Bruce Jones

six-hours

Hulk / Wolverine: Six Hours 4 (May 2003)

Hulk / Wolverine: Six Hours #4

Bickering. Jones concludes the series with Bruce and Logan bickering. Why are they bickering? Because Wolverine first appeared in a Hulk comic and Jones is trying to tie into their long history together? Who knows–Wolverine sure isn’t remembered for his Hulk appearance.

The resolution is tightly paced, with Jones first using humor to get through Wolverine’s fight with the Shredder. The Shredder proves disposable–a distraction from the main event of the issue, Wolverine versus the Hulk. Even the resolution to the plane crash takes a backseat to the fight.

And Kolins draws a visceral yet still amusing fight between the two. The Hulk’s foaming at the mouth at one point; Jones wisely doesn’t try for an intelligent Hulk or even a sensible one. It’s just the fight the comic has been promising since the first issue.

It’s jokey, oddly pleasant while still maintaining some toughness. Jones isn’t going for deep.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, Bruce Jones; artist, Scott Kolins; colorist, Lee Loughridge; letterer, Dave Sharpe; editor, John Miesegaes; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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six-hours

Hulk / Wolverine: Six Hours 3 (April 2003)

Hulk / Wolverine: Six Hours #3

Jones maintains a great pace through Six Hours. He’s got his four plot lines going–Bruce and Logan, the villain (the Shredder, because apparently Eastman and Laird don’t know how to copyright), the captive pilot and the missing boy’s parents back in Florida. It moves really well; Jones doesn’t cover a lot of time, but he does spend just the right amount on each characters’ experiences.

Unfortunately, he also has some really goofy dialogue. And Bruce and Logan barely have anything to do in the comic. They bicker a lot. Jones isn’t big on character development and he’s even less inclined to spend any time developing his two leads. The cliffhanger, with Bruce and Logan versus the Shredder (or at least the first attack), is just silly.

Dialogue aside, it’s also silly because it’s a big action set piece on a tranquil lake. Kolins does fine on art, lake and all.

B- 

CREDITS

Writer, Bruce Jones; artist, Scott Kolins; colorist, Lee Loughridge; letterer, Dave Sharpe; editor, John Miesegaes; publisher, Marvel Comics.

six-hours

Hulk / Wolverine: Six Hours 2 (March 2003)

Hulk / Wolverine: 6 Hours #2

Kolins goes more into detail this issue than he did in the first. The exterior Canadian mountains are precise and intense; it makes Six Hours a distinct-looking comic, even when Kolins occasionally has problems. He doesn’t deal with movement particularly well.

The story is reasonably successful, although Jones introduces an absurd villain and gives him crappy dialogue. Kolins runs with the art on the guy, who wears a hood and has an extended arm with claws on it. No doubt he’ll get into it with Wolverine one of these issues.

And Wolvering finally gets to come into the issue, but he and Bruce Banner are just around to move the other story. Banner and Logan have no stories (so far) in Six Hours, they’re just caricatures. It’s the supporting cast who Jones most concentrates on, including a worried family and a mob boss.

It’s a peculiar, but reasonably successful, approach.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, Bruce Jones; artist, Scott Kolins; colorist, Lee Loughridge; letterer, Dave Sharpe; editor, John Miesegaes; publisher, Marvel Comics.

six-hours

Hulk / Wolverine: Six Hours 1 (March 2003)

Hulk / Wolverine: 6 Hours #1

Writer Bruce Jones takes great care plotting out this first issue. He reveals the significance of the Six Hours title towards the middle of the issue, during the first intense, action set piece. There are a couple of those set pieces, with the beginning of the issue instead dedicated to setting up the supporting cast.

Bruce Banner is on the run and just happens to be at the airport when the men in black are after him so why not hop a flight to Canada. Things don’t go well on that flight, which Jones set into motion during the first quarter of the issue. He also moves between different characters and scenes through similar dialogue; it’s all very deliberate and it definitely creates tension.

