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Indestructible Hulk Special #1 - The Arms of The Octopus, Part 2 of 3: For a Friend Whose Work Has Come to Triumph

3

Banner teams-up with Superior Spider-Man and Hank McCoy to see if they can solve the mystery surrounding Doctor Octopus.

The Good

Hulk has traded strikes with the God of Thunder and stood tall against countless powerful beings, so what exactly will S.H.I.E.L.D. do to turn the Green Goliath back into Bruce when he's finished a mission? Well, let's just say writer Mike Costa has an adorably hysterical answer to that and it's a brilliant way to open the issue and give you a good taste of the book's tone. If you read the first part of "The Arms of the Octopus," then you know this is a story that's putting a key emphasis on levity, and when so many other issues on your pull list are bleak and gloomy, that's totally a good thing and often needed.

While the humor isn't quite as strong as the first chapter, it's still a really pleasant read at times and Costa spends more time fleshing out the plot and dropping some major hints about the greater mystery. There's still plenty of sharp dialogue to go around and there's a particularly fun (although brief) slugfest thrown in with the big bad who's right on the cover. Truthfully, I would have preferred to have that huge look of the characters in the lab cut in half (would have been more concise and easier to follow) and granted that time to a better look at the fight. There's some wonderfully energetic visuals in that skirmish and it was easily the hightlight of the issue for me.

The Bad

Kris Anka's art complimented the opening chapter over in ALL-NEW X-MEN SPECIAL #1 very well. It was lively and lighthearted, just like the characters in the comic. This time around, though, the art doesn't work nearly as well. Jake Wyatt has a somewhat similar style, but it comes off as far sketchier and rougher. At first, I thought there was a scene where Hank's eyes were bulging (like an over-exaggerated expression from a cartoon) because something the student said caught him off-guard, but then it's clear those are just his glasses which are lacking detail. This happens a handful of times and the result is unintentionally funny. Also, the excessive use of darker circles for shading was very distracting, especially since I was expanding the panels on an iPad.

An ending like this one really kills the suspense (and it even kind of acknowledges that in the teaser at the bottom). Superior won't be killed off in this book and the other characters have prominent roles in Battle of the Atom/All-New X-Men, so there's no real question over whether or not they'll be okay.

The real Abomination had a difficult time dominating Hulk in a fight in most cases, so it's tough to swallow a robotic version giving a better performance than a decent chunk of Emil's actual fights.

Minor gripe: Jean's remark about Hulk's mindset felt totally unnecessary since that's common knowledge for most people by now.

The Verdict

INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK #1 is an example of how mixed art can weigh down a solid script. There's some animated panels to be found, but there's plenty of small visual gripes along the way and overall, it takes a toll on the issue's quality. Seeing as this story has been a fairly good dose of fun, I'll definitely stick around for the third (and final) chapter. It's worth picking up if you really enjoyed the first chapter.