Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer

THE INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK: AGENT OF S.H.I.E.L.D. by Mark Waid and Leinil Francis Yu

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The Hulk is an intriguing character, shifting from hero to villain depending on the circumstance (usually beyond his control) and the inspiration of the writers currently scribing his adventures. Peter David had an impressive ten-year run on the book and did a lot of things with the character, followed by Greg Pak who gave us Planet Hulk and Skaar.

Mark Waid usually takes a concept, flips it inside out, and finds a whole new angle that stems from the hero’s origins. He does that again with the launch of The Indestructible Hulk: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., Marvel Now’s version of the Hulk. Waid shifts the primary focus from the Hulk and leans more heavily on the human persona of the monster, giving us – for a change – the adventures of Bruce Banner. And for once, Banner isn’t trying to simply find a way to get rid of the Hulk, which got really repetitive over the years because any reader knew that getting rid of the Hulk would end the comic series.

Instead, Waid gives the book a whole new mantra: Hulk Smashes, Banner Builds. Banner has apparently accepted his fate to be the Hulk kind of like anyone would do with a long-term sickness. So he’s decided to focus on his time as Banner to improve things for the rest of the world.

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The first issue in this graphic novel delivers the pitch to Maria Hill, Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., and to the reader. I definitely bought in. This was a side of the Hulk that I’d only seen in Joss Whedon’s The Avengers movie, and Waid obviously loved the relationship between Tony Stark and Bruce Banner to have it be the main thrust of the second issue. Watching Stark and Banner geek out together, Banner actually laughing, was awesome.

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And Waid evidently is going to toss in some weird and whacked-out villains from the past as well. I’d never seen the Quintronic Man before, but the idea was pretty cool…and creepy.

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The two-issue wrap-up of this graphic novel took Banner/Hulk to the bottom of the ocean to face Attuma, one of the Sub-Mariner’s old villains, and I enjoyed it a lot too because Hulk and Banner shared equal time to save the day.

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I was really happy with this graphic novel. Banner gets his dues and we get plenty of Hulk smash too. The art by Leinil Francis Yu is outstanding, full of textures and a real feel for people as well as action. The colors on the Kindle look fantastic.

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