Graphic Novel Review: Savage Hulk: The Man Within

Savage Hulk: The Man Within

Savage Hulk: The Man Within - Credit: Archant

An unexpected sequel to an early clash between the misfit mutants and ol’ jade jaws...

(Panini Books)

It was a wise move by Panini to reprint the little-seen final issue of the original X-Men run (issue 66, dating from 1970), as it provides background and context to this contemporary sequel to that original meeting between the merry mutants and the green-skinned goliath.

Apparently writer-artist Alan Davis chose to focus on that obscure encounter for his contribution to the showcase title Savage Hulk because he felt it was something of an unresolved episode in the careers of all involved. However, as this series is supposed to be continuity light, it’s something of a strange decision, as it really only works if you’re at all familiar with the original storyline.

The brief of this series appears to be large-scale gamma chaos, as the Hulk tears his way across America with reckless abandon. As a result of this, the pace is very fast, and it’s easy to get lost in Davis’ sumptuous artwork in the process.

There’s always a great deal to enjoy about seeing the original X-Men line-up in action, especially their older incarnations with the new costumes which saw out the end of their first series, and with Havok and Polaris now among their ranks. Seeing them up against unconventional opponents like the Hulk and the Leader also offers some surprises, but at the end of the day there’s very little here of any real substance.

It’s a nice enough looking book, and Davis is a first-rate storyteller, but as with many other stories inserted into gaps in continuity you come away feeling that nothing which happened here really matters, as these events have long since been forgotten by the present day.

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An entertaining enough start to this new series, which will apparently feature story arcs by different creative teams, but there needs to be a bit more substance if it’s going to have legs.