X-Factor #211 – A Review

Staying in Vegas

Writer:  Peter David

Artist:  Emanuela Lupacchino

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Price:  $2.99

Previously:  X-Factor was hired by a mysterious woman to track down an equally mysterious reprobate who had supposedly stolen an ornamental hammer-shaped pendant.  As it turned out, the mysterious woman was Hela, Norse goddess of the underworld, and the reprobate was that cosmic fun-lover, Pip the Troll, who was trying to escape back to Las Vegas, telling the detectives that their job was done.  Seeing Pip’s terror and feeling responsible, Madrox and company headed to Nevada to try and sort matters out.  Longshot then went on a massive winning streak throughout the city in hopes of catching her attention.  The good news is:  it worked. Bad news is:  it worked … and the team now find themselves under attack by undead Viking henchmen.

Peter David (Hulk, Fallen Angel) is one of my favorite writers and it had been a while since I checked in on X-Factor.  From beginning to end, X-Factor continues to be an entertaining and good read.  David brings a certain air of fun to comic book experience.  There’s a joy to the story telling and to the approach of the characters.  It’s obvious that he not only has a deep love for these characters, but he has a strong sense of them as individuals and has a firm handle on their journeys/arcs.  Not to mention that his trademark snappy banter still bubbles throughout the issue.

If the story seems to spin its narrative wheels it’s because the issue largely delivers what it promises:  if you put an all out battle between our heroes and Viking zombie warriors on your cover, then you better have some full splash page takeovers of our heroes vs. Viking zombie warriors.  And Emanuela Lupacchino’s art is beautiful and reason enough to pick up this book.

“I am the only God you should be swearing to.” – Hela

I couldn’t help but think that in the age of super heroes and immortals, it must be hard to believe in God or gods, even when confronted with them.  Supernatural beings become commonplace, people bear witness to the supernatural and the miraculous and it must do strange things to people’s faith.   Yet we continue to look for miracles. They are God’s calling cards. We believe that if only we could have some proof positive of God at work in our lives, in our world, then it would heal our faith and sooth our doubts. What we fail to take into account is that people can see the exact same things, the exact same set of circumstances and evidence, and come to very different conclusions … We can’t go through life solely seeking signs of the miraculous out in order to build our faith upon, nor should we deny them when we come across them.

We continue to look for miracles, to see some true sign of God’s presence in our reality. Miracles are God’s calling cards. We believe that if only we could have some proof positive of God at work in our lives, in our world, then it would heal our faith and sooth our doubts. If God burst in with full revelation, as He was often recorded doing in the Bible, I don’t think we could handle it. Look at those same stories in the Bible: after every miracle, it was like people embraced a type of amnesia. They either forgot what they just witnessed or became blasé with a “yeah, but what have you done for me lately?” attitude. We want a God we can control and understand, but by losing the idea of what it means to have a fear of the Lord, we end up trivializing God. God is God. Either way, an encounter with supernatural would rock our worldview to its foundation (and that’s even if you already believed in Him in the first place).

From beginning to end, this issue is packed with action.  If you’re a fan of Peter David’s witty banter, you will be taking a breather on this issue.  That’s is more than made up for with plenty of splash pages worth of art of our band of heroes vs, well, zombie Vikings.  Zombie.  Vikings.  No character is left stranded, each having something to do that contributes to the story, and you can feel the story building in momentum like a freight train.  Interestingly, David manages to jam so much into the action pages that you still may have to read the issue a second time to make sure you didn’t miss anything.

She-Hulk – A Review

Written by: Peter David
Art by: Shawn Moll
Published by: Marvel Comics
Price: $2.99

“Jaded”

Jennifer Walters was a lawyer until she got a gamma-irradiated blood transfusion from her cousin, Bruce Banner (the Hulk). That’s how she became She-Hulk. Charming name aside (though it’s better than Shulkie), female versions of super-heroes is a bit of a holdover from the mindset that every major male super-hero had to have a female counterpart (Spider-Man/Spider-Woman, Superman/Supergirl, Batman/Batgirl, Hulk, She-Hulk). However, there’s something about the character of She-Hulk that makes creators come and try to put their distinctive mark on her. To catch us up on the character:

Things have not been easy on She-Hulk lately … between dropping her support of the Fifty State Initiative, her cousin’s attack on Earth and losing (and subsequently regaining) her super-powers, Jen has found herself at a crossroads just in time for mysterious circumstances to lead her to leave her legal practice behind. Done with both her careers as a lawyer and as an Avenger, Jen must decide what a gamma-powered legal dynamo does with her life next …

Apparently it’s become a bounty hunter.