The Wolverine appearance so far is inconsequential to the story. Jones is teasing.

Scott Kolins art is an odd fit for a wilderness story, but successful.

B+ 

CREDITS

Writer, Bruce Jones; artist, Scott Kolins; colorist, Lee Loughridge; letterer, Dave Sharpe; editor, John Miesegaes; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Review of a The Incredible Hulk comic book, a series published by Marvel Comics, written by Bruce Jones.

The Incredible Hulk 76 (October 2004)

The Incredible Hulk #76

It’s hard to feel bad about Doc Samson getting his butt kicked after he just lectured the Hulk on the importance of corporal punishment for children.

Did Jones even think about what he was writing? Did his editors read the scripts?

Braithwaite and Reinhold are back on art. Sometimes they’re a little better than usual, but Braithwaite’s Hulk is still awful.

I guess Jones’s wrap-up of his huge conspiracy story line makes “sense.” It’s not a good wrap-up, but it’s better than where he tries to leave Bruce Banner at the end of it. Maybe the closing line–with someone being real mean in a Hulk description–calls back to an earlier comic. I hope so, because, otherwise, it’s just a crappy line.

Jones leaves the comic much in the place he started it. He wipes the slate clean and leaves Bruce Banner far less a character than he started out with.

F 

CREDITS

Shattered; writer, Bruce Jones; penciller, Dougie Braithwaite; inker, Bill Reinhold; colorist, Raul Trevino; letterer, Randy Gentile; editors, Cory Sedlmeier and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Review of a The Incredible Hulk comic book, a series published by Marvel Comics, written by Bruce Jones.

The Incredible Hulk 75 (October 2004)

The Incredible Hulk #75

Here I thought Darick Robertson and Tom Palmer on the art would help….

It does help for a while. But the issue’s double-sized and once Doc Samson shows up, maybe a quarter of the way in, the art starts sliding.

Jones reveals the mastermind behind all of Bruce Banner’s troubles. It gets sillier when the villain explains all of it; the ludicrousness of Jones’s conspiracy doesn’t hold up well under examination.

There’s a slightly interesting gimmick, which Jones shuts down so he can bring back the supporting cast. I’m not sure how Nadia–just a regular small business owner in Nevada or somewhere–can get to L.A. in a matter of hours to help save the day. Worse, Tony Stark is around to hang out with Doc Samson. Wouldn’t it make more sense for Tony to help as Iron Man? Or maybe call the Avengers.

It’s a lousy comic.

D- 

CREDITS

Wake To Nightmare; writer, Bruce Jones; penciller, Darick Robertson; inker, Tom Palmer; colorist, Raul Trevino; letterer, Randy Gentile; editors, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Review of a The Incredible Hulk comic book, a series published by Marvel Comics, written by Bruce Jones.

The Incredible Hulk 74 (September 2004)

The Incredible Hulk #74

I don’t like finishing a comic wondering what the heck I’ve just read. Getting through this issue of Hulk isn’t just troublesome because of the incredibly uneven art–Braithwaite and Reinhold spend the least amount of time on the big fight between Hulk and Iron Man–but through the constant stupidity.

Jones boils down his resolution to a confession, which doesn’t make much sense. Of course, having the drama hinge around Tony Stark having a suicidal girlfriend with a lock-picking, would-be amateur assassin brother doesn’t make much sense either.

Then there’s poor Bruce Banner. What’s he doing this arc? Following Tony around mostly. Only neither character has a real arc. Tony’s is superficial, Bruce is just a spectator. Jones doesn’t spend any time on Bruce outside him helping with the experiment.

There are numerous false endings too. It’s easily the worst issue Jones has done on the title.

F 

CREDITS

Big Things, Part Four; writer, Bruce Jones; penciller, Dougie Braithwaite; inker, Bill Reinhold; colorist, Rainier Beredo; letterer, Randy Gentile; editors, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Review of a The Incredible Hulk comic book, a series published by Marvel Comics, written by Bruce Jones.

