WRITTEN BY Mark Waid
ART BY Leinil Francis Yu
COLOURS BY Sunny Gho
LETTERS BY Chris Eliopoulos
COVER BY Leinil Francis Yu
PUBLISHER Marvel Comics
I didn’t really consider this a big event week or even a majorly hyped week, it seemed like a pretty ordinary week in terms of what was coming out this week but then the stack arrived and I was floored by the amount of top quality books out this week – Image, IDW, DC, Valiant and Marvel all put out fantastic books. I really struggled with this and was torn before making my decision but in the end Hulk stood out. I’ve read the Hulk before with issue #1 of the adjective-less Hulk series by John Byrne and penciled by Ron Garney back in 1999 and through to Bruce Jones’s epic 43 issue run and continued but will less interest all the way through to Planet Hulk and eventually World War Hulk. Once World War Hulk finished the Red Hulk showed up and I dropped all Hulk titles from my life. It’s not to say that I had a problem with the Hulk I just dislike pretty much anything Jeph Loeb writes and when he took over that was it for me. I’ve seen over the years the odd issue on the shelves and they’ve made me curious but until the Marvel NOW initiative I’ve never felt the burning desire for any Hulk action.
I recently admitted how wrong I was to let Mark Waid’s Daredevil come out week by week without picking it up, so there was no way in hell I was missing this. The opening page had me – “Indestructible Hulk – Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.” I knew this was going to be a great twist on the ongoing Hulk character. For years we’ve all seen the Bill Bixby television show and read the comics with loner Bruce Banner wondering from town to town searching for a cure and besides Planet Hulk which was a complete break from that I’ve not read anything that really broke away from that. This first issue read very much like the best job interview ever and brought a new layer depth to Bruce Banner, after the events of Avengers Vs. X-Men Bruce, has come to the realisation that he’s incurable and that he needs to put his science skill set to better use and work for S.H.I.E.L.D. and accept his condition and allow S.H.I.E.L.D. to point and shoot the Hulk at the bad guys when he ‘Hulks‘ out but in the mean time he wants a lab and the ability to put his mind to better uses. I liked how Bruce Banner actually got annoyed that Tony Stark used his intelligence to save the world from the Phoenix, he comments that Reed Richards and Tony Stark will be remembered for their genius and he’ll be lucky if his tombstone doesn’t simply say ‘Hulk Smash‘. It seems the Phoenix event didn’t just trigger the birth of new mutants it also gave Bruce Banner the long and extremely overdue wake up call that he needed.
This is a Hulk title I want to read – a character that embraces who they are. We’ve all read the loner Bruce who falls asleep under moonlight in a cave, lets read the Bruce Banner who’s a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. Once Maria Hill – Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. decides to give him a trial run both her S.H.I.E.L.D. team and the Hulk raid the Mad Thinkers warehouse, Bruce had done his homework before letting the Hulk lose and the S.H.I.E.L.D. team wouldn’t have stood a chance without him to which Maria Hill comments. The villain himself was simply a catalyst for what would then be used to offer Bruce the job he was after at the beginning of the issue. This was a great self-contained issue which shows massive potential.
Mark Waid showed excellent dialogue and with very real human responses which made this a joy to read, whilst the art team of Leinil Francis Yu and Sunny Gho really brought this comic to life with the attention to detail from the wrinkles on characters faces to the robots the Mad Thinker uses with the frantic action scenes. I also enjoyed Gho’s colours who managed to show us that there’s more than one shade of green and really brought great depth to each scene through the use of colour.
Overall this comic stood out of me not just as potential but for how it stood out on its own, the comic was thoroughly enjoyable and I really enjoyed reading this new positive Bruce. Well done to Mark Waid and team.