HULK vs. THING: HARD KNOCKS

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Since I’ve already read every issue of Fantastic Four and many issues of Hulk, this miniseries seemed like a no-brainer for a write up.  Plus, it was written by Bruce Jones who wrote one of the best Hulk runs of all time, and illustrated by Jae Lee, who also worked on that run (along with many other all-star artists).  I’m not sure why this wasn’t released as part of that series—perhaps it was deep inventory, or perhaps it didn’t fit with Jones’ overall story arc and theme there.  When he wrote Hulk, it was almost as a horror book.  Hard Knocks is not horror.  It’s much more personal.

The story starts with the characters meeting at a diner, and Thing wants to tell Hulk a story…

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It’s the story of the first time the F4 met Doctor Doom—one of the greatest single issue comics of all time.  It’s told with a revisionist bent, a little bit anyway, but the main thing is, Thing wants to tell the story to Hulk, not Banner…

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Why is he telling the story?  It’s unclear for most of the book, to add the suspense, but much of the interplay is about who is stronger: Hulk or Thing.

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It’s the age-old question for Marvel fans.  But remember how I said it was a personal story?  It is.  It’s really about Thing coming to grips with the fact that he can never be Ben Grimm, even when he’s a hero.  Even when he saves the world.  But Hulk breaks shit and is a force of pure destruction, and he still gets to be a human from time to time.

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This gets 5 stars from me.  A fantastic miniseries well worth hunting down.

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