Immortal Hulk # 42 Review

by Charles Martin on January 13, 2021

Immortal Hulk # 42 Review
Writer: Al Ewing
Leader Artist: Alex Lins
Gamma Flight Artist: Adam Gorham
Jackie McGee Artist: Rachael Stott
Finale Artists: Joe Bennett & Ruy José
Colourists: Chris O'Halloran & Paul Mounts
Letterer: Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Henry Peter Gyrich, the eternal hang-nail of the Marvel universe, steps up to fire Gamma Flight and replace them. Reporter Jackie McGee gets fired, too, and then gets unpleasant news from Dr. McGowan. 

Rounding out the cavalcade of ill tidings, even the Leader is struggling, experiencing setbacks in his evil schemes down in the Below-Place and getting no help from poor torn-apart Bruce Banner.

So this is an issue about failure and setbacks, as well as one that involves a lot of tense conversations. I want to start by talking about how this comic's broad art team tackles the challenge of making lots of low-action dialogue scenes look interesting.

This is a case where artistic collaboration is a good thing. Everybody hews close to Joe Bennett's signature style for this title, lending the visuals a fair degree of consistency. But the little touches of novelty in the way each artist blocks panels and draws characters add just the right sense of change -- something that might be lacking if the same artist drew all of these conversations.

Rachel Stott gets my highest kudos for the emotive face-work she brings to the Jackie McGee scenes. The reporter is experiencing dramatic life changes and her reactions to each one land with realistic impact (helped along by some excellent narration).

But running a close second is Alex Lins' Below-Place art. He capably picks up the body-horror baton from Joe Bennett and portrays Bruce Banner's torment in lovely, lurid detail.

The colour palette in this comic is all over the spectrum, but not in a bad way. Diverse colours work with the varied art to make each plotline stand out and emphasize the shifts between different settings. Chris O'Halloran does a great job harmonizing with Paul Mounts' regular colour work, and he gives a little boost to all of the guest artists.

This issue has a dense, interesting script. Al Ewing's work here deserves a deep dive to unpack all of its twists and inventions -- but I don't want to spoil any of his new developments.

Maybe the best way I can talk about the writing without spoiling the issue is to say that Mr. Ewing does a superb job lashing his latest revelations firmly to the characters. Important ideas are introduced here, and almost all of them are intimately, personally entangled with specific people. That means they don't come across in the abstract; each new idea is weighted with personal meaning for one of the cast members. This is an excellent way to engage the reader in the new plot-twists, and Mr. Ewing pulls it off magnificently.

Immortal Hulk #42 is a wordy comic, packed with momentous conversations. Strong writing keeps us interested in everything that's said, and a large team of guest artists adds visual novelty to the multiple stories that are being told. Although this issue is short on superheroic action, it doesn't come close to disappointing. The title's characters face a lot of challenges here, and good creative work ensures that we're deeply committed to seeing how they deal with them.

Our Score:


A Look Inside


Charles Martin's picture
Gawd, dat cover. It's like a Hieronymous Bosch painting -- and if any comic book deserves that level of gravitas, it's this one.