Pick of the Week
What did the
Art by Walter Simonson
Colors by Andres Mossa
Letters by Chris Eliopoulos
Cover by Walter Simonson, Dale Keown, Mark Morales, & Edgar Delgado
Size: 0 pages
As he did with Daredevil, to a different effect, Mark Waid took a unique approach to working on the Hulk. For one thing, he’s telling a Bruce Banner story. More than that, he’s telling a story about a Bruce Banner who is fed up and isn’t going to take it anymore. He’s a smart, smart man, and it’s time to take advantage of that, which is what we’ve seen in this series so far. The Hulk is there, but unlike previous incarnations, he’s a targeted weapon these days. No, you can’t use the Hulk like this forever, but for the time being, it’s yet another fun way to look at things. Hulk doesn’t talk. Hulk just is, and when he is, bad guys scurry.
This issue, we’re treated to Waid’s expansive mind once more, as he extrapolates a story out of existing pieces of the Marvel Universe. No matter how many times I’ve seen Waid take what’s already there, and turn it into something fresh, I’m always impressed. Banner gets himself a bit of Uru, the substance that forms Thor’s hammer, Mjolnïr. He spins it up real fast, and makes a pathway to Jotunheim, where the Frost Giants live (Loki’s home town). They’re going to get some samples of mystical Norse god elements. For science. When they get there, they meet Thor. But it’s not now Thor. It’s then Thor. Then Thor doesn’t know Banner and he doesn’t know Hulk.
But wait, there’s more!
Surprisingly, delightfully, sublimely, and magically, this issue is drawn by Walt Simonson himself, who, after Jack Kirby, is the Thor artist to end all Thor artists. Plus, he’s drawing then Thor, in a story that takes place in Jotunheim. I don’t know if you can tell by my typing, but this is some “atwitter” typing. It looks so very good. Simonson hasn’t lost a single step. When I saw those giant classic Thor knee pads things, and the hammer in perspective, leaving the panel, coming straight at the reader, it was over. The moment I saw my first Simonson Thor cover as a wee lad, I was smitten. Today, I was re-smitten. I am in a state of smit. There is so much energy and life in these pages. They’re packed with movement, and have such a loose, kinetic energy that I scanned them again and again. Many of the classic Simonson storytelling tactics were on display, from breaking out of the grid (as did Kirby before him, praise be), to Thor’s spinning hammer, to those great little panel insets. There’s a wonderful panel where a Frost Giant “thwams” Thor right though the panel and off the page. Then when Hulk finally shows up in the last chunk of pages, he brings the pacing way down, and builds and builds to an energetic crescendo that makes me check the end of the book to make absolutely certain that I haven’t accidentally missed the continuation of events. But no, I’ve got to wait, and I don’t want to wait, because when something looks this good, who has the patience?
You can’t go home again, and yet here we are. Walt Simonson is looking truly at home. Let’s take it one step further, and look at where Mark Waid is. After a couple of years in the woods, making his own path, he’s come back to Marvel, reinvigorated, making mainstream superhero comics the way they should be made. They came back home alright, and they brought something back with them. In Indestructible Hulk #6, we’re seeing two proven and undisputed masters of this very specific craft show exactly why they’re held is such regard. They’re not just going through the motions though. They’re still attacking it with a hunger you don’t see in veterans. More than that, they look like they’re having fun. And when they have fun, we have fun.
Even after all that, I do think the armor is kind of dumb.