Dan Slott’s departure from the book left a huge vacuum to fill. Starting with issue 22 of She-Hulk, Peter David (X-Factor, Stephen King’s Dark Tower) can’t seem to escape the world of the Hulk. From his wonderful 12 year run on The Incredible Hulk, to writing Captain Marvel with Rick Jones (the Hulk’s best friend) now with She-Hulk, he keeps nibbling around the edges of the world he largely created. Partnering with Jazinda, a mysterious Skrull, like some ersatz version of Heroes for Hire duo, She-Hulk works for the Freeman Bonding, Inc, the agency that puts up bail for super villains. I guess there had to be one and if there is, they would have bounty hunters, and if one is super powered and between clear careers, why not bounty hunt.

“All anybody cares about is what’s important to them, and anyone tells you otherwise, they’re sellin’ something!” –The Absorbing Man

We’re fascinated by the monster within, from the Hulk to Mr. Hyde, as if speaking to our realization that we need to come to terms with it. Unlike her cousin, the She-Hulk is not the embodiment of her inner rage. It is, however, the embodiment of all of her repressed behavior. As She-Hulk, she is more confident (being seven feet tall and able to bench press a school bus ought to at least instill one with some self assurance), feels sexier (though she’s currently lamenting her sex kitten image), and feels more whole. In truth, hers is a much more balanced and integrated persona because she came to terms with who she is and what lies within her.

“Sounds like somebody’s got some issues.” –The Absorbing Man

The key to her contented life as the She-Hulk is balance her appropriate expressions and healthily containing her impulses. It’s a life long journey to channel our inner passions and control our inner monsters. As we temper our inner demons, we can hope to find that balance and peace many of us look for. Not doing so may lead to many wrecked relationships.

“Has it ever occurred to you there’s a whole world of things beyond what’s important to you?” –She-Hulk

In coming into her powers, echoing the words of the Apostle Paul she became a new woman and put aside her old woman: “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24). With all of her newfound liberation, the new struggle is what to do with all of the freedom she has.

It’s a transition period while David tweaks the character’s mythology and cast of supporting characters to allow She-Hulk to come into her own. Given his track record with the Hulk universe, I’m willing to allow plenty of patience. The Moll’s art is serviceable, if a little sparse and rigid, like a pale imitation of Gary Frank. Without relaunching and renumbering the title (since both were just done, oh, 22 issues ago), this is a good jump on point for those fans wishing to give She-Hulk a try. It’s a bit of a rocky start, but David’s one of the very few writers in the funnybook business who can actually write with real wit (when he’s not going goofy overboard, as in Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man). After the frenzy of variant covers and a new creative team have worn off, hopefully he will have the time to tell his stories.

***
If you want to make sure that I see your comment or just want to stop by and say hi, feel free to do so on my message board. I apologize in advance for some of my regulars.

Stephen King’s Dark Tower – A Review

Written by: Peter David
Art by: Jae Lee
Published by: Marvel Comics

I am a newcomer to the world of Stephen King’s Dark Tower, his dark fantasy opus. He has said that this is one of his most personal works, so it’s understandable he is much more hands on than he has been with some of the movie translations of his work. His partners at Marvel have spared no expense in translating this story to the comic book medium. While Stephen King oversees the production (and there is plenty of supplemental material featuring him), New York Times Best Selling Author Peter David (X-Factor, Fallen Angel, Incredible Hulk) writes the actual script. For those more familiar with the complex mythology get the appendix story written by Dark Tower mythos expert, Robin Furth. And rather than this being a case of too many chefs spoiling the soup, what we get is maximum story for our comic book dollar.

