Comic Picks By The Glick

Indestructible Hulk vol. 3: S.M.A.S.H. Time

October 29, 2014

In case you haven’t heard, time is currently broken in the Marvel Universe and everyone in it is lucky that they’re still living in a linear timeline.  Most creators have stayed the hell away from this particular development, content to leave Bendis and Hickman to work it out for themselves in their titles.  Mark Waid, however, sees this as the perfect opportunity to have the Hulk careen through the timestream to punch a dinosaur in the face and have the character do a whole lot of other things he wouldn’t normally get a chance to.  Things kick off when an airport disappears and a plane missing for almost seventy-five years tries to land where it was.  As Bruce Banner and Maria Hill are helpfully informed by the captive time-travelling criminal Zaarko, a.k.a. “The Tomorrow Man,” these and other time distortions are the work of a group known as the Chronarchists.  They’re planning to re-shape time to their liking and only the Hulk and a floating computer with Banner’s personality stand in their way.

This leads to the aforementioned punching of dinosaurs (which takes place in the Wild West), along with the Hulk meeting up with King Arthur and the Knight-Exiles of Lost Camelot, and finding his way back to the site of the gamma bomb that created him.  If it sounds incredibly crazy and over-the-top, that’s exactly how it reads on the page.  The problem is that by the time the Hulk gets double-nuked by the bomb things are happening so fast that it’s really hard to care about what’s going on.  Even though the book’s three artists, Matteo Scalera, Mahmud Asrar, and Kim Jacinto, are certainly up to giving this craziness the energy it needs to work I finished this volume feeling more exhausted than anything else.  All of the time-travel paradoxes gumming up the volume’s climax didn’t help either.  I’m sure that there are some who would say that when you’re tired of seeing Hulk punch a hole through time, then you’re tired of life itself.  I say that when everything that has come before is pitched at such a high level of intensity that such an act winds up being one of the least interesting things about the book, it’s a real sign the story has missed the mark.

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