Artist: Walter Simonson
This has easily been one of the best series in the Marvel NOW! concept, and it has to also be one of the best Hulk series' in years. The way Mark Waid has managed to give us something unique, but also phenomenal has been one of the best things about this series, and I'm sure that it will stay brilliant as long as Waid is still on the series.
Still trapped in Jotunheim, Bruce Banner, and his team have to find a way back to Midgard (Earth), whilst the Frost Giants have a spy in Banner's camp.
This was a brilliant issue, and although not quite as good as the last issue, it was still amazing. Mark Waid's writing on this series has been outstanding, and his style has been one of the best Hulk has seen in a long time. The way that he's given us both Banner, and Hulk in equal portion has been fantastic, and this has been something that Waid as a writer has been good at over the last couple of years, with both Daredevil, and the more recent The Green Hornet have this same style, with both being amazing series'. With this issue however I felt that it went slightly too much towards Banner, as it did spend a lot of time with him, and although the emotion that was shown during this, was brilliant, along with the fact that it was probably necessary, for me it slightly took away from the pace of the story, making it slightly slow. Waid did however make up for this in abundance, as he continued to write this version of Thor brilliantly, and although I wasn't originally fond of this Thor, it's grown on me over the last two issues, and has been the key thing that has made this story what it is. Waid also did a good job of once again giving us drama, excitement, and suspense, as with the Frost Giants scheming, and the Hulk, and Thor fighting, it really made for a brilliant atmosphere.
The art in this issue was good, and although I'm still not a fan of Walter Simonson's art, it has been quite good throughout this story. His retro style really suited the story, and although as I said it wasn't the type of art I'd normally prefer in comics, it was near perfect for this story. I especially liked how Simonson drew both Thor, and Hulk, as I liked the cheesy retro style to Thor's look, and I loved hoe powerful Hulk looked, even if he did look a bit awkward at times. The layout was also very interesting, and Simonson handled it very well, with it yet again helping to give the retro feel that I've loved about this story. So far I've said mostly positive things about Simonson's art, but it isn't all brilliant, and there are some negative things about his art. For starters the way he draws some of the other character's, like Banner, and Patricia Wolman wasn't brilliant, as they both looked very unrealistic, and slightly awkward, especially Patricia in that suit she' wearing. I did however like how Simonson drew Juggernaut, who appeared whilst Banner explained a theory about Thor's hammer, Mjolnir, as he looked exactly as he should do, and proved that power doesn't mean that you're worthy. The way Simonson drew the Frost Giants was also brilliant, and the way he handled the action that included them was amazing.
Near the start of the issue it is established that the Frost Giants have a spy in Banner's camp, with one of them replacing Randall Jessup. Now this really heated things up, as now the Frost Giants had a slight edge, with their inside man. Now I'm not the most knowledgeable person on Frost Giants, but I can never remember them being this smart. Don't get me wrong, I know that they are calculating, and cunning, and far from stupid, but I'd never have guessed that they'd come up with something like this. Anyway, taking that to one side, I thought this was a very interesting development, and the uniqueness of it really appealed to me. I also loved how it showed the determination, and drive that the Frost Giants have, and that they won't sit back and do nothing.
Last issue showed that Patricia Wolman, one of Banner's science assistants was suicidal, wanting to be killed by the Hulk in an accident. Now this was a real shock to me, as although there was bound to be one person that wasn't exactly what they seemed, I never quite expected this. The conversation that would come between Banner, and Patrica after this was however very emotional, and interesting, as you could really see why this woman's been driven to these extents, and even though she's just a fictional character, you can't help but feel sorry for her. I also really liked how Banner was both compassionate, but at the same time curious, trying to work out exactly what was wrong with Patrica, as she wasn't wanting him to know, and it really made the issue, more interesting.
During his conversation with Patrica, Banner would talk about Thor, and his hammer, Mjolnir, and how a physicist named James Kakalios had a theory about Thor's hammer. Now I won't go into details about this theory as I personally found the discovery of this during this issue interesting, and wouldn't want to spoil that for others. I will however say that besides finding it interesting, I also enjoyed hearing Banner's thoughts on this theory, and also loved the symbolism that was involved in the theory, and overall it was a nice addition to this issue.
Now this issue wasn't all talking, and scheming, as there was also some action before it was finished, with the Frost Giants making a final fight against Thor, Hulk, and this time S.H.I.E.L.D. This fight was simply phenomenal, and one of the best that this series has seen so far, and it's also been the best thing about this story. I also loved the comradery that was shown between Thor, and Hulk, both in his Hulk form, and as Banner, as it really made the fight that much more special. It was also nice to see S.H.I.E.L.D. involved, as with them having Frost Giant problems of their own last issue it was fitting to see them involved in this fight, also evening the playing field.
This was an amazing issue, and a fitting ending to what was a phenomenal storyline. This issue had it all, from emotional conversations, to interesting theories, to amazing action, and although it wasn't quite as good as the last issue, it was still a brilliant issue. With all this I'd highly recommend this issue, this story, and this series so far, as everything about Indestructible Hulk has been amazing, and I look forward to seeing what happens when Waid's other character Daredevil makes an appearance next issue.