What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Immortal Hulk #32! Do you remember Xemnu? This guy surely does not, but credit where it is due that this creative team could bring back an enemy of the Hulk who long time readers could truly appreciate. I mean, why not a villain like Xemnu when this is a book which as a whole takes us back to that original nightmarish concept of the Hulk.
As I said last month, the game changed for the Hulk by the end of Immortal Hulk #31. 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 Xemnu say otherwise. If there is one are where Banner and friends always fall behind, it is the public opinion. Even with the popularity they managed to gain from their declaration of war against the world, this did not change the fact that no one likes the idea of change itself being forced upon them. From the minute this issue began, we were seeing a transformed world. You would think that a corporate powerhouse like Roxxon was untouchable, but what is that kind of power in the face of someone who can dominate minds so effortlessly through the use of screens alone? That is a terrifying force to unleash in the modern world as we could see Xemnu’s influence stretching to news programs, people on the streets, tv series, and much more. The shock hit hard seeing how so much work could be undone by one person.
Now Immortal Hulk is not the book we have invested in if we aren’t being treated to some of the more twisted elements to the story. It was worth the wait to finally understand what makes Xemnu so fitting for this book. For most of us, all we were really seeing on the surface was some furrball who looked like he could be taken apart like a toy. How could you not with all of these metal piece which seem like it is holding him together? They made it count finding out exactly what made him terrifying once the curtain is pulled back on the facade he carries. It was a scene that again reminded you of why this book could never be the same if we had any artist other than Joe Bennett, or any other colorist than Paul Mounts who knows how to set the tone for everything that surely made you cringe about what lied beneath those metal bits.
What impressed me by the end of the issue was seeing where there was room for team Hulk to fight back against this one-eighty that their plans took. When Xemnu stepped into the conflict, there was no telling how this new obstacle was going to be toppled. Though Ewing found a clever way of creating a backdoor to Xemnu’s control. We saw this through the Hulk’s ability to retain a sense of who he was, and he pushed that further through others finding unique ways of maintaining what keeps them self-aware upstairs.
Aside from the nasty visual that came with this art team showing us what makes Xemnu tick on the inside, there was plenty to enjoy about the interior work in this chapter. Personally, I loved the way that this art team turned the layout of this issue into something of a mental trip. They had fun with the way that Xemnu inserted himself into everyday life for the world. Even though this is the modern world, they had no problem keeping things classic with the use of older model TVs, the static effect of channel transitions, and certain tricks to create the illusion that there is evil intention behind every inserted memory. I think what most will enjoy most was the Hulk personality who finally makes an appearance by the end. They made sure this one had the presence to emphasize what powerful really looks like in the face of just the regular Hulk.
Right now, Xemnu redefines what powerful means. Who knew that all this time there was something this powerful on the back-burner that no other writer was brave enough to bring back into the world of the Hulk? Immortal Hulk #32 is the chapter which makes you appreciate the involvement of Xemnu more than you thought you would have initially. Like I said, it is refreshing that not every challenge is going to be met through a slobber-knocker.