Writer: Al Ewing
Art: Joe Bennett, Ruy José, Paul Mounts, and VC’s Cory Petit
Release Date: May 15th, 2019
Joe tries to “Fix” things, Agent Burbank can’t let things go, and everyone gets the cliffhanger they’ve been waiting for all in this week’s IMMORTAL HULK #17 by Al Ewing. Let’s smash into this one!
WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
The issue opens with Banner covered in sunlight making him incapable of transforming into the Hulk. So as Banner fights for his life against the cyborg Agent Burbank, we find out that this puny looking Banner is actually Joe Fixit! Joe manages to throw radioactive ants in Burbank’s eyes, knees him in his ”not so cybernetic” balls, and makes a run for it.
Meanwhile, at Shadow Base B where they’re watching the battle between Joe and Burbank unfold, Joe Fixit finds some computers to see if he can somehow escape while Shadow Base B turns up the heat on the sunlight lamps. However, Joe “fixes” the problem by switching the lights to gamma rays and gives himself an overdose of vitamin G!! This dose was so powerful that it not only brought ”Joe Fixit” Hulk back but made him into this grotesque, 6-headed, monstrosity that destroyed Agent Burbank ripping him apart limb by limb.
The issue ends with ”Joe Fixit” Hulk literally exploding the gamma from his body and destroying Shadow Base A. However, readers finally see what happened to Rick Jones’ dead body. It appears that Shadow Base B merged Rick and Emil Blonsky together to recreate a new Abomination.
The issue was a pretty quick read while Al Ewing made the story easy to follow and straight forward. However, there was nothing that really drew this reviewer into the story. The issue seemed like a set up to lead to what everyone wanted to know, which was about Rick Jones and what his purpose is throughout the story going forward. Readers find out in the end but at the expense of the issue.
Joe Fixit finds a way to switch the lights to gamma, Hulks out, destroys Agent Burbank, annihilates the facility, and then escapes. That’s the issue. It just felt like it was missing the substance that Ewing normally puts into each issue. Sure, readers would be concerned about whether Hulk would live or die, but knowing that he basically survived a bullet to the head, as well as being cut into pieces earlier in Ewing’s run, my concerns him the goliath losing his life were minimal. Thus, the stakes weren’t too high.
In addition, Joe Fixit just didn’t seem to feel like he was in character, whether it was his appearance or whether it was his computer hacking abilities. The story just appeared pushed to get us to Rick Jones as Abomination, which this reviewer is truly excited for. Overall, nothing important seemed to happen until the last page of the issue.
Joe Bennett, Ruy José, and Paul Mounts work together nicely to grab the readers attention with grotesque and horrific splash pages, as well as graphic and bloody action sequences that are violent and so incredibly frightening. Mounts’ colors, especially his greens, jump off the page and strengthen the idea of how powerful the gamma radiation is. Readers searching for strong, explicit, dynamic, and detailed pencils, as well as inks, need to look no further than Bennett and José who brings it each and every issue. It’s, in part, because of this art team that this comic has developed into more of a horror comic than it has in the past. Amazing job art team!
This reviewer has been waiting to see where the story has been going for a couple of issues now. Where is Betty and what has she been doing? Is Hulk a villain now and what are his motives? What happened to Doc Samson? He just got whisked away in the issue. And how does the personality changes work within Banner and the Hulk? Being 17 issues in, this reviewer feels like we have a ton of questions now and very few answers. Now, it appears as though one question will be answered, which is the Rick Jones Question. Hopefully, Ewing dives deeper into the Jones-Abomination story next issue and answers some other questions this fan has along the way. The series has had its ups and downs along the way but I have no doubt Ewing can get Hulk back on track next issue. When Big Al hits it, he nails it out of the park!
The art was epic, as it always is, but Ewing’s story just didn’t seem to grab this fan’s attention. The pacing was fast, which I like, and it wasn’t too wordy. However, the stakes didn’t seem very high and the issue didn’t seem very important to the development of the characters as well as the series. If you’ve been reading IMMORTAL HULK, I would continue through this issue. However, if you haven’t been reading to this point, I wouldn’t hop in now. However, fans should be excited for the next issue because this reviewer has a feeling it’s gonna be nuts!