Immortal Hulk as we know can be nightmare fuel, but last month you did not expect to also call this book heartbreaking. In a world full of monster exploited, it’s easy to forget that there can be no happy ending. Even if you’re someone who thought they escaped that world. I mean, to have a friend brought back from the dead to melt you down to a head and torso, and then your ex-wife who should also be a friend eating your heart out instead of lending a hand? As I said before, Immortal Hulk continues to shake up what you define as a monster.
Being that this is the Hulk, one thing we knew for sure is that he was going to come back somehow. That it would take more than being melted and losing his heart to take him out. The way that Hulk sprung back into action was one of my favorite moments. When they established that the Hulk has only ever tried to protect Banner, this changed everything about their dynamic. All the smashing had meaning to it, the running, and the anger at anyone who would do them harm. Including in this moment. Second to that was understanding what exactly happened when Betty/Harpy decided to eat Hulk’s heart. For everything you heard of her story, it was easy to believe the worst of intentions that she had when she decided to kill him. It was pretty awesome to actually come to understand that there was much more to what we were seeing. The response from Hulk, and even McGee brought it all together in the end.
I only had one worry about this issue, and that was if this brutal three-way between Abomination, the Harpy, and the Immortal Hulk would meet the hype. These issues move pretty fast, and tend to pack a lot into them. So it was hard to believe that they would spend too much time on three monsters beating the snot out of each other. With that said, credit where it is due. They managed to pull off a satisfying battle and there was nothing you could have predicted about the way it would go. There was much more that they had to worry about than each other, and outside forces kept everyone on their toes. It was brutal, no punches were pulled, and it was explosive as expected when a bunch of monsters clash.
What I did not expect from this issue was such exploration from the place below. There was no much that we did not know about this place because no one was ever straightforward about what it is exactly. Given what the Hulk just went through, it made sense that Bruce could make that trip once more and get the fully story. I found it enlightening for the way that it embraced gamma as more of a force. It also further strengthened that bond between these gamma beings that clearly was not vanquished when the Hulk thought he removed it from his family and friends. What this scene also turned out to be was terrifying. Bruce has picked up a lot of confidence about what he now understands about his existence. This revelation right here? That changes the game on him once more.
Once more this art team delivered with the kind of thrill you expect when the action is at its height. Visually they did not disappoint to capture every brutal moment that followed Hulk being torn apart. What was so creative about this clash was the human element to this. When you think of three monsters coming to blows, you don’t think there is much thought going into their actions. However, every action, reaction, and response came organic. This goes double for Betty/Harpy. This version of herself is a bit more detached, but still very aware of what she is doing. I was a bit more shocked to see how much more dangerous someone can be who has claws. That aside, I enjoyed our trip back to the place below. Same atmosphere, but a stronger presence of gamma that matched the revelation given to Bruce. More than that the last scene of this issue. It was certainly a bit empty, and Bruce was looking a bit starved, but you have to admire the little things that challenge the realm of possibilities for a Hulk.
This is the kind of action-packed issue of Immortal Hulk that makes you fall in love with the book all over again. This was the full package between heart, discovery, and loads of action. Things did get a bit strange at the very end, but it also gets the wheels turning in your head since the lore of Bruce Banner is being blown wide open.