Jae Lee’s art has never done much for me in the past. I don’t know if it is Richard Isanove evocative painting over his work or what, but there is a depth to the work that I hadn’t noticed before. Clearly the assembled artistic team realizes the importance of this project and have stepped up their game in light of this. They have opted to tell the story of Roland the Gunslinger in chronological order, thus we get to experience the entire arc of the hero’s journey.

“You have forgotten the face of your father.”

Joseph Campbell, in his landmark work The Hero with a Thousand Faces, outlined the prototypical path of the hero’s mythological adventure. Campbell defines the journey this way:”A hero ventures forth from the world into a region of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”

Just like the tale of Roland Deschain, the essential story, the monomyth, echoes the story of Christ. We see this pattern–separation (the reluctant hero taken from the world that he knows), initiation (the hero tested), and return (the hero returns as conqueror) in many of our great heroic epics. For the hero’s task to be worthy, he must overcome various trials and temptations.

“Ka-tet means ‘one from many,’ but more than that … It’s a group of people bound by fate—by ka—heading toward the same goal and, like as not, the same end.” –Narrator

In this first story arc, we follow the journey of Roland’s discipleship into the way of the gunslinger. The path of true discipleship would involve a change in three areas: belief (we turn to a new way of thinking), behavior (our lives become–slowly–transformed, centering our lives around living out the heroic mission), and belonging (we join a specific community).

Discipleship, simply defined, can be seen as a process of how we transform everything we do in order to “take on,” or becoming more like, a true hero. In a lot of ways, the hero seeking after their heroic “master” has to define what it means to be a disciple and what it means for them to live and work in light of that relationship. But I’m betting a thorough read of the Dark Tower stories would reveal an entire system of thought and theology wrestled out.

All of the creators come to the table ready to do justice to the epic mythology of the Dark Tower series. The mark of any great adaptation is its ability to spur interest in the original work, to spark interest in exploring the rich world of the Dark Tower. Me? I’m already hunting the original novels and, in the mean time, I’m settling in for the journey.

***
If you want to make sure that I see your comment or just want to stop by and say hi, feel free to do so on my message board. I apologize in advance for some of my regulars.

Spider-Man: The Other

Writers: Peter David, Reginald Hudlin, and J. Michael Straczynski
Artists: Mike Deodato and Joe Pimentel, Pat Lee and Dream Engine, and Mike Wieringo and Karl Kesel
Published by: Marvel Comics

“Evolve or Die”

Spider-Man has seen a variety of changes over the years. He’s had multiple arms, been a giant spider, worn an alien costume, and then there was the clone saga (oy! The clone saga). Obviously not afraid of messing with the mythos of Spider-Man (since many fans still haven’t forgiven him for his retro-fitting of the story of Gwen Stacy), Straczynski has been working toward this story for years.

“Never understood. What you were. What you are. What you are becoming.” –Spider Spirit

The heart of the story revolves around the idea that Spider-Man’s powers are totemic in nature. Expanding the mythos into one of archtypes. DC comics went through this trend in the late 80s/early 90s as several of their characters were revealed to be elemental in nature (Swamp Thing, Red Tornado, Firestorm, etc.).

Since this story was going to fundamentally change the very character of Spider-Man, the story ran through all of his major titles: The Amazing Spider-Man 525-528, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man 1-4, and Marvel Knights Spider-Man 19-22. The storyline also got to utilize the talents of three fan-favorite writers: Reginald Hudlin (Black Panther), Peter David (Incredible Hulk, Fallen Angel, X-Factor), and J. Michael Straczynski (Rising Stars, Strange).

“You treated the gift that you had been given as though it were a toy. You did not look too deeply into what you had become of what you could do. You committed the crime … of superficiality.” –Spider Spirit

The Other follows Spider-Man’s spiritual journey as he searches within himself, learns who he is, and is led to confront both the “spider within” as well as the Spider Spirit. You see, Peter Parker (Spider-Man) was guilty of something that many folks are guilty of when it comes to their spiritual life: no self-examination. He never questioned, never dug deeper. While having a simple faith is good, being simple about one’s faith is not. Part of him was afraid of finding answers that might be disturbing. Instead he chose to not look beneath the surface, accepting the limits of what he thought he could do, and place his faith in a comfortable box.

