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'Immortal Hulk Vol. 10: Of Hell and Death' wraps up an all-time classic
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Comic Books

‘Immortal Hulk Vol. 10: Of Hell and Death’ wraps up an all-time classic

‘Immortal Hulk’ ends on a message of mercy.

Immortal Hulk came to an end this year after what feels like one instant classic after another. It’s a series that was filled with thought-provoking ideas about life and religion while supplying body horror at a level never before seen in Big Two comics.

Note: Immortal Hulk is an instant classic, no doubt, but it’s a series also marred in controversy as writer Al Ewing vowed never to work with artist Joe Bennett ever again, while Marvel removed Bennett from future titles due to repeated instances of antisemitic imagery in his artwork. This latter news made reading and enjoying the finale of this series difficult, but I will attempt to review the volume on its own merits. In a vacuum, Bennett’s artwork in Immortal Hulk is incredibly detailed and in-your-face, but also not without its faults. For the rest of the review, I will focus on Al Ewing’s writing.

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Immortal Hulk volume 10, now available in comic shops, collects Immortal Hulk #46-50, meaning readers can now read the series in its entirety via trade paperback. Running 188 pages long, this is a longer collection in part due to issue #50 running over 80 pages long on its own. If you need a refresher, the story opens with Hulk in control and Bruce Banner trapped in Hell. Hulk is super-powered, super mean, and doesn’t care one lick about superheroes. He’s not hurting innocent people, but he’s also smug about Thor messing with his bar experience. It’s a story about a selfish Hulk who needs to know there are important people in his life.

The general path of the story starts with Hulk fighting Gamma Flight and the Avengers, followed by a hideout sequence, and finally going to the Below-Place for a showdown with Brainiac. It makes for a read that doesn’t have a beginning, middle, and end, but if you’re jumping in here and not reading the previous nine volumes for context, that’s on you.

This collection reads like Marvel mandated some big action before the finale. On small scale, these fights with the Avengers and Gamma Flight end up showing and not telling what Hulk is going through. He’s angry, but also uncaring and he needs to learn a thing or two about mercy. The action is big and in-your-face, with nearly every Avenger getting their licks in on Hulk and getting their butts handed to them. There’s also a disgusting move by Hulk where he envelops his regenerating arm around Thor’s head. Gross. This all builds towards She-Hulk–still in semi-verbal mode–realizing she needs to help Hulk.

This portion of the story is like the calm before the storm. Ewing smartly adds an element of tension by having the Hulk reveal to Betty he left Bruce in Hell. Considering the two were getting on well enough up until that moment, and Betty was practically admitting her and Bruce are over, the tension in the room escalates. The conversation they have is compelling, not only as two monsters but as two characters who have suffered for years. Hiding their true selves, lying, and coming to grips with the truth of why they rage add interesting wrinkles to both characters. Hulk makes an interesting point about growing up that ties into his anger and that understanding will play a part in Joe Fixit growing.

Immortal Hulk #48

So they just banged, right?
Credit: Marvel Comics

Prior to the final issue, Hulk heads to the Fantastic Four headquarters to use a portal and get himself to Hell. He’s realized late he might actually need Bruce Banner and vice versa. Told entirely via captions from the voice of reporter Jackie, a character who was there at the start of the series and had her life ruined by Hulk. The general flow of the language is poetic and thoughtful — it reads as if you’re in Jackie’s head, from her reflections on a superhero battle taking place mere feet from her to reflecting on the Fantastic Four rocket that gave them their powers. It does feel a bit like filler as we await the inevitable jump to Hell, though, and it’s also a bit jarring because Jackie has been mostly at the side and never the focus. Either way, it allows Ewing to explore the character a bit more before she’s involved in the finale.

The story kicks into high gear with Immortal Hulk #50’s extra stakes thrown in as we witness the discovery of gamma rays in flashbacks. These flashbacks also add personal touches for characters, making things all the more personal. This finale has big ideas and big reveals aided by a four-page foldout splash. Hulk ends up discovering something about himself that feels earned given the history of the series, but it also feels a bit rushed at the end here. The message is a strong one, especially for society today, as we all could use a little more mercy for others.

Immortal Hulk Vol. 10: Of Hell and Death is a solid ending to a classic series that features big superhero action and a message about treating one another a little better. Like many superhero conclusions, the hero’s story doesn’t end here, though it does sprint a bit to its final message. That said, the use of flashbacks further builds on the Hulk mythos in ways that intrigue and are incredibly smart. This is a series for the ages.

'Immortal Hulk Vol. 10: Of Hell and Death' wraps up an all-time classic
‘Immortal Hulk Vol. 10: Of Hell and Death’ wraps up an all-time classic
Immortal Hulk Vol. 10: Of Hell and Death
Immortal Hulk Vol. 10: Of Hell and Death is a solid ending to a classic series that features big superhero action and a message about treating one another a little better. Like many superhero conclusions, the hero's story doesn't end here, though it does sprint a bit to its final message. That said, the use of flashbacks further builds on the Hulk mythos in ways that intrigue and are incredibly smart. This is a series for the ages.
Reader Rating1 Vote
8.8
If you're looking for big action this issue delivers
Flashbacks add additional stakes and purpose for these characters
Lighter on gore, although Thor's head getting stuck inside Hulk's regrown arm is gross
Slightly sprints to Hulk making a realization at the end
8.5
Great

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