The Immortal Hulk #7 // Review
“‘Devil Hulk.’ Works for me.” That line, uttered by the Hulk, sets the tone for issue #7 of Immortal Hulk, written by Al Ewing, with pencils by Joe Bennett, inks by Ruy Jose, and colors by Paul Mounts, as the great green one battles the clearly-outmatched Avengers. Previously, Marvel’s A-team was finally called in to deal with the recently-returned-from-the-dead Hulk, after he had nearly destroyed a hospital battling Sasquatch. This issue gives readers the explosive confrontation that they have been waiting for since this book began, and it does not disappoint.
Ewing has been teasing readers with hints of the nature of this incarnation of the Hulk for the entire run, only giving bits and pieces of his personality and motivations, but, so far, he has been downright creepy every time he shows up. This appearance is no exception. Present are his trademark toothy grin, his penchant for psychological manipulation, and his verbose nature, but this issue also gives the readers another key piece of this new Hulk’s personality: he doesn’t mind being seen as the villain. As quoted above, when called “Devil Hulk,” he just smiles and leans into it. Not to mention, despite his love of using his words, he at no point tries to talk the Avengers out of a fight. Instead, he nearly kills several team members, and might possibly have succeeded if not for intervention by the others. Thor, after getting his skull cracked, even says, “he is stronger than he was. Vastly so.” And, just to make it clear, this was not an angry Hulk. He wasn’t boosted by the old, “the angrier I get, the stronger I get” scenario. This was a calm, calculating, exponentially stronger Hulk that was enjoying hurting the Avengers. Ewing has been hinting that Hulk’s motivations were maybe not as altruistic as Banner’s throughout this run, but that notion is all but cemented in this chapter.
This issue also pulled off a rare feat in comics: the delivery of an all-action story that manages to also be chock full of great character moments, and not only for the Hulk. As stated before, Hulk gets plenty of revealing spotlight this month, but most of the Avengers get great panel time, too. From Thor’s disturbing assessment of the new Hulk, to She-Hulk facing off against her cousin, to Captain Marvel helping evacuate scared civilians, just about everyone on the team gets a moment to shine. And speaking of the civilians, Ewing also manages to share a few moments of regular people having to deal with superheroes battling in the middle of their town and the realistic impact it would have on them, much like a natural disaster in the real world. He shows it as both sad and unavoidable in the confrontation with the Hulk, and those sequences are genuinely some of the most effective in the book.
Bennett, as usual, knocks it out of the park. He was born to draw the Hulk, but he manages a pretty impressive Avengers in this issue, too. If it weren’t such a loss to this title, he would be amazing as the regular artist on Aaron’s current Avengers book. Jose and Mounts on inks and colors complete the perfect art team on this book. When this trio takes a month off, the book usually suffers for it. Luckily, they have been present most of the time, so the visuals are often a perfect compliment to Ewing’s fantastic writing.
In the end, this was a perfectly-constructed Hulk story. It’s everything a fan could ask for, including a knockdown, dragout brawl, great guest stars, spot-on writing, wonderful art, and a shocking ending that pushes the limits of what you thought the capabilities of the Hulk were. If you’re a fan of the Jade Giant, and you’re not reading this book, you’re missing out.