Issues like these past couple from Immortal Hulk truly remind you of the kind of horror you have been missing from Marvel. Honestly, anyone could sit there asking where’s the Hulk they are more familiar with. You know, the kind who transforms when angry and can only speak small syllable words. However, where’s the fun in that Hulk? Where is the thrill in his world? Immortal Hulk challenged us to follow these two back to the way things were in the beginning. Back to where the time of day contained the monsters, and where the limit is the sky to what kind of monster you could encounter aside from Hulk.
Immortal Hulk #18 was a wild ride because they brought Rick Jones and Blonsky in the most terrifying of ways. This abomination was both of them and neither of them at the same time. I truthfully thought that he was just going to be another throwaway monster. That the Hulk would simply give him that one-two and call it a day. I was blown away by what turned out to be the actual result of their confrontation. It was nothing like what you pictured in your head when it came to two Hulks clashing.
Speaking of Hulk’s clashing, the biggest surprise was seeing that the main focus for this issue was actually Betty. Since her initial death and transformation, wheels have been spinning to figure out just what happened here. What kind of Betty were we dealing with? What kind of Hulk were we now introduced to? Big questions that made her story so engaging this week. Like Banner, they wasted no time really digging into Betty’s past and how things were not so perfect for her either. Betty may not have been as broken as Banner, but she went through just as much that would tear any normal person’s mind apart. Their dissection of her state of mind truly manifested in this monster she had become. I was personally just happy that Betty was still in there for the fact that we are also being challenged to accept that a monster is just a monster depending on who is driving the ship. This was still the same big red girl who hits without holding back, but allowing herself a little more room to go the extra distance being something more monstrous.
The tag along from Jackie McGee was a surprise, but I couldn’t argue with the human perspective. Jackie could easily become a troublesome character for everything she does which might get in the way, though fortunately she has also been molded by her interactions with this corner of the world.
Once more this art team knocked it out of the park. Every horrific picture they put in our minds this issue was beautiful from the twisted capabilities of this new Abomination, to the brand of violence that this new Betty could inflict on her way to her prey. Let’s start with Abomination. That is a sight you simply can’t over. On the outside it just looks like another Abomination, but that face never gets easier to look at. I was actually impressed because it takes some attention to detail in order to pull off a set of hands constantly covering and face and unfolding without looking off. Then when you get to the heads within, those flesh colors on top of the distortion of the faces really gets you because you are left conflicted about the emptiness written on those faces versus the clear pain. When it came to Betty, this was one of the most distinct Hulk transformations we have seen in quite some time. I enjoyed how they did so much here while also still making this thing resemble Betty. The stretching mouth was a good touch, the piercing yellow eyes were perfect, and let’s not forget the wings which blow you away with the detail put into them when they expand.
Something did come, and it definitely did wear the face of a friend. We may not know what the hell happened when this friend found her target, or even who her true target is, but it was all chilling. Immortal Hulk #19 continued to genuinely shake up what you define as a monster. If you ever thought the Hulk was up there as the stuff of nightmares, this story continues to prove you wrong time after time.