Immortal Hulk #41 sees the Savage Hulk having to pick up the pieces of his shattered life. He’s been physically drained, the Devil Hulk has been murdered, and Bruce Banner has been kidnapped from his mindscape and dragged to hell by the Leader. All in all, it’s been a pretty miserable time for the big guy, and as he lays on the boardwalk in Coney Island, it’s about to get worse. The Thing of the Fantastic Four has been tasked to bring in the Hulk, by any means necessary.
Previously the Hulk, while prisoner aboard Alpha Flight Space Station, found himself in a very sorry state. Only two Hulk alters remain, Joe Fixit and the Savage Hulk. The shackles holding him drained his physical body of the gamma radiation that serves to give the Hulk his strength. Depleted both mentally and physically, things are left to Joe Fixit to get creative by manufacturing a gut-wrenching escape, which ultimately ends by hurtling himself off the space station and crashing down to the Coney Island shore.
Currently, in issue #41, the Hulk is received by non-other than The Thing from the Fantastic Four. Grimm takes immediate pleasure from enacting revenge against a much-weakened Hulk, leading Joe to step in and fix things again.
Ewing, after several incredibly tense and action-packed issues, slows things right down and resets the pace. Having looked over the prior issues, it’s astounding at just how much the author has accomplished, and this series as a whole feels like it has so much life still left in it. Ewing uses his issue’s pages to cause Hulk to take stock and reflect on all that has befallen him since the tragedy of Iowa.
It’s definitely not one of the more standout issues of the series, however, make no mistake about it, the pause was needed. The Hulk has suffered maybe one of his biggest setbacks to date, and Ewing highlights the mental damage this has done to the remaining alters. Each personality plays a role in Bruce’s life, and without having that ability to share the weight, the alters are collapsing. It’s important to see that even the Hulk is prone to an emotional breakdown when life just becomes too unbearable. Ewing shows Hulk at his weakest, and man, and it’s heartbreaking to see.
While Ewing definitely earned a weighty amount of credit for Immortal Hulk #41, Bennet, José, and Brabo are not without complimenting. To deliver a gut punishing emotional story, the art needs to keep pace, and the penciler, and the inkers, find a way to visualize the message. Mostly it’s the facial features of the Savage Hulk, and for once, he truly does look like the manifestation of Bruce’s childhood trauma. The pain, the tears, and the overall fear captured so disturbingly well. If the art didn’t line up, Ewing’s message would haven’t landed, and it continues to show how these creatives push forward as a team.
Mounts has done a consistently incredible job with the colors from this series, finding a color palette that just feels like the Immortal Hulk series owns it. He has become somewhat of a gamma color expert, as Mounts works so well with depicting Bruce’s transformative state to Hulk seemingly blending fleshy pinks with radiated luminous greens.
Petit does a decent job with the fresh designs of the onomatopoeia. The placement of the dialogue is also well balanced and not distracting from the art. It allows the pace of the reading to stay consistent throughout.
Overall, this series has been a rollercoaster ride to hell and back, quite literally in some issues! Now we find ourselves at a point of coasting and needing to catch our breath, and some will see the depth in that, but I fear other readers will be feeling hard done by in comparison. The Immortal Hulk series never slows down for long, though, and I am excited to see what’s in store for us next month.
Immortal Hulk #41 is available now wherever comics are sold.
Immortal Hulk #41
Overall, this series as been a rollercoaster ride to hell and back, quite literally in some issues! Now we find ourselves at a point of coasting and needing to catch our breath, and some will see the depth in that, but I fear other readers will be feeling hard done by in comparison. The Immortal Hulk series never slows down for long though, and I am excited to see what’s in store for us next month.