Now it's personal.
The fourth installment of Hulk and Bruce Banner's attempt to fix the time stream in the aftermath of Age of Ultron is the best chapter yet, and the most personal. It seems the Chronarchists have figured out Hulk is slowly derailing their plans, and want to put a stop to him by altering the events that made Hulk - Bruce Banner's test detonation of the Gamma Bomb.
The issue opens up with Hulk and Abomination fighting each other on the moon. I'll wait a moment while that sinks in. Wrap your head around it yet? Good. Because it is as awesome as it sounds. We get to see Hulk go through many of his best known personas over the years, such as "Gladiator" Hulk (Green Skaar), and Mr. Fixit. Hulk and Banner-bot eventually make it to the time when the Gamma Bomb test is to take place, and we get to see some old Hulk faces we haven't seen in a bit. Betty Ross, Rick Jones, General Ross all make appearances and the nice thing is they don't feel as though they are there simply for nostalgias sake, but they are important to that moment. The ending is nothing short of one of the best cliffhangers I've read in recent memory. I honestly can't remember when I have been more excited for the next month's issue (except for maybe the clash between Toxin and Venom) and if Mark Waid continues his upward trend, it should be even better than this issue. We also get a huge plot development with the Chronarchists, as they may not be acting alone and we see Banner and Hulk may be getting played.
This issue is dual-artisted, as the first five pages are penciled by artist Mahmud Asrar, and The Hulk vs Abomination moon fight is one page, but it could have, and should have, been so much more. Sandman gets two full pages of action against the Hulk, so why can't Abomination get the same kind of love? Other than that, the big draw down was Jacinto's artwork, which detracted a bit because everyone almost seems a caricature of what they are supposed to look like.
Hulk is, in my opinion, arguably Marvel's best title right now (with the cancellation of Venom the month and Scarlet Spider soon coming). Waid delivers month after month, and seem to constantly up his game. He is currently doing a fantastic job in explaining why Hulk has underdone so many personas in his career, while continuously moving the story forward with solid action and pacing. With the addition of the Banner-bot while Hulk is about, we have the intellect and character of Bruce banner ever-present with the action of Hulk. It is glorious.
And the ending...
My god the ending...