Spencer: Our heroes’ greatest enemies are often their polar opposites: While Batman is a dark, brooding creature fighting for justice, his nemesis is a silly-looking clown obsessed with evil; while Superman is the most human alien around, Lex Luthor has foresaken his humanity to stroke his ego; while the Flash always looks forward, the Reverse Flash is caught up in his own past. In Indestructible Hulk 19 writer Mark Waid and his expansive team of artists provide the Hulk with an opposite of his own: while the Hulk is fueled by his rage, Jessup gains power from stealing other people’s anger. Continue reading
Today, Shelby and Spencer are discussing Indestructible Hulk 15, originally released November 20th, 2013.
Shelby: Games have rules for a reason. Everyone has to know how to play (and how to win), and rules lay that out. A game without rules is chaos, which for a game like Calvinball is precisely the point. The only rule of Calvinball is you can’t play the game the same way twice: essentially, the only rule is whatever rules are made are to be broken. When there are no rules, you can do whatever you want. Worried about consequences? Why bother, there’s no rule that says there will be any! While it might be kind of freeing to play a game with no rules, when you’re dealing with time, history, and your very existence, rules are pretty damn important. So when Bruce Banner finds himself facing his own past, an irradiated Hulk, a potentially Hulk-less future, and a timestream so broken it can be shaped like clay, he knows he needs to act fast before it’s too late, if it isn’t already.
Today, Greg and Taylor are discussing Indestructible Hulk Special 1, originally released October 16th, 2013. This issue is part of the three-part Arms of the Octopus story.
Greg: A friend of mine asked me the other night, “If a guy teleported in front of you, told you he was a time traveler, and asked what year it was, how would you respond?” We’re both comedy folks, so I imagine he was looking to start riffing. Yet rather than fire off any number of instinctual punchlines (“What year is it? Why, it’s Christmas Year, sir!” is one of the many perfect ideas I had), I decided to pause, think, and mull over what I, Greg Smith, human being, would actually do if that actually happened.
“I would probably try to ask him who he was, stammer out panicked words, and then fall over.” And that truth, over any dumb joke I could’ve invented, made him laugh.
Drew: Hulk is indestructible. It’s a fact so indisputable, Marvel went ahead and put it right in the title of the series. That is to say, there isn’t much tension to be garnered from the question of whether something might destroy him. Like Gloria Gaynor, Hulk will survive. He’ll also likely smash whatever tries to destroy him. There aren’t really going to be any surprises on his part, so much of the interest in the failed attempt to destroy/successful attempt to get smashed must come from the other side of the equation — the one attempting to harm the Hulk. Fortunately, writer Mark Waid is no slouch when it comes to coming up with interesting villains for Hulk to face. Continue reading
Today, Shelby and Ethan are discussing Indestructible Hulk 12, originally released August 21st, 2013.
Shelby: “Whatever happened, happened.”
“Save the clocktower!”
“Dust. Wind. Dude.”
Time travel in stories can be heavy, paradox-laden stuff. When I first saw the episode of LOST with the [SPOILER ALERT] photo of Jack and Hurley on the island in the seventies, my brain imploded; the “it happened this way because it always happened this way” approach to time travel is somehow both the easiest and hardest explanation to understand. You can also go back in time to change the future, though as a real-world solution it is far too dangerous. Who knows the web of effects your actions will have? Just ask anyone in the Marvel universe, they’ll tell you. Or, time travel can be utterly meaningless: no paradox, no consequences, just “we traveled in time and it was neat!” Mark Waid’s Indestructible Hulk takes a slightly different approach; Hulk and Banner-bot have gone back in time to save the present, but not from things that did happen in history, from things that didn’t happen in history. And when the time stream is as broken as it is, a little more time travel can’t really make things any worse.
Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Indestructible Hulk 11, originally released July 31st, 2013.
Shelby: I recently saw Pacific Rim, and I absolutely loved it. Plot-wise, it was nothing special; case in point, it was the same as every other world-ending, hail-Mary-play sci-fi action flick I’ve ever seen. But that didn’t matter in the least because it was just so much fun to watch. The sheer joy I felt at watching giant robots punch those deep sea monsters is what made the movie so great. It’s simple, well-executed, and a ton of fun. This month’s issue of Indestructible Hulk sets us up for the same sort of situation. It’s probably not going to be quite so simple (time travel never is), but it promises time travel shenanigans in a messed up version of history with a surprising team-up, so I expect a lot of wacky, fun adventure to ensue.
Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Indestructible Hulk 10, originally released July 10th, 2013.
Shelby: It’s really easy to look back at a situation after the fact, and see the obvious solution to the problem, what with hindsight being 20/20 and all that. I know it sounds like I’m making some sort of mean joke, talking about vision in an issue of Indestructible Hulk that features Matt Murdoch, aka Daredevil, the blindest lawyer/masked vigilante around, but stick with me. For Bruce Banner, great big chunks of his life are lived with only hindsight to guide him. When he turns into the Hulk, he loses his control; all he can do is look back when it’s all over and try to assess what happened, maybe even learn something useful about the Hulk for next time. Banner moves forward as himself by constantly looking back to when he was the Hulk. It’s not ideal, but I guess hindsight is better than no sight, am I right Matt? Ok, one mean joke…
Today, Ethan and Drew are discussing Indestructible Hulk 9, originally released June 19th, 2013.
Ethan: Given time, life is going to throw us a curveball that we can’t quite hit, no matter how on top of our game we are. The politicians most on-message always seem to make the inevitable career-ending gaffe; level-headed Olympians of spotless character waver in a moment of weakness and shoot up to get the gold. When we’re at a pivotal moment, the people around us can help encourage (or goad) us on to success, or inject a much-needed grain of reality into our head with a well placed word. We’ve seen Banner in a mentoring role with his researchers, but in Indestructible Hulk #9, writer Mark Waid and artist Matteo Scalera take a look at the interactions Banner has with his peers, Director Maria Hill and Daredevil, and how they each keep him going in their own signature ways. Continue reading
Today, Ethan and Shelby are discussing Indestructible Hulk 7-8, originally released May 29th, 2013.
Ethan: Sometimes, when you’re feeling a little blue, you need a distraction. Something to take your mind off of what’s causing you pain. A kind word from a friend, a spontaneous trip to somewhere new, an experience that shakes you out of the depression. Or a near-death experience accompanied by front-row seats to a couple of big, brawny dudes rolling around in the snow. In Indestructible Hulk 7 and 8, writer Mark Waid and artist Walter Simonson explore all of the above. Continue reading
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Indestructible Hulk 6, originally released April 3rd, 2013.
Patrick: Last month, Drew asked the question of whether Indestructible Hulk scribe Mark Waid was attempting to satirize DC’s recent Aquaman-centric Throne of Atlantis event with his own silly Atlantis story. This issue finds Bruce Banner away from one set of otherworldly adventures and embracing another. But as the worlds change beneath his feet, the questions of the issue are “who?” rather than “where?” Continue reading