by Mark Waid (Writer), Kim Jacinto (Artist), Val Staples, Lee Loughridge (Colorists)

The Story: With the birth of the Uberhulk, Bruce Banner begins to understand the machination of the chronarchists as he makes a big decision in hope to vanquish them.

The Review: Mark Waid is someone who understand the potential that super hero comics possess. While some of his stories may have ludicrous premises, he is a writer that is able to bring out the very basic concepts that could make them work in the first place. The fact that Daredevil can have a crossover with Hulk or Silver Surfer in his award-winning Daredevil series in a way that works is a testament to that.

This arc focusing on Hulk and Bruce Banner as they try to fix the broken timeline has been a perfect example of this, with Hulk fighting dinosaurs in the old west, or helping the knights of the round table while trying to find the chronarchists. It was something very enjoyable, yet does Waid provide for a satisfying conclusion to this over-the-top super hero adventure?

Unfortunately, he does not really close in the same way that he opened up his tale, as the story lets go of a lot of elements that made it fun to begin with. Letting go of the more unbelievable elements in order to explain a great many things, Waid does not provide the bang needed, offering instead a whimper.

It’s not that the ideas provided there aren’t nice or anything, as Waid does seem to provide more of the science and smashing action that made this series fun to begin with. Notions of reverse timelines, a more dangerous version of Hulk and the way he plays with how Banner’s life could have become more problematic makes for some sound concepts. However, they are not that well integrated to whole narrative as the story jumps from one idea to the next, with some of them being thrown without any concise explanation given.

This is unfortunately only one aspect of the problem, though, as the pacing of the issue is a bit rushed, with many things happening at once without any clear focus being given to more important elements along the way. With Zarrko providing a lot of exposition and explanation like a rather typical villain and some of the action going on between his boasting, the comics gives both too much explanation and too little at a time, as some of the more important elements are only delegated to a single panel of exposition, while others are given whole page without much being explained. How did Hulk punch the screen and reach Zarrko? How did it fix time? Why is the fact that Bruce Banner pushing one of the chronarchist backward sending him back in time? The story unfortunately does not give enough space for everything to be clear and fun as it gives more time on some of the more down-to-Earth elements like Bruce Banner wondering if he should just leave the Hulk there. It’s just a bit of shame that not everything can be summarized easily in this issue.

The art can be summarized with ease though, as Kim Jacinto is quite uneven in terms of quality. While his characters are cartoony, yet distinct and full of life, his backgrounds leaves much to be desired as they are mostly inexistent. His panelling is also a bit of a mess, with some of them being either redundant or simply too packed, with not a lot of innovation or creativity being thrown in order to mix things up a little. Not everything is bad, though, as his characters are particularly expressive, with their body language and their faces being distinct and diverse enough to work with the script. It’s just a shame though that he does not really help when the action arrive, as his way of putting on paper those ideas does not help them make any clearer. While he does seem to make his best to put those ideas in panels, the action is as rushed as the climax of the story.

The colorization does not fare much better, unfortunately as both Val Staples and Lee Loughridge seems to lack a certain diversity and restraint here. The heavy use of bright pink and other bright type of extreme colors to bring up hyperbolized energy reaction brings the point home, yet it is used far too often in this issue. With the color green and pink being preeminent here, it creates a lack of dynamism at it makes the art look a bit dull in some areas, with some of the more divergent choices of colors being submerged in those two massively present colors.

The Conclusion: There are some nice ideas, to be sure, yet the weird pacing, uneven art and colorization along with some of the more confusing scenes creates a misstep of an issue for a series that has been otherwise very enjoyable so far. It’s a shame, really.

Grade: C-

Hugo Robberts Larivière