Monday, July 8, 2013

Book Review: Indestructible Hulk, Vol. 1 Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

If last summer was the Summer of the Dragonfly, this summer is turning out to be the summer of the graphic novel.

This time around, the book was suggested by my brother, who hasn't yet read Indestructible Hulk himself but who had heard Waid had made the Hulk interesting again and suggested I should try it (He's reading it now).

Hulk, like Wonder Woman, is a character I've been peripherally aware of but have never particularly cared about one way or another. Ruffalo's portrayal in The Avengers caught my attention, though, so between that and my brother's recommendation, I put it on hold at the library.

It made for a nice afternoon's read and definitely upped my interest in the Hulk, or at least in this Hulk. The bits and pieces I've picked up here and there have focused on a sort of tragic dualism: Poor Banner is stuck with Hulk ruining his live and visa versa. Here, Bruce Banner takes a more active stance--which ends up suiting both of them. Instead of trying to "cure" himself of being the Hulk, Banner opts to live with the situation. When he's Banner, he'll work on useful world-saving devices like universal water purifiers. When he's Hulk, he'll attack S.H.I.E.L.D.'s enemies. They have permission to fire him at targets as needed.

As it turns out, it works out well for everyone (except, perhaps, the bad guys!).

Volume 1 of Indestructible Hulk is pretty much laying the ground work: Banner presents his idea, S.H.E.I.L.D. buys it, Banner and Stark do a bit of arguing and a bit of inventing, and Hulk gets to smash. It was a fun read in its own right, but it really makes me look forward to future issues: Stark is not really sure how to deal with the "new" Banner. How will his other colleagues/enemies respond? How will Hulk? I'm a little (ok, a lot) vague on the relationship between Hulk and Banner, but my general impression is that Hulk finds Banner at least as troublesome as Banner finds Hulk. Will this lead to something of a peace between the two personalities?

I have a few more books by Waid and a few other Hulk books in line now. Of course, this means I'll be reading backward in Hulk's chronology, but oh well!

Oh, and I'll add: I have a theory that any given collected set of comics ought to present a sufficiently complete story that a new reader can drop in without knowing all the ins and outs beforehand. Indestructible Hulk passes that test!

Who's Who:
Author: Mark Waid
Illustrator: Leinil Francis Yu
Publisher: Marvel
Publication Date: May 28, 2013
ISBN: 978-0785168317

Links of Interest Mark Waid's website. Leinil Yu's Tumblr account
Indestructible Hulk vol. 1 on Amazon

Indestructible Hulk Vol. 2: Gods and Monseter coming out Sept. 24, 2013; Edit: My review of the volume--which was good!--up on FanboyNation.

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