Writer: Al Ewing / Artist: Simone Di Meo / Marvel
With Bruce Banner wrapped up in a murder mystery, Al Ewing pens an excellent first issue as Simone Di Meo breathes Earthy life into each panel. If the opening words of this issue fail to sent shivers down your spine, the cathartic
walk stumble through the desert and bone chilling thoughts that Bruce must navigate on a daily basis might spook the most indomitable of wills.
There is so much to like about this Hulk alone, lost in New Mexico tale. The first panel is an ode to OG Hulk, and a much simpler time in comics. What’s interesting, is the old school comic inclusion doesn’t end with that opening shot, oh no. We’re treated to a handful of scenes that splice in throwback panels to compliment the storytelling unimaginably well. If there was a letter at the end of this one, I’m 99% sure it would be a love letter to the original six-issue Incredible Hulk run from 1962 and how it changed Ewing or Di Meo, and sparked the inspiration for this Defenders tie in. Luckily, it’s only a peppering of images because the actual book is so well done that you don’t want it to be overshadowed or cluttered.
There is a fitting balance of tenacity and caution in Bruce Banner’s search for the killer of his friend…or friend of a friend, if you will. When he manages to come across someone who might be of some use, the inevitable happens. No, no not the big green guy. The unusual for a genius scientist, yet typical for Bruce Banner, fistticuffs. While the fight was vicious and bloody, there are some outstanding stylized moments of green eyes bulging out of Bruce’s head, and a horrifying set of teeth jutting out from his jaw. It’s those faint reminders of how devastating any encounter with Bruce could be. This almost feels like superheroes set in the world of The Walking Dead, and I’m here for it.
The end of this issue provides an intriguing twist in the formation of The Defenders. Hulk lies dormant for a majority of this issue, but once he’s unleashed from his cerebellum prison, it’s payback time. I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy a couple jokes as Bruce and Hulk play sheriff in this ghost town, but the constant feeling of dread is what did it for me. I’ve heard plenty of great things about Al Ewing, but I’m glad I finally get to witness the greatness first-hand. His issue-long theme of revealing man’s hidden true self was a welcome angle. This Defenders journey to unite the forces of Namor, Hulk, Dr. Strange, and Silver Surfer has been fun so far. We’ve only gotten looks at 2 of our heroes and while Namor was a grand exploration of Atlantean lore, The Immortal Hulk hits all the right notes and is leading the pack by shining in tone and writing.
8.5 Faces Underneath out of 10
Reading The Immortal Hulk? Check out BNP’s other reviews here.
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