etrigan comics, and the first three issues of THE TANGLED WEB OF SPIDER-MAN. McCrea’s style demands a certain kind of inker to really make it shine, and unfortunately Klaus Janson is exactly the opposite of that kind of inker. The somewhat madcap energy that characterizes McCrea’s work is still there to be admired, but Janson applies a patchy and gritty style of ink to pencils that scream out for a more “cel-shaded” or cartoonish look. It’s the only real misstep that this book makes, however, and as a result is easily forgiven. It helps that Chris Sotomayor seems to be doing his best to counteract the effect of Janson’s inking by keeping the colors nice and bright.
If the idea of combining the feel of a military comic book with a Hulk story sounds appealing to you, give this two part story a read. Garth Ennis delivers a unique and highly enjoyable little tale which John McCrea's pencils bring a vibrant and cartoonish energy to.
Links to other INFINITY GEMS articles:
FRIDAY THE 13TH
BATMAN AND THE MONSTER MEN
SPIDER-MAN: THE CHILD WITHIN
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