Writer: Al Ewing / Artist: Joe Bennet / Marvel
What part of immortal do people not understand? Is it the part where the Hulk survives another one of Stark’s doomsday weapons? Perhaps when he shrugged off being chopped up and put away like a Southern jar of pickles? No, no, no…maybe they got confused when the Hulk got dried up like one of the California raisins and was sent to hell? He came back stronger than ever, and you think you can kill that? The audacity.
Okay, a quick recap. The last issue, Banner had a pretty heartfelt reunion with longtime love Betty Ross. Marvel continuity can be confusing, but Ewing does a great job of informing readers. Banner’s own fear and insecurities have broken his relationship with Betty, but she’s trying to reconcile that with her love for him. Using the events of past Hulk stories to add some emotional weight to the two characters meeting again is a great moment, which shows them trying to process the whirlwind of catastrophe that is their lives.
All of this is quickly interrupted by one of General Fortean’s trigger-happy soldiers, who is perhaps the dumbest man on Earth to think he can kill the Hulk with a gun. I don’t care if you’re a human weapon, putting a hole in the Hulk’s head is like giving the man a paper cut. If it wasn’t for the arrival of psychiatrist (and longtime 80’s wrestling fan) Doctor Samson, the Hulk would’ve peeled apart the cyborg hitman like string cheese.
Once the obligatory hero-on-hero showdown is over, readers get a better understanding of how the Devil Hulk was created. The conversation between Samson and the Hulk is some great stuff. Ewing follows up on the revelation that this version of the Hulk loves Banner. In a way the Devil Hulk is the father figure he never had, but always wanted. We see more of the Hulk’s point of view of the world and his penchant for throwing down judgment, with some insight into Banner’s own mindset these days.
Ewing continues to knock it out of the park with the Immortal Hulk. What I love about this series is his exploration of an overarching theme: basically, what does death mean in the Marvel Universe (or to an extent, comics)? The obvious answer is that death is meaningless, but it’s so much more than that in this book. It’s about how death and resurrection shape these characters, and it’s brilliant.
9 Therapeutic Tall Leaps in a Single Bound out of 10
Reading The Immortal Hulk? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.