Let’s be frank and to the point: there’s a lot to like about Mark Waid’s “Indestructible Hulk” as a whole, but having Walter Simonson draw a three-part arc involving ice giants and other Norse monsters is reason enough to buy this comic.
Simonson’s art has an immediate, palpable power to it. That first page alone where the Hulk holds up Thor’s hammer while shouting, “Hulk smash!” is just fantastic; the circles and power crackling around the head of the hammer draws eyes to it almost immediately, with the Hulk’s massive arm and head below rivaling it for power. It’s just one of five panels on the page, yet it still makes a huge impact. Turning the page makes it even more so; the Hulk holding onto the hammer as he plows through the ice giants is so full of speed and energy that it almost feels like it’s actually animated; Simonson draws the Hulk literally plowing through two different panels on the page, and as the shards of ice rain down from his path, it’s another attention-grabber.
Of course, “Indestructible Hulk” #7 has page after page of this. Mind you, that’s not to say Simonson can’t handle the quieter moments, because he nails those too. The Hulk and Thor nose-to-nose is a wonderful image, especially with Thor’s stern expression against the Hulk’s bemused and surprised one. When things go south for poor Patty, her dropping into the void with a deliberate lack of background is haunting and stark, exactly the right call in the art. It’s just beautiful, and a reminder of why Simonson’s a master of the comic book craft.
I don’t want any of this to take away from Waid’s contributions, though. I’ve enjoyed Waid’s take on the Hulk (taking some of it certainly from the “Avengers” film), with just the right mixture of scientist-meets-juggernaut. The relationship between the two halves of Banner works well, and it’s a strong story hook for a series that makes it feel like readers get something more interesting than just the traditional “Banner and Hulk fighting for supremacy” story that gets trotted out over and over again. This is fun, it can sustain an ongoing storyline, and the idea of the Hulk being a coiled spring held in reserve is a perfectly legitimate take on the character. With Patty’s secret finally revealed this month, I’m also looking forward to the other three assistants getting their turn in the sun. It’s nice to see them starting to get fleshed out, and it gives me hope that their spotlights are just around the corner.
“Indestructible Hulk” #7 is a lot of fun, period. Even Chris Eliopoulos gets in on the act, channeling his inner John Workman for the big, powerful letters that so often accompany Simonson art. I must admit that a small part of me was sad reading this issue because it makes me wish I’d snagged Simonson’s IDW Artist’s Edition collection of “Thor” a couple of years ago. Mostly, though, I’m just reveling in the hugeness of it all. More, please.