Last month’s issue of Immortal Hulk was quite the page-turner as we explored the mindset of General Fortean. There was a method to his madness, but you couldn’t have expected that this madness would also include repeating the past actions of his predecessor. Like I said before, one would have thought Thunderbolt Ross/Red Hulk was the greatest threat to anyone with gamma running through their veins, but then here comes General Fortean saying, “Hold my Beer”.
After that bomb dropped on our laps, I had to know what came next for the now expanding Hulk family. Though before that, we needed to see a little reflection upon events so far. It was the smart move that this next chapter began with Alpha Flight. Since they began becoming more involved in Gamma activity, there was always something nagging at me about their situation. Everything was fine at a point, but then here came Doc Samson, and things began to get complicated. Next to Langkowski, he was the next best person to turn to as an expert in this field, though that was not without raising some questions in the process. Especially when it came to Titania and Creed wondering why they haven’t seen more action. Who couldn’t argue with that? Majority of the time they have only been participants of the aftermath, and the time had to come eventually where they stepped up their game. This chapter was the perfect time to address doing just that.
Following General Fortean’s integration with the Abomination shell, it was anyone’s wonder how he would be affected by this. I believe all the right questions and concerns were raised in the moment. This isn’t Thunderbolt Ross or Rick Jones going through an actual procedure to become Gamma monsters. This is someone fusing themselves with a husk that has not been properly tested to be worn by someone who doesn’t already have gamma flowing through them. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, right? I enjoyed the little bit thrown in there to also indicate that you should brace yourself for something bad. He will either have control of this, or he won’t, but nothing like this comes without some drawbacks in the process. This is new territory we are treading. So I’m glad that Al Ewing chose this approach to giving us a new experience in the world of gamma.
Catching up with Bruce, Betty, and Rick came last, but it was a moment worth waiting for. This was a good time as any to get into what the current standing is between everyone in this group. Things got a bit cold and awkward with Bruce and Betty, but I’ll get into that down below. What jumped out at me more than that was the relationship between Jackie and the rest. It was anyone’s guess why they were still taking her along for the ride. Jackie is here for the story, but she is also there because she is safer with them. However, it still makes you question how much trust she can actually put in them. Betty still feels a bit broken, Bruce is shaky, the big guy she can definitely trust, but then there’s Joe who plays the wildcard. You don’t know what to expect from him, and it feels like we’re in the same seat as Jackie when you want to unravel that mystery.
Something I also liked about this scene with Betty and Bruce, is the way that Betty is now characterized. This is a pretty big leap that she has taken from Red She-Hulk into Harpy. Now was the best time to address her current situation in terms of being able to change, change back, and her personality engaging with a more familiar face.
Like the issue before, this one was a bit more tame than your average issue of Immortal Hulk. Not a bad thing at all, because this art team excels at bringing out different elements to this nightmarish tale. First off, it was great to have Joe Bennett back. We knew the change was only for the Fortean focus, and that was acceptable for how the interiors turned out. Bu here we are back to the main story and he delivered in engaging us in one of the more character driven issues. Especially when it came to the Alpha Flight side of things, and the team Hulk side of things. Let’s start with the creep factor of Joe. That shot through the roof when experiencing a Hulk in human form. Joe brings emotions to Bruce that you just aren’t used to seeing. He’s confident, bold, smiles a lot more, and has no problem with being a bit confrontational. All these things are just written on his face and set a mood while conversing with Jackie. With Alpha Flight, I loved seeing this side of Titania explored. She’s not good or evil, just someone who looks like she has been attacked personally and wants to respond in kind. Her body language in particular spoke volumes to what everyone else wasn’t willing to say in the moment. As for Fortean? It was terrifying to see him move around with this little face slapped onto a big body. Once more I also admired the colors used for his flesh. All of it blends so well. Aside from that, the intensity of greens used to represent gamma was stunning for the explosive effect alone.
Immortal Hulk #22 was a thrilling issue for everything that has now been set up for team gamma. Words were exchanged, and we now know what is going through the mind of everyone involved in this new war of the Hulks. If General Fortean didn’t have everyone’s attention before? He has their full attention now that this has become personal. Motivated by a tortured Rick Jones, motivated by a slain Langkowski. The next issue is going to be action-packed for sure!