Writer: Jeff Parker
Artist: Mahmud Asrar
Colorist: Nelson Daniel
Letterer: Cory Petit
Review by: Josh Gillam
I haven’t been following the Indestructible Hulk series, but I decided to pick up the Annual and wasn’t disappointed. This issue not only features the lovable rage monster, but Iron Man as well. I suspect this team up might have been driven by the hype surrounding the newly released Iron Man and Hulk animated movie. But shameless plug or not, this book is a great read.
The book starts off with a short intro where we see a young Tony Stark and Bruce Banner sitting in on a lecture at Oxford University. The professor giving the lecture insists that the road to scientific breakthroughs is through military defense funding. Here we see one of the big differences in the scientific minds of young Banner and Stark. Stark is more than willing to go the path of military funding, while Banner would prefer to make it on his merits alone. This is a great setup for the big theme of this book; science.
Right after the intro is the title page and it reads, “Journey Into Science”. This is where readers should start to realize, this book is going to focus more on science, as opposed to smashing. For a Hulk comic, there isn’t a whole lot of Hulk, but don’t let that dissuade you. This issue is a great example of how awesome the scientific minds of Bruce Banner and Tony Stark are, as we follow them on a mission to investigate a mysterious island. They have to use more of their wits, as opposed to brawn, as they navigate through an island that has been turned into a giant weapon by the very professor we see in the intro.
I feel like it’s a risky move having so little focus on the Hulk in a Hulk comic, but Jeff Parker’s gambit paid off. The science talk and banter between Banner and Stark is very entertaining. They’re both superheroes, but underneath that we see the passion they have for science, the thing they both love most. Parker still manages to bring in some great action as well. While he keeps most of the focus on science, we still get to see smashing. In the end, there’s a satisfying balance between brains and brawn.
While this book isn’t full of action, the action scenes we do see are done beautifully. Mahmud Asrar did an excellent job of giving us thrilling visuals. The color throughout the book was a particular favorite of mine. There are three main settings in the book; above ground in daylight, above ground at night, and below ground. The differences of color between the settings really brought them to life. There’s a lot to love about the artwork in this book, but my favorite has to be the panel where Hulk is carrying Iron Man like a baby.
I enjoyed the balance between brain power and muscle power that this book presented. It’s an great read that any Hulk lover, or Iron Man lover, will enjoy.
Josh Gillam is the creator and writer for the webcomic/comedy project, Cynical Stew. You can follow him on Twitter at @Cynical_Stew