Hulk Must Smash!
Your probably thinking, "damnn, why is Reefer making an Indestructible Hulk review so late?", and trust me, I've put in some thought of that myself. However, this is the last issue of the first story arc from the Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. himself, having been assigned on his first big mission under the ocean depths near Atlantis. Continuing from Issue #4, Hulk is dragged down into the bottom of the ocean floor with pressures reaching above 10 tons, until he is rescued by rebel Atlanteans of Attuma's dictatorship. When he awakes, Banner is back to being himself. While still coming to his senses, he is confronted by Mara and Canor who ask him, more so the Hulk, to join forces with them and overthrow Attuma's plans. However, will the Hulk be the powerful ally they've been hoping for and have what it takes to defeat Attuma? Or will Attuma fulfill his plans on destroying all air-breathing life on the surface world and rule with an iron fist?
Really like the direction Mark Waid has taken with the Hulk, and has given Banner a better relationship with the green monster inside of. He has found ways to actually cope with the Hulk, knowing that he is again, Indestructible; one of which is inventing future technology to better the lives on Earth. The agency, S.H.I.E.L.D. was first on his list to ask for the equipment needed as well as assistance to help him progressively work, in return he'll be the agency's cannon and powerhouse weapon of choice. Maria Hill accepted the offer and Banner took full advantage over this. The first story arc brings us to his first big mission to figuring out who's summoning mystical Limuarian creatures and his faced with taking down an underwater Lord carrying out genocidal plans. This issue is filled with classic humor, bold remarks, and great amount of suspense. Really enjoyed the very confusing relationship between Mara and Banner (Hulk) and the affection Mara has with the Hulk, asking Banner to change back to the green monster when he first awakes from nearly drowning. The one scene that made me chuckle quite a bit was the time Bruce needed to find out a way to transform into the Hulk the fastest and figured that kissing Mara would do it, which expectedly worked. Now if you think about it, knowing how smart Bruce is, being openhanded by the closest person near him was literally the fastest way to unleashing the Hulk. Love the reaction on Mara's face when she finally gets to see him! This issue will no doubt leave you in laughters, but that doesn't mean we don't get some intense thrillers mixed in and we see the best of both worlds all the way through. I think Mark hit it on the mark with this issue, elaborating on both Banner's sense of intellect and humor as well as Hulk's brute strength and durability features.
The first reason that influenced me to actually write-up this review at such late notice was due to the fact the Leinil Yu's fantastically short-run on The Indestructible Hulk is coming to an end, so I really wanted to make some sort of write-up on behalf of him and his great work with the character so far. Yu's art is phenomenal and illustrates substantial talent with his versatility of creating an underwater world, having his sketches be depicted of being very detailed and intriguing. There is nothing that your eyes won't miss, as the panels are presented in the most brilliant fashion, more so with Sunny Gho's distinct colors complimenting every page. Following the next story arc, new artist Walt Simonson will be taking the position as lead penciler for the title. With the appearances of Thor in the next issues, I believe the art will be on point knowing that he has sketched for both character's before and very anxious on seeing how it all turns out!
Mark Waid has hit it on the spot in this issue, but believe he did end the story arc far too sudden and could've made this into a three or four parter which would have expanded the story much more and give way to dig further into depths with Hulk and his underwater mission.
Another "bad" is Leinil Yu leaving the title; while the good is Walter Simonson will be filling in his shoes. Really like Yu's very muscular and intense Hulk, depicting how brute this powerhouse really is. I'm just hoping we won't see the last of him sketching for the Hulk!
If you're not reading The Indestructible Hulk as of right now, then I'm not sure where you've been since the release of the first issue in the Marvel NOW! ...Off planet? The cast behind the character has dished out a very intriguing Hulk from the start of this new series, having Banner reached understandings with his inside monster and finding ways to control and exploit his "gift". His "gift" however is like the word "indestructible" and can go both ways; Banner 1) being an intellectual scientists of genius-level and 2) having a very powerful weapon hidden inside of him. This arc is a great introduction into exploiting what Banner wants to do with his life and sets up for the rest of what Waid has in store with Hulk. Definitely a recommended issue. Pick up the TPB for this story arc if you haven't picked up on the series, yet.