Though the Hulk was born of the comics and continues to rampage within the Marvel cinematic universe, he does on occasion make it into the world of novels.
One such novel is ‘What Savage Beast’ by Peter David. In case you don’t recognize that name Peter David is an award winning writer who worked on the Incredible Hulk over the course of 13 years. Many would argue his stories infused the Hulk with new life and breadth. There is probably not a single Hulk fan who doesn’t have at least one favorite comic written by this man. Much of what the Hulk is today is influenced by Peter David.
That being said it’s not a surprise that Marvel commissioned him to write a novel based on the Hulk. More specifically a story based around arguably Peter David’s lasting contribution to the Hulk, his future. I won’t go into too much detail except to say a fair bit of the story revolves around the events that occurred during the ‘Future Imperfect’ story line. This includes an old nemesis with a beard. I’m sure you can guess who at this point.
The story tackles a number of subjects including family relationships, friendships, and doing what is right in the face of cold logic and deep hate. David brings is many various incarnations of the Hulk so don’t be surprised to see some old favorites. Not to mention Hulk will re-visit some iconic locations. The ending was a bit anti-climatic for me, but of course it couldn’t exactly end on a happy ending. This is the Hulk we are talking about.
Don’t think this story is for kids. The story does explore some deep issues and in some cases very disturbing ones. David is an amazing writer and he doesn’t hold back here. This book is in many ways his love letter to the Hulk, and to the fans. If you are a Hulk fan I truly doubt you will go away from this disappointed. However, if you are a newer fan you may find yourself a bit lost in what is occurring. If you are in this situation I suggest you at least read ‘Future Imperfect’ beforehand.
Another little treat is that despite the book’s cover (which I really hate) each chapter is prefaced by an illustration by George Perez. Perez is a legendary Marvel and DC artist who also just so happened to do the art for ‘Future Imperfect’ along with David. I truly believe the book would have done better had Perez done the cover. The one used makes Hulk look kinda goofy.
Overall I truly enjoyed this book and I think any Hulk fan will as well. New fans may have to brush up a bit, but it’s still a fun ride. The ending is a bit weak, but the rest of the story is strong. Very strong. And green.