Indestructible Hulk #18

The Terrigen bomb from "Inhumanity" is caught mid-explosion as "Indestructible Hulk" #18 opens with Bruce Banner and his crew of scientists trying to stem the continuing wave of new Inhumans from overpowering the Marvel Universe. Writer Mark Waid delivers the second of three parts in which Giant-Man, Iron Man and Beast try to combat the explosive antigen Banner has unleashed in the previous issue while Banner himself attempts to deal with the repercussions.

In the midst of all of this, Waid ups the ante on Banner's supporting cast. The quartet of hand-picked super-scientists -- Daman Veteri, Melinda Leucenstern, Randall Jessup and Patricia Wolman -- have gone against orders to try and assist their boss, Banner, in the field. Adding depth and complexity to the situation, those four were ordered to remain sequestered as they were labeled C-47, or Terrigen positive. With three additional Avengers, the quartet of scientists and an appearance by the Hulk in the midst of chronometal chaos, Waid does a fine job of balancing this comic book without losing sight of the titular behemoth. Waid's preference to provide detail and insight through Banner's journal helps keep the story focused, but truly works more to enhance the tale.

The art chores in "Indestructible Hulk" #18 are split between Jheremy Raapack and Miguel Sepulveda (with an assist from Tom Grummett). Raapack's pages have more detail and grit to them with panels overlapping one another throughout the first half of the book. Sepulveda and Grummett bring a cleaner finish to their half of this issue, right down to presenting classic gutter spacing around the action in their panels. The duo of Sepulveda and Grummett combine for Barry Kitson-like line work that is solid and clean while Raapack's work is more in the moment and busy. Colorist Val Staples does a nice job pulling everything together and even contributes some texture and atmosphere to the backgrounds throughout. Cory Petit's word balloon rupturing letters serves the Hulk and the events of this story nicely, making the overall package of "Indestructible Hulk" #27 solid and entertaining.

"Indestructible Hulk" #27 ends with a cliffhanger as one of the Banner's kooky quartet is cocooned by the effects of the Terrigen bomb, giving Waid a chance to surprise readers before drawing Hulk's involvement with "Inhumanity" to a close. While it would have been easy for some writers presented with these same pieces to write a Hulk-free issue and focus on the Inhumanity of it all, Waid balances everything nicely and even delivers a "Hulk smash" moment for his readers.

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