He abandoned the journey of becoming a disciple.

The best way for me to think about discipleship is in terms of apprenticeship. I’m a student, Jesus is the teacher, and my goal is to become as much like him as possible. Discipleship would involve a changed in three areas: belief (we turn to Christ, expressing our desire to see him as he is, not simply how he’s been represented to us), behavior (our lives become slowly transformed, centering our lives around living out the kingdom mission; putting feet–action–to our faith and knowledge), and belonging (we join a specific faith community).

Discipleship, simply defined, can be seen as a process of how we transform everything we do in order to “take on,” or becoming more like, Jesus. You figure out what it means for you to live and work in light of being a blessing to your neighbor and to the world. It takes time and in our culture’s need for immediate gratification, we’ve forgotten that this can be a long process.

“You’ve got what every human being has asked for: a fresh start, a clean slate … You’ve been reborn.” –Tony Stark (Iron Man)

The end goal is for Spider-Man to be born again. Literally “Reborn as what? And perhaps just as important … why?” he asked before being baptized in the Hudson River. He becomes healed, inside and out; free of the past, of the person he was as he embraces the person he could be. Like many on a deepening spiritual journey, Spider-Man discovers new gifts, develop new spiritual fruit if you will.

All told, The Other’s story could have been told in a lot fewer issues, the story felt a little padded. Peter David, no stranger to writing Spider-Man, is great, but the story rather drags a bit when written by Reginald Hudlin. J. Michael Straczynski’s issues are back to the typical Straczynski sense of pacing. However, no one loses sight of what makes Spider-Man great: he’s a regular guy simply trying the best he can.

***
If you want to make sure that I see your comment or just want to stop by and say hi, feel free to do so on my message board. I apologize in advance for some of my regulars.

X-Factor

Writer: Peter David
Artist: Ryan Sook
Publisher: Marvel Comics

There must be some unwritten law that says Peter David ought to get two shots at a book. Yes, I’m a bit of a Peter David fanboy. Yes, that’s why I reviewed his return to The Incredible Hulk, his return to Fallen Angel, and now his return to X-Factor. I was a fan of his original run on X-Factor, as he actually put an interesting spin on a team that basically served as yet another directionless re-hash of the X-Men. True to his history, he was prematurely yanked off the book as the powers that be decided it ought to go in a different direction.

And everyone lost interest.

But I digress.

Fresh on the heels of the Madrox mini-series, the new team line up features Madrox the Multiple man, as a kind of throwback to film noir, gumshoe detective. I have always Peter David’s take on Madrox, brilliant. Madrox was a pretty silly secondary character, but has now one of the most intriguing in the Marvel universe. His power is that he can split himself into multiple bodies, potentially creating an endless supply of Madroxes. The hook is that each body can have its own experiences, memories, and personality (or, on the flipside, are merely facets of Jamie Madrox’s personality to begin with). He gets to lead multiple lives, then reintegrate the bodies after a time and assimilate their memories and experiences.

Wolfsbane is still devoutly Catholic, though she remains devoted to God without shoving religion down peoples’ throats. Strong Guy, a recently de-powered Rictor, the ever better-than-thou M, and potential love interest Siryn round out the team. Not everything is pitch perfect in the book. I am not a fan of David’s take on M, who comes across a little too shrill in the book.

“I’m the fly in the ointment. The spanner in the works. I’m unpredictable.” –Jamie Madrox, the (evil) Multiple Man

Life equals mystery. There’s no getting around it. Life is an X-Factor, we are besieged by X-Factors. Despite the Sam Spade redux trappings, Jamie Madrox is a man on a journey who simply has the opportunity to try all paths simultaneously. He doesn’t have a crossroads to speak of because at any given fork in the road, he can take both paths. While he has placed himself in a context of solving mysteries, the fact of the matter is that mystery is very much a part of his walk. One that he’s embraced as part of his journey. While answers are nice, it is the journey that forms us – the continual quest for truth.

