Immortal Hulk #19 Review

by Charles Martin on June 12, 2019

Immortal Hulk #19 Review
Writer: Al Ewing
Penciller: Joe Bennet
Inkers: Ruy José & Belardino Brabo
Colourists: Paul Mounts & Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics

I mentioned last time around that the Immortal Hulk has turned into a remarkably interconnected story, nursing multiple plot threads along simultaneously.

Now comes the knot. Hulk and Abomination and Harpy come together, and it's an event of spectacular gore and terror. 

It's particularly suited to my personal tastes. My slight frustration with the brevity of Betty's scenes in the last few issues is fully wiped away. Although this one takes an unflinching and arresting look at the Hulk and the Abomination fighting it out, the issue truly belongs to Betty Ross.

Besides playing a horrifying role in the climax of the story and the gamma-monster fight, Betty is the drumbeat that pushes this issue forward. Her thoughts, past and present, influence everything we see and dictate the tone of the story. 

I appreciate the way Al Ewing's script neatly ties General Fortean, the military nemesis of the hour, more firmly into the Hulk's backstory. This is seamlessly accomplished without stealing any focus from Betty; after all, she's been a spectator throughout the whole long history of the character.

She is not a spectator now.

Joe Bennet is in full, terrifying force again on the art. The characters are powerful, the action is brutal, the gore is frightening. But Mr. Bennet is delivering brilliance in more than just the individual panels. The layouts show a subtle orchestration. Some panels are thick-bordered and off-kilter, landing on the page like old snapshots. Others are bright and orthogonal, emphasizing General Fortean's surveillance of the action. 

The rest of the expanded art team helps blend together these different perspectives, harmonizing the mix of bright memories, glowing screens, and the dark but vivid present. On inks, Ruy José and Belardino Brabo deliver an astute combination of solid shadows and delicate shading, preserving and enhancing every scrap of detail in the pencils. Paul Mounts and Rachelle Rosenberg bring to life a diverse range of intense but unhealthy colours, making past and present ooze with reality and horror.

In terms of story, it's safe (I hope) to say that this installment strikes a balance between dramatic payoff and continued long-term plotting. There is a simple, one-sentence way to summarize what happens here. It's a sentence I wouldn't dream of writing because this issue shouldn't be spoiled. When it comes to long-term consequences, though, it's a sentence that absolutely demands an "and then what happened?" follow-up. 

The Immortal Hulk continues its impossible streak of chaining together brilliant issues one after the other. #19 is a terrible, triumphant dance that tramples the line between heroes and monsters. It delivers meaning and spectacle aplenty, but it teases the reader ever onward with the promise of even more to come.

Our Score:


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"You watch. You follow. Question and judge. You want to know. But don't want to know. That's you."