Immortal Hulk #24 Review

by Charles Martin on October 02, 2019

Immortal Hulk #24 Review
Writer: Al Ewing
Penciller: Joe Bennett
Inkers: Ruy José, Belardino Brabo, Marc Deering & Roberto Poggi.
Colourist: Paul Mounts
Letterer: Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics

When I review a comic, usually my first and only priority is assessing its quality. Immortal Hulk #24 is fantastic and, provided you're following the story, you definitely need to pick it up. 

Before I go into details, though, I need to address something else: timing and aftercare. Once you've got this in your hands or on your tablet: Make it the LAST comic you read today. 

Personally, after reading this, I needed to stare up at the stars for a good half hour while my brain made inarticulate noises. "Whaaaaaargble" and so forth. Arrange your reading schedule so that you have plenty of decompression time after this comic.

The core of #24 is the resolution of the Hulk-Fortean fight started in the previous issue. It is great stuff. The over-the-top horror-spectacle of the protagonist fighting as "face-burned-off Hulk" continues, undercut slightly by the ridiculous challenge of deciphering what the Hulk is trying to say with most of his face-meat missing.

Al Ewing's script has space for some remarkable character work along with the shocking plot developments. Doc Samson returns and makes a noble choice that may literally be the death of him. Dr. McGowan, the "good" Shadow Base researcher, gets her chance to shine thanks to some solid backstory and a momentous decision.

The plot developments are impressive as well. Besides big Gamma punches, the Hulk and General Fortean bring strategic tricks into their fight. The General is hoping that his face-burning-off-ing will knock out the Devil Hulk and replace him with a less-cunning personality.

Fortean is doomed because the Hulk's stratagems are on an entirely different level. His multiple personalities, the reliable resurrection of Gamma mutates (which now includes Fortean), and even the personal Hellscape the Hulk visited in #10-13 -- Devil Hulk assembles them all into one horrifying scheme.

All of the weird, wild, withering stuff the Hulk has been through in this title? He's learned from it. He's weaponized it. 

Is he man or monster or is he both? Still unclear. But the thing this Hulk damn sure is not, is a hero. He is something to be feared.

The conclusion of the fight produces a seismic upheaval in the status quo. According to the title's structural rules, it ends with a shocking splash panel and a surprising title and the credits.

And then there are six more pages.

These connect to the initial "prelude" scene which ties the Hulk's origins to those of the Fantastic Four and Galactus. In the after-credits scene, we leap forward several billion years to find out how the Hulk relates to that deific "being of light" who's popped into the title a few times before. 

Let me see what I can say without spoiling things:

1) The being of light is (probably) not The One Above All.
2) Hulk's plans for him are simply … yikes.

Like past arc climaxes, this one injects some philosophical perspective into the Hulk's story. It's the most visceral and moving example of that strategy Al Ewing has yet pulled. 

Instead of the usual literary quote, this issue starts by citing a panel from Lee and Kirby's Galactus: The Origins. Rather than reaching out to theology or Kabbalah or literature, here, the author uses the muscular mythology of the Marvel universe itself. 

The result is dreadful and terrifying and awesome. In the literal sense of the words; I was afflicted with dread and terror and awe by the conclusion of this comic.

I've blathered on at great length without touching on this comic's visuals, so let me assure you they are every bit as remarkable as its script. Joe Bennett is in the finest form once again. With the face-burned-off Hulk, I thought we were approaching a point of diminishing returns in terms of body horror.

The after-credits scene proves me so, so wrong. Mr. Bennett has fresh terrors to inflict on our innocent eyeballs. He may well be able to keep the new body horror shocks coming indefinitely.

The ink and colour work supporting him is also of the finest quality. Paul Mounts breaks off the saturation knob when he's laying colour into the core fight scene; the angrier this Hulk gets, the greener he gets. Elsewhere, less-intense shades allow a more nuanced range of feeling; the prelude scenes have particularly gorgeous (still very green) flashback colours.

The four-man inking squad performs impressively. It is all too easy to say they collaborate seamlessly and deliver a consistently high level of detail. While the inks are stylistically consistent, there are subtle differences in line weight and tone distinguishing each of the key scenes: the prelude, the fight, the post-fight, the after-credits terror. All broadly similar, yet distinctive in the best possible way.

Immortal Hulk #24 shows yet again that the creative team behind Marvel's best ongoing has the talent and inventive audacity to drag us screaming into new horror territory. It is a terrifying and unmissable ride. But make it the last comic you read today; you're going to need some recovery time after this one.

Our Score:


A Look Inside


Charles Martin's picture
The momentary focus on Dr. McGowan was terrific thanks to my preexisting suspicion that she was a good 'un. Like, "A-HA! I knew she was awesome!"