banner cover trade paperback tpb hulk
3.0 Overall Score
Story: 3/10
Art: 3/10

Good concepts

Not a fan of the story or art

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Startling Stories:  Banner

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Writer:  Brian Azzarello

Artist:  Richard Corben

# of Issues:  4

Release Date:  2001


Startling Stories: Banner #3

Reprints Startling Stories:  Banner #1-4 (July 2001-October 2001).  Bruce Banner is through with the Hulk.  He realizes he can never control the monster inside of him and that the Hulk is out of control.  When he attempts to stop the Hulk once and for all, the Hulk reveals he won’t allow Banner to do it.  Bruce Banner is a man at the end of his rope, and Doc Samson has been hired to hopefully bring him back.

Written by Brian Azzarello and illustrated by Richard Corben, Banner is a collection of the Startling Stories limited series put out by Marvel in the early 2000s.  Other Startling Stories included The Thing and Fantastic Four.

I can’t say I’m a big fan of Brian Azzarello.  I think that he is a decent plotter, but I think his dialogue is generally quite weak.  This is combined with Richard Corben’s oddly cartoonish art and this makes Banner a rather unpleasant read.

The series primarily deals with Banner’s desire to die and the Hulk keeping it from it.  The subplot (with most of the dialogue) is Doc Samson’s attempts to bring Bruce Banner and the Hulk in and join the two sides of the coin.  These are both valid issues and answers the question of why Bruce Banner doesn’t just kill himself if he’s so miserable.


Startling Stories: Banner #4

The problem is that Azzarello doesn’t really get into the idea.  He sets it up, but I feel that he misses the spike.  The series is short and doesn’t have much dialogue.  Too much of the story involves the Hulk…it would have been nice if the Hulk was never seen in the story to focus on the Banner aspect.

I also am not a fan of Richard Corben’s art.  Corben made his name with magazines like Heavy Metal, Creepy, and Eerie.  His art feels very cartoony and it doesn’t mesh well with this serious comic book.  I think he might have been a good choice for a shorter story or a run on the comic, but I don’t like his art for this story.

I wanted to like this series.  I am a big fan of Doc Samson and the ideas in Banner were worth exploring for fans of the Hulk character.  Unfortunately, the execution of the series was pretty poor, underdeveloped, and largely unexplored.  Don’t bother seeking out Banner, it just isn’t worth the time.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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