Immortal Hulk #47 Review

by Charles Martin on June 02, 2021

Immortal Hulk #47 Review
Writer: Al Ewing
Penciller: Joe Bennett
Inkers: Ruy José & Belardino Brabo
Colourist: Paul Mounts
Letterer: Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics

It has been two-and-a-half-and-a-bit years since the Immortal Hulk first fought the Avengers, back in IH #7. What a long, strange trip it's been since then!

Let me start with the easiest comparison: the visuals. Amazingly, astonishingly, this title has held onto the same art team for 40 issues (with the welcome addition of Belardino Brabo to the inking squad). And that team is as formidable now as it was then.

This is not to say the art is unchanged! There has been a definite evolution in the way Joe Bennett blocks big fight scenes. These panels are tighter, closer, more fearlessly involved in the brutal combat. The colours and inking have gotten warmer and messier, which are not bad things. 

If you want the clear-cut, diamond-polished Hulk vs. Avengers fight, #7 is the way to go. But if you want a more ambiguous, more impassioned brawl, #47 hits the feels in a way that the earlier comic did not.

The art delivering a more complicated conflict (with a much larger cast) is right in line with Al Ewing's script. Where Hulk vs. She-Hulk was just one scene in the first Avengers fight, here it is the thing and the whole of the thing. And it's soaking in complexity that accurately reflects the wild adventures this title has been through.

Jen Walters takes hold of narration duty from the very beginning and never lets it go. This issue pulls her through an amazing long-term development arc. Her cousin spurred her into reconsidering her Hulk-itude in #7. Then, in the excellent Immortal She-Hulk one-shot, she confronted her entanglement in the new Green Door mythos.

Which all leads her here, watching the Hulk and his Gamma Flight allies scrapping with her team. She has a choice to make.

I wouldn't dream of spoiling it. But if you've been following this title closely, I don't have to.

Immortal Hulk is steaming toward a spectacular conclusion, so it's a little surprising to break out a whole issue here, so close to the end, and devote it to a satellite character like Jen Walters. But Al Ewing makes it thrilling, thanks largely to a formidable command of Jen's voice. 

That voice throws the ongoing "big picture" story into relief, sharing one last (almost) outsider perspective before we plunge into the grand finale. 

That outside perspective trick is also at work in the art. The biggest difference in the way Joe Bennett tackles the Avengers now is in how seriously he takes them. They are not the clean-cut, super-effective heroes they appeared to be in #7. They're drawn a little goofy, a little ineffectual (particularly poor Cap) -- simple heroes that have been outgrown as the Hulk and his cast sink ever deeper into their convoluted Gamma-mythology.

The little hint of the ridiculous in the art is the perfect tone for this Avengers fight. There are dramatic and inventive combat maneuvers and a bit of the title's trademark body horror. But the brawl is ultimately a sideshow, a background for the much more important developments occurring within She-Hulk's train of thought.

It's up to guest star Jen Walters to take the last gasp of air before the Immortal Hulk makes its terminal dive. It's a bracing gulp that refreshes the reader by supplying a welcome bit of distance. Take one last look at this Hulk, from the outside, and ask yourself if he is a monster or a man or something else entirely. And then follow along regardless of your conclusion, because this title is racing inexorably toward a GOAT finish.

Our Score:


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