Pick of the Week

Pick of the Week – 06.19.2013 – Indestructible Hulk #9

What did the
iFanboy
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665
Pulls
Avg Rating: 4.5
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 13.5%
 
Users who pulled this comic:
Indestructible Hulk_9
Story by Mark Waid
Art by Matteo Scalera
Cover by Paolo Rivera

Size: 0 pages
Price: 3.99

As the Marvel Universe barrels toward Infinity — a massive and heady space opera glancing the very framework of reality — an evening of old fashioned taxi surfing won out this week.

I’m admittedly a little green when it comes to the Hulk, so I’m unsure just how often the big guy’s rubbed elbows with the Man Without Fear. Whether it’s merely the latest outing in a celebrated tradition or a completely novel inclination, this team-up between Bruce Banner and Matt Murdock sees Waid at his swashbuckling best. That he’s taken two of Marvel’s most notorious loners, these typically troubled souls, and ushered them off on a raucous playdate in Hell’s Kitchen doesn’t just impress, it tickles. When Ruffalo’s Banner met Downey’s Stark on that glistening helicarrier last Spring, audiences swooned. Perfect percolating chemistry. The birth of a meme. Of course two world-class scientists would commiserate up there in the rarified air, but given the property damage he’s racked up over the years, it’s only natural that Bruce would need to get just as chummy with a lawyer. It’s a practical relationship, but it’s also genuinely touching. Matt’s knack for sussing heart rates and his natural predilection for championing the underdog makes him the ideal friend indeed. Turns out the devil and the dynamo make for a fascinating duo.

Not that Banner’s ever had much luck with friends and co-workers, his agreement with Maria Hill has turned out to be an especially raw deal. In return for financing his monster-makes-good laboratory, she takes no pain in hurling the scientist out open hatches and into the wild blue yonder without so much as a parachute. Even Gary Oldman got better in Air Force One! Hill knows the prank will rile up Banner more than it frightens him, so that by the time she hits the deck, it’s the Hulk who meets her there. S.H.I.E.L.D. views Banner as the well intentioned housing to a bucking WMD. Either persona have been remarkably amenable so far, but Hill’s pushing it.

To maintain his sanity, Banner has sought out Murdock as his constant. A time-tested listener, Matt knows how Bruce’s head is fastened, can power through and connect with the man even when the monster’s in the driver’s seat. Matt’s also seen plenty of folks chewed up by the powers-that-be, so he doesn’t take kindly to S.H.I.E.L.D.’s implementation of his friend as a weapon. Banner’s got a stiff upper lip though, and he’s willing to do the agency’s dirty work if it means he can cure the world’s ills and build a better humanitarian mouse trap on their dime. Matt’s just a phone call away when he needs to talk things out (venting is important when you’re this irradiated). Those calls are also a kind of insurance, installing a witness in case an op goes wrong and Hill’s people try to bury the Hulk, and the doctor along with him.

Always leave a note.

The pair meet up for a well-earned playdate amidst S.H.I.E.L.D.’s latest bust. The always delightful Agence Byzantine terror organization (love these guys) have commandeered a munitions shipment and they have to learn that’s not a great idea. Hill’s need to provide an intro to Daredevil for her people highlights just how unusual it is for a vigilante like Murdock to cooperate with Daisy Johnson’s best and brightest. This is about friendship though, not recruitment. Everyone understands that the man in the red union suit is just here for the ride-along. To bear witness at the church of SMASH. Here, Hulk comes perilously close to murder, though Daredevil is able to talk him down. Despite the Hulk’s interference, one of the baddies slips off with an ultrasonic superweapon, leading our heroes on a wild chase through Hell’s Kitchen. It’s a simple, street level caper, but that’s perfect for a character portrait, just the right size for an ill-tempered giant and his perceptive pal. As the ongoing writer for both characters’ solo series, Waid strikes just the right balance and keys into what feels like a long and storied kinship.

It all crescendos as the blind man steps confidently into a bar filled with gunmen (“the anti-Cheers”), knowing full well the big guy behind him will set all the knees to buckling. Raised weapons wilt and the balance of power shifts in an instant. It’s funny as hell and perfectly told.

Let’s not kid ourselves. Leinil Yu and Walt Simonson are hard acts to follow, but the new guy breezed on in and earned himself a mic drop. Former Secret Avengers artist and a veteran of our Weekly Sketchup and Best of the Week in Panels features, Matteo Scalera unleashed beast mode for this one. While so many artists focus on Hulk’s scale and sheer strength, Scalera contributes ferocious velocity. Hulk lumbers, but he also moves like a cannonball when something’s in his way. Scalera’s also well-suited to Daredevil’s urban playground, capturing the grunge and the mayhem of a Manhattan sprint. He’s a terrific storyteller and a new runaway favorite.

