Hulk vs Thor Banner of War Alpha #1
Writer – Donny Cates
Artist – Martin Coccolo
Summer is within our sights and it’s the season where comic book companies roll out their massive crossovers. DC has Dark Crisis and Marvel has AXE Judgment Day. If you don’t have the time or money to invest and follow these crossovers in their entirety but still want some bang for your buck, then I suggest Hulk vs Thor Banner of War, which is the next round in the longstanding feud between the Jade Giant and the God of Thunder and a celebration of these characters 60th anniversaries.
This Alpha issue is the opening salvo between these two titans. Both have undergone massive changes recently and we get an informative 4-page recap of where they have been and how they cross paths once again thanks to Uatu the Watcher. Like any battle between two heroes, the tried-and-true trope of miscommunication and misunderstanding has Thor facing off with Hulk as Hulk tries to plead his case. We have seen Hulk and Thor fight each other multiple times and knowing full well of the previous property damage and possible loss of life when they square off, Thor has Lady Sif teleport the combatants to the Black Hand of God so they can let loose.
Round 1 is beautifully rendered by Coccolo and there is a splash page that shows every single fight that Hulk and Thor have participated in, which will make you stop and try to think which issues they took place in. This would make an excellent poster to hang up on your wall. What would be even better is if they had a key at the end of the issue that shows the panel and the issue the fight takes place in. I was able to figure out a few and I’ll definitely go back and try to figure some of them out on my own.
This battle has 2 characters we have seen before getting involved in the fight, each trying to tip the balance of the bout in the Hulk and Thor’s favor. By the end of the issue, the smackdown is pretty much a stalemate with Thor having a slight edge over Hulk. I hope that there is clear cut winner by the end of this short crossover because if it ends in a disqualification or a schmoz finish (by definition, “a conclusion to an angle or match without having to book anything intricate), a lot of readers are going to be left bitter and angry. I know I would since there is a lot of hype behind this tussle.
Place your bets now! Who will walk away with their hand raised in victory?
Next Issue – “BANNER OF WAR” PART TWO!
“The 60th Anniversary celebration – and Thor and Hulk’s epic rivalry – continues in the second installment of the crossover between the HULK and THOR series! Banner’s newfound control of his rage is prolonging this fight more than Thor expected, and with Banner holding his own, Thor must get creative. REDACTED’s breakthrough look into Banner’s psyche seems to slow the violence, but will it be enough? Additionally, new creators to the THOR title bring glimpses into the possible futures of Thor and his friends!” In Shops: May 18, 2022