Not since the late 90s has the Incredible Hulk carried any weight with me. The cartoon which had Neil McDonagh and Lou Ferrigno covering the Hulk’s duality was swiftly rebranded and cancelled. The Hulk movie, starring Eric Bana, failed from initial conception in the writers room. The attempt to continue the story in Incredible Hulk, while serving up a stellar cast, fell by the wayside. In reality, I haven’t willfully cared about the Hulk or Bruce Banner since the Heroes Reborn story arc. Don’t get me started.
The first issue of Immortal Hulk is a return to form in the art and story telling of legends past. We’re now looking at the Hulk from the angle of not just an uncontrollable beast. A vengeful, horror-like force of nature, with his own code of justice. If you’re in the camp where you engaged positively with the art of the Hulk in Tales to Astonish then this issue is for you.
The more things change, the more they stay the same
The story kicks off with Sandra Ann Brockhurst and her mother stopping in at a service station. Sandra goes in to get a drink while her mum fills up the petrol. Slightly to the decide is a creepy Bruce Banner also browsing through the goods on offer. A would-be robber holds up the service station, nervously brandishing a firearm, that goes off when Sandra drops a bottle of juice. Resulting in the robber shooting Sandra and Bruce Banner. Mortally wounding both of them.
Cut scene to Detective Mayes and Jackie, a reporter, who are covering the recent crime scene. Throughout the issue Mayes gradually puts together the sequence of events. Giving us an obvious Marvel scene expected from a Hulk comic. Bruce Banner’s gamma affliction is resurrecting the beast inside.
Tommy, the guilt-ridden robber, retreats to the Dogs of Hell bunker. Yes it’s a bikie gang stocked up with the usual tropes. Money laundering, murder, drugs and holding Tommy by the balls. The Hulk, stalking Tommy, takes out the entire gang before finding Tommy outside a nearby building. Despite him pleading to be spared because of his daughter. Hulk deals out some swift gamma justice leaving Tommy for dead.
Back in his hideaway motel room Bruce Banner looks longingly into a bathroom mirror. With a taunting reflection of only the Hulk. Begging the question – is Hulk or Bruce the bad person here or are they both? Immortal Hulk #1 is a refreshing look into a fifty year old Marvel character. While injecting fresh life into the look and motivation of Bruce Banner’s gamma alter ego.