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Friday, February 7, 2014
The timelines are in a state of flux. Meddling in the course of history by inexperienced players, the arrival of the original X-Men and the Spider-Man of 2099 in the present day, and the devastating events of the Age of Ultron epic have all taken their toll on the very fabric of reality.
To compound the crisis, the mysterious Chronarchists, agents of an unknown temporal power, are wreaking havoc at key points in history in order to fulfil a hitherto unknown objective, putting the entire multiverse at risk in the process.
Working on behalf of a secret subdivision of SHIELD, the Hulk and a copy of Bruce Banner’s personality downloaded into a mobile computer are sent on a desperate mission to prevent history from completely breaking apart.
From the last days of the dinosaurs to the Wild West and the time of Camelot, the time travellers find themselves teaming up with the likes of Kid Colt, Two-Gun Kid, Rawhide Kid, the Black Knight and Merlin the magician in order to defeat the Chronarchists’ schemes.
But even as they strive to preserve the present day they left behind, their adversaries are changing Bruce Banner’s personal past, altering the Hulk’s origin and wiping his friends from existence. Time is literally running out for both the green goliath and his scientist alter ego…
With the consequences of excessive interference in the time lines such a key point in both this series and the aftermath of Age of Ultron it’s a shame that more wasn’t made of the implications across the wider line of Marvel Comics, as the solution here seems remarkably straightforward for a threat which could actually unravel the entire history of the Marvel Universe. Only the final few pages hint at a wider consequence, and then only on a very personal level for Banner himself.
Given the rich past of the Marvel U, one would also have hoped for a few more cameos appearances from the likes of the Howling Commandos, the WWI Union Jack and his comrades in arms, or even the original incarnation of SHIELD which featured the likes of Leonardo da Vinci among its members.
That said, writer Mark Waid has once again produced a Hulk story which pits the emerald giant against new and exciting challenges, maintaining the high level of quality which has characterised this run, and you can’t turn your nose up at that.