Mark Waid’s time-hopping “Agent of T.I.M.E.” storyline continues in “Indestructible Hulk” #14, and there’s some art-hopping as well, as Mahmud Asrar and Kim Jacinto tag-team on the art chores this time around. The switch causes a bit of a disconnect in the story flow, but it doesn’t significantly take away from the fun, as Waid continues to bounce the green guy from one era to the next, and throws in some past incarnations of the character for good measure.
“Agent of T.I.M.E.” is a story that doesn’t make a lot of sense if one thinks about it too hard, but it works just fine if one can just willingly suspend all disbelief and enjoy it for what it is. There’s really no good reason for The Hulk to be fighting The Abomination on the moon, for example, and at the exact moment of the Apollo landing, no less. But that doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable; in fact, this opening scene and the remainder of the issue is a fast-paced, rollicking thrill. After all, what’s not to like about Mr. Fixit machine-gunning The Sandman in ancient Egypt, and impacting a historical treasure in the process?
Continuity purists might be feeling a little nervous, as Waid not only tampers with The Hulk’s origin, but also treads on some of the same territory Peter David did two decades ago in “Hulk: Future Imperfect” that goes unmentioned here. Waid also revisits the opening scenes from the very first issue of “The Incredible Hulk,” harmlessly revising the dialogue and tweaking the events as originally told in that classic issue by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. While such changes weren’t really necessary, they’re presented with a modernized style that make the sequence more in tune with the rest of the issue, rather than standing out as a dated retelling. If there were any readers not familiar with The Hulk’s origin, then it also serves as a well-placed refresher.
The first five pages as drawn by Asrar are the best-looking, dynamically laid out with some impressive panels of carnage and destruction through the ages. Jacinto’s, though, look a lot more disjointed and there really aren’t any more awe-inspiring scenes during his watch until the very last page, and even that fails to match up to any of Asrar’s. Jacinto goes for the same kind of look as seen in Humberto Ramos’ work, with lots of exaggerated facial expressions and jagged lines everywhere. Jacinto’s characters often like porcelain busts that had been broken and hastily glued back together, and it’s a bit of a distraction to an otherwise enjoyable story.
“Indestructible Hulk” #14 isn’t a literary masterpiece, and it doesn’t try to be. Instead, it’s a very entertaining popcorn comic, evoking the same kind lightweight fun that Waid does over in “Daredevil.” Few currently are making comics as much fun as Waid does, and this one is a good example.