The Incredible Hulk: What Savage Beast by Peter David is one of those rare works that are simultaneously derivative of their source material, while still respecting it’s funnybook roots.
Peter David is perhaps best known for his 12 year run on Incredible Hulk, where he transformed the character into a rich, three dimensional being.
This story was allegedly supposed to be the culmination of that run, but was axed by Marvel and turned into a novel. It’s easy to see the ties, using characters and concepts from all over David’s run and the series as a whole.
Serving as a sort of sequel to Future Imperfect, the story sees the Banners (Bruce and Betty) conceiving a child and the resulting complications. These complications range from normal issues any parent would face to fantastical ones only present in the Marvel U, but all are magnificent and gut-wrenching in their human honesty.
This book goes on my must-read list for anyone, even people not fans of comics. Had Marvel allowed this to be published, I have no doubt it would be considered among the greatest comic stories of all time. As it is it has faded into comic-novel-tiein obscurity, and that is a shame, because it’s one of the better novels I have read, full of complex characterization, subtle plotting, theme, wonderful interpersonal dynamic and self-reflection. These characters are jumping off the page.
Read this. 5/5.