Wow, what an absurdly fun issue. To absolutely no one's surprise, Mark Waid totally kills it on the script. Not only does he throw some seriously fantastic developments our way (Bruce's contact is revealed and fun is had, the cliffhanger brings in a familiar face), but the entire chapter is just immensely entertaining. Truth be told, it's one of the most joyful reads I've had in quite some time.
From the (not so) passive aggressive relationship between Bruce and Maria to Waid having a trio of panels deliver one solid laugh, it's simply an impressively sharp and remarkably amusing reading experience. I was never hit with a dull moment and the excitement remained consistent throughout the issue. Where else will you see Daredevil surfing on a taxi? WHERE ELSE, I ASK YOU?!
Matteo Scalera takes over pencils and Val Staples is on colors. The end result is truly MAGNIFICENT at times, especially when the bad guys get to use some of the big guns. Witnessing Hulk as he attempts to plow through the force of one of these weapons is jaw-dropping and we're treated to this not once but twice. I particularly love the close up on Hulk's face as he screams through the chaos. It's beautifully cinematic and plays out wonderfully. In fact, I'm going to share one of the panels below just so you know I'm not entirely crazy.
Correct me if I'm wrong on this, but I've been under the impression Hulk doesn't kill puny humans. I understand the guy set him off with the sophisticated weapon, but based on what I know, it seems a little out of character he'd then potentially smash the guy's face in. That said, I understand the scene was really there to illustrate the relationship Hulk/Bruce has with his ally and it was indeed cool seeing them elaborate on how they can get through to Banner while Hulk is in charge.
This is easily my favorite issue this week and I have yet to read everything in my pile. That's how downright enjoyable this chapter is. Waid's script is superb, the art is stellar, and the overall narrative manages to intrigue while still offering plenty of smiles and fun set pieces. This is a good jumping on point, so you should probably go ahead and do that if you're not currently reading this series. Seriously, do it.