The Incredible Hulk 73 (August 2004)

The Incredible Hulk #73

Watching Braithwaite try to do depth in panels gets painful fast. Bruce is pointing at Tony Stark in one panel and the hand is at exactly the same depth as his body. Maybe it’s Bill Reinhold’s inks, but there’s something definitely off with the art.

Also off is the story. Bruce Banner is still helping Tony Stark on a government contract. There’s a third scientist on the project and he’s mad at Tony, then there’s the guy who Tony’s holding hostage (he did try to kill him so apparently it’s okay). Throw in a Playmate who plays waitress to everyone and Jones has set up a really disturbed version of “The Real World.” Oh, and they’re all stuck in the Stark mansion.

Lousy dialogue and bad characterizations don’t help things. Bruce isn’t just different from the rest of Jones’s run, he’s different from the last issue.

Jones’s checked out completely.

D- 

CREDITS

Big Things, Part Three: Shock Waves; writer, Bruce Jones; penciller, Dougie Braithwaite; inker, Bill Reinhold; colorist, Rainier Beredo; letterer, Randy Gentile; editors, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

asylum

John Carpenter’s Asylum 5 (April 2014)

John Carpenter's Asylum #5

It isn’t enough for there to be one exorcism this issue, Jones has to flashback to a previous exorcism. The flashback does get some of the back story between the priests out of the way, which is good, but it’s a whole lot of demonic art. Manco has almost nothing to draw except demons in various stages of upset this issue.

As for Jones, for the most part he’s just got to write priests saying lines out of Exorcist movies. Not particularly heavy lifting for him. Manco at least has a lot to do. There’s a double-page spread of angels and demons–it’s totally useless as far as narrative value, but it’s very detailed work from Manco.

There are some big plot developments and big things for cast members. Unfortunately, there’s so little concern for the cast it doesn’t really matter who’s in danger.

Besides Manco, Asylum’s running near on empty.

C- 

CREDITS

Writers, Bruce Jones, Sandy King and Trent Olsen; artist, Leonardo Manco; colorist, Kinsun Loh; letterer, Janice Chiang; editor, King; publisher, Storm King Comics.

Review of a The Incredible Hulk comic book, a series published by Marvel Comics, written by Bruce Jones.

The Incredible Hulk 72 (July 2004)

The Incredible Hulk #72

Deodato has some kind of painted thing going on. It’s not good and it’s often unclear what’s going on–and there are real problems with montage–but at least he’s not doing the little panels for big action.

The issue continues with the Iron Man guest appearance. There’s a strange fight scene where Bruce is in Iron Man armor fighting Tony. Because Tony wants to prove his innocence regarding a girl who committed suicide. It makes no sense; Jones’s editors must have been napping.

Even though Bruce Banner is front and center again, but Jones is more using him as an add-on to an Iron Man story. And the Iron Man story is bad. Jones doesn’t have much insight into Tony as a character; none of his actions make sense. He’s just around for the murky art crossover.

The crossover is a complete misfire. Jones has lost his grip.

D 

CREDITS

Big Things, Part Two: Strange Bedfellows; writer, Bruce Jones; artist, Mike Deodato Jr.; colorist, Rainier Beredo; letterer, Randy Gentile; editors, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Review of a The Incredible Hulk comic book, a series published by Marvel Comics, written by Bruce Jones.

The Incredible Hulk 71 (June 2004)

The Incredible Hulk #71

Bruce is in L.A., no matter why, and he runs across a Tony Stark press conference. So they fight and team up. They fight because Tony can’t recognize Bruce in his sunglasses. Very convenient disguise.

There’s a lot of talking, some confusing art from Deodato–though he’s better than usual–and more of Bruce being able to turn immediately into the Hulk. One thing about that instantaneous change? Jones has never really said how Bruce feels about it. Has he turned the Hulk into a tool? Isn’t the Hulk his own guy to some degree? How does he feel about it?

