Indestructible Hulk #01
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciler: Leinil Francis Yu
Hulk is one of those characters whose solo series has never really interested me. In fact I can only remember one time when I bought it on a consistent monthly basis. That isn't intended to be a dig against the numerous talented people who have worked on the book, it's just that the character has always worked better for me as a supporting player or guest star, and I have to cut books somewhere. That being said, Mark Waid was the writer who sold the modern relevance of the FF to me, introduced and made me fall in love with the Legion of Superheroes, and rescued Daredevil from a creative direction that had jumped from gripping noir saga to darkness for darkness sake, so I had to give this book a shot.
The issue opens with Mariah Hill distracted from her current duties as head of S.H.I.E.L.D. (When did S.H.I.E.L.D. return? Anyone? No-Prize?) running a raid on a super villain's hide out with her growing obsession over the disappearance of the Hulk. She finds her answer when Bruce Banner walks up and taps her on the shoulder. Banner has a surprising offer for Hill, the scientific backing of S.H.I.E.L.D. so that he might leave a more positive legacy to the world, in exchange for signing up the Hulk as the newest agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Waid is really leaning into the fun side of this character that was put on full display in the highest grossing movie of all time. He gives us a Bruce Banner with a very dark and wry sense of humor who almost seems to delight in toying with Mariah Hill the way a cat might play with a mouse. While the dialogue does tend to feel a bit expository at times, I am digging Waid's portrayal of Banner and his dynamic with Hill.
Yu really excels at the scenes inside the diner, detailing background action and character movement, as well as selling the emotional reactions of the two central characters. When the Hulk enters the picture, some problems with the art emerge. Yu definitely delivers a Hulk that is imposing and powerful, however some of the action sequences become confusing to follow, requiring several passes to suss out what is happening on the page.
I am most definitely intrigued. Again any book with "Hulk" in the title is already starting at a disadvantage when it comes to winning my money, however I think I'm onboard for now. Waid and Yu have a direction in mind for this title that sounds like a lot of fun, and I have a lot of faith in Waid's ability to sell characters I had traditionally overlooked.