You have to wonder how many times Marvel is going to go the mutant book well. With his trademark humor, despite the darker tone of the book, Peter David deftly juggles a cast of characters easily making X-Factor–along with The Astonishing X-Men–the best X-books going. If Peter David’s trend of continuing his repeat runs on books he departed, I can only hope a return to Aquaman isn’t impossible.

Fallen Angel

Writer: Peter David
Artist: J.K. Woodward
Publisher: IDW Publishing

The Story Thus Far:
“Welcome to the enigmatic city of Bete Noire. In its shadow resides the Fallen Angel, whose origin has long been a mystery… until now. Much time has passed since we last saw her, and now, dreams of er long-suppressed past are surfacing and making her life even more torturous than it already is. Dreams that anticipate the return of someone from her past who may hold the key to her fortune…”

So begins Peter David’s reintroduction of the character Fallen Angel. Much time has indeed passed—twenty years in Fallen Angel’s world and a switch of publishing companies for the comic book itself. The first incarnation of the Fallen Angel series was published (and cancelled) by DC Comics. The series, after a hiatus, has been picked up by IDW Publishing. Odd as this may sound, cancellation may have been the best thing to happen to the book.

Fallen Angel takes place in Bete Noire–“the city that shapes the world”–or as Peter David described it, “Casablanca in ‘The Twilight Zone.’” The name translates into “black beast” and like everything else about the comic book, the city works on a physical as well as metaphysical level. “Think of the world as a vast pond, and Bete Noire as a source of pebbles thrown into that pond. Pebbles causing ripples that affect all they touch.” This city is the anti-Eden.

Enter Fallen Angel.

Fallen Angel (Lee, as she is called by the few people who know her) is a school teacher by day and a guardian angel by night. Peter David loves the idea of angels. He toyed with them in his run on Supergirl and Fallen Angel, while at DC, and always operated under this vague cloud of ambiguity that Lee/Fallen Angel was, in fact, the Linda Danvers character from his run on Supergirl. Lee/Fallen Angel helps those who seek her out, though only as much as she judges they deserve her help. She’s a regular at the local watering hole, Furor’s, run by her only true friend, Dolf. Bete Noire is chock full of eccentric characters, chief among them being Dr. Juris, Bete Noire’s magistrate and some time love interest for Lee.

Again, cancellation maybe the best thing to happen to this book. Besides shedding the Linda Danvers baggage, Peter David seems to have stripped down the story, cutting right to the heart of the mystery as if fearing the story won’t be told before it gets cancelled again. People have often complained about his style of often breaking the mood of a moment with inappropriate puns or one-liners (a charge that could equally be levied at Joss Whedon), when those very things define a David (or Whedon) work—however, frustrating it can be. Cancellation also gave the book the opportunity to pick up JK Woodward as it’s artist, whose gorgeous painting perfectly captures the moodiness of the character and the story.

Lee/Fallen Angel is a sometimes charming, sometimes dark, not always likeable, always enigmatic… I don’t know if heroine is the right word to describe her, but she certainly is on a hero’s journey of sorts. While the comic book teased us as being little more than a quirky super hero book in its previous incarnation, this second go around fleshes out our Fallen Angel’s tortured character and painful past. The comic book is rife with symbolism: even her costume is more Judeo-Christian vestments than anything typical of the spandex set. As with everything else about Bete Noire, appearances can be deceiving as the truth usually lies somewhere beneath the surface. Everyone is more than they seem. Fallen Angel’s story itself is both mystery and metaphor.

The phrase “fallen angel” alludes to Lucifer and the angels who rebelled against God and were cast out of heaven. Yet it also speaks to her dual nature: fallen, though still trying to do the right thing. Lee searches for redemption, all the while not thinking about what to do with it should she find it. As a fallen guardian angel, she can’t help but do what she was created to be and do. She lives her life, an echo, a shadow of her true self. This is the same place we all find ourselves in as we seek to navigate through this world. The thing is, our fallen-ness doesn’t land us past the point of redemption, despite how we think it might. It reminds me of what Michael Yaconelli wrote in his book, Messy Spirituality, about the woman at the well:

All of the cards are stacked against the woman at the well. Looking at her long string of bad choices, many would consider her unredeemable, unsalvageable, unteachable, and beyond help. She hasn’t just made a few mistakes; she has lived a lifetime of mistakes, enough to cause most to conclude her life is scarred beyond hope. She comes to the well at the middle of the day because respectable women come in the morning and she understands that she is no respectable woman.

