What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Immortal Hulk #31! Simply astounding was the previous chapter of Immortal Hulk. Monster madness at its finest, and the kind which really shakes up the mission to change the world that Banner would have thought to be straightforward. Public opinion matters, and right now there is a new monster in town that they might already have better opinions about.
This thing, The Living Hulk was something else when it made its grand entrance as the hero to Arizona. They wasted very little time getting into what made this new enemy formidable. One would have assumed that The Living Hulk was something that could go toe-to-toe with the Hulk, but that would have been too easy. Instead they opted out for an enemy who knew a better game to play. The only game which neither Hulks or Banner knew how to play. It wasn’t enough to know that people would consider him cuddly, or lovable. We needed to know why something people have clearly never seen before is suddenly widely recognized and appreciated more than the Hulk. The answer to that was chilling because Roxxon found themselves a winner who does what they do on a whole new level.
This setback was interesting for the fact that it also shakes up the dynamic of the Hulk personalities. For all the control they had, in just one moment you could see where things could go wrong once more. Maybe it was because of this The Living Hulk, or maybe it was a matter of inevitability, but you have to admire the new challenge which they have now been presented with.
That aside, it was bold that they chose this chapter to explore the past of McGowan. As crucial as her role is to team Hulk, its hard to say how much you could invest in a character like her. Is she meant to last? Is she meant for a greater purpose? Who knows, but its hard to ignore the fact that the only way to invest in a character like her is to understand where they come from. In the case of McGowan, that was understanding the job she had before General Fortean and before team Hulk. It was a solid story told, and one which did matter when showing just how far the grasp of this Living Hulk reaches.
It was definitely different that this time around there was two different sets of artists. Couldn’t really argue with this decision because it actually works when they bring on separate pencilers and colorists to handle different sequences. There was a McGowan sequence they kept revisiting, and it only made sense that they switched things up when this is a completely different atmosphere we were stepping into. One where you didn’t need the horror elements, the dark shadows cast, or the heightened expressions. With that said, switching back to Bennett and Paul Mounts in the main story, they still did amazing work when things were a bit calmer than when the monsters were running wild. It was interesting to see this thing which calls itself the Hulk, and yet for something with the same stature it came off as more manipulative and expressive for even only having eyes on the face. It was interesting seeing a full rendering as well for this thing and understanding where the fuzzball ends, and where all the mechanics in it begins.
For better or worse, the game changed for the Hulk by the end of this chapter. If you thought that this was ever going to be a war that could be won through brute force alone, then the team-up of the Minotaur and The Living Hulk say otherwise with the conclusion of Immortal Hulk #31.