The Immortal Hulk #3
Written by: Al Ewing
Art by: Joe Bennett, Ruy Jose, Leonardo Romero, Paul Hornschemeier, Marguerite Savage, Garry Brown, Paul Mount, and Alex Ross (cover art)
Published By: Marvel Comics
Released: July 18th, 2018
Ever since I was young, the Hulk has always been a character who has stuck with me. Perhaps it’s due to his unique and iconic character design, or maybe it’s the use of rage as an unlimited powerup as it’s filtered through the ideals of a Frankenstein-esque personality and Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde levels of eerie transformations. Yet, through the last fifty-six years of the green goliath smashing his way across a plethora of paneled pages, there are very few stories of the character which encompass what the character truly is, his ambiguous nature as a heroic figure, and the terrifying concept on which he is based….. Until now. See, through the remarkable use of the written word by Al Ewing and the unsettling artwork crafted by Joe Bennett (along with a set of spectacular covers by Alex Ross), the creature known as the Hulk…. The secondary soul of the gamma scientist known as Bruce Banner has, once again, found his home in the genre he belongs in, the genre of horror.
Marvel has always had a pretty good foot in the door when it came to horror. I mean, with characters like Blade, Elsa Bloodstone, Ghost Rider, and other various Tales of Suspense/Amazing Adult Fantasies, it would be hard to argue against the fact. The company’s ability to utilize the ideological structures of traditional superheroics and implement it into various other genres has been a staple since its inception and has traveled with it into the present-day breadth of modern stories. And, with the release of Immortal Hulk #1 back in the star of June, the not-so-jolly green giant has been placed back with the pantheon of aforementioned horror heroes. As now not only does emotional stress bring forth the lime-hued avatar of unadulterated rage, but so does the light of a full moon… Hearkening back to the days of old-school lycanthropian horror films and the character’s first series when Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were behind the wheel of their newest creation.
The third issue starts as a reporter known as Jackie McGee (an in-joke for fans of the Bill Bixby/Lou Ferrigno series) interviews a quartet of individuals about an “unconfirmed” Hulk sighting, unconfirmed only because Bruce Banner and The Hulk were supposed to have met their demise during the events of Civil War II and have now been inexplicably revived (hence the premise of the “Immortal Hulk”). The three interviewees are as follows a police officer, a bartender, an elderly woman, and a priest who each share their own unique perspective (and art style) on a singular story pertaining to the rage-fueled mutate as he takes down one of the lesser-known villains in his rogues gallery*, Hotshot.
Using these unique perspectives to the story, along with the differing art-styles between pages, felt organic and gave the book a sense of humor in certain spots. Whether it be Hotshot envisioned as a gamma-irradiated James Dean clone and the 40’s/50’s-styled environments that the elderly woman had conceived in her mind to explain the story, the art-style picked for the cop whose memories looked as if they were ripped straight from the pages of old-school hero books, or the darkened hues and swirls of blacks and greens from the hand of Paul Mounts that make the priest’s viewpoint of the entire ordeal a completely harrowing experience. The book maintained an aura of levity while bringing you brief instances of horror and action-packed heroism like Hulk crushing his adversary’s hands, a hole the size of a bowling ball in the big ball of green’s chest that re-heals itself after being split down blood, bone, and internals…. Or one image that I will forever be unable to scrape from my brain, even with employment of a steel-wool brush, involving a friend of Hotshot. The Immortal Hulk #3 managed to station itself pretty strongly in its genre of choice, but also managed to branch out to grant the book a unique feel in an overall sense.
Throughout his tenure as one of Marvel’s most flagship heroes, the Hulk has been given the shaft plenty of times by the character’s parent company when it comes to his titles and the utilization of his mythos. However, this book is starting out as not only one of his best series so far, but a complete spotlight and celebration of the character and his history. Al Ewing has a complete understanding of Bruce Banner and his temper tantrum-having alter-ego. Honestly, I’m excited for the future of this title, especially the next issue because that last-page teaser…. DAMN! I’M HERE FOR IT!
Immortal Hulk #3 is equal to 5/5 Hotshot hand beams, would recommend to everyone.
*Who am I kidding all of Hulk’s rogues are criminally underrated!
P.S. Can I please get The Leader written by Mr. Ewing along with the Abomination AND a modern-day Thing Vs. Hulk rock ’em, sock’em? I mean, if that’s not too much to ask for…