Ending the 3-part story line that depicted the beginning of Hulk's (or should we say Banner's) partnership with S.H.I.E.L.D. being considered a prelude going into the new story arc, I really wanted Waid to touch up more on his relationship with the agency; rather different than the ones they have with other heroes. We get to know that Bruce has stopped running away from his other side and find ways to restrain it; such as using more of his intellectual mind and apply modern technology to prevent the greatest cataclysmic disasters from occurring. Bruce was also willing to join the agency if they provided modern/future technology to help with his "greater purpose in life" and that Hill was only interested in Bruce's alter-ego, the Hulk, to act as a cannon for S.H.I.E.L.D. We also get to gain more ground on the 4 assistances of Banner's and see them interact with each other when they meet for the first time at his residential town at an atomic testing facility - a ghost town Banner currently calls home. Having taken in this information given, it builds up for the beginning of this story arc which introduces Hulk to his first underwater adventure to the Pacific as he'll have to stop Attuma - a lord of Atlantis - from going any further with his plans on regaining 'Sovereign Reign' over the entire Pacific Ocean; thus the battle of Hulk and Aquama...I mean...Attuma begins!
The artists without a doubt should be highlighted in this issue as they portray the most beautiful and impressive panels when we see the variety of deep colors Sunny Gho use to polish up the pages; From the flashback of Banner's encounter with the Gamma Bomb and the bright green reflecting like a lighthouse to the splash page of gigantic sea monsters wrecking the ships in the harbor of Lemuria that were jumping off the page, his unique coloring definitely compliments the sketches of Leinil Yu. I was also impressed with the way they portrayed the action scene(s) and clearly depicts them being underwater.
One of the things that concerned me throughout the issue was the lack of emotion in some of the additional panels, which seems somewhat unfinished; however, the splash pages definitely makes up for this flaw. It almost seems like the artists kind of rushed through the smaller panels and tried to focus more on the essential pages - which I didn't mind at all considering how outstanding some of the artwork turned out. I believe if Leinil Yu focused on the issue from panel-to-panel and not just concentrate on the splash pages so much, the overall story would play out to be more clear; rather than seeming like your overlooking the more materialized panels.
Definitely an issue to pick up, being part one of a story arc depicted to see Hulk fight off the likes of Attuma and his army that are causing destruction throughout the Pacific. I believe there was so much time spent building on the story before the initial confrontation with Hulk and Attuma actually took place, that this was almost a filler to the next issue -which will most likely unfold the battle between the Hulk and the lord of Atlantis, Attuma. The cliffhanger at the end makes it obvious that Waid is saving the most intense parts for the next issue. Being the first actual story line of the series, I believe he's going to make it as thrilling as possible knowing the direction he's taken with the character - and trying to reach out to his full potential; but will this battle be too much for our air-breathing friend... or is he really that INDESTRUCTIBLE!