Monday, June 11, 2018

The Immortal Hulk #1 Review - Marvel Monday

You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Relaunched

Written by: Al Ewing
Art by: Joe Bennett, Ruy Jose, Paul Mounts, and Cory Petit
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: June 6, 2018

Out of all the core Avengers characters, Bruce Banner has truly been through the ringer in terms of quality books. He was unceremoniously killed off in Civil War II, and was replaced by the mostly unbearable Amadeus Cho for years at this point. Marvel has finally decided to bring back everyone’s favorite Green Goliath. Does this new take rejuvenate my love for the character? Let’s find out.

The book opens in a very unglamorous fashion, at a gas station. A man walks in with the intention to rob the joint, but a series of unfortunate events leads him to gun down the three people in the gas station, including Bruce Banner himself. A woman named Detective Mayes provides some information about the victims at the crime scene to a reporter, and the body of Bruce Banner wakes up in the morgue.

This was a very interesting issue. If the Hulk was replaced by a random monster or just a character with a vengeance, this would fit comfortably with a more indie publisher. The fact that this is a Hulk story is what’s most impressive about it, and that has me excited. I must say that, as a whole, I wouldn’t be too compelled to read the next issue if I wasn’t reviewing it.

The story and the tone are unique enough but, frankly, most of it comes across as pretentious to me. The opening quote that starts the story, the final few pages, and the essay by Al Ewing at the back of the book aren’t enough to truly hook me into this story. It’s mostly because I don’t really care about any of the characters in this issue, Banner included.

This take on the character didn’t just come out of the blue. In the recent Avengers: No Surrender, the revelation that Bruce could never truly die was interesting because we viewed his constant resurrections from his perspective. Here, Bruce himself is in two scenes and I don’t understand exactly how he views himself or these events. His final line, “I’m not a bad person. Am I?” comes across as false to me because I never equated Banner and Hulk to be the same person. Hulk may be a manifestation of Banner’s fears or anger, but they’re not the same, and that’s the angle that Ewing is taking with the series. It could prove to be more interesting down the line, but so far I’m not entirely sold.

Joe Bennett does some mostly fantastic work in this issue. I’m not the biggest fan of his Hulk, but other aspects of the art, namely the character acting and the action scenes, are extremely solid and prove how capable Bennett is as a creator. I feel like Bennett doesn’t have much of a framework to work with since this is a more unique story than most Hulk stories of the last few years, so this world feels entirely his own. Bennett really knows how to impact the reader. From the opening scene with nice, tall panels to the impressive and surprising double page spread near the end of the issue, Bennett is doing something special here and I can’t wait to see more.

Bits and Pieces:

This is an intriguing debut but much of the character introspection I’ve come to love about the character feels slightly misguided to me. The art is very strong and is the highlight of the issue, but the plot needs to be more substantial to get me interested.



  1. Thanks for the great review! I agree with you on the story being a little flat and not really making me want to see the next issue. There's quite a bit of hype around this comic. I don't normally read Hulk, but had heard so much about this that I jumped on the bandwagon. . .and found all the LCS in my area were completely sold out. Had to drive to another town to even find one! I really don't think it's worth the hype OR the $4.99 price tag. It's pretty good, but not much more than that.