I was bowled over by Al Ewing’s writing and Joe Bennett’s striking visuals in The Immortal Hulk #1. The first issue perfectly opened up the series with a mysterious new relationship between Bruce Banner and the Hulk. It took place in a small town and had a horror vibe that gave the titular character a unique feel. This second issue delves deeper into Bruce Banner, the man who once dead.
So what’s it about?
Read our preview.
Why does this matter?
Al Ewing continues his critically acclaimed “fresh start” on Hulk and devotes most of this issue on Bruce Banner. If you’re dying to know more about Bruce dying and being resurrected (and where he’s at in his headspace), read this issue.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue focuses mostly on Bruce during the day, because the night is “his” time. This allows Ewing to probe Bruce’s thoughts via captions as he walks around a small town and attempts to fill his day. Ewing uses this setup to not only reveal a few details on how Bruce is different since Hawkeye killed him, but also what his purpose is as a hero. It’s an interesting setup that reduces Bruce’s super genius character to more of a roaming detective who happens to have a monster to unleash when things get dicey.
It’s not all exposition, though there’s a lot of that. No, instead the detective work continues and this time Bruce stumbles onto something quite interesting. It’s the sort of case that is subtle in its approach so that when everything is revealed later on you’ll enjoy it for what it really is to Hulk.
There isn’t a lot of smashing from the Hulk this issue, but we do get a few scenes with him and Bennett is very good at making him look like he’s chiseled from stone. The Hulk shouldn’t look like anything else and Bennett makes sure of that with his wide face, beady eyes, and the deep lines in his face. Bruce isn’t bad either. He has a youthfulness that suits his new lifestyle and really all the faces look realistic. There are quite a few close-ups of faces and it’s these types of shots that help ground the story in a reality we can relate to. That way, when glowing dudes show up later, we buy it.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The only element that seems a bit weak is why Bruce Banner is hiding from his old life. It’s mentioned very briefly before being cast away because now isn’t a good time. I don’t buy it. There should be more weight to it, and maybe there is because he’s lying to himself, but it’s an element that seems important in a universe with so many characters.
Is it good?
This issue does a great job supplying enough purpose to Bruce Banner’s current state of mind. It also starts down a mysterious road that should lead to some interesting supervillain beginnings. Hulk is back and scarier than ever.
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