Comic Review: [First Issue] Indestructible Hulk #1
Mark Waid and Leinil Yu have started a run that looks to completely turn around the Hulk and Bruce Banner’s character for the better. Going in a completely different direction from Jason Aaron’s previous Hulk series, this book is definitely one for Marvel fans in a post-Avengers movie world that should also satisfy longtime fans of the Jade Giant.
I expect a lot from Mark Waid these days. His work on Daredevil constantly impresses with each issue, and he proves that he’s not lacking for ideas when it comes to superheroes in comics. That said, I had high hopes for his new Hulk series when I heard he’d be handling it along with Leinil Yu. Together, Waid and Yu deliver a hell of an introductory issue to this new stage in Bruce Banner’s life.
The days of self-loathing are officially behind Dr. Banner as he’s intent on proving his worth to the world. Jason Aaron’s run hinged on the fact that Bruce’s greatest and only accomplishment was his biggest mistake; turning himself into a giant rage monster. In that run, readers were able to get an intimate look at Banner as he tried one final time to rid himself of the monster, only to find that he needs it. Past this stage of his life, Waid finally has Banner deciding that he needs to start doing more good for the world.
The issue begins as Bruce Banner approaches Maria Hill with a new plan: in order to show the world that he’s just as much a genius as Tony Stark or Reed Richards (mind you, both of which were part of the Illuminati who decided to ship him off to space years ago), he would start to work with a world power on offensive missions in exchange for supplies and funding to release world-changing inventions and innovations. Banner approaches Maria and SHIELD first and spends the issue proving just how much of an asset that he can be to the organization, as both an agent and with his scientific innovations.
Swiftly, Mark Waid lays out the entire premise of this new series in a single issue, while maintaining enough pages to add in some action in the latter half of the comic. A common problem with first issues is balancing enough exposition with entertainment. That doesn’t always mean the comic needs action, but when it’s a Hulk comic, I’d say it certainly does and Mark Waid doesn’t skimp out on the smashing in this first issue. On top of the exposition and action sequences, Waid also exhibits perfectly the emotional character that is Bruce Banner, displaying his yearning to prove to the world that he’s more than just a rage monster, as well as showing his dismay for the other genius heroes of the Marvel Universe.
If you’re a fan of the way the artwork looks on the cover of this book you may be a bit disappointed in what happens on the interior of the issue. Leinil Yu still gives us the fantastic illustration we’ve become used to in his work, but it seems the coloring on this cover is completely different from what’s in the interior. I was a tad disappointed because I was rather impressed by the way Hulk looked on the exterior, but by the time I got through the first few issues of the book I was too happy with the way the comic turned out to care anymore. Leinil’s characters are expressive as they ever are, and he’s really got a knack for all the smashing that the Hulk does.
I have to say my one real gripe with this series is the fact that it didn’t spin directly off of Aaron’s Incredible Hulk as much as I’d have wanted it to. In the final arc of Aaron’s series, I was lead to believe that it would be leading straight into the new status quo for the character used in this title, but it almost seems like Waid invalidated what Aaron did for the past year. Where Aaron spend a good portion of the series having Banner actually find a cure for the Hulk just to bring himself back to the monster by the finale, Waid has Banner state that he’s discovered there is no cure for the Hulk, and this is why he’s decided to focus on other projects.
Overall, Mark Waid gives us a great first issue. I have to say it’s particularly strong because he lends a lot of forward progression for Bruce Banner as a character, but it’s also a great issue because it’s a ton of fun packed with a ton of story. Fans of the character in the recent Avengers film will definitely want to check this one out, as it puts Banner into a similar place as he is in the cinematic universe, but fans of the character in the comics should also be reading this one as it moves Bruce forth into an exciting new era of his life.
GO Rating: 4.5/5