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"Immortal Hulk: Flatline #1" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Marvel Comics

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Written and illustrated by Declan Shalvey
Lettered by Cory Petit
2021, 34 pages, $4.99
Comic released on February 17th, 2021

Review:

Bruce Banner has been through quite a lot, even before he was bombarded by gamma radiation and transformed into the Hulk. Now he's trying to stay under the radar while his green alter ego causes some trouble once the sun goes down. He finds himself in New Mexico, where he's confronted by a face from the past that's been turned into a new gamma-powered villain. At first this looks like a job for the Hulk, but this particular problem can't just be smashed.

The Immortal Hulk has completely changed the mythos surrounding this character. It's allowed other creators to go back and tell stories with a new set of eyes. Such is the case with The Threshing Place and here with Flatline. Declan Shalvey handles the story and artwork for this one-shot, telling a new story from Banner's past.

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What really stands out in this tale is how closely intertwined Banner and the Hulk are. Although they share a body and never “meet,” one is a constant presence in the other's life. The Green Goliath is always watching, looking out for Banner like a demented version of the angels and devils you'd see pop up on the shoulders of cartoon characters. Shalvey shows this in reflections, creating a startling visage that stares back at the scientist whenever he looks in the mirror.

The Hulk's reaction to a scene provides a different perspective. This is especially true when an old woman shows up with a connection to Bruce's past. While Banner is hearing her out, the Hulk is on edge. There's something off about her and the monster inside him knows it. My favorite shot comes when you see Jade Jaws in the glasses of this old lady. It makes her look far more menacing than she initially appears.

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The color green is obviously an important one in the Hulk's mythos and it's definitely the case here. Shalvey uses different shades to signify each mood. There's an eerie green that conveys danger, like the kind you'd see from radiation. That contrasts with the darker tones of the Hulk's skin when he bursts on to the scene. Then there are the more subtle, faded greens for the calmer sequences, however the threats to Banner's life are never far away so there's an edge to these colors.

While they inhabit the same body, Banner and the Hulk could not be more different. This also comes through in how they speak. Letterer Cory Petit delivers the Hulk's lines in a solid, purposeful manner while Banner's is more stilted, with lots of stops and starts. He's unsure of himself, while his alter ego is anything but. Hulk is the strongest one there is, after all.

Flatline touches upon all the aspects that has made Immortal Hulk such a great read since it launched. We've got some body horror, bombastic action, and solid character work all in this one-and-done story. It shows how much Banner's transformation into the Hulk has affected other people around him, good and bad. There's some excitement to that, but also a bit of sadness.

Grades:

Story: fourstars Cover
Buy from Amazon US.
Cover
Buy from Amazon UK.
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Art: fourandahalfstars
Overall: 4 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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