Immortal Hulk #8 // Review
Can the Hulk die? What are the limits--if any--of his seeming immortality? What is keeping him alive? The Immortal Hulk #8, written by Al Ewing, with pencils by Joe Bennett, inks by Ruy Jose, and colors by Paul Mounts, brings us a little closer to the answers to those questions. Previously, the Avengers were called in by the U.S. government to put a stop to the Hulk after he wrecked a hospital fighting a crazed Sasquatch. The Avengers were able to stop him by essentially “killing” Hulk, but he later woke up in a secret lab in literal pieces. Now, the scientists of Shadow Base are doing everything they can to uncover the secret to Hulk’s apparent immortality, while Captain Marvel seeks answers on how the highest government officials seem to have “misplaced” the most powerful being on the planet.
The mystery of this new iteration of Hulk and his inability to die deepens this issue, and not a whole lot of answers are given, but there are some strong hints, and a new insight into just how unkillable he is. Ewing has done an amazing job giving small bits of information about Hulk’s situation as the story progresses. This issue alone implies that there might be more than science at work, as Hulk is divided into pieces and still seems to be conscious as just a head in a jar. This, coupled with the fact that his recent dealings with Sasquatch and his dead father have been magical in nature, implies that Ewing probably has an ultimately-supernatural reason behind Hulk’s undead status.
The pacing on this book has greatly improved in recent installments. Starting out as a series of one-off issues establishing Banner and the new Hulk’s M.O., the overall story seemed to be moving at a glacial pace. Now, Ewing has moved on to full arcs of grandiose drama, and lightning-fast pacing. This title has become an unstoppable freight train in a matter of months, and it doesn’t seem like Ewing has any plans of slowing down any time soon. Hopefully, fans were intrigued by the mystery early on, and stuck around for the book to get to the really exciting stuff.
Al Ewing has also juggled the idea of a scarily-powerful monster roaming the country, and the level at which the Avengers and U.S. government would be involved, really well. At first, it seemed like Banner had been forgotten about after he had returned in the latest Avengers crossover. He was simply traveling the country, quietly righting wrongs, and not many people seemed to know he had even returned. That all changed when he fought Sasquatch. Ewing cleverly used that as the turning point of the series, igniting the government’s interest and getting the Avengers reluctantly involved in bringing their own friend in. Now, Hulk has no choice but to take part in larger stories that deal with the entire Marvel universe, because everybody knows he’s back, and they all want a piece of him.
Joe Bennett, as always, is perfection as a Hulk penciler. Marvel could not have chosen a better artist for this book, and he should go down as one of the all-time greats for this character. Similarly, Paul Mounts and Ruy Jose are the perfect team on colors and inks. In a dark book that stars a bright green monster, those two jobs have to be chosen carefully. Again, these are the perfect people for their positions. Every panel is flawlessly rendered, and, even though Ewing is doing a bangup job writing, this title would suffer greatly without this art team.
If you’re not reading Hulk right now, and you claim to be any sort of fan of the character, you’re doing yourself a disservice. This is the best the book has been since Peter David left. Don’t let the horror/immortal angle throw you off; this is a Hulk book for Hulk fans, written by a man who is obviously very familiar with Hulk’s history. Pick it up now, and you’ll be happy you did.