This is it – I will not harp on the subject any longer after I say my peace with this post. I am also not going to say that if you hated the Waid Hulk run that you are wrong – I am not going to give you reasons that you should have liked it – because I agree that it could have been better. Here’s what I will say, it started with a strong premise – a NEW premise – one that had great possibilities. Banner is allowing SHIELD to use the Hulk as a weapon. Banner gets to exploit his genius to help the world… finally. He’s wanted to do something good for the world since The Incredible Hulk #1 when he created the Gamma Bomb. He despised the fact that his creation could possibly be used to harm people – it was always about protection, about keeping people safe, with Banner. But that’s not how things turned out. Sadly. Now was the time for Banner to use his brain to do what he always set out to do. The new series was off to a great start when Waid not only had Banner address Tony about the trick that sent Hulk into space. Then he brought back the Quintronic Man, had the Hulk deal with Atumma (a wasted opportunity when he could have brought back AQUON!) and even better – had Simonson come for a timetraveling Thor arc. Things were going swell.
Where the fun ride ended – and keep in mind this may have not been entirely Waid’s fault – was where the Indestructible Hulk had to tie in with the big events. First, after the Age of Ultron story line (and the Marvel timeline was broken) Hulk dealt with it in the pretty stagnant “Agents of TIME”. An arc that could have been amazing had the finale led to a Maestro appearance instead of the forgettable UberHulk. Think about it – Maestro was created by the Hulk’s over exposure to gamma radiation – or hell, they went back to the original gamma bomb detonation… where the Maestro WAS at the final scene of Future Imperfect. Either way, wasted opportunity. Then came the even worse tie in with Inhumanity. A story arc that completely went off the rails with Banner creating a bomb to combat the effects of the mist triggering the dormant Inhuman genes in unsuspecting citizens. It wasn’t just a tangent in the soild story line that Waid created prior but it was a tough read in general.
We were served with a harder pill to swallow when Marvel announced yet another re-numbering in the Hulk series. A 5th re-start in 7 years. Amazingly upsetting to any Hulk purists who just want to read good stories rather than Marvel focusing on the short boost in sales by slapping a #1 on the cover. That being said, reading the first three issues of the recently re-titled “Hulk” I have to report that Waid seemed to get back into form and the issues have been stellar! I love having Abomination back (even if it is a clone with a mysterious “driver”) but I think it was a step in the right direction. A cool addition into the history of one of Hulk’s oldest enemies. Could this have been what was supposed to happen next had Waid not tied into Age of Ultron or Infinity? Maybe – would this have been the better step into this new “Indestructible Hulk”? I think so – yes. This would have had fans singing Waid’s praises, I think. To me, Waid has always been sort of “slow burn” kind of writer. He doesn’t pack every issue with action but he does set something up to have a nice pay-off in the end. The problem, as usual it seems, is that Marvel has certain agendas of their own to keep and that includes tying into main events or returning Peter Parker back into his own body because a movie is coming out – whether you want to or not.
This has been the case for years – I know PD was constantly battling with editors who would tell him that he’d have to have a tie-in with whatever they wanted Hulk being part of. The real problem is – it’s their character! You sort of have no choice, as a writer, to do what you want with these characters because they aren’t yours to keep. They are on loan from the owner, sort of speak. You can only do what you’ve always tried to do… your best. What was presented in the Indestructible Hulk was not Waid’s best but he didn’t become a legend in the business for nothing. This is why I tend to believe he didn’t have full reign on what he was looking to do with the Hulk. Of course, this is all speculated and I have no insider knowledge – except what Waid decides to tweet out. First he said that Hulk fans were worse than Legion fans (I am paraphrasing as he never actually used the word “worse”) and then he said he was leaving the Hulk for no other reason than he wanted to focus on Daredevil. I find that a bit hard to believe though… are you saying that if Hulk was being praised then you’d still be leaving? I doubt it. He then tweeted that he was making a lot of people happy by leaving the Hulk. That last bit is interesting for sure…
We live in an age where information is spread so quickly. Before the internet Marvel had to wait for letters to pour in to see the fans reaction to whatever was happening with their characters. Not to mention, if you wanted your letter published you had to be diplomatic about any of your grievances and word it appropriately. Now, reactionary fans go onto message boards, facebook, twitter and other social media sites to voice their opinions… most of the time more crudely than they ever would to someone’s face. I’ve always hated that. Ever hear the saying “The squeaky wheel gets the grease”? Well, it seems that the squeaky wheels were the complainers this time around because they were heard loud and clear. Granted, I am not talking about the posters from this site – the people here always seem respectful even when they don’t have anything nice to say. I thank everyone for that. Truly.
So here we are, and almost like a karmic bitch slap for how much complaining about Deadpool I do, the writer of Deadpool will be helming the Hulk series with issue #5. I can nothing but hope for the best. As always I will keep you updated.