Hulk and Banner’s journey through time is once again a whole lot of fun. You can really tell that Mark Waid is having a ball with this story, and given that so much of the post-Age Of Ultron time-travel stuff has been rather serious, it’s great to see a title that isn’t afraid to just go with it and have the Hulk fight cowboys and dinosaurs and the Knights Of The Roundtable. Because really, when I think of time-travel, that’s what I want.
In this issue, Hulk and Banner first fight, then team up with King Arthur, The Black Knight, Merlin and the rest to fight another Chronarchist, Valdar Ahd, who has travelled to the past and conquered Camelot. This whole issue was just great fun, especially when you saw that Ahd had gone even further than the other Chronarchist, and not just brought dinosaurs to fight for him, but a whole army of time-displaced warriors, including a Samurai, a Spartan, a guy from Halo and a Gorilla. That’s using time-travel to it’s fullest!
Hulk’s final confrontation with the Chronarchist was very cool indeed, Ahd tried to rapidly age the Hulk, and we got a glimpse of the Maestro, but in the end, Hulk and Black Knight were able to use the Ebony Blade to win out, it’s crazy how that sword was able to cut through time energy. What’s the status of the sword and the Black Knight in the present-day Marvel Universe? Is Dane Whitman still alive? I don’t even know.
I also really enjoyed the opening scene, where you saw how the Hulk and Banner’s efforts were paying off in the present day, how the Airport from the first issue of this story that disappeared was now back. Waid may be having fun with time-travel here, but he’s not being dumb.
In the end, with this Chronarchist defeated, it’s on to the next one, and he may be the most dangerous of all, as he’s messing with the Hulk’s very own origins at the Gamma Bomb test sight. Waid has said that this meddling is why the Hulk’s personality is susceptible to change, and we see that here, as by the end of the issue, Hulk is now in ‘Smart Mode’. It’s going to be great to see how Waid revisits the famous origin story, the cover to #14 is certainly intriguing, with Hulk saving Bruce Banner from the bomb, seemingly erasing himself. Now, that probably won’t exactly happen, but I’m willing to bet some serious shit will go down. Man, this arc has been great.
The art here was also strong, Matteo Scalera has really impressed me on this title, and Kim Jacinto does a good job at keeping a similar style and tone on… I don’t know if Kim is a man or a woman, erm… on their pages.