We are the Heroes of our Own stories
If you've been following me around, it won't surprise you that I've been very disappointed with the way Indestructible Hulk had been concluded. Sure it did deliver some good aspects, but as a whole it just didn't work out. Part of the charm was really lost after the Agent of time arc, which is sad really because while not the best Hulk run in years, it was definitely a refreshing way of looking at certain things. With Indestructible Hulk ending comes another hulk title also written by Waid and illustrated by Mark Bagley. Now a lot of the Hulk fans are in mid decision on whether to stay with the series or not.So, here's the question, Is HULK worth your time? lets find out.
The issue has Waids trail all over it, and by that I mean that it has a wonderful narrative through which we get a good view of the current events as well as Hulks history. Unfortunately, due to the events of the last issue( Indestructible Hulk #20), both Bruce and Hulk are a bit unable to really speak to the audience, so as the opening issue, and as the jumping point, Waid tells the story of the main character through the eyes of others. Hence, we are introduced with a new character called Dr.Aaron Carpenter( Subtle way to pay respects to Jason Aaron I see). Carpenter really isn't a mind blowing character, and he's not supposed to be, he's here to serves a purpose, and through him, we get a general view of the Hulks true nature. One of the concepts tackled by Waid, which he establishes right away, is that there is a lot of controversy surrounding the creating as well as the personality of the Hulk, but it's made clear the he's still essentially a hero, not a monster, and is often times misunderstood rather than guilty. This is actually a very good way to open a HULK issue, especially when it's a new-reader friendly issue. I can't really say much more about Dr.Aaron, other than for a one-off protagonist, he was pretty good. I see that he's been integrated into Bruce's early years (Though don't worry, not in harmful way whatsoever), so there might be a slim chance we'll see him again.
Furthermore, Both Bagley and Mark do a good job of keeping bruce's killer in the shadows, because while it's clear that they've met before, I can't really put my finger on who she is( yes it's a she). And on that note, I'm glad that we got a view of the villains in the very first issue, the ambiguity of their identity as well as their motives already make them pretty interesting, but I gather than they'll be the brains behind the operations because the likelihood the they'll stand against the Hulk is nonexistent, which to be honest is fine, if these guys create monsters and such( which, considering the previews is a high possibility), I'll be fine with them being just the organizers. Now before Hulk fans mention it( and I know they will), Banner getting hit by a bullet and getting hurt isn't an improbability, similar things have happened before. Even during davids run, which is the holy grail of anything hulk related, Banner had nearly been killed by grenade shrapnels logged in his brain, so firing bullets strategically in specific trajectories isn't really out-of character as many would probably describe it to be, plus any normal human would have died from such an attack, Banner didn't.
Now on to the part I didn't like. Aside from the good narrative, I think the idea that Banner will be shifting personalities should have been established in the very first issue, because the way the issue ended, it might piss of a couple of people. I didn't have a reacting because I've read some interviews with Waid stating why Banner is in this state, but others might not have. Also when Hulking out Banner should have healed the wound by the time he got to town, but oh well, it's not really a big deal.
If you've liked Bagleys art before, then there isn't really a reason for you to not like it here. The man has some really good storytelling capabilities when he brings his a game to the table, and considering that I really enjoyed his art here, i'd say he is. I like Hulks design as well, he looks fantastic and the coloring really compliments both the way Mark draws and Hulk in general.
So is this title worth your time? Yes, yes it is. If you've read indestructible you'll notice as change in tone, and it's clear Waid really wants to do something specifically unique so I'd say he's really outdone himself in terms of concept creating, though the execution is still yet to be seen. Nevertheless, for a starting issue, it was definitely good, not amazing, but solid. I had everything a issue #1 should have in all honesty.