Writer: Al Ewing
Art: Joe Bennett, Ruy José, Belardino Brabo, Paul Mounts, VC’s Cory Petit, and Alex Ross
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: July 7th, 2021
The end is near, as the IMMORTAL HULK finds himself questioning his purpose and direction after recent catastrophes. So, he leans on the one person who knows him best to help him take those next steps. It’s time for Betty Banner to shoot the HULK straight and to give him the unfiltered truth. However, will it be Betty or the Red Harpy that sets our IMMORTAL HULK back on track? Let’s dive into IMMORTAL HULK #48 by Al Ewing to find out!
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Now, every issue of IMMORTAL HULK doesn’t need to be jaw-dropping excitement mixed with high octane action. Sometimes, a story needs to develop with dialogue. Occasionally, the sentiment needs to build as emotions take center stage. That said, IMMORTAL HULK #48 came across as the long kiss goodbye before this series comes to an almost abrupt close. It was quiet, straightforward, and unlocked the long, tangled relationship between Betty and Bruce’s multiple personalities. Ewing spends issue 48 delving into a heart-to-heart between Betty and the HULK merely for a touching moment that ends with the decision to find Bruce in Hell. That’s really it folks…
Sure, Ewing provides fans with some touching moments. Sure, there are tender moments that make you feel for the characters involved. However, with three issues to go, is now the time? There are still so many hanging questions related to the One Below All, the Green Door, and how Sterns gained control of it all. Yet instead, Ewing’s script decides to focus on the relationship turmoil between Betty and Bruce. And technically, this installment focuses more on Betty’s connection to Joe Fixit than Bruce himself. Nevertheless, was this story needed right now?
Furthermore, IMMORTAL HULK #48 had its compelling moments. Moreover, any fan could feel the pain and agony between Betty and the HULK. Yet, I continue to go back to the timing of this issue. It just felt out of place. Why was it here and now? What good does having this conversation do towards saving Bruce from Hell, stopping the Leader, and finalizing the storyline surrounding the Green Door?
With only two issues left, Ewing has a ton of questions to answer with little page count (unless they’re oversized issues). I’m starting to believe we won’t get all the answers we need. Dollars to donuts, Bruce escapes Hell. But is that all fans will get as IMMORTAL HULK wraps? There is so much story to wrap up that I’m now more and more nervous we won’t get all the answers on the macro level that have driven this series stalwart for years.
Joe Bennett and his team continue to steal the show as always. Even in this passive, more thoughtful installment, Bennett finds a way to continue to provide the enormous, hulking appearance of the gamma heroes involved. Moreover, his artistic license still creates a more dismal, almost unnerving HULK as opposed to many other artists.
Since Day One, everything about Bennett’s take on these gamma monsters points towards a more horrifying approach. And, this issue of IMMORTAL HULK is no different. Bennett’s panel development strategically slows the issue down in key moments causing readers to focus exactly where they need to be. Furthermore, the darker tones and colors helped provide this extended exchange between Betty and HULK with a sense of eerie sentiment that’s almost too creepy for words.
Truthfully, this issue tells more about Bennett than it does Ewing. Without one single action sequence, readers will take more away from this story due to the impact of the art than they will from the dialogue. Plus, I still can’t shake this idea that this entire issue of IMMORTAL HULK just wasn’t necessary right now. There is still so much meat on the bone yet Ewing decides to focus on the twisted relationship that’s cascaded throughout the years between Bruce and Betty. Sure, it’s touching and had its moments. However, is that the real story that’s being told throughout this IMMORTAL HULK run?
Ewing has toyed with fans now for dozens of issues surrounding the Green Door, the One Below All, Sam Sterns, and how these pieces all fit together. Instead of giving readers answers, HULK fans are provided with a slow, quiet, trip down memory lane that can honestly be skipped if you need to. If you like touching moments and feel connected to Betty and Bruce, this issue of IMMORTAL HULK is for you. However, with only two more installments to go, if you wanted more answers to some of the huge dangling plot threads still out there, you won’t find them this issue. If you enjoy Bennett’s horrifying style, you most certainly get that in spades this issue even without the action. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!