By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

TITLE: Indestructible Hulk #1
AUTHOR: Mark Waid
PENCILLER: Leinil Yu
PUBLISHER: Marvel
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED:
November 21, 2012

It’s taken him 50 years, but it looks like Bruce Banner has finally come to terms with the whole big green rage monster thing.

We spend half of this debut issue in a dinner with Banner and Maria Hill, as we hear how our esteemed scientist feels like he’s wasted his time trying to control the Hulk instead of using his talents to help mankind. He offers his services to S.H.I.E.L.D., along with a plan to control the Hulk. He then gets an audition in the field, where Hulk does what he’s always done best: Smash. This all could be the beginning of a very interesting and unusual partnership.

Mark Waid does as good a job as I’ve ever seen of building suspense and tension around the looming threat of the Hulk. He and Leinil Yu use a ticking clock as a device to convey that it’s only a matter of time before Banner Hulks up again. Waid continues to build the tension by bringing Banner’s professional jealousy toward Tony Stark to the surface, and annoying him with fellow patrons. We’re reminded that the transformation is inevitable, and of the risks of unleashing the monster upon the general public, is always there. It’s a great way to play up Banner’s condition, and his resignation to being what he is.

Though the subtext of the scene is great, Leinil Yu’s style doesn’t always lend itself to quite scenes like this one. He’s fine, I suppose. But it’s not his strong suit. On one page, an image of an annoying patron appears next to a close up shot of Maria Hill, and his hand appears to be touching her forehead. I get what he’s going for, but it looks rather bizarre.

But when we get to the action, Yu brings his A-game. We get a beautiful two-page spread of Hulk stomping his way into the action, and some great looking shots of Hulk taking on a bad guy in a big robotic suit. Because of the length of the cafe scene, Hulk doesn’t have much time to do any extensive smashing. But we get the idea.

There’s been a lot of talk about Waid reinvigorating Hulk the way he did Daredevil. I’ve got no reason to doubt that after reading this issue. It’s essentially a standalone that sets up the premise. But it’s a solid premise, and one that will likely have me coming back to Hulk country for at least the next few months. The idea of S.H.I.E.L.D. using Hulk as a proverbial cannon to point at threats is an interesting one. But attempting to control the uncontrollable is an endeavor that always blows up in your face. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, Maria…

***

TITLE: Captain America #1
AUTHOR: Rick Remender
PENCILLER: John Romita Jr.
PUBLISHER: Marvel
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: November 21, 2012

This issue does a great job of balancing the daring, incorruptible icon of Captain America, with guy that comes home every night without the flash and flare, Steve Rogers.

We open this book with a flashback to Steve’s childhood. We see his father abusing his mother, until she stands up to him. Thus, we get a moral to carry us through the entire series (however long this one lasts): “Always stand up.” We then jump to the the tail end of a mission where Cap is saving Manhattan from an eco-terrorist. From there we go into a one-on-one scene with Rogers and his girlfriend Sharon Carter, where they discuss the idea of marriage. Lo and behold they’re cut off by yet another threat, and this one has a familiar face.

This issue wonderfully plays up the idea that Steve is Captain America almost all time. Immediately after he’s brought down the plane full of terrorists, he rushes to investigate a mysterious train travelling across an long abandoned line. Only in the brief moments between unthinkable acts of daring do does he have time to sneak a sentimental moment in with Sharon. Rick Remender makes it quite easy to believe Cap is “disappearing into the uniform,” as he says.

Our main villain for this first story is Arnim Zola, a choice made by Remender as an attempt to bring the character back to a Jack Kirby-inspired era of “espionage, science fiction and pure psychedelic imagination.” They’re certainly off to a good start in that respect. The exterior of Zola’s lair caught me by surprise, as did the array of monsters we saw Rogers come face to face with. Seeing Cap work his way through a Kirbyesque world could certainly prove interesting. Especially if Romita remains as on as he is here.

The only aspect of the issue that bothered me was when Cap gains possession of a baby. I’ll try to remain as spoiler free as I can here, but at one point in the issue, Cap is working his way through Zola’s lair, and he frees a baby from captivity. He then proceeds to dive through a window, fall several stories, hijack a plane, then crash the plane. And THEN the baby starts crying. It stretched my suspension of disbelief a bit too far, even in this context.

Still, I don’t doubt that Cap’s in good hands. And who knows? Maybe he and Sharon are headed to the alter. Just be careful, Cap. Superhero marriages have a tendency to be retconned out of continuity. Just ask your pal Spider-Man…

Front page image from comicsblog.fr. Interior image 1 from geekrest.com.
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