Your Major Spoilers review awaits!
Art is odd, but charming.
Nice character work.
Part 2 of 3?
Feels kind of slight for the pricetag.
Previously in Indestructible Hulk: Bruce Banner’s experiments with gamma radiation have left him with an alter-ego, a gamma-powered rage machine known as The Hulk. Elsewhere in the Marvel Universe, the original X-Men were somehow plucked out of the timestream and brought to the present, where they found themselves clashing with someone who seems to be Doctor Octopus, but unbeknownst to most, Doctor O has transposed his brain into the body of the
Amazing Spectacular Sensational Friendly Neighborhood Superior Spider-Man. How does this all this brain-swapping time-travel folderal affect the Hulk?
I DON’T KNOW!
This issue, rather than being the standalone story that I expected, picks up where last week’s All-New X-Men Special left off, with The Beast, Spider-Man and Professor Jude (one of Beast’s favorite teachers in the past and a renowned expert on gamma radiation) trying to figure out what the deal is with the sudden appearance of Doctor Octopus. As the issue opens, though, we find the Hulk, seconds after having destroyed a next of super-intelligent tarantulas, being calmed by SHIELD with the expedient of…
…a box of puppies. It’s a cute moment, one that feels very Silver Agey and retro, and fits in with the rest of the story. Bruce Banner is called in to consult on the problem of Doctor Octopus. A lot of the appeal here is in character work, with Bruce Banner enjoying a return to his college days, Spider-Man taking the appearance of “Octopus” strangely personally (for reasons only the readers will fully understand) and most of the X-Men sitting around bored out of their gourds.
KINDA FUN, THOUGH…
The sudden appearance of The Abomination (himself dead, much like Doc Ock) brings X-Men and Hulk into combat together, and underlines the old-school nature of our story with some fighty-fighty. Our art team comes across as a slightly more angular (and less complex) Mike Allred, which works for the classic X-Men costumes but doesn’t look so good with the Superior Spider-Man suit or the Hulk’s new battle-armor. As the issue comes to a close, Beast discovers a deeper layer of the mystery, Hulk discovers the secret of the Abomination and Spider-Man dies in an explosion…
There’s a chance that the creators are exaggerating that last one, though. The whole issue breezes by, a much more lightweight affair than the notably dark and ugly cover implies. Indeed, the cover of my copy (the Lozano version, for those keeping score) is a muddy, garish and inexplicable affair, with the Hulk barely recognizable, and the Abomination not even to that level.
THE BOTTOM LINE: OVERPRICED, BUT NOT BAD STUFF…
I’m not certain that there is $4.99 worth of entertainment here, though, especially given that the issue’s retro tale seems unlikely to become high-profile fodder or to have lasting ramifications for the characters. While it’s fun to see Bruce Banner in full-on science nerd mode (as well as Otto Octavius utterly enraged by his own old, gross self), the same elements that make the book fun also make it feel inessential and somehow lightweight. Indestructible Hulk Special #1 isn’t a perfect affair, but it’s a pretty decent book, really suffering only in terms of packaging and price-point, earning a better-than-average 3 out of 5 stars overall. It’s good to see the characters actually interacting with each other, though, as the Marvel NOW! titles have felt a little disconnected from one another of late…