As interesting as the background elements were, Mark Waid’s vision for the Hulk never entirely gelled over the course of Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. That was partly down to some unconvincing artwork. With Walter Simonson allocated to Gods and Monster that’s rectified at a stroke. The sample art is his opening page, radiating power with an enraged Hulk bursting from the panel boundary at the top and barely constrained by the remainder. It’s the Hulk as he should be seen, and Simonson is by some distance the best artist to work on the Indestructible Hulk series. This is helped by Waid’s plot enabling Simonson to revisit former glories, featuring Thor, Frost Giants and the opportunity for Kirbyesque machinery. Superhero comics should produce wonder and awe, and Simonson supplies it on every page.

To be fair to Waid, an imaginative script prompting great images is down to him, as over three chapters there’s never a point where the tension lapses or where the story drops the frenetic pace. Gods and Monster is collection worth buying for this story alone.

Not that the remainder is chicken fodder. Bruce Banner’s arrangement with S.H.I.E.L.D. was arrived at via some watertight legal agreements and documentation held by someone Banner trusted. We find out who that is as Daredevil teams with the Hulk on an illegal arms shipment bust. It’s another clever plot from Waid, but an indication of how important artistic interpretation is to any story. Matteo Scalera’s pages have their moments, a page where Daredevil enters a bar with the Hulk nicely presented, but most of the time he’s intent on keeping his illustration to head and shoulders viewpoints, when distance would be more appropriate. It leaves the story crowded and cramped. Still, as noted, it’s the Waid and Simonson combination that sells this graphic novel. S.M.A.S.H. Time is next. Both are also to be found within Indestructible Hulk By Mark Waid: The Complete Collection.