Immortal Hulk #28 Review

by Charles Martin on December 11, 2019

Immortal Hulk #28 Review
Writer: Al Ewing
Guest Artists: Tom Reilly & Matías Bergara
Colourist: Chris O'Halloran
Letterer: Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Continuing the title's trend of examining the wider world around the Hulk, Immortal Hulk #28 gives us a "man in the street" view from the perspective of a humble Roxxon security guard.

His hopes and fears are achingly real. Al Ewing makes him incredibly applicable, tying his Hulk-related worries into a wider middle-aged angst that fits our own world. In fact, I would contend it fits any ageing parent in any time period.

You're getting older. There's not enough time. There's not enough money. The news is frightening, and so are your kids:

"That alien look. Like one of us is from another planet."

The guard gets half of this issue, with the other half devoted again to the Minotaur, Dario Agger. The two stories begin in tight parallel, with each protagonist taking care of dental hygiene before moving on to face a challenging, Hulk-related day.

I am fairly certain that the guest artist duties are divided such that Tom Reilly handles the guard and Matías Bergara takes the Minotaur. They have very different styles, but this works well to emphasize the profound differences in these characters at opposite ends of the Roxxon food chain.

Mr. Reilly delivers a chunky, heavy-lined world that emphasizes the mundanity of the guard's life without missing any details. Mr. Bergara uses more delicate lines and a lot of white space to portray the sea of almost-unreal wealth Agger swims in. Both artists handle a lot of the storytelling, capably picking up subtle cues from Al Ewing's script and making them impossible to miss. 

Chris O'Halloran does a remarkable job of colouring both stories, giving them closely-related palettes but very diverse saturation levels. This ends up serving the strengths of each artist while keeping the stories tied closely together as their content drifts apart.

The guard's day ends just as bad as possible, bringing him face to face with the Hulk himself. Agger's day ends very differently, yet not beyond the reach of a thematic link. He, too, faces down a hulk of a different sort; his quest to find a counter to the Hulk brings him to a shocking meeting on Monster Isle.

And it also sends us screaming to Marvel Unlimited to dig up past appearances of this latest antagonist. This series is all about the deep cuts, but wow, this is a subterranean one.

(If you're absolutely overcome with curiosity -- and the comic feeds that fire by refusing to even drop a name -- this spoiler-riffic link right here will take you to the appropriate Wikipedia page.)

Al Ewing and his artists do a fascinating if somewhat messy job of characterizing their protagonists. The security guard's day includes memories, dreams, and nightmares that complicate his story and make its conclusion ambiguous.

Agger's day is more straightforward, and the Minotaur's characterization might appear simplistic on the surface. He's a "smash the TV when the news is disagreeable" kind of guy. But he's also a "squish the yes-man's head when he's insufficiently deferential" kind of guy, and these facts are not unrelated.

By focusing on a rank-and-file Roxxon guard as well as supervillain CEO Dario Ager, Immortal Hulk #28 shines an illuminating light on two different kinds of anti-Hulk sentiment. Formidable guest art and ambitious character work ensure that this "breather" episode is as unmissable as the rest of the series -- and the surprise villain reveal at the end adds some ongoing plot development to these otherwise-isolated stories.

Our Score:


A Look Inside


Charles Martin's picture
Among its many other benefits, focusing on an older guy with a teenage daughter allows Mr. Ewing to talk meaningfully about modern youth without risking the embarrassment of imitating their voices.