WEAPON H #1 / Writer: Greg Pak / Artist: Cory Smith & Morry Hollowell / Letterer : Joe Caramagna / Marvel Comics / Mar 21st, 2018
I wasn’t too hot about the concept of Weapon H during the events of Weapons of Mutant Destruction. Overall, I saw it as a concept that didn’t have much gas to go on; what’s the point of having an adamantium-laced skeleton and claws if you’re already the Hulk? I’m a little lukewarm about this, but the first issue got me on board much more than I previously was all thanks to Greg Pak’s writing. The concept feels like a comic book fan fantasy, and it shows in the writing.
This isn’t a bad thing. I appreciate it because it shows a level of passion towards this character, and it’s always exciting to feel the writer’s passion when reading a story. This book, despite being a consequence of W.M.D, stands very well on its own. It introduces every aspect of Clay’s story in a quick and clear way, giving us the important details early so everyone starts off on the same page.
The comic is divided into two sections. First we get Clay’s story where we see him attempt to stay off the grid and not be bothered by anyone following the events of W.M.D. This is where he encounters Roxxon and the new Wendigo, which begins our protagonist’s journey. The second section is a backup feature about the side of his life he’s trying to protect: his family. We see his wife having to deal with his “death” while having to take care of their kids as best she can. We also learn a very important piece of information, which I won’t spoil, but will clearly become an important plot point later on in the story.
Weapon H is an intriguing book on its own; despite hitting some classic Wolverine and Hulk notes it feels like its own story. The first opponent for Weapon H is Wendigo. This is fitting given that he has been both an enemy of Hulk and Wolverine on multiple occasions. We also see the classic Hulk theme of staying away from society to not hurt anyone, but from Clay we see the soldier side come out a lot more.
He seems to not be able to stand by idly while others are in danger. This drive is stronger than him; he needs to help when he sees others in danger. This also ties back into his origin of killing his squad mates to save innocent lives—which is how he got into this whole mess in the first place. That he has to do the right thing seems like a driving point for this character.
We see the soldier side come out a lot in his inner monologue. He’s pragmatic and doesn’t want to take unnecessary risks. I have a feeling that Greg Pak is approaching Clay’s entire journey as a deep character study of how a military man who has a strong moral compass handles having such dangerous power in his hands. Personally, I love this approach. It’s smart given that story-wise it will do things that we’ve already seen before with characters like Wolverine and Hulk. To keep it interesting this book takes a character-focused approach and gives us something a little more than just another rampaging brute. Pak did a phenomenal job hitting all these subtle notes in the first issue.
On the art side, I have few complaints, Smith and Hollowell’s contributions complement each other well. Everything is easy to follow while hitting a small hint of mystery when the times call for it. Despite the shortness of the action scenes I liked how dynamic they were, which gives me a lot of hope for the upcoming action sequences from this artistic team. Joe Caramagna did an excellent job on the lettering with the comic FXs. It’s always fun to see a well placed SNIKT of retractable claws.
As I said before, this issue stands out well on its own without needing any previous knowledge. It’s well suited for new readers because they won’t feel the redundant Hulk and Wolverine themes which is the main weakness of this issue. For new readers, it will feel fresh and exciting…with a interesting protagonist to boot.
Overall, I enjoyed this book quite a bit. It was fun and played on my favorite thing in storytelling: layered and conflicted characters. Weapon H #1 is a great book for new and old comic readers alike. My biggest gripe with it is the redundancy in character themes, but I was expecting this so it didn’t affect my overall enjoyment too much. The price tag of $4.99 might be a little on the high side, but the extra backup feature helps justify that. It’s entertaining and has some solid foundations for an enjoyable character-driven experience that I’m looking forward to continuing next month.
Verdict: 4 out of 5 Hulkverines