Bruce Banner cannot catch a break! After taking life into his own hands and deciding to join forces with S.H.I.E.L.D. to develop new technology while acting as an asset in the field and that while Hulk breaks what Banner makes in ‘Indestructible Hulk’, the series recently came to an end with the scientist getting shot in the back of the head! Now, Mark Waid returns for ‘Hulk’ #1, where the Jade Giant neither breaks nor makes.
This new book opens hours after the end of ‘Indestructible Hulk’ #20 where Dr. Banner is as good as dead. With absolutely no time to spare, his life is in the hands of an unlikely surgeon thanks to some people who desperately needs the Avenger’s mind to remain intact. Meanwhile, S.H.I.E.L.D. learns of the tragedy that has befallen their asset, so Agent Phil Coulson and Director Maria Hill are hot on the trail in an effort to rescue one of their own. However, they might be too late.
What Waid effectively did in this first issue is kill Bruce Banner. Aside from the appearance, Banner and Hulk were separated by the genius intellect. But now, that intelligence has been taken away. Because he hulked out before the delicate procedure could be completed, Banner was left with irreversible brain damage. Just like ‘Superior Spider-Man’ where there was some game-changing brain stuff going on, I don’t see this sticking even though I don’t exactly see how it can be undone either.
Now, I have to say that I believe in Mark Waid. I’m a big fan of his writing and his stories are always interesting and fun to read. But I don’t know about this one. Though the build throughout the issue was good and the mystery of the story had me in suspense until the final reveal, I just don’t understand why ‘Indestructible Hulk’ had to end. There was so much more that could have been explored in that series. Not only was it awesome to see Bruce happy for a change, but the team he assembled was fun to follow as well. I wish we got to spend more time with them and see what else could have unfolded.
But I guess that wasn’t in the cards for the Hulk. I am intrigued about where this new status quo takes Banner and I hope that some key players in his life like his wife or his cousin come back in to help him on this difficult journey back to his former glory. Some really cool things could come from all of this, but I can’t help but lament the loss of ‘Indestructible Hulk’. In just twenty issues, Waid delivered some excellent character development that should have lasted much longer than it did. Now it’s all been wiped from the slate and we have to start over. The bottom line is that this relaunch was unnecessary to me. From a structural standpoint though, this issue is solid because it’s well formed and manages to set up everything very nicely, but it’s not one of the best things to come out of All-New Marvel NOW so far. For now, I trust that Waid will take us to interesting places, but for now I’m proceeding with optimistic caution.
Written by Mark Waid
Art by Mark Bagley, Andrew Hennessy, & Jason Keith
Cover by Jerome Opena & Dean White