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3 Reasons Why 'Immortal Hulk' is an ongoing classic
Marvel

Comic Books

3 Reasons Why ‘Immortal Hulk’ is an ongoing classic

One of the most thought-provoking comics on shelves today.

It’s very rare to see such a combination of critical acclaim and incredible sales for a Hulk comic book, which makes Immortal Hulk quite special. It’s a horror series that has pushed the needle in terms of what we might expect from a Hulk comic while delivering incredible body horror visuals and a complex, thought-provoking story. Due to the pandemic, it has been months since the last volume–volume 6 came out in March–but out this week is Immortal Hulk Vol. 7: Hulk is Hulk and it’s yet another example of how this series pushes the comics medium in new directions.

#1: A thoughtful examination of identity

The exciting thing about this series is how it balances ideas about identity, awareness, and the absurd as a normal function of life. You see it when Banner looks directly at us with crazy eyes, or when a character sits questioning their place as Xenmu makes them believe a lie.

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Midway through this book, Bruce is talking at the reader in an unhinged way. He’s walking closer to the reader, raising scary vibes only to cut to a double-page splash of a monstrous Hulk killing all sorts of heroes. It’s a good way to ramp up the implications of where Bruce is mentally and that plays a big part in this story. Very early on we come to realize the man, and the monsters within, aren’t thinking straight, putting Hulk into a weak state. The only way to stop the unstoppable Hulk, it seems, is through his mind and the mind of the monsters within. This creates a good conflict for him to overcome by the end of the story.

#2: Unparalleled body horror

The body horror in this book is not something you see in a superhero comic, which seems to be a statement about the creators and likely is giving readers unfamiliar with it something new to enjoy. Bennett continues to draw imaginative ways to make the grotesque give you a bad taste in your mouth — in a good way. The book is smart at depicting these gross monster images at varying sizes, and yet always in vivid detail. Pitarra draws the internal war going on in Hulk’s head and it does a good job establishing the various Hulks inside the character. The vivid and atmospheric horrors by Bennett mix well with the stylized and cartoonish look of PItarra’s pencils.

Immortal Hulk vol. 7

Never get lost in the mindscape.
Credit: Marvel Comics

#3: The very best bad guys

It’s unfortunate villains like Xenmu and the Leader aren’t more familiar to the casual audience. Maybe that’s because they’ve always had a B-movie sci-fi vibe, or maybe it’s because Al Ewing hadn’t written them yet. Both villains get a lot of time in this book, Xenmu in the main portion fo the book and the Leader in a later chapter. What sets them apart is how they are a different kind of evil, one that wants something not easily given, and that requires they transcend to a place that’s wholly terrifying.

Immortal Hulk #34 focuses exclusively on the Leader and delves into his backstory. Here we see what made the man who he is and what he truly wants. The attention to detail is exceptional, giving us a fully realized version of the character. His goals may not be that easy to relate to, but you can understand him. This story also does an exceptional job revealing how the Leader’s life is entwined with Hulk’s, further cementing the fact that the Leader is Hulk’s arch-nemesis.

The Verdict

Immortal Hulk has been in good hands with Ewing and Bennett at the helm, and they are joined by Mike Hawthorne, Javier Rodriguez, and Butch Guice in this collection. What makes this book stand out is how smart it is, never relying on gross-out visuals alone. Hulk and the horrors that come with him continue to be grotesquely delicious, but at its core, it’s one of the most thought-provoking comics on shelves today.

3 Reasons Why 'Immortal Hulk' is an ongoing classic
3 Reasons Why ‘Immortal Hulk’ is an ongoing classic
Immortal Hulk Vol. 7: Hulk is Hulk
Immortal Hulk has been in good hands with Ewing and Bennett at the helm, and they are joined by Mike Hawthorne, Javier Rodriguez, and Butch Guice in this collection. What makes this book stand out is how smart it is, never relying on gross-out visuals alone. Hulk and the horrors that come with him continue to be grotesquely delicious, but at its core, it's one of the most thought-provoking comics on shelves today.
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
Backs up its visual horrors with thought-provoking ones
Sharp art throughout by Guice, Rodriguez, Hawthorne, and Bennett
Some great supervillain moments that may stand up to the test of time
Each issue can feel unbalanced, especially when you compare them to each other. The Leader issue, for instance, lacks Hulk scenes, and the following issue is mostly characters talking to reporters. There isn't a consistency to the book for the most part which can be a blessing and a curse
9.5
Great
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