“Indestructible Hulk” #6 from Mark Waid and Walter Simonson is a superb callback to the days of Simonson’s “Thor” run from the ’80s. Waid crafts a brilliant tale that sends Bruce Banner and his crack science team to Jotunheim in search of a new element. This in turn draws in Thor — who seems to be part of some temporal displacement in the story, which is a superb reason to have Simonson draw his classic Thor outfit — and some hammer smashing of frost giants ensues.
The start of this issue assembles the team and in doing so delivers some observations from Banner in the captions. There is more to this team than readers first know and it becomes a smoothly layered mystery. Once in Jotunheim, this issue becomes a fight comic — but it’s so dazzlingly assembled through Simonson’s art that the brisk pace is immediately forgiven. In a week where Brian Michael Bendis and Bryan Hitch didn’t quite nail it in “Age of Ultron,” Simonson and Waid deliver a thrilling battle where the stakes are high and the moments of violence and struggle hold emotional impact. Things happen in this fight as readers reel with the flow and actively care.
The end of this issue is going to be the moment fandom discusses at great length, and rightfully so. It’s a contentious choice and one I wouldn’t normally agree with. However, I’m nodding along with this one because I have complete faith in Waid to justify it with super intellect and Simonson’s presence also makes me feel like it’s in safe hands. A complete verdict should be held off until the next issue, or completion of the arc, to see how this pans out but for now there’s no doubting it’s one barn storming moment.
Walter Simonson is the major draw for this issue, though only just edging out Waid’s super-science and pitch perfectly voiced dialogue. No one really draws Thor with as much majesty as Simonson in a way that tickles your nostalgia bone and yet still checks so many technical competency boxes. Some of the faces on the humans look a little too sketchy but once Thor arrives it’s like heaven delivered through ink lines. Then the spectacle of the science and Jotunheim takes over and this book becomes something you can enjoy without the words. Simonson delivers scope and thrills with alarming simplicity and Andres Mossa does a great job utilizing a lot of flat colors to make this feel like an authentic Simonson saga. Readers could be forgiven for thinking they just picked up a treasure from the ’80s with this one.
“Indestructible Hulk” #6 is the sort of thing comics needs more of because it’s fantastically written, perfectly illustrated and a definite clear jumping on point for any reader who just wants to enjoy a superhero comic. This is hammer smashing fun, has a handful of great beats, Thor’s dialogue is so much fun and Simonson with Mossa colors is just a delight for the eyes. It doesn’t matter if you missed the first arc, get in on this and see how good superhero comics can be.