Immortal Hulk #33 is available now where all good comics are sold!
Celebrating 750 ISSUES of the INCREDIBLE H%LKTM! Something is wrong. Something has compromised the simulacrum. EXTRA-SIZE HULK-SM&SHING ACTIONTM! Banner is refusing to yield. Something is wrong.
I would like to preface this review with a quick note – COMICS ARE BACK! Immortal Hulk #33 was the first single issue comic I have read in 2 months – I will try not to let that fact cloud my opinions on the book. I wasn’t sure I would miss comics so much, but upon opening my package, peeling back the bag, sliding the book off of the board, smelling the printed paper, I realised how much comics really mean to me. I am so glad to have them back, even if it is on a less regular basis here in the UK. The drip feeding of story segments in 20 page books is enticing and addictive, and is the reason we all love this medium. But more importantly, I hope you reading this are all keeping safe in this time. Now, to my review!
I have loved the entirety of Al Ewing and Joe Bennett’s Immortal Hulk run. It has had its downs, but there are mostly highs in this new and horrific take on the character. This issue is another high. It is an oversized issue, acting as a #750 in legacy numbering, and the book makes the most of the increased page count. We are at the end of the Xemnu Arc in which Xemnu has hypnotised the whole world in to believing that he is a hero and that the Hulk is as villain – even the Hulk himself is affected and is locked inside the mind of Bruce Banner.
The opening of the book demonstrates the horror theme of the overarching series with a harrowing and disturbing first 4 pages. Bennett draws Banner slowly walking closer to the reader, eyes open in a maniacal glare and mouth slack open creating a feeling of unease in the reader. This continues in a great use of a 9 panel grid and we move closer and closer into Banner’s wild eyes and psyche, while he confesses to killing his father. The art here is stellar, Joe Bennet’s pencils combined with Paul Mounts colours work to portray a Banner that you believe hasn’t slept in weeks. The character work is second to none as we see Bruce struggle with several emotions at once.
The page turn reveals a stark contrast in art style as we delve in to the mindscape of The Hulk/Banner, pencilled by Nick Pitarra and coloured by Michael Garland. The disproportionate, cartoony style serves as in insight to the childlike mentality of The Hulk. Spliced into the panels are multiple shards of broken glass which are occupied with images of past iterations if The Hulk, reiterating the broken and unstable essence that is The Hulk. I loved this contrast of art styles, which made me feel both pleased and uneasy at the same time. This sequence is full of insights in to the character and rich with Easter Eggs the reader should look out for!
It’s not long before the horror is back – let’s face it, that’s why we all love this book! – as The Hulk finally emerges…from Banner’s mouth. This is one of the most terrifying ‘Hulk Outs’ I have ever seen – describing it will not do it justice. I had to put the book down for a few minutes to process what I had just seen. The art continues to be the focus of this issue as several double page spreads’ ensue, including two that if put side by side will become one HULKtastic spread. Overall there are 7 double page spreads in the whole issue, making full use of the increased page count. However I would have liked to get more story in the pages and perhaps flesh out the pollical commentary on the Roxxon corporation.
Overall this was a great issue in this amazing run. There are two contrasting styles in this issue which Al Ewing, Joe Bennett and Nick Pitarra manage to pull off seamlessly. The story was strong, the art even stronger and the final tease will entice all readers!
9/10 – Ewing and Bennett are putting together a truly epic run (I am reminded of Jamie Delano and John Ridgway on Hellblazer) and long may it continue. This chapter serves as an insight into the psyche of the Hulk, while also propelling the story on to its next arc. I. CANT. WAIT.