What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Immortal Hulk #33! Issue #32 was the chapter which made you appreciate the involvement of Xemnu more than you thought you would have initially. So far it has been refreshing that not every challenge is going to be met through a slobber-knocker. Not to say it won’t get to that point, because what else are you going to do when you have just reintroduced Worldbreaker Hulk into the story? Though it is fun to see what happens when a majority of the battle is being determined by mind over matter.
How Al Ewing approached this battle was intriguing from the very start because this is a Hulk situation, which unfortunately also requires a Hulk solution. Who would have guessed that this would lead to an exploration of the subconscious of the Hulks? I surely didn’t, and appreciated the experience for it. Of course since off the bat they decided to go with a dynamic of World War Hulk and Hulk to journey into their corrupted mindscape. With that said, it was quite a trip to say the least. Nothing was as you pictured it in your mind when you thought of the landscape which held all the Hulk personalities. Everything was a mess, which does make sense of why it has been so hard to keep track of all the personalities which are not all accounted for.
What made this such a unique experience was also the fact that they decided to change the artist for the scenes which took place inside the mind of the Banner. If there is one thing you have to give this creative team credit for, it is that they know when immersing in a scene is as easy as picking the right visual style to set it in. Nick Pitarra was a good choice if you ask me. Everything was shapeless, with twisted proportions, in general broken. When you have a penciler like Bennett who does better with clean strokes, the right move was to bring in someone who could do the very opposite, while at the same time still being very detailed in the rendering of a setting that is somewhat new to us for the state it is now in. That said, outside of that art style, Bennett and Mounts still did their thing when it came down to capturing this Banner who has been stripped of his sanity. You think you have seen everything sick and grotesque about the transitions between Banner and Hulk, and then so quickly this art team shows us we haven’t seen it all. I was impressed by the boldness between gore and colors that they did not care to censor.
Now from the start of this issue you could definitely see that something was not right with what we were seeing on the surface. Surely enough most of us could have figured some things out before the journey really began with World War Hulk and Hulk. Regardless, it was still the journey which happened to matter more than the destination. As I said above, a majority of this battle is being determined by mind over matter. Meaning that there is nothing that raw power is going to accomplish so easily. So they had our attention for how this meathead could possibly figure out where he was losing this fight against Xemnu.
The best takeaway from this issue was the destination, because the cover image said enough that this was going to lead to a confrontation between Team Hulk, Minotaur, and Xemnu. That did not disappoint one bit. You knew that the time for talking was over, and all that was left was the smashing. You also knew that there had to be more to where this working relationship was going with Minotaur and Xemnu. What happened there was a brilliant development. Though none more brilliant than the realization in who this Thoughtful Man is. Even at the very end there was appreciation for how Ewing leaves no stone left unturned in the Hulk’s world.
One thing which made a big difference in enjoying this issue of Immortal Hulk was the decision to make this a big issue. There was more pages and content packed into this chapter since it is Marvel celebrating 750 issues of the Incredible Hulk.
Every time you think you have seen it all, this creative team tells you to wait. The best kind of horror is the kind which hits you out of nowhere, and this issue nailed every notable scene where it delivered. Immortal Hulk #33 will give you the chills, will satisfy your need for action, and keep you coming back for more with a stunning twist to a problem no one saw coming.