Indestructible Hulk Annual #1: Review

Dec 2013
Jeff Parker, Mahmud Asrar

Story Name:

Journey into science

Review & Comments

4 stars

Indestructible Hulk Annual #1 Review by (December 14, 2013)
Jeff Parker has been a very occasional write on Hulk, but not the current series. Conversely Mahmud Asrar has only illustrated Hulk in a couple of the latest issues. Iron Man is on the cover with a grey armour that looks even more like War Machine than his grey armour in part of the current IM#19. But inside it's his regular armour from the latest series. This issue is of course squarely in the current era of Banner/Hulk working for SHIELD, after Bruce finds out about Patricia Wolman's motives back in #7. The intro page mentions Tony Stark discovering he was designed to design super-weapons by Recorder 451, but doesn't mention that it was his secret brother Arno who that was really done to. These suggest that the story may be set pre-Infinity while Iron Man was still with the Guardians of the Galaxy but after the bulk of the Secret Origin of Tony Stark. This story also continues the scientific rivalry between Banner and Stark as exemplified in Avengers Assemble #9-11 and A+X #7.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Indestructible Hulk Annual #1 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Many years ago Dr Derenik Zadian gave a lecture at Oxford University to an invited audience of the brightest students from all over the world. Bruce Banner and Tony Stark were in the front row. He told them all they needed to decide whether to be theoreticians or experimentalists. But more important they needed to specialise in something that would attract funding. And military work was always well funded.

Zadian didn't think the son of Howard Stark would need to worry about money. And when he heard that Tony planned to focus on defence tech Zadian predicted a bright future ahead for him.

Banner objected to the idea that only weapons work would get funded and be successful. But Zadian dismissed him, saying most advances were spin-offs from defence research. Like the planes that flew them here.

Now Bruce Banner and Iron Man are cooperating in trying to find where Zadian has been for several decades, working for Banner's current SHIELD boss Maria Hill. 1 of Banner's assistants Patricia Wolman has found records that indicate he was working for the Navy on 1 of the local islands. But nothing to say which, or what he was doing. However the military abandoned the project. But recent shipwrecks suggest something is going on around here.

Iron Man is flying around looking for evidence of which island was the base. Suddenly something interferes with his armour and he falls into the ocean, but he is able to swim back to the SHIELD boat. They appear to have found their target.

Maria Hill sends Banner and Stark in a small boat to investigate. Wolman wants to go with them, and gets angry when Hill refuses. Banner takes her aside to talk her down. He knows that she has a degenerative disease, and she joined his team hoping that working with the Hulk would get her killed for the life insurance money for her father. But Patricia says that isn't her aim this time. Dr Zadian had the same disease, and a genius like him could have found a cure for himself. Whatever, she doesn't get to go on the mission.

When the scientific duo get near the shore they are attacked by 3 manta-like creatures with several stubby tentacles and a variable number of Cyclopean eyes. 2 take Banner overboard while the other grabs Iron Man in a high-pressure grip. Then Banner erupts out of the water as Hulk crushing his opponents. Stark muses that of course he could use his tech to defeat his monster, but it's easier just to call Hulk over to smash it.

Then Tony detects a burst of radiation from the centre of the island, which transforms Hulk back to Banner. And patterns of electrical activity in the sand precede the formation of a column with a large eye atop it. Iron Man blasts the eye to bits, but the sand just forms lots of little eyes at ground level.

Then the sand fuses into a large silica creature which attacks them, and more sand swarms over Shellhead's armour, freezing it. As the silica creature is about to cave IM's helmet in, Bruce becomes Hulk again and it's smash time once more. But more silica monsters form, and Stark detects the radiation pulse again that will de-Hulk Banner. He persuades Hulk to take them away into the jungle before that happens.

Away from the beach Iron Man's armour starts working again. He collapses it (into a backpack?) as Banner resurfaces. The heroes settle in for a night on the island, and find that they can't contact the outside world. Before they were attacked by the mantas Tony had asked Bruce why he invented the gamma bomb. (And revealed that he didn't remember Bruce at Zadian's lecture.) Now Bruce admits that he'd wanted to turn gamma rays into a power source, but as Zadian predicted couldn't get funding. Then Zadian put him in touch with the military, and the rest is history.

Next day the duo make their way to the volcano cone at the  centre of the island. Bruce is suspicious that there is a track for them to follow although there don't seem to be any large animals to have made it. His suspicion turns out to be well-founded as the ground opens up beneath them at the end of the path. They fall down into a cavern where they are confronted by a giant head of Dr Zadian.

It turns out that the scientist has turned the whole island into a huge interconnected defence system. To make it work he had to upload himself into the system, which was OK because his body was dying. The whole island is now Zadian. Including the fruit that they ate last night, which is now preventing Banner from becoming Hulk. But Stark hurls insults to anger his companion until the big green guy emerges once more.

Of course Hulk just attacks Iron Man. But IM still manages to blast various important bits of Zadian's complex, which stops him from sending the de-Hulking radiation. Zadian retaliates by forming lots of monsters. Which at least gives Hulk something else to fight.

Zadian throws everything he's got against the heroes. Which Stark expects to put an intolerable strain on the crippled system. The island's defensive forcefield goes down and Iron Man is able to fly free as Zadian's base explodes. A quick calculation tells Stark how far Hulk would have been thrown by the explosion, and flying round a circle of that radius he soon finds and picks up Banner.

Mahmud Asrar
Mahmud Asrar
Nelson Daniel
Mahmud Asrar (Cover Penciler)
Mahmud Asrar (Cover Inker)
Dave McCaig (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Cory Petit.
Editor: Mark Paniccia.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Bruce Banner)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

> Indestructible Hulk Annual: Book info and issue index

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