Mark Waid and Leinil Yu have begun to change the status quo for Bruce Banner and they continue to tweak that new direction a bit in “Indestructible Hulk” #2. Bringing in Iron Man for a guest appearance is not only a chance to have a superhero slugfest, but it is also a fine opportunity to provide readers with a measure by which to judge Bruce Banner and his accomplishments.
Mark Waid brings the Robert Downey, Jr. sarcastic and heavily condescending Tony Stark (at one point, Banner refers to him as “Tony Snark”) to “Indestructible Hulk.” The writer uses Stark as a gateway for readers to comprehend the gravity of Banner’s new work arrangement with S.H.I.E.L.D., but also presents just as much insight into Banner’s own thought processes through the titanic titular character’s alter ego. Waid makes Banner a sympathetic character, but one whose problems repel relationships. In this case, that predisposition to be disposed leads to Banner hulking out, which brings about the smashier part of this issue.
Hulk smashing is where Leinil Yu excels. Yu’s art is good when taken as individual images, but some storytelling choices get mushy and indecipherable due to the heavy shadow, dense line and copious detail, like when Hulk wraps his fist around Iron Man’s calf. Yu draws Hulk’s right hand, which from the reader’s point of view is the back of said hand, and it just becomes a big block with few distinguishing Hulkish features due to the glove Hulk is wearing. Yu’s artwork comes alive in the larger panels, where his different sense of detail has room to grow and breathe. Over a quarter of the book is comprised of pages with three or fewer panels, giving Yu the room he needs and more. That’s good for the art and the storytelling in said art, but it also makes the comic book move along rather briskly. Luckily Yu is working with Mark Waid who has no problems whatsoever adjusting his storytelling cadence accordingly.
“Indestructible Hulk” #2 is a fine comic for what it is: a superhero slugfest with big hits and huge imagery. Yu’s page layouts and panel construction tends to favor verticals, but the action in this issue is widescreen the whole way through. Marvel NOW! delivered new creative teams to characters and, in the case of “Indestructible Hulk” a new direction for the character as well. I like what Waid and Yu have started, even if this issue is not incredible (it is still very good, just not great). Waid has already found a voice for Bruce Banner and a purpose for Hulk. I have the utmost faith he’ll put both to good use in future stories that will exceed the entertaining read of this issue.