"The Immortal Hulk #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Marvel Comics
Written by Al Ewing
Illustrated by Joe Bennett
Inked by Ruy Jose
Colored by Paul Mounts
Lettered by VC’s Cory Petit and Travis Lanham
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on July 4th, 2018
Bruce Banner is floating from town to town like a ghost. He has little more than the clothes on his back and he does his best to avoid being noticed. His alter ego doesn’t have that problem. The Hulk lurks within him, ready to come out when the sun goes down to deliver justice. When Bruce rolls into Turango and finds a string of bizarre deaths, he begins to put the pieces together, uncovering something for the Hulk to deal with under the cover of darkness.
The dynamic between Banner and the Hulk is chilling. Bruce can’t escape his other half. He sees the green monster in his reflection in a window or a fork, always present, waiting to come out again. Writer Al Ewing gives us an interesting look into Banner’s mind and how he’s realized he can die, but the Hulk can’t. Despite all the carnage he’s caused, he’ll never really be put down.
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What is particularly intriguing is how Banner feels that he’s lost some of his intelligence. He flat out says he thinks the Hulk is smarter than him now. As a reminder, we’re not dealing with brainless brute yelling, “Hulk Smash!” here. Instead this is a methodical monster who delivers justice to those who have committed horrible crimes.
The plot for The Immortal Hulk #2 unfolds like an episode of a procedural show. Bruce can’t quite get away from mystery or justice, so he gets pulled into this story. The truth behind this rash of deaths is unsettling to say the least. It starts with a madman and extends out to innocent bystanders who become poisoned in their most vulnerable time during the grieving process.
Artist Joe Bennett’s depiction of the Hulk is monstrous. It comes down to the eyes. He stares at his enemy with a piercing gaze that cuts right into their soul. The Hulk is more terrifying when he’s not screaming and smashing stuff. All that power moving in slower, more purposeful actions to deliver his own brand of gamma-radiation-filled justice.
The villain Hulk encounters, as seen on the cover for this issue by Alex Ross, is a shell of a man, glowing with radiation. This is the path Bruce Banner could have gone down if he didn’t transform into the Hulk. Colorist Paul Mounts makes this guy shine like an undead nightlight, revealing his bones beneath his dying skin. This contrasts well with the Hulk’s darker shade of green.
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Completing the package are letterers Cory Petit and Travis Lanham, who place the skeletal specter’s dialogue in sickly green word balloons. It’s interesting that the balloons and caption boxes for Banner are the same for the Hulk. Neither is green either. There’s more humanity in this monster than we’ve been led to believe.
There’s an intense feeling of foreboding throughout the series so far. You have to wonder if the Hulk’s piercing gaze will eventually turn on Bruce Banner. For now, it’s mostly cut off from the overall Marvel Universe, which has created a nice creepy corner for the comic to play out.
The Immortal Hulk reframes the green goliath from a rampaging monster to a methodical vigilante of vengeance. He stops short of murder here, but death would have been a better option for his victim than what was actually doled out.