The Hulk teams-up with Thor and Daredevil...

(Panini Books)

THERE are some comics creators who will be forever linked with a particular character or series: Frank Millar and Daredevil, Steve Dikto and Spider-Man, John Byrne and the Fantastic Four, Neal Adams and Batman, and of course Walt Simonson and Thor.

Simonson’s 1980s run as writer-artist on the thunder god’s title not only propelled the book into the sales stratosphere, but it became a benchmark for how the character has been treated ever since, blending pseudo-science and mythological magnificence in epic, widescreen sagas truly worthy of his godly origins. So Walt’s long-awaited return to illustrate a team-up between Thor and the Hulk justifiably became headline news on comics websites across the globe.

Alongside writer Mark Waid, Simonson crafts a larger-than-life story which finds the green goliath and his SHIELD colleagues travel to Jotunheim, the land of the Norse ice giants, in search of a legendary frozen element, only to realise they have journeyed in time as well as space.

Allying themselves with a young version of Thor from a period long before his return to Midgard (Earth) in the guise of surgeon Donald Blake, the Hulk’s team must fight to survive in the extreme temperatures as well as preventing the ice giants from using their dimensional portal to invade Earth…

Of course the real selling point here is the chance to see Simonson illustrating Thor for the first time in decades, but that aside we are also treated to another fascinating instalment in Waid’s Hulk renaissance, as Bruce Banner continues to explore new ways of making the most out of his destructive alter ego for the benefit of mankind.

This volume also includes a two-part tale which finds the Hulk and Daredevil joining forces to track down dangerous stolen technology, with Matteo Scalera stepping in on artist duties. It’s a fast-paced action romp which continues Waid’s remit of bringing a sense of fun and levity to both of the featured characters (he also writes Daredevil’s solo book), while telling entertaining and innovative comics in the process.

After years of brooding, self-absorbed, and pretty depressing tales featuring a troubled Banner struggling to free himself from the “curse” of the Hulk, this new take on the character is a remarkable breath of fresh air, and proves there are still new and exciting stories to be told about the gamma-spawned behemoth more than 50 years after his creation.