SPOILERS AHEAD. The Immortal Hulk continues with its great story line as it hints at more of the Hulk lore from the past. It appears that any of past’s gamma-based incarnations are fair game in this series, as Ewing is brilliantly pulling from the original source material. This issue walks us through the story with blurbs from Rick Jones’s autobiography, Sidekick. While sharing with us Rick’s thoughts towards Banner and the Hulk, he gives us a small window into the mind of the gamma-based monsters. We get a quick glimpse of Betty Ross-Banner as the new manifestation of the “Harpy,” as reporter Jackie McGee follows the trail of Banner’s destruction to California.
In the meantime, Bruce and Doc Samson arrive at a desolate Shadow Base. Samson can detect something is off with Bruce, but he can’t quite place it. The subtlety of the set-up is what I found compelling, as before Banner can get into share his thoughts with Doc, the sun goes down and the Hulk shreds his way to the surface. I really enjoy the artwork here, as the amorphous deformity to his transformation really adds to the mood and the implied physical pain Banner must experience during every transformation.
The Hulk then picks up on the conversation, right where Banner left off. Hulk continues to sniff out the gamma left behind in this abandoned military base. The two gain entrance with ease only to find a gamma infused trio of animals waiting for them on the interior. Hulk and Samson dispatch the creatures, as Doc lays a bit of therapy on Hulk, making him realize his pure enjoyment from unfiltered violence. The intelligence of this situation is not lost on the Green Goliath, as he quickly realizes he’s been ambushed. An intense radiation hits them both and it unwillingly forces Hulk back into Banner. An assassin appears, shoots Samson in the head, then turns to Banner and puts a bullet into his abdomen. Banner flees wounded, then lays a fantastic cliffhanger at the foot of the reader: the possible re-emergence of Mr. Joe Fixit! (I just loved the subtle shade of grey for the irises on the last panel. Brilliant!)
As usual, this issue delivers all the way through, still proving why this is a white-hot series for Marvel. The story, the lore, the history, the phenomenal artwork… all continue to show this book is worth it in every way.