With a new subtitle in tow, “Indestructible Hulk” #11 sends the Hulk and Bruce Banner on a new mission for S.H.I.E.L.D. that provides writer Mark Waid and artist Matteo Scalera with an opportunity to tinker with time. The cover blurb insinuates that “Age of Ultron” may be the source of the troubles with time that occur in this issue, but “Indestructible Hulk, Agent of T.I.M.E.” #11 is only the beginning of investigating that lead.
While the timestream has been hinted to be damaged following the events of “Age of Ultron,” the usual suspect — Kang the Conqueror — is surprisingly absent in this issue as Mark Waid reaches back into Marvel’s earliest days to retrieve an antagonist for setting this adventure in motion. A splinter of S.H.I.E.L.D., T.I.M.E. is added to the accumulating acronyms of the Marvel Universe. Suffice to say, Waid makes the most of the opportunity to add new toys to the Marvel sandbox. Under Waid’s influence, Banner is sarcastic and enjoyable; a character that would hold onto the spotlight in a feature film, reluctant to relinquish it to the Jade Giant he shares time with. The same holds true for everyone Waid places around Banner, but especially so for the aggressive relationship Maria Hill shares with the nuclear physicist.
Matteo Scalera returns for more Hulk art in “Indestructible Hulk” #11, proving that his edgy, indelicate style is as well-suited for time capers as it was for the street level adventure Hulk recently shared with Daredevil. Val Staples chips in on color, helping to wash out flashbacks and electrify explosions as Banner, Hill and the time-traveling foe discuss the abnormalities manifesting in the present day and the indications of grander problems. Chris Eliopoulos slides right in to add texture to the dialog as a R.O.B. (recording observation bot) is brought in to assist with the adventure. The visual trio of the creative team produces imagery that continues to innovate what Hulk adventures can look like.
The biggest problem with “Indestructible Hulk” #11 is that just when the story really gets rolling and the action begins a steady ascent, it’s the end of the issue. Waid does provide some early issue action, but builds up the new direction quite extensively in the latter half of the book. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I’d rather have stories built on solid foundation, but I’d truly prefer to have more of Waid’s Hulk now. Not surprisingly, “Indestructible Hulk” has become one of the titles I look forward to the most every month from Marvel as Mark Waid continues to reward readers with surprises and solid storytelling.