"Indestructible Hulk" #3 from Mark Waid and Leinil Francis Yu is a white hot examination of the Hulk concept delivered as an action movie/scientific character piece combination. Mark Waid blends a done-in-one sensibility with a slow burn that fleshes out the world of this status quo. This issue looks at the team built to surround Bruce Banner as well as a mission to stop the Quintronic Man and how the Hulk is the only weapon for the target.
These standalone science/war missions S.H.I.E.L.D. tasks the Hulk with are a great way to make the single issues feel like a worthy package in the monthly format. It feels like some of the Marvel NOW! books have steered away from decompression, a gamble that seems to have paid off. This issue's mission is a fantastic slice of pulp science from Marvel's history called the Quintronic Man: a giant robot requiring five pilots tapped in at once. Waid writes it as a wink to the past while providing a terrifically nasty upgrade to the future. The concept is tweaked with horrible results and becomes a superb way for the Hulk's abilities, and usefulness in the field, to be tested and shine through. If Waid wants to test just what the Hulk can sustain each issue, then I'm fine with that.
Aside from the action spectacular center to this book, there are scientific and character asides that enrich the landscape. Maria Hill enforces a team around Banner to ensure he's kept in line. Watching their selection and Banner's dealing with this situation makes for elements of both drama and fun. When the punchline comes in the final panel (see what I did there?), Waid longterm game is clear. This book is about a guy who grows large, green and smashes things. With the high stakes action and interpersonal word play, the creative team keeps the fun going with every issue so far.
Leinel Francis Yu draws a frightening Hulk. He's the same Marvel hero we've always known and begrudgingly loved, but with Yu he's also kind of a nightmare. It's the eyes, I think, or maybe the angles he's always shown. Truly frightening stuff. He handles character design and interaction well, but it's Yu's action drawing chops that make this book sing. Whether it's S.H.I.E.L.D. agents busting through the doors, guns blazing, or A.I.M. flunkies chopped down in their prime, Yu has it all covered. Sunny Gho is doing a great job on this title, though will be often overlooked because he's doing his job so well. This is a colorist working for the overall package and ensuring everything is clear.
"Indestructible Hulk" #3 is a fantastic superhero comic in the most simple ways any reader can appreciate. The action is bombastic, the characters are clear, fun and work well together with top-notch art and pacing. This book is definitely one of the Marvel NOW! highlights and this issue shows why on every front. If you want to see Hulk SMASH! then check this out and see it done with brains behind the brawn.