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Immortal Hulk 33 Main

"Immortal Hulk #33" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Marvel Comics

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Written by Al Ewing
Illustrated by Joe Bennett and Nick Pitarra
Inked by Ruy Jose, Belardino Brabo, Marc Deering, and Mark Morales
Colored by Paul Mounts and Michael Garland
Lettered by Cory Petit
2020, 37 Pages, $5.99
Comic released on March 25th, 2020

Review:

Xemnu has invaded all of our minds, including Bruce Banner's. He's changed memories to make us all love him as the icon of a classic children's TV show while hating the Hulk and his colleagues. Bruce isn't acting like himself. In fact, he's insisting everyone call him Robert. With all the different Hulks rattling around in his mind, it was only a matter of time before one of them saw through Xemnu's falsehoods and fought back.

Immortal Hulk has been a dominant force in the world of body horror since the series debuted. As we reach this issue, which thanks to complicated comic book math is both #33 and #750, the bar is raised even higher. Artist Joe Bennett hits early with an unnerving double-page spread showing what could happen if the Hulk were to really let go. The result is a massive being with three faces (that we can see), multiple limbs, and way too many fingers, obliterating the heroes of the Marvel Universe. In one image Bennett conveys the raw power of the Green Goliath and just what he is capable of. I hope for all of our sakes that he continues to hold back.

That's just part of the twisted quality of Immortal Hulk. Banner gets some time in the spooky spotlight with this chapter. Bennett shows a real transformation for the character as his mind starts to grapple with the false reality it has fallen prey to. You see his facial features and his composure change over time.

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Click images to enlarge

We get a look as to what's going on in Banner's head through an amazing sequence from artist Nick Pitarra. Did you see Inside Out? Well, picture that, but full of Hulks and an insane amount of trauma. This distorted mindscape is super unsettling as we see just how many versions of the Hulk there are and how they're all kind of fighting within this man's brain.

There's a slight cartoonish quality to this, particularly with how massive the Hulk's arms are when compared to his head. This is a being made entirely of muscle. Colorist Michael Garland handles these pages, giving a dystopian air to them. The sky is yellow, contrasting with the greens of the various Hulks.

This builds another solid body horror sequence from Bennett. There's one image that really stands out in this part that gave me pause. Looking at it again is hard because you can literally see flesh tearing and bone splintering as this transformation occurs. This is the pinnacle of body horror and it's so very unsettling. Colorist Paul Mounts paints a truly disturbing visage here with skin turning a sickly shade before being torn to shreds. This contrasts well with the bright gamma energy that radiates from some characters during future battles.

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Click image to enlarge

Bennett is aided on inks by Ruy Jose, Belardino Brabo, Marc Deering, and Mark Morales. I don't know who did which pages, as the comic isn't credited that way, however the artwork looks pretty consistent. There's not much variation in the look and feel of the inks and that helps keep the story going at a nice pace.

Writer Al Ewing fills this anniversary issue with loads of content, closing the door on one chapter of the Hulk's adventure and kicking open a big one for the next. My only qualm here is that we spent a good amount of time building up Xemnu and Roxxon only for them to be dispatched rather quickly. With all the knock-down, drag-out fights we've seen from this series, you'd think we'd get a little more, especially with the forces that Xemnu unleashes towards the end of this issue.

Rounding out the creative team is letterer Cory Petit, giving monstrous voices to these characters. Different fonts are used sparingly and to great effect. Some characters may look terrifying, but speak in a normal tone. Hulk fits that bill, however you know that he's a powerful and loud force. Meanwhile, Mr. Agger, the minotaur leader of Roxxon, has a gruff, guttural tone as shown by the font used.

I had heard news of what the next phase of Immortal Hulk would deal with, but I had no idea how or when we'd see it play a part. I was so enthralled by this issue that it hit me as a complete (and very welcome) surprise. I cannot wait to see what's next for this downright terrifying comic book as it continues to stretch the boundaries of what this medium can do and what horror means in the Marvel Universe.

Grades:

Story: fourandahalfstars Cover
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Art: fivestars
Overall: 5 Star Rating

About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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