"Agent of T.I.M.E." has been an absolute blast, but this finale mostly casts aside the big action/adventure and puts a strong focus on Banner's mentality. By now, it should come as no surprise that Mark Waid's a fantastic writer and, as always, the script is mostly sharp and engaging. The turn of events may not have the same joyous and wacky atmosphere as the previous issues, but it's still a pretty intriguing ride as Banner's problem solving abilities are put to the test. As one story ends, Waid of course traps our interest by throwing us a teaser for what's to come. And, in true Hulk fashion, there's a strength feat in here which is sure to please fans.
Waid's script presents a lot of hectic moments and Kim Jacinto is able to do them proper justice. I still think some of the facial features on humans tend to be a bit too bold or jagged, but, with Val Staples and Lee Loughridge's coloring, the panels are full of energy. Even though he doesn't do all that much, Hulk Squared is ridiculously scary thanks to their visuals -- it's definitely a character you'd never want to see in real life. Simply put: it's an awesomely vivid book.
After so many thrilling issues in a row, it's tough not to feel letdown with this finale. Time travel stories can often turn into a total mess and attempt to over complicate matters, and to some degree, we're hit with that feeling in this final chapter. Up until this issue, Waid successfully dodged that bullet and the crazy events taking place weren't overwhelming -- they were fun. Seeing as this issue introduced Hulk Squared, it's shocking there wasn't an overly exciting action scene to compliment Banner using his brains (mostly) to solve the dilemma. Instead, we have Banner literally shoving a Chronarchist. These foes have been the product of some fun moments, but they've been so easy to write off and the villains have been the weak point in this book. Now having Banner able to contest with one physically and even take a punch really doesn't help make them feel like intimidating fiends, either. Also, I'm not the only one who's feeling mostly clueless about what happened with them, right?
Hulk Squared was such a cool concept, and seeing as we had Gladiator Hulk vs. Fin Fang Foom in the last issue, can you really blame me for wanting more from that character? He received so much praise in captions, but then his actual display of power was basically knocking around a few troops and vehicles. Needless to say, it doesn't stack up to what Waid has shown us in previous issues.
Lastly, Banner has an epiphany when everything begins to hit the fan and makes a very drastic decision. We're all human and he's absolutely earned the right to have selfish desires and dreams, but given all that he's endured and experienced over the years, I couldn't help but feel like this was also out of character for him.
Using a time travel story to dive into Hulk's origin holds the potential for retcons and big changes, but thankfully, Waid moves the Green Goliath through the complex experience without implementing any lasting alterations. Instead, he uses this finale as an opportunity to open the door to his next story. Ultimately, though, the excitement this arc has offered is toned down in this issue and this winds up being an alright end to a very wild and out there story. Despite not being head over heels with this conclusion, this storyline is still well-worth reading.