Writer: Jeff Parker
Pencils: Mahmud Asrar
A young Bruce Banner and Tony Stark are seen at a conference for young gifted geniuses about what to do in the field of science. A moment in their past that put them on their paths to become who they are now. When S.H.I.EL.D. uncovers a possible threat created by their former mentor the two team up to get to bottom of just what’s been happening on a very strange island. We start out with Banner and Stark discussing their past, and get to a question we all sort of forget about, “Why the gamma bomb?” just as banner goes to answer he’s attacked by a strange creature and The Hulk and Iron Man begin their journey to this mysterious island.
Upon reaching the island Hulk is myseriously transformed back in Banner, having only been the Hulk for three minutes Banner and Stark become a little concerned about just where they are and what the hell is going on. With no time to get the sand off them, litterally, the beach itself forms crystal monsters out of the sand and begin assault on our heroes, with trap and peril ahead they find themselves face to face with their former mentor as his has turned this island into a weapon and himself into the controlling force on the island. Of course to top it off can prevent Banner from becoming the Hulk…that is until Stark pisses the hell out of him, barraging him with insult after insult, no power can match Tony Stark’s power to be a total @$$. It ends in the comic book, which you should buy.
The Bad: Its not a huge issue but why did Jeff Parker write this issue, he’s about to take over Aquaman over at DC why is he stepping in for the Annual instead of Mark Waid, who was solicited to write this issue. I feel also cheated that it stepped away from how intense things with Banner’s staff has been getting! I know annuals sometimes have nothing to do with whats going on in the actual title, but come on!
The Good: Mahmud Asrar paints the picture I want in an issue with both Iron Man and the Hulk, looking at this issue gives me hope for at least how cool the Relaunch of Wolverine and the X-men is gonna look. While this maybe his only stint at Marvel for a long while, it was cool to see Jeff Parker write this issue, and did a great job with Stark and Banner’s relationship.
The Verdict: It served its purpose as an Annual that had nothing to really do with whats been going on, but it is a fun read, a little lighthearted at times, a little dark at times. I’m not gonna say this was the Hulk Annual you thought was coming in Mark Waid’s run, but its worth a once over. Its a wait for the trade kinda issue.