Some books are just batshit crazy.
Usually, I think they come in the form of Garth Ennis titles, if I’m being truthful. Have you read his Punisher work with the late, great Steve Dillon? And of course, every time I reread that duo’s seminal Preacher, there are always moments where I still can’t believe what they got away with.
Pushing envelopes can be hard to do with Marvel Comics proper; it happens and often quite well, but I don’t often get the feeling of “what the hell is going on here” with most 616 books.
However, from the very first moments of Hulk vs Thor: Banner of War #1, writer Donny Cates and artist Martin Coccolo had me thinking “WTF is this?”, and that is a very good thing.
Now, trying to explain the set up for this battle is a little complicated, which is one of the reasons Hulk vs Thor: Banner of War #1 is pretty cray-cray from the get-go. To sum it up very poorly, the Hulk is now some sort of spaceship commandeered by Bruce Banner inside the Hulk’s brain and is powered by an angry Hulk, while Thor is King of Asgard who’s hammer Mjolnir is possessed by the dead soul of Odin. The two are set up to battle, which they do. There is violence and mayhem to be had, and it’s a lot of fun to watch go down.
Honestly, reading Hulk vs Thor: Banner of War #1 made me think that Cates and Coccolo are going for their version of Alejandro Jodorowsky and Mobius’ beloved sci-fi series The Incal (soon to be a major motion picture directed by Taika Waititi). Hulk vs Thor: Banner of War #1 is colourful and crazy sci-fi, and even nonsensical in spots – that’s not a dig, though. It’s actually fun and refreshing to feel like you’re reading a book that feels different.
I doubt that Hulk vs Thor: Banner of War is going to be a storyline for everyone; this first issue just feels a little too out there. However, credit to Donny Cates, Martin Coccolo, and the big wigs at Marvel for having the balls to put out something as weird and wild as this storyline, which will run through Thor and Hulk’s respective titles over the next two months.