This isn’t really a review more of an extended recommendation.
I’ll eagerly admit I haven’t read a great deal of Hulk comics in the past, my main experience being Planet Hulk and World War Hulk – both of which I didn’t find very enjoyable. The extended story arc just felt like an effort to throw as much Hulk at the reader as possible, without ever considering the potential of his more human side. Also despite his status as protagonist and hero to the Warbound the Hulk just isn’t very likeable. Other experiences with the Hulk include Mark Millar’s Ultimates…but I’ll save that for another rant.
Basically the character has just never really appealed to me, and after some consideration I reached the conclusion that I’m probably more a Bruce Banner fan then an Incredible Hulk fan.
With that being said Mark Waid’s Indestructible Hulk provides a different take on the time tested character, by introducing a Bruce Banner who has come to accept that “the green guy” isn’t something that he can cure. Because of this Banner sets out to utilise his genius to create something good every week in order to balance the damage the Hulk does.
This seems to lay the ground work for an almost episodic approach in which each issue we see Hulk do something more often than not destructive for SHIELD and Banner works on something for the greater good.
Having just finished reading all of Waid’s run (four volumes of Indestructible Hulk and Hulk: Banner DOA) I now have a stronger appreciation of both the Hulk and Banner, I think when the two are used in a more balanced manner both characters become stronger and more interesting, it’s just a case of finding a writer that can get the balance between the two just right and make it work, something Waid does perfectly. Throughout this 24 issue run we see Banner for who he really is, a dedicated scientist frustrated by the way he’s treated by his peers, desperate to prove himself as the top of his field and one of the greatest minds in the world. We also see the Hulk exactly as you’d expected, causing chaos and destruction everywhere he goes, but working for S.H.I.E.L.D. there’s at least some purpose to the mayhem.
As someone who wasn’t previously interested in the character personally I feel like this volume is a great introductory point for people wanting a greater balance between the characters and a little less of the traditional “HULK SMASH”.
Honestly I can’t recommend this run enough, previously I was almost bored by the idea of the Hulk, and after reading Waid’s run I find myself more open to the volumes that have come both before and afterwards. What about Totally Awesome Hulk? What about Jeph Loeb’s run? Just because I wasn’t a fan of the Hulk event comics doesn’t mean there isn’t still good enjoyable Hulk stories out there. That’s the argument I’m prepared to make now, and the moral of my story, just because you’ve been disappointed by characters before doesn’t mean there isn’t the potential for there to be another run, a different writer or artist, that could create a story that feels like it’s aimed directly at you.
By Zachary Whittaker