But Jesus respects her. Jesus doesn’t see what everyone else sees.

As far as Jesus is concerned, this woman is salvageable, teachable and redeemable. As far as Jesus is concerned, the woman with no future has a future; the woman with a string of failures is about to have the string broken. Jesus sees her present desire, which makes her past irrelevant.

You don’t suppose, do you, the same could be true for you and me? Our mistakes, our strings of failures, and what everyone else labels unredeemable may actually be redeemable? You don’t suppose the mess we’ve made of our lives can be the place where we meet Jesus? Do you?

Like the woman at the well and like Lee, we also have to learn that it’s not the stumbling that marks our walks. It’s not the bruises and scars that we collect along our spiritual journey, or any part of our life really. It’s the getting back up and continuing the walk of redemption. The walk may not always look pretty and we’re not always going to know the right thing to do. It can often be quite messy, but it is as valid a walk as any other. No matter what we can do, no matter what we say, we can’t fall far enough to separate us from grace, love and most importantly, redemption of God. Not our past, not our sins, not the secrets we keep from others, not our true selves we hide for fear of rejection. Jesus’ message was simple and direct to the adulterous woman. “Go and sin no more.”

It’s never too late to turn your life around.

Having been a long-time fan of Peter David, from his twelve year run on The Incredible Hulk to his version of Aquaman, I find that Fallen Angel continues the kind of engaging, morally ambiguous character exploration stories that have made David popular. I can’t wait to continue to follow her journey.

[For matters of complete disclosure: my story “In the Shadows of Meido” appears as a supplement in issue #1.]

The Incredible Hulk

“Tempest Fugit” (issues #77-81)
written by Peter David
art by Lee Weeks
published by Marvel Comics

Peter David (Captain Marvel, Fallen Angel, Aquaman) returns to The Incredible Hulk after over a four-year absence. Originally, he explored the psyche of Bruce Banner/Hulk, adding many layers of depth to what had become a one note (“Hulk smash!”) character. One of the things Peter David accomplished during his tenure was develop the rich cast of characters surrounding the Hulk.

Then, after a 12 -year run, he was abruptly kicked off the book. Apparently Marvel Comics wanted to go in a different direction (next stop, Crap-ville). John Byrne took over the title for a while, beginning his “let me revamp books that don’t need revamping” phase of his career (Hulk, Wonder Woman, Doom Patrol). Eventually the book was handed over to Bruce Jones who turned the book into a Fugitive meets X-Files-styled romp. It was a critically overrated run, intriguing but without a good enough payoff. Atmosphere can only take you so far, especially when the title character so rarely makes an appearance.

The Hulk is commonly portrayed as a Mr. Hyde to Bruce Banner’s Dr. Jekyll, much like in the movie The Hulk, but Peter David had actually extended this premise to a full blown case of (super-powered) Multiple Personality Disorder (a surprisingly not more widespread phenomena considering the nature of super-heroes and their dual identities). Under Peter David, we return to exploring the fragile psyche that is Bruce Banner, not quite knowing where the Hulk persona begins and Bruce Banner ends.

This was one of the reasons why I always enjoyed the Hulk under Peter David: the complexity of a man struggling against himself, his worst nature, and trying to hold himself together, overcoming the psychological torment of his past.

“Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him” Colossians 3:9-10

This battle between the old man and the new man is exactly the type of war waged constantly in the mind of Bruce Banner. Obviously it’s a battle familiar to many of us. It reminds me of another passage, this one from Romans 7:15-24 (in the version of the Bible called The Message):

“What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary. But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge. I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?”

Therein lies the perpetual dilemma for Bruce Banner. He continues his search for someone or something to make him whole, existing forever at the end of his rope. However, I look forward to seeing where Peter David takes him and the Hulk on their journey.