ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Immortal Hulk: Flatline,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Immortal Hulk: Flatline #1 - But Why Tho?

Immortal Hulk: Flatline issue #1 is one-shot story published by Marvel Comics, written, illustrated, and colored by Declan Shalvey, and letters by VC’s Cory Petit. One story, one creator, and the one and only Immortal Hulk on the run.

While the main Immortal Hulk series rumbles on, Shalvey gets his hands on the Hulk in this one-shot story that focuses on the issues between Bruce and Devil Hulk. In the issue, Bruce and the Hulk are familiarly lost in the mid-west taking on mindless jobs to get by. Bruce has learned to blend in and be the forgotten face, until one day a person from his past comes across his path. Bruce’s old college educator, Professor Noonan, a lecturer on Gamma radiation.

All is not as it seems, as it so often happens. The Professor is pushing for answers but is Bruce ready to reconcile with the answers?

Shalvey goes deep into this side issue of Immortal Hulk. The overall substance of the story is one with a heavy message, but one that doesn’t become apparent until the very end. It’s the kind of revelation that causes you to look at the strongest Avenger with softer eyes.

Bruce’s life in the sun is spent undertaking menial tasks to earn a pittance, with heavy amounts of solitary isolation and little to no meaningful communication. It’s a painful existence and Shalvey forces Bruce to relive that part of his past while in college when his potential was uninhibited and the sky was the limit. The desolation of what Bruce has to endure is striking given the power he holds.

It’s during this scene where Shalvey uses his colors to really fortify the emotion of the scene by restraining the colors on show for Bruce. The dullness of the panels perfectly illustrates Bruce’s anxiety fading into the background and be the forgotten man—a ghost.

Even when Hulk comes out to defend his primary, the antagonist of the story holds up the evidence of his appearances to ask them if they really think they’re protecting him. It’s a story the bears reading numerous times.

The art and the colors of the issue are exceptional in places. You can see the moments where Shalvey really wanted to pour in emphasis on certain visuals. When Hulk is first launched into an empty warehouse the detail on the page is quite comprehensive. Shalvey captures the discoloration of the neglected windows, with partially shattered panes in spots. Meanwhile, the debris from the crash can be seen in the moonlight of the Hulk size hole in the roof.

There is another one-page spread that is the side view of the spectacular cover page (also done by Shalvey), that through the use of a few colors gives the feeling of an immense explosion of energy pouring from the force of the Hulk, shattering the rocks around him.

Petit’s letters were well done too. The issue is heavy with dialogue, and the placement of the speech keeps the issue flowing forward without any difficulty. 

It is quite astonishing that Shalvey was able to bring this all together and combine it in a way that resonates so well. Wearing the cap of author, artist, and colorist is an insane amount of responsibility to throw on to one person but the Irish creator has plucked the entire vision from his mind and successfully translated it onto the page. Overall, I really enjoyed the issue, and its one that I’m positive Immortal Hulk loyalists will absolutely want to own.

Immortal Hulk Flatline is available wherever comics are sold on February 17.

Immortal Hulk: Flatline #1
4.5

TL;DR

It is quite astonishing that Shalvey was able to bring this all together and combine it in a way that resonates so well. Wearing the cap of author, artist, and colorist is an insane amount of responsibility to throw on to one person but the Irish creator has plucked the entire vision from his mind and successfully translated it onto the page. Overall, I really enjoyed the issue, and its one that I’m positive Immortal Hulk loyalists will absolutely want to own.