What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Immortal Hulk #35! It was issues like the previous one which has made this one of the most captivating books which Marvel has to offer this year too. The Leader is a villain with a very complicated character history. One which has never been too consistent either. Yet all it took was the ambitious mind of this creative team to make sense of it all through the Green Door. I don’t know what their endgame is for The Leader’s role in this, but I definitely find myself invested what happens next since both Agger and the Living Hulk both removed as obstacles.
Off the bat, I welcomed the effort to bring everyone up to speed at the start of this issue. Regardless of how amazing that last issue was, it didn’t change the fact the end of the previous story arc came before that, and that was also some months ago. Meaning it doesn’t hurt to have slot that one page to put everything into perspective between all the current Hulks and what has happened up to this point.
That said, the big question was where do we go from here. As with most things which have unfolded since Banner declared war on the world, then came the world-building. This is the one thing I personally have appreciated about this book more than anything else. Hulk is a matter of perspective. He is nothing more than what other people see him as. After the Roxxon fiasco? It wasn’t hard to believe that he would be the big hero in their eyes. It wasn’t enough to know that there was a grateful humanity which knows who saved them all. We had to see how they actually expressed this gratitude in the form of news interviews. Which also brings us to the question of if this is the turning point for Banner, the Hulks, and Shadow Base. The answer to that was quite chilling. They tease us with the idea that something good could come of this recent win, but this has never been that kind of story. Never has been. So where things did go wrong was quite the spectacle. Specifically in terms of who pulled the trigger for things to fall apart.
A big takeaway from this issue was finally seeing one of the Hulk alters say what none of the others have been able to say themselves. For everything that has managed to go right between most of these alters, there is no denying a history shared between them that has been glanced over for a bigger picture. It only made sense that there would be one in the system who still had something to say. Especially after what happened with the Living Hulk. It wasn’t a scene to forget either, because it’s not often that you will see Banner so remorseful for something he has had a habit of doing for years, instead of facing his problems directly.
One thing did crush me, and that was what we got from Betty this month. This creative team has had no problem jumping into a lot of mysteries, but this one right here? I’m shocked that they have held back so much to deny us a proper answer as to why Betty stays as Harpy in the presence of Bruce. We could assume many things from this given her character history, but we aren’t Betty. And to some extent this is a completely different person that we are dealing with since Betty became Harpy. Until that issue comes where she is explored inside and out, we just have this human-sized question mark which is just begging to be unraveled.
For this issue we have guests artists Mike Hawthorne (penciler) and Mark Morales (inker). It was an interesting choice that with the story properly picking up again they chose a guest artists instead of having the original art team tackling this. Yet at the same time I couldn’t find anything to argue with either. Hawthorne and Morales did an excellent job on this issue. Enough so that it really did take me some time to pick up on the fact that it wasn’t Bennett drawing this. Of course you could see some key difference through the way some characters are drawn. Less detail in the faces, a little more curve to the edges, an overall stronger use of inks. Though you could also see some panels where the style almost looked the same, if not only briefly. It was close enough that it didn’t distract you from the story unfolding. I would say that it helped having Paul Mounts still there on colors. Keeping the colorist consistent is one of the best ways to maintain uniformity. Mount’s color work for this book is brilliant for the way that he sets the the tone, the mood, and the atmosphere. With every change of scene came a different response that we got from the strength and intensity of his colors. This goes for his use of range too. It goes a long way towards separating a flat image, from one that really aims to steal your attention.
Back into the main story with Immortal Hulk #35, and once more we are reminded that the work Banner is trying to accomplish is easier said than done. There’s nothing more dangerous than an enemy right under your nose. Unfortunate that this is something which Banner and friends are going to have to find out the hard way.