Writer: Al Ewing
Art: Joe Bennett, Ruy José, Belardino Brabo, Paul Mounts, VC’s Cory Petit, and Alex Ross
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: June 2nd, 2021
There was a line that resonated with me at the very end of the issue; “Being able to survive chaos isn’t enough. You have to love it. Like a HULK.” I felt like that single line is a perfect summary of the IMMORTAL HULK series by Al Ewing. As Ewing’s vision for the HULK has unraveled, he’s been surrounded by more and more chaos. More Gamma Monsters. More people out to get him. Multiple personalities in control. And, as for this specific series, a hidden entity larger than anything we could process in which is connected to “The Green”. IMMORTAL HULK has been one horrifyingly unruly twist after another. And issue #47 by Al Ewing was no different.
If you’re interested in this comic, series, related trades, or any of the others mentioned, simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon.
I’ve loved this series since Jump Street. The HULK mixed with horror, as well as its exceedingly graphic overtones, has always promoted a “no holds bar” approach to the character. Bennett’s illustrations are ultimately what helped make the chaos next-level. Yet, I found myself struggling to follow that very same mayhem and violence this week. The panel overlays were choppy and disorienting while the dialogue danced over each frame in a way that just didn’t seem to jive with the illustrations and pacing of the issue.
Normally, I reread every issue at least once before reviewing it. However, after multiple rereads, I still found myself baffled as to what was happening throughout the narrative. Sure, overall it’s a fight that begins as the IMMORTAL HULK versus THE AVENGERS. Yet, that eventually morphs into GAMMA FLIGHT/ IMMORTAL HULK versus THE AVENGERS. Nevertheless, the purpose and connection seemed jumbled and distant.
Now, circling back to the line I said above which resonated with me, I can’t help but wonder if Bennett’s illustrations and layout were done with a motive to elevate the chaos and anger for the reader. Looking back, the difficult discernment certainly added to the confusion and chaos. Sideways panels, crooked frames thrown along the page like Polaroid’s thrown across a table made this issue of IMMORTAL HULK one of the most challenging to follow in quite some time.
The end result of this IMMORTAL HULK #47 was simply to get the Gamma Monsters all together for a final showdown against Sam Stern. HULK said it best to Cap in this issue; “It’s who is always is Rogers. It’s Sam Sterns.” Now, was this HULK’S plan all along? Was he trying to get Jen on his side before he goes to take down Sterns? That remains to be seen. Yet, I’ve realized that the HULK, especially throughout Ewing’s run, has been smarter than he’s appeared. So, maybe. However, the focus on the AVENGERS becomes dwarfed as we head into the final showdown.
Furthermore, the issue drums up some history using She-Hulk as the narrator, which was hard to decipher at first. But, this history reminded readers about the connection between HULK and the founding members of the AVENGERS. With some of those founding members right there, why do they always assume the worst from the Big Green Guy? Sure, he may cause massive amounts of destruction. However, isn’t it normally discovered that someone or something normally sent him down that path, to begin with? Why not try to talk it out first? And, to hear HULK state to Cap verbally it’s Sterns behind all of this, why would they continue this onslaught?
Furthermore, I absolutely hate continuity plot holes. As someone who follows tons of different comics, I wonder if the writers are keeping up with continuity as well. This AVENGERS iteration has fought Celestials, stop the KING IN BLACK, and most recently battled in a Phoenix Force Tournament. Plus, THOR was powerful enough to kill Galactus as the new All-Father. My point: I would think this AVENGERS team could easily capture the HULK, as well as his Gamma friends. What do you think?
Following this series from its conception, I feel like I’ve gotten a solid pulse as to Joe Bennett’s style. Therefore, I think the chaotic landscape of the issue was intentional. Yet, it did add a cluster of confusing elements making the IMMORTAL HULK #47 a bit more complicated than it needed to be. Furthermore, Ewing’s story seemed to be almost absent from this issue. Other than the She-Hulk narration, readers basically get an action-packed melee that ends with a terrifyingly monstrous kiss. But realistically, nothing new was revealed.
With only three issues of IMMORTAL HULK left, I thought we’d discover a bit more about the One Below All, Sam Sterns, and even the Green Door. How does it all work? Who or what exactly is the One Below All? How did Sterns figure out how to control the Green Door? There is just a ton of questions I hope Ewing answers with little page count left. And I, for one, sincerely hope we get those answers. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!