AW Review: Marvel NOW!’s “Indestructible Hulk” and “Captain America”

It is officially a post-“Avengers vs X-Men” world in the Marvel universe and with that, comes an opportunity to reboot several comic book issues. For this particular column, I will be taking a close look at the freshly released titles: “Indestructible Hulk” and “Captain America”.

Let’s start with the first issue of the “Indestructible Hulk” #1. This book is written by long time comic book writer Mark Waid (Captain America, TheFlash) and brought to life by artist Leinil Francis Yu (Wolverine, Fantastic Four). “Indestructible Hulk” issue 1 takes an interesting look at an otherwise exhausted Marvel character. As it is very difficult to write any new interesting or innovative story arcs for the Hulk, “Indestrucible Hulk” succeeds at proving me wrong. With this new story, Bruce Banner aims to ally himself with the very organization that previously made his life a living hell. The very familiar Marvel organization known as S.H.I.E.L.D.. And yes, we get to see more of Agent Phil Coulson and Agent Maria Hill.

The first issue starts with Bruce seeking a proposition with Agent Hill and S.H.I.E.L.D.. Without revealing too much, we see an equal opportunity and gain for both parties. Even more, we see reference to the events that transpired with “Avengers vs X-Men”, displaying the continuity that Marvel NOW! aims to withhold; answering our question: “So that’s what happens with The Hulk/Bruce Banner after AvX”.

“Tony Stark and Reed Richards use their genius to save the world every other week. That’s how they’ll be remembered in history. Meanwhile, I–I who, forgive me, have just as much to contribute–will be lucky if my tombstone doesn’t simply say ‘Hulk Smash'”. Readers that follow the character have previously seen Bruce frustrated with being thought of as a “fugitive”, but this issue shows us his feelings in regards to stepping out of the very large shadow of The Hulk; to be remembered for his contributions to science and not just a big oaf that occasionally saves the world whilst simultaneously destroying it.

Therefore, this particular reviewer (me) highly recommends the first issue of “Indestructible Hulk”. It will be very interesting to see where Waid will take this particular character and how he aims to separate both Bruce Banner and the Hulk from destroying each others reputations. “The secret to living with it isn’t obsessing over a cure. It’s in managing what exists.”

Which brings us to our second reboot release of the day with “Captain America” #1. Reviving Captain Steve Rogers from death once again comes writer Rick Remender (Uncanny X-Force, Punisher) and artist John Romita Jr. (The Amazing Spider-Man, Uncanny X-Men). With the end to the Brian Michael Bendis story arc of Captain America comes yet another reboot to our favorite patriotic superhero.

“Weeks without a break. But that’s the work. You suck it up…You get it done.” As usual, Captain America returns to continue to serve as a superhero that reflects our “state of affairs.” Once again, we see parallels to our world, where Cap is used as a medium to channel the current status of our very own country. The metaphors seek to remind us that, not only could things be worse, but that there is always a “hero” out there that is on the front lines battling the issues that cause us so much worry.

This particular first issue is a somewhat refreshing look at Steve Rogers with the lens of Rick Remender’s writing. He gives us a serious look at Steve’s early home life in the 1920’s as well as a little soft side of Cap mixed with some of that “Remender humor”. We even get a chance to see Steve flirt with the ladies a bit. “I’d say that’s a great reason to do some reprimanding to me.” “Was that an attempt atsexual innuendo,Rogers?”

We also get to see Steve Rogers actually attempt to celebrate a birthday. Seems like Remender is trying to take an atypical look at the life of Captain America. “Notevery dayyour boyfriend turns 90.”

Furthermore, this first issue switches gears and transitions to show us that old habits do, in fact, die hard. “I sometimes forget how to be a Normal person. I’ve been thesoldierfor so long…Might be there’s no turning back.” As the story progresses, an old villain from Cap’s past is revealed and the arc takes a strange turn. It turns into a story with familiarity, one similar to Cable and baby Hope’s past.

While I consider myself a fan of Remender’s previous work with Uncanny X-Force, I don’t get the same cliffhanger, “I want to read more” feel. The beginning of the book feels new and refreshing, but quickly turns to “typical Captain America” adventures. While I favor “Indestructible Hulk” more on this release, I believe “Captain America” can take a page (pun intended) from Fraction’s Hawkeye title.

“Indestructible Hulk” and “Captain America” are available for purchase now at your local comic book store (or online store). It doesn’t matter to me, I don’t get paid either way.