With both Daredevil and this title, Waid’s become adept at depicting complex adult friendships. We might take that skill for granted sometimes, but it makes the relationships in some other books look superficial. There’s a lot of heroes swinging through the skyline, and they often careen into each other. It’s refreshing to see them vault, parallel, into the danger that keeps them alive.

Paul Montgomery
Would never toss you out of a thing without a chute.
paul@ifanboy.com


Comments

  1. kennyg kennyg says:

    Damn, Paul, I haven yet to read a single book I bought 4 hours ago and you’re already done?

  2. PraxJarvin PraxJarvin says:

    All right, all right, I’ve heard you. I need to give Indestructible another shot! I have the trade on my desk and the Simonson issues neatly stacked! Great review. Can’t wait to hear you guys discuss it.

    Now GET OFF MY PLANE!

  3. The two of them entering the bar will be in the best panels of the week.

  4. Arathi411 Arathi411 says:

    I loved the bar scene but this book just hasn’t been doing it for me and is on the way to a drop, to each their own I guess. I liked the initial pitch but it just doesn’t feel like it is going anywhere interesting.

    I’m not usually a Hulk fan and only tried it for Waid, he made me like Daredevil but hasn’t made me like Hulk or Banner.

  5. AmirCat AmirCat says:

    I enjoy reading your reviews!

  6. Great review and I agree 100%

    Fun issue all around and boy this was a great way to be introduced to Scalera’s art. But I have no idea how to describe his work and that kinda frustrates me a bit. How would you go about describing it Paul? (Outside of your review I mean)

    I think my favorite panel of the week (or sequence anyways) will be Daredevil going into the bar and then Hulk sulking in behind.

  7. WheelHands WheelHands says:

    “With both Daredevil and this title, Waid’s become adept at depicting complex adult friendships. We might take that skill for granted sometimes, but it makes the relationships in some other books look superficial.”

    Well said. Couldn’t agree more. I don’t pull this title (not a big Hulk guy), but when I pick up my books tomorrow I might just give the issue a shot. Everything the guys have been saying on the podcasts has me curious, and Waid has always been a favorite of mine. If a writer can make me believe a character by giving them a solid voice and believable, consistent characterization, they’ve got me for life. Few can do that better than Waid.

  8. skrulldave skrulldave says:

    The cover stood out on the stands to me, but I’ve yet to ready it.

  9. crcomics says:

    I’ve a feeling that if you haven’t been reading Hulk (for shame) this arc is where you want to get in. I’ll offer that the arc just prior was primarily about seeing Simonson draw Thor and Hulk. That entire arc was worth it just for “Hulk…Worthy!”

    This one, Daredevil, the bar… “Gentlemen… a word.” Also, it’s always nice to meet the members of the Marvel U that can hold some sway with the big green guy. Also, Maria Hill will never be paid enough.

  10. tetertitan tetertitan says:

    Wonder Woman really should have received her due this week. It was an incredible issue and while this book may deserve a nod… Meh. WW had a real emotional punch. The Cliff Chiang art was outstanding! Snappy dialogue. More cliffhangers to chew on. So sad it didn’t get picked.

  11. dmanness dmanness says:

    Terrific review.
    I don’t read this title but picked it up this week based on the light week segment and the Daredevil love. The Daredevil moments were great in this issue but I equally loved the Hulk moments. Neither one stole the show, for me it was just back and forth great moments between the two. What a great team up! Definitely continuing with this one!

    Thanks iFanboys! You made my Wednesday that much more enjoyable, again!

  12. This was good. I so wish someone would put Matteo Scalera on an ongoing already. He did a brilliant job on Remender’s Secret Avengers run.

  13. natureboy1 says:

    I decided to drop Indestructable Hulk after reading this issue. I’ve loved it up till now but I feel like the overall story is kind of aimless. I think I prefer something with an long term arc rather than a bunch of shorter stories that don’t seem to have any impact after they are done. I’ll probably go back and pick it up in trades once I know what Mr. Waid’s master plan is for the characters. Right now, its just not doing it for me. I’m also not a fan of Mr. Scalera’s work. I realize its a stylistic choice but for me (I have vision problems) the art is frequently too dark on the page for me to be able to tell what’s going on.

  14. natureboy1 says:

    I forgot to add: What’s up with the Marvel AR app? This issue is the second one I’ve gotten that is clearly marked as an AR book and then it turns out that there are NO AR pages in the book at all!!!! BOOO…

    • jon swalwell says:

      Do you mean there are no AR pages in the book or that the AR pages don’t load?
      There is one AR page in mine and it works fine, although Matt Murdock’s name is misspelt.

      I was thinking about dropping this after the Simonson arc but I am so glad I stuck around, The Scalera art has a lot of black and I like that, feels a little like Sean Murphy. I loved this issue.

  15. natureboy1 says:

    Oops! I found the AR pages you were talking about ( There are 2) Thanks for pointing it out to me.. I told you I had vision problems!

  16. cav cav says:

    There’s real poetryin that review. As always. Thank you for being you Paul! :)