WHY MARVEL'S IMMORTAL HULK IS A TERRIFYINGLY GOOD COMIC

June 4, 2019 - Benjamin Bailey - IGN.COM

The most buzzed about superhero comic right now isn’t an epic event series or a hyped run by the hottest new creators on the scene. The comic that everyone is talking about is a slow-burn horror tale that deals with death, abuse, religion, and cosmic horror from Marvel Comics. Since debuting last year, The Immortal Hulk has been a commercial and critical success that has lead to multiple printings of each issue and reports that, in some comic stores, it outsells the likes of Batman comics and The Amazing Spider-Man. A year ago, nobody would’ve guessed a Hulk comic that features very little smashing while it wallows in bleak darkness would be the talk of the industry, but here we are. The Immortal Hulk is one of the best superhero comics being published because it’s smart, philosophical, scary, and perfectly structured. When writer Al Ewing and artist Joe Bennett launched The Immortal Hulk back in 2018, they made it clear right away they were taking the character in a very different direction. The first issue is about a gas station robbery gone wrong. It’s about a 12 year-old girl being murdered. The Immortal Hulk #1 featured no supervillains or evil aliens bent on world domination. It was about the sort of evil that people do everyday. It was dark and unforgiving. 

This gas station robbery also served the purpose of introducing another element that would set The Immortal Hulk apart from previous runs on the character. In the same shooting that took the life of the little girl, Bruce Banner was murdered. His body was taken to the morgue and when the sun set, the Hulk rose. No longer was the Hulk the product of rage and anger, he was now death incarnate. In order for Banner to transform, he had to die, and once night fell he would rise again, only this time as a monster. As a giant green devil. From there, Ewing and Bennett took the Hulk on a gamma-infused road trip through Hell. They leaned heavily into religious symbolism and Lovecraftian elements of dread and horrors from beyond. These were not situations the Hulk could merely punch his way out of, which was a major change of pace for the character (obviously). The Immortal Hulk is not about what it means to be strong or angry. It’s not about science or heroics. It’s about what it means to be good or evil. It’s about what happens when someone is both.