What more can be said about Immortal Hulk at this point? Listen, it’s consistently the best thing on the shelves every couple of weeks. Every issue is better than the one before, and each story – from the horror anthology of the first couple issues, to the Hulk against the Army story, to the Xemnu story – is fantastic in its own way. The art, as well, has been great, with character and story shining out from every line and color in each issue. There have been thousands of words written by many about just how fantastic this series is.
Immortal Hulk #38 is going to be just another issue like that. It’s good. It’s very, very good. It continues on the story from last time, with the Leader having possessed the ‘Worldbreaker’ identity from World War Hulk in Banner’s mindscape, while simultaneously unleashing two other Gamma Mutates – Rick Jones and Del Frye, from early on in the series – to destroy Banner’s secret Shadow Base. And from his base in Hell, the Leader taunts his fellow captive, Doc Samson.
There are so many ways that I could praise this comic. The way that it conceptualizes so much of the Hulk as reactions to child abuse is fantastic. Devil Hulk is supposed to be an idealized father, while Joe Fixit, it appears, is supposed to be more like his father as he really was. The Big Guy is, in a sense, a version of the child that Banner never really was.
The Leader’s attack on Banner fails, because he treats the Hulk as something with rules. “If X happens, then Y happens,” and all that. But the Hulk isn’t something with rules. It’s this mutable, changeable thing, all psychology, mythology, and cosmology. You can’t really put an idea in a cage, after all.
And that’s what this Hulk run really is. It’s all about the different ideas of the Hulk, and what exactly that Hulk is.