What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Immortal Hulk #44! After a good bit of set-up, now we find ourselves with the mostly depleted Hulk facing down the U-Foes. The Hulk has been in some challenging situations before, but this one is something different that they have gotten themselves into. And not just because this is a one versus four confrontation.
When you flipped open to that first page, this creative team pulled no punches with the kind of battle this turned out to be. I mean if this Hulk struggle to stand against The Thing? Obviously taking on the U-Foes was going to be significantly one-sided. Though it was how one-sided this turned out to be which throws you at the edge of your seat. It was quite horrific to see just how prepared these villains were to simply go overkill on the Hulk.
Now the great thing about this issue is that it finally digs into the character that is Henry Peter Gyrich. For some readers this guy will be well-known, but depending on where your reading habits take you in the Marvel Universe, this guy might not be someone you find yourself very familiar with. For this guy he was fairly unfamiliar, so it was a welcomed surprise that this issue would focus on characterizing this character for the rest of us who want to really understand what makes this guy tick. And not only that, but what makes this guy so dangerous.
Another thing which was great to see is that there was room to jump back into this Rick situation. Mainly because I think we all want to know how his situation is going to be fixed. It helped that there were those present as well who would make that easier too. Those like Jackie in particular who I enjoy them using differently now that she can see the world like everyone else in the gamma family, though a bit deeper.
And the icing on the cake? That just happened to be us finally seeing what has been going on in the place below. So much has been going on above ground that it was easy to forget all that the Leader must have been doing down below to solidify his grasp of power. The revelation was both startling and satisfying to create new anxiousness towards what comes next.
This art team did brilliant work this issue because the chance was not missed to get into gruesome detail when it came to the pain being dished out to the Hulk. I mean it is one thing to see the Hulk being beaten to a pulp, and another thing to just see him shredded, torn, and burned to the bone. In general was the kind of horror that you come to expect from this book and more. The other thing which visually jumps out at you is the image created of what Jackie sees when her newfound powers are active. It doesn’t just stop at simply seeing gamma. She sees through it, beyond it, and that creates a different experience from what is normally so destructive about gamma energy. That visual of green in x-ray form is both a breath of fresh air and unique.
All in all, Immortal Hulk #44 was brutal. It really is never a good day to be a Hulk.