“Indestructible Hulk” #4 sees creative team Mark Waid and Leinil Yu pitting the Hulk against Attuma, the Atlantean warlord, as S.H.I.E.L.D. and Banner continue their attempts to weaponize the Hulk.
So far, Waid’s story on “Indestructible Hulk” has had a much less skewed approach to their subject than his “Daredevil,” overall lacking in the aesthetic flourish that makes “Daredevil” such a compelling read. It’s true that the Hulk requires an approach unlike the one you’d take for a swashbuckling/radar-sensing street-level character, but Waid seems to be more interested in the high concept behind the book than the page-by-page storytelling.
The problem is that the high concept behind the series — Banner creating and the Hulk destroying – doesn’t really manifest itself in the story. Instead, it’s reiterated to the audience issue after issue without effect. The comic seems a long way away from embodying the ideas it’s talking about, and it feels slow-paced as a result. This is the first time since the book’s launch that we’ve seen Banner’s arrangement with S.H.I.E.L.D. head towards anything long-term, with a new status quo established (in terms of living arrangements) and a new supporting cast being introduced, but the strong adherence to formula (talking in the first half, smashing in the second half) makes it unexciting.
That said, this issue ends on a cliffhanger and comes up with a specific plot thread for Banner to pursue, so it’s possible the series is moving into more expansive territory. Arguably a bigger concern right now is that Waid’s version of the Hulk is a mute cypher largely uninteresting to spend any time with. The book is full of comedy and menace while Banner’s around, but as he Hulks out, it’s hard not to switch off — especially when the action is as frantic and cluttered as it is in this issue. Yu’s artwork is great on the level of individual panels (and it’s therefore no surprise that the splashes work best) but the pages don’t quite flow as a whole.
“Indestructible Hulk” #4 is great on a micro level, but doesn’t quite hold together on the macro level. It’s fun, basically well-written and drawn, but it doesn’t meet the much higher standards both the writer and artist are capable of. It’s not objectively bad — but when readers expect (or at least hope for) more, it’s hard not to be disappointed by such middle ground.