Indestructible Hulk #1 by Ammar Al Subahi
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Leinil FrancisYu
Colorist: Sunny Gho
Premise: Sick of the thought of only being remembered as the guy who turns in to the not so Jolly Green Giant when he gets angry, Bruce Banner decided to put his incredible mind to use -- as an agent of SHIELD.
Hulk's gone AWOL for the past few weeks. Where is he? What is he up to? Nobody knows, but Maria Hill -- director of SHIELD -- sure does want to know. But that's not why she's waiting in some small town diner in the middle of Alabama. She's waiting for something else to happen.
But speak of the devil... Bruce Banner suddenly strolls in with a smile and takes a seat next to Maria and orders the chicken-fried pork chop. Their meeting here, naturally, is no coincidence.
See, Banner has been thinking. There's really nothing he can do about his "condition." He's tried everything. He just can't get rid of the Hulk. So, instead of moping around and trying to come up with different solutions to his Hulk problem... why not devote his time inventing all kinds of cool stuff that can help people, instead?
His motives are not all that noble, however. Banner is tired of only being associated with the Hulk's destructive abilities. He wants the world to remember him not as walking engine of destruction, but as an engine of creation, a force of good. So he offers Maria a deal: "Gimme a lab, some of that juicy SHIELD tech, and I'll do all kinds of great stuff for you... but if you try any funny stuff, my secret associate will reveal some very sensitive info about some shady stuff SHIELD is doing for the whole world to see."
He's no fool, however. He's aware that sooner or later, he's gonna Hulk out and cause all kinds of mayhem. That's the second reason he's here meeting with Maria. He knows why she's here, and he knows there's a lot of SHIELD agents standing by, just waiting for her command to strike against a super villain hiding nearby. Why risk it when you can have Hulk do all the dirty work for you? In fact, Banner wishes to demonstrates exactly how you can put Banner's intellect and Hulk's brawn to good use...
This might be the most anticipated Marvel Now (!) reboot for me. Writer Mark Waid is currently kicking all sorts of ass on Daredevil and Yu has drawn a pretty mean Hulk in the past. Also, Hulk is one of my most favourite comic book characters EVAH. How could this go wrong?
It doesn't, actually. Which I'm happy to report. However, there's still some things that bug me that hurts the overall rating.
It's a fun enough concept. That's for sure. And the direction Waid takes is a very reasonable one, and should be appreciated by both older fans of the character and newer fans coming from the movie(s), both, I think. He's not the first to take Hulk and Banner on the road to redemption, but he does so in his own distinctive way by having him turn to SHIELD. That's a new one, I believe.
I'm not that sold on the actual characterisation of Banner, however. It comes off as way too fanboyish with him being this brilliant scientific mastermind and schemer, and with the newfound attitude, or should I say 'arrogance,' to match it. If you liked Greg Pak's portrayal of Banner, however, you will probably enjoy it.
Liu's art has been better in the past. That's for sure. It suffers from excessive shading and inking. The part where Banner 'Hulks out' is noticeably subpar for his standard. Actually, that whole part is a pretty big mess: tight and confined panels that depict blurry action that's hard to follow, extremely bland colouring effects that lie on top of very some very crude pencilling. And WAY too many lines. Seriously, what's up with all those lines? Still, overall it's pretty serviceable across the issue, I guess.
Not exactly what I've been smashing for (internal joke), but still refreshing and fun enough for me to recommend that you at least give it a try. But like the other Marvel Now issues, it just can't get a 'great' rating. Although this one was easily the most enjoyable and the most promising of the bunch so far.