The Immortal Hulk #19 // Review
The Abomination is back, and Banner is in deep trouble, in The Immortal Hulk #19, written by Al Ewing, with pencils by Joe Bennett, inks by Ruy Jose and Belardino Brabo, and colors by Paul Mounts and Rachelle Rosenberg. Previously, Bruce Banner was being hunted by a shadow organization in the U.S. government, while manifesting a new, darker, and more cunning Hulk persona than he had ever shown before. On top of all of that, further evidence is beginning to build that anyone that has been given gamma power over the years might not be able to permanently die. Case in point, Rick Jones was recently dug up by General Fortean, and twisted into a new version of Abomination, only to be sent after the Hulk. Now, a confused Hulk squares off with his old friend, and Jones is far more dangerous than any Abomination Banner has confronted before.
Ewing leans into the horror elements he brought to this title extra hard this issue, presenting one of the most gruesome, bloody battles in the history of the Hulk. And it’s not just a visually unsettling series of scenes, there is an emotional disturbance that will echo through you long after you have read this issue. The things that Bruce, his ex-love Betty, and former pal, Rick Jones, have experienced here are horrifying on several levels, but you won’t be able to tear your eyes away from the panels.
Ewing uses narration to drive this chapter of the story, and it’s particularly effective because it’s unclear who is doing the narrating until a good chunk of the way through the book. Once the narrator is revealed, each sentence becomes heartbreaking, and terrifying at the same time, leading to an ending that will have you, heart racing, wondering if there can even be a subsequent issue. This is comic book storytelling at its best, and Ewing only seems to be getting better as he goes.
Bennett, the second hero of this title, right behind Ewing, really outdoes himself this issue. Not only do the readers get his trademark, super cool rendition of the “Devil Hulk,” but he also delivers the first look at his crazy, horror-inspired versions of Abomination and Harpy. The terror doesn’t stop there, though, as the gore reaches an all-time high this issue. Warning: this one is not for the squeamish. Jose and Belardino on inks, and Mounts and Rosenberg on colors perfectly blend their styles to elevate the grisly art to new levels. Even with the inks and colors having multiple people on each, you can’t tell the difference, and if anything, the visual quality is even more impressive than usual.
In the end, this is a near-perfect issue of The Immortal Hulk that will leave your mouth agape in horror. The Hulk has been through some rough stuff in his past, but nothing compares to the final scenes in this issue. If you’re a Hulk fan, and you haven’t been picking up this book, this might be the one to start with. Yes, it’s in the middle of a story, but it can’t be beaten for sheer insane storytelling and visuals.