Reviewing Indestructible Hulk Vol. 3: S.M.A.S.H. Time

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Indestructible Hulk Agent of SMASHTime is awry in Indestructible Hulk: S.M.A.S.H. Time (Affiliate Links: on Amazon). Enough people in the Marvel Universe have played around with the timeline enough times that history is no longer fixed. Places and people—large groups of people—are disappearing. Sometimes, they reappear at unexpected moments. Chronarcists (an absolutely wonderful term, by the by), are taking advantage of the situation to reshape history more to their liking. The only person strong enough to handle traveling through time to stop them is the Hulk—aided by a small, flying robot which has Bruce Banner’s consciousness copied into it.

Waid’s reinvention of Banner-and-Hulk as S.H.I.E.L.D. members continues to be a winning move. S.M.A.S.H. Time balances the sheer crazy, comic book science that allows people like “chronarcists” to exist with enough gravitas and consequence to keep readers caring. Time is crazily awry; dinosaurs roam an old West town; someone is destroying Camelot; a sword can cut time. Betty Ross never existed—and even Bruce Banner is having trouble remembering her; an agent dies by becoming several separate ages at once; the Hulk himself is being remade. There’s something for everyone, including plenty of Hulk’s trademark smashing as he works his way through a multitude of chronologically misplaced enemies. There’s some gentle genre mixing as well when Hulk stops first in a Western town and acquires the assistance of three gunslingers or when he moves further back to fight alongside King Arthur’s knights. In terms of the larger ark, the Banner-Hulk relationship moves forward, but the story of Banner’s plans for his team has been sidelined for this issue.

Scalera and Jacinto do a top-notch job with the art. Ever want to see a spread of Hulk fighting a T-Rex? It’s in here. What about Hulk fighting a dragon at sea? Ditto. It pays to spend some time looking at the various covers as well; Singh’s cover for issue #12 in particular perfectly captures the crazy mix of times, places, and genres happening throughout the series.

The book is just plain fun. Like previous volumes in the Indestructible Hulk series, this one can stand on its own. Recommended for fans of the superhero genre, people who enjoy some good, mixed-up time, and people who like dinosaur fights.

Published February 4th 2014 by Marvel (Affiliate Links: on Amazon)
ISBN: 0785188843 (ISBN13: 9780785188841)
Writer: Mark Waid
Artists: Matteo Scalera, Mahmud Asrar, Kim Jacinto
Colorists: Val Staples, Lee Loughridge
Letterers: Chris Eliopoulos, VC’s Cory Petit
Cover Artist: Mukesh Singh

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