Published on September 20th, 2023 | by Howard Smith
The Incredible Hulk #4 REVIEW
Summary: As dark as it can get and this is a Hulk series
On the road, Banner and Charlie spend a little time together as they try to sort out who the Eldest is while also trying to keep a low profile. In The Incredible Hulk #4, Banner attempts to sway Charlie to seek a better life now that she has been relocated outside of her place of torment. Charlie doesn’t listen, but Banner is reluctant to change her mind. He tells her that his life and life with the Hulk leads him down a dangerous path that may eventually catch up to him. Meanwhile, Man-Thing pays Banner a visit in the swamps, but not in a friendly manner. Dragged into the Nexus of Realities, Hulk and Ted Sallis have a chat about the Eldest and something else wicked lurking in the swamps.
As the story continues to be a horrific rollercoaster of surprises and a deeper dive into the creepy side of Marvel, Phillip Kennedy Johnson (Last Sons of America) writes this story with the utmost intrigue in monster exploration. The Incredible Hulk #4 feels like it’s going in a familiar direction, yet it gives off a new path to the unknown. This unknown sensation that Johnson has developed since the first issue of the comic book series remains solid within this comic book. Readers of The Hulk will find this part of Banner’s life to be an intriguing one. As Banner and Charlie now understand that the Hulk is being watched and subdued by an ancient being of eerie proportions the best option is to keep their heads down. Of course, Johnson does a great job at having Banner try to convince Charlie to leave, which doesn’t work. The conversation that they both have with one another comes off as a father–daughter squabble, but Banner knows better than to have someone as young as she caught up in his lifestyle. This time, Banner’s approach to Charlie isn’t an attempt to push her away but instead, give her a reality check and a warning simultaneously.
Taking over for Nic Klein as a guest artist, Travel Foreman (Birds of Prey, I Am Batman) illustrates the interior work of the comic book with great visual expression. Foreman’s artistic style captures the essence of the dark side of Marvel wonderfully. The artwork of The Incredible Hulk #4 suits what the story demands in terms of characters and environment. While Klein may need to step away from the series for a moment, Foreman as a guest artist doesn’t fall short of what the story elements consist of within. Foreman’s understanding of the task at hand is done well so that the story can transition smoothly without disruption. The impressiveness of how Foreman can portray Man-Thing and other unearthly beings feels ideal and authentic.
Regarding authenticity, Matthew Wilson’s (The Anchor, Captain Carter) coloring serves as a wonderful addition to the harrowing world of The Incredible Hulk #4. The interestingly noteworthy praise about Wilson’s coloring work is the ability to adapt to a new artist’s style despite being used to the previous artists’ vision. The distinction of knowing how and where the coloring needs to go to assemble a sense of essence the comic book demands is incredible. The vibrance of every page feel like the reader is there with the characters in some capacity or another. The interchangeable transition from dark to light and then back to darkness adds to the overall experience the comic book delivers.
Comparatively, Cory Petit (The Astonishing Spider-Man) and his lettering work were able to shine better than before. It’s almost as if Petit was given a moment to go wild with the lettering and make the experience for readers an excellent readthrough. If at all, Petit’s lettering skills give this comic book what it deserves and more. Similarly, Nic Klein’s (Viking) cover artwork is brimming with tension between Hulk and Man-Thing. The cover artwork reels in the attention and confrontation of these two monstrosities front and center.
There is a lot left to see given the abrupt cliffhanger in The Incredible Hulk #4, but also more to understand what the Eldest has awakened in the void of darkness. Stay tuned for more to come as Johnson continues to deepen the expedition into what monsters await. Be sure to pick this issue up from your local comic book store or online where these comics may be sold.
Writer: Phillips Kennedy Johnson
Artist: Travel Foreman
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Color Artist: Matthew Wilson
Cover Artist: Nic Klein
Editor: Wil Moss
Publisher: Marvel Entertainment