This month's book review marks another first for me. In order to experience something different, I tried reading a story based on a popular comic book franchise, to see how well it would translate from one medium to the other. The book in question takes place in the Marvel Universe, and is The Incredible Hulk; Abominations by Jason Henderson.
I was lucky to get my hands back on this book! Originally it had come to me from a family member who gave it to me, knowing I was a fan of comic books. This was before I started reading again, so instead of reading it, I donated it to my campsites free library. It wasn't until two years later that I came across it again, so I decided to snatch it up and give it a read.
For those unfamiliar with the Hulk’s mythology, this story takes place during a period when Doctor Bruce Banner was permanently stuck in his monstrous form, but retained his human intelligence (roughly during the late nineties). So at no time during this story will you see the transformation between Banner and Hulk, nor will there be a mindless, rampaging Hulk. Which can be misleading to current generation fans.
The story provides some good mystery and intrigue, and covers a few thought-provoking themes. We see both the Hulk and the Abomination fighting against each other, while playing the puppet to government agencies (SAFE and URSA respectively). Along the way, we explore the inner workings of Bruce Banner, as we see him struggle with fate, relationships, his powers and being the misunderstood monster.
Back of the Book
Dr. Robert Bruce Banner. Emil Blonsky. One a brilliant scientist, the other an agent of the KGB. Both men whose lives were irrevocably altered by gamma radiation -- transforming Banner into the incredible Hulk and Blonsky into the deadly Abomination. For years, the two super-strong creatures have clashed. Now they are brought together for their most deadly confrontation yet.
The Abomination has allied himself with URSA, an organization dedicated to restoring the Soviet Union -- but he is using URSA to further his own mad quest for vengeance on all who have wronged him--especially the Hulk!
The Hulk must turn to the American intelligence agency SAFE for assistance against his old foe. But since the head of SAFE is one of the Abomination’s targets, even that assistance may not be enough…
What I learned
- Exploiting one’s weaknesses: A popular character in the Marvel Universe, the Hulk is known to be a powerhouse of monstrous proportions with a temper as explosive as an atom bomb. In this book, the version of the green giant being utilized is the ‘’smart Hulk’’ (Hulk's body with Bruce Banner’s mind) which was popular back in the nineties. The author did a good job of showing that, despite all his strength and intelligence, there is still some things that the Hulk struggles with, like swimming/floating, trying to do CPR on an accident victim or using tools for a delicate operation.
- Exploring character: One of the themes of this book revolves around one's character. The main antagonist, Emil Blonsky (a.k.a. the Abomination), commits dastardly acts of terrorism, saying that he is merely acting the way God intended; as an abomination. Blonsky attempts to push Bruce to act out as the rampaging beast he believes the Hulk to be. This leads to Banner’s internal struggle between trying to act reasonably or lash out as the Hulk (classic struggle with inner demons).
- Using many POV: To cover the many different themes in this book, the author jumps between several Point of View characters. This tactic is a sound one, as it helps gather information a single PoV character cannot acquire or translate to the reader. However, too many can be a bad thing as well, as it can start to distract from the story’s main focus, which in this case should have been the Hulk.
- Using the mirror image: In order to underline the differences between the protagonist and the antagonist, the author cleverly created a few distinct similarities in order to get certain themes across. Both characters are super strong, green, irradiated monsters; both are in the service of a government agency (SAFE and URSA); both have love interests (Betty and Nadia). The similarities help highlight the differences between them, which is what the Abomination tries to show the Hulk throughout the story.
Jason Henderson is an American based author, currently residing in Colorado. He graduated from the Universities of Dallas (1993) and Columbus (1996), earning degrees in both History and Law. He has written in many different fields, ranging from video games scripts for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, manga like the Tokyopop series Psy-comm, novels such as the Alex Van Helsing series, and several comic book series like Sword of Dracula from Image Comics.
For those interested in finding out more about the author, Jason Henderson, you can find out more at the following pages:
Each chapter of the novel opens with an illustration from comic book artist, James W. Fry. If you are interested in seeing more of his work, simply follow these links:
In closing, I would like to thank my extended family for giving me this book, and to thank all of my readers for the tremendous amount of encouragement you have shown me since I started my journey.
Until next time!