Writer: Al Ewing
Art: Joe Bennett, Ruy José, Belardino Brabo, Paul Mounts, VC’s Cory Petit, and Alex Ross
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: April 7th, 2021
When we last left our IMMORTAL HULK, the U-Foes managed to devastate our emaciated Green Goliath to a chard crisp. There is absolutely no way he can come back from that, right? He’s now the weakest there is. Well, they don’t call him the IMMORTAL HULK for nothing. Let’s smash into the IMMORTAL HULK #45 by Al Ewing and Joe Bennett to see how the HULK can bounce back from this one.
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In the past, one could argue that it’s been just as much Joe Bennett telling this tale as it has been Al Ewing. Some week’s it’s more lopsided with who’s leading the charge in this book. Nevertheless, this week there is no doubt that it’s Al Ewing’s story and ideas that take center stage in the narrative. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Joe Bennett’s art is bad by any stretch. However, I am saying it’s Ewing’s diegesis that permeates throughout the issue.
Readers can tell that Ewing is grabbing subtle kernels and narrative nuggets along the way to place fans at the ultimate showdown with the Leader and the One Below All. Ultimately, Ewing is using this installment to rally his team together and bring this GAMMA FLIGHT together for its final act. Even characters that have been long forgotten make reappearances in this issue of IMMORTAL HULK including the actual INCREDIBLE HULK himself navigated by the return of the real deal Joe Fixit… kind of.
Joe Bennett gives readers a mix between his normal horror show illustrations as well as the old school, robust, larger-than-life INCREDIBLE HULK. This week’s ensnaring, almost Salvador Dali style, was a bit too much for this fan. I understand the surreal and cryptic nature of Bennett’s artistic choice, however, it made the panels a bit too chaotic and confusing to follow this week. Nevertheless, as the issue came to a close, Bennett managed to regain his footing with a massively gargantuan HULK eclipsing the U-Foes and ready for destruction.
Readers, you’ll see after the fight with the U-Foes, the IMMORTAL HULK finds himself trapped down below by a red door. However, I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure out how he managed to escape. Somehow, Joe’s strong enough to punch the locked door open after he turns into the RED HULK. I left the issue wondering how this was possible with my only conclusion to be the cosmic rays that his carcass was being continually bombarded with by the U-Foes.
It’s even stated that “Cosmic Rays… Paper to Gamma’s rock.” Does that imply that they are more powerful than Gamma Rays? Plus, as the Joe Fixit INCREDIBLE HULK emerges from the dead, his veins are pumping with red energy. Could it be that the HULK can also control Cosmic Rays as well as Gamma Rays now? Could these Cosmic Rays be the key to defeating the One Below All? It appeared as though Joe was supercharged with some type of red energy to break down the Green Door. Additionally, it would be noted that the RED HULK and RED SHE-HULK were a combined experiment with Cosmic and Gamma Rays mixed. Therefore, this could be possible. What do you think?
I absolutely love when a comic gets me to think. I love when a story develops speculation and causes “water cooler” talk. Ewing does a fantastic job on this issue to add some needed tangible substance to the story while providing narrative clues as to the concluding direction of the series. Readers can tell that there is an organized plan and direction that’s not done on the fly. Plus, just when you think the HULK is down and out, he somehow finds a way back to the top. Logically, this issue just made sense and carved out some intriguing notions for the conclusion of this run. Now, it’s not the issue to jump on board, however, it’s the perfect issue for any fan who’s been along for the ride since day one. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God bless!