All these questions go unasked and unanswered and are far more interesting than the comic itself. It’s unclear what Bruce is on the run from this time, which is another thing Jones could have explored but does not.

Worse, the arc’s four parts and Iron Man’s a lousy guest.

D 

CREDITS

Big Things, Part One; writer, Bruce Jones; artist, Mike Deodato Jr.; colorist, Hermes Tadeo; letterer, Randy Gentile; editors, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Review of a The Incredible Hulk comic book, a series published by Marvel Comics, written by Bruce Jones.

The Incredible Hulk 70 (June 2004)

The Incredible Hulk #70

Deodato is back once again. And, once again, the art is bad. This time there’s a lot Deodato can’t do. He can’t do the talking heads, he can’t handle Bruce willfully turning into the Hulk for a quick emergency.

And it’s too bad, because the issue’s a reasonable done in one where Bruce meets up with a clairvoyant on the FBI payroll. Most of the issue is the two men talking while the clairvoyant can see things unfolding.

Jones doesn’t exploit it as a narrative device enough, but Deodato couldn’t handle it if he did anyway. But the issue’s decent. Bruce and the guy talk through the issue, Jones getting in a couple twists. It doesn’t explain why the guy didn’t try to find the Hulk before, like during the national manhunt, but whatever.

Too bad Jones didn’t do his run more episodically, it would’ve worked. Minus Deodato, of course.

B- 

CREDITS

Simetry; writer, Bruce Jones; artist, Mike Deodato Jr.; colorist, Hermes Tadeo; letterer, Randy Gentile; editors, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Review of a The Incredible Hulk comic book, a series published by Marvel Comics, written by Bruce Jones.

The Incredible Hulk 69 (May 2004)

The Incredible Hulk #69

After spending the first third of the book setting up the best Hulk fight since he’s been on the run–the way Jones paces out the banter between Hulk and evil spider-clone Hulk (don’t ask) is perfect–Jones trashes the whole thing. He goes back to his talking heads model. Down to no one really having anything to say to one another.

There’s an awkward lack of ambition to those scenes. Doc, Betty and Nadia’s lives are wrought with angst and Jones goes for easy bickering. Not even inventive easy bickering, just page-filling easy bickering. He comes up with a mystery and has to do everything in service of it. The mystery isn’t a good one and he handles it poorly.

The lack of ambition isn’t just lazy dialogue, it’s much worse–it’s Bruce Banner. He’s a marionette. Jones has stopped implying he has any depth. Hulk’s the only interesting thing about him.

C- 

CREDITS

Dead Like Me, Part Four: Trust Me; writer, Bruce Jones; penciller, Dougie Braithwaite; inker, Bill Reinhold; colorist, Studio F; letterer, Randy Gentile; editors, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Review of a The Incredible Hulk comic book, a series published by Marvel Comics, written by Bruce Jones.

The Incredible Hulk 68 (May 2004)

The Incredible Hulk #68

Jones gets the whole cast together and things finally start improving. Braithwaite draws Bruce as this vaguely awkward, aging pudgy guy. It’s a very interesting visualization of the character; it goes to making him seem a little less familiar even. Oddly enough, the second half of the issue has Jones’s most traditional use of Bruce Banner in many issues.

But bringing the cast together–back at Nadia’s roadside restaurant–reveals another big problem with Jones’s run. It’s very small. Same people, same places; every time it seems like Jones is actually building outward, he just turns around and constricts.

He doesn’t even bother coming up with an inventive villain this arc. Since the whole point is to put the characters in the same room again–somewhere he already had them at the end of the last arc–he just needs a disposable villain.

Jones doesn’t plot Hulk well. The issue’s simultaneously okay and not.

C+ 

CREDITS

Dead Like Me, Part Three: “Hello,” He Lied; writer, Bruce Jones; penciller, Dougie Braithwaite; inker, Bill Reinhold; colorist, Studio F; letterer, Randy Gentile; editors, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.