Jonathan Hickman has lost me with his Marvel work. I decided to drop both Avengers and New Avengers once Infinity had wrapped up. The truth is that the big ideas weren’t quite coming together to make great stories. Avengers lacked focus, piling up plot threads at the expense of characterisation. Infinity was hugely ambitious in scope but a bit of a mess on the page, lacking the time and space needed to fully realise his vision. And whilst I enjoyed New Avengers, given the overlapping nature of Hickman’s narratives it made sense to drop the title once a jumping off point presented itself.
It’s a shame, because I’d be hard-pressed to name two better ongoings than East of West and The Manhattan Projects. I’ve talked about my love for the former before, and it keeps going from strength to strength with each new issue. The complaint I made when reviewing #6 – that the America in the story felt ill-defined, and thus unbelievable as a functioning nation – has been remedied, making for an increasingly compelling read as the setting is fleshed out and expanded upon.
But for his next Marvel project, I hope he takes inspiration from The Manhattan Projects. Hickman on the Hulk would be such a wonderful fit that just thinking about it is entertaining. Even if he didn’t play around with Bruce Banner’s/Hulk’s past incarnations a la Joseph Oppenheimer, Hickman clearly has an interest in both real and pseudo-science that would play beautifully into the character. And stepping back from overly complicated plotting in favour of a smaller project would be good to see. A man can dream, at any rate.