Incredible Hulk 608
It is wrong for me to probably say this, but some of my thoughts while reading books that are part of a giant shared universe revolve around where a story fits in that world. For the longest time I have had the impression, unfounded, really, that Hulk books tend to exist seperately from the rest of the Marvel U. I know those stories are supposed to be in the same shared world, but I find that the Hulk tends to operate in his own little corner away from the rest of the Marvel books.
I have found that with Pak's writing of the Hulk, and since Big Green's return to Earth 616 after Planet Hulk, the character has been mixing in and integrating within the Marvel world more than I was initially under the impression he was. I'm unsure if that was Pak's intention writing the character for the past couple of years, but I can say it has broadened the accessability of the character in my eyes.
As for this issue, Fall of the Hulks comes to an end and sets the table for World War Hulks. Most of my comments regarding the event will be better detailed when I begin to talk about the other book in the series...
You know what you are getting, relatively, with Jeph Loeb's "Hulk" book. Red Hulk is kind of an ass. He prefers to do things the destructive, bombastic way. The book is low on subtlety and sometimes I find Red Hulk tends to always have to justify why he does things in, perhaps, a less than efficient way. However, Red Hulk represents something to me in the way he goes about his business. He's having fun as a hulk and I would probably settle things the same way as him if I had his power set, too. The Red Hulk has hubris and, also, a bit of moxy, and there's nothing wrong with that.
Now, as for the Fall of the Hulks event. I believe that this is how events need to be run. The relevant books, "Incredible Hulk" and "Hulk" all contained stories that advanced the plot of the event. The tie-ins, She-Hulks and Red Hulk, reveal some pretty relevant information to the over-all story. I can honestly say that every part of this event I purchased has not made me feel like I have wasted my money.
Best thing about this issue, though? Thor-Hulk!
Hercules: all of an Avenger 1
I'll state now, and probably be wrong, but I do expect Hercules to return, eventually. That said, that viewpoint does not prevent me from enjoying this book.
I don't have much to say that has not aleady been better said at the ISB. I loved this book. Pak and Van Lente don't wallow too much in the stories and write them as tiny comedic beats. My first impression of this was that it would be an anthology and I was very pleasantly surprised to see it was not. Thor's story runs the longest at about 5 pages. Plus, we also get the return of the editorial box reminding readers of what issues events in the stories happened in! I LOVE those things. Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, but apparently 2 out of 3 ain't bad.
Even better than the main story, though, was Paul Tobin's Agents of Atlas backup which puts the new Venus and Namora on the job of settling matters of Herc's rather large estate. It is a rather fun read as, once again, Tobin doesn't dwell on any particular job during this process. To keep an activity like this entertianing, Tobin keeps it moving on the page.
Comics don't make a good medium to illustrate quiet contemplation which is broght to the front when juxtaposed with the content of these stories. The nature of these events for most of humanity is that they are solemn, quiet, or contemplative times. The world slows down a bit, for me, when I have to deal with death. Both of these stories don't slow down and, because of that, the tone of the book is definitely more celebratory and less boring. A character such as Marvel's Hercules deserves such a memorial.
One last thing to mention. In Tobin's story Venus and Namora discuss how the gods of this Marvel world can be so mortal. The Greek Pantheon has not had the best of times, recently, in the Marvel World given, now, that Zeus, Hera, Ares, and Hercules are now dead and a new Venus has risen to take the place of an abdicating Aphrodite. I am curious to know if there is a specifically concerted effort to dismantle the Greek Pantheon of deities in Marvel and where it will eventually lead to in the future.