The Incredible Hulk 51 (May 2003)

128323I do admire Jones’s dedication. He resolves my concerns over the appearance of contrivance by revealing the conspiracy to be even more convoluted than he had previously suggested. But he doesn’t stop with the conspiracy, he makes this issue’s plot even more convoluted and surprising.

The issue has a couple strange turns of events–not to mention a few of those false cliffhangers Jones uses to keep the reader engaged in what’s basically a setup for things to come. Jones doesn’t come off as gimmicky because those plotting decisions are what his Hulk is all about. He never wants the reader to feel he or she is on firm ground; the surprises, even if they’re only important for five or six pages in the story, are essential.

Consciously playing with reader expectations is an interesting move. If the reader buys in, it still means the payoff needs to be substantial.

B 

CREDITS

Dark Mind, Dark Hearts, Part Two: Killing Season; writer, Bruce Jones; artist, Mike Deodato Jr.; colorist, Studio F; letterers, Richard Starkings and Wes Abbott; editors, Warren Simons, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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