The final issue of Indestructible Hulk sees Mark Waid seemingly wrap up and throw away a lot of the stuff this run was about, and setting us up with something entirely new for the next relaunch. It’s interesting indeed, but I do feel kind of like this book never really lived up to it’s potential. There’s a lot of loose ends left however, and Waid still has a lot to do with Banner’s various assistants, so I imagine we haven’t seen the last of them. And even if we have, that last page shock ending is enough to make me excited for Waid’s next role of the big green dice.
The plot here involves Hulk and his team’s attempts to rescue Randall Jessup from the clutches of Ted Goodrich and the Bee-Hive. I really enjoyed how stupid Goodrich was made to look throughout this issue. First of all, he seriously underestimates Jessup, and doesn’t know he’s a doctor, and doesn’t truly understand the difference between this particular Terrigenesis and the others. He also doesn’t know that Jessup is working for Bruce Banner, so when the Hulk shows up… it’s a pretty big surprise.
Once Hulk teleports to the Bee-Hive (one of his staff somehow knows how to reverse engineer their teleportation bracelets, which is another interesting back-story nugget) everything pretty much goes to shit. Their core is unstable, and it takes both the Hulk and a monsterfied Jessup to stop it from killing everyone. In the midst of this, there’s more stupidity from Goodrich, as he tries to forcibly open up another Terrigen Pod, but it’s inhabitant just grabs him and his partner and presumably kills them. It’s really refreshing to have a villain just be so rubbish, despite being a supposed genius.
After a massive explosion, there’s a very interesting wrap up. Luckily for Jessup, this transformation wasn’t permanent, and he’s back as a human, but who knows what will happen next time? Bruce Banner tells his team to stay hidden in the Bee-Hive to help keep Jessup a human, and also to avoid being punished by SHIELD. He goes back to Maria Hill and basically tells her that when he woke up, everyone else was gone. Banner is playing a dangerous game here in lying to SHIELD, and that’s made clear when Hill tells him that if they wanted to fire him, they’d kill him.
The final scene sees Bruce return to his lab, where he realises a lot of the bad things that happened over the last few issues are his fault. He was too eager to prove that he was better than the other Marvel big-brains with his anti-Terrigenesis Bomb, and it all went wrong. He declares that from now on he’s going to let go of his jealousy towards Tony Stark, Reed Richards, Hank Pym and the others, which is a good move I think. I never really liked that idea in the first place. But it turns out that ‘from now on’ isn’t very long, as right then, Bruce Banner is shot in the head by a mysterious gunman (or woman, or alien, or whatever) and left for dead. This is a fantastic ending, and I’m very excited to see what the new Hulk #1 is going to be like. Obviously, Banner isn’t dead, but he’s going to be pissed off, and the mystery should be tantalising. This issue sets up it being SHIELD, but that feels too obvious.
Joe Bennett provides the art here, and it’s his usual, old-school superhero goodness, he’s the perfect artist for an issue mainly involving Hulk and another monster punching things. So, farewell Indestructible Hulk, you won’t be missed, but only because Waid is still going to be writing the character.