PopCultHQ received an advance review copy of IMMORTAL HULK #3 from Marvel Comics. Available July 18th, 2018, the creative team for this series features writing from Al Ewing, art from Joe Bennett, inks by Ruy José, colors by Paul Mounts, and lettering from VC’s Cory Petit.
Here’s PopCultHQ’s review of…
IMMORTAL HULK #3
Page Count: 23 Pages
Print Release Date: July 18, 2018
What happened in the church on Mercer Avenue? What made the Lembert boy do what he did? Who is the One Below All? Reporter Jackie McGee has four eyewitnesses, with four different viewpoints, telling four different stories. But they all saw Bruce Banner…and the Immortal Hulk.
PopCultHQ’s Comic Book Review:
Immortal Hulk #3
The kind people at Marvel Comics have been kind enough to allow me a chance to read Immortal Hulk early yet again. It’s a bit of the payoff for writing these reviews/commentaries on new comics is being privy to them early. It’s also why my shop pays the extra 7 dollars for the early Tuesday delivery of new books.
Once again, Al Ewing continues the suspense of the new Hulk with a story which shows him from three different perspectives. I’m sure it’s not meant to be a homage to an episode of the classic TV series like issue 2 was, but this issue is very much like the episode ‘Proof Positive.’ In that episode, Jack McGee is forced to give up his pursuit of the Hulk by his publisher, who puts his daughter Caroline under Jack’s wing. Jack has one chance to prove to Caroline that the Hulk is real and they travel the country always three steps behind listening to various points of view about the creature until they corner him in a metal factory where Caroline witnesses the transformation from the distance; proving that a man does indeed become the monster. Just as in this episode, Jackie McGee listens to three different points of view which paint the Hulk in three different lights.
Again, I enjoyed the issue. Especially the four different versions of events. We’ll start by giving the plot as a whole. There is a hostage situation in North Dakota. The villain, Hotshot (Louis Lembert), an old Incredible Hulk villain, has taken a priest and those present at his sermon hostage. Apparently his girlfriend, Jailbait (Jess Harrison) is possessed by the devil, or so Hotshot believes. He’s is trying desperately to find a priest to perform an exorcism. Upon seeing the news on TV, Banner makes his way to the church. The Hulk arrives and defeats Hosthot, but not before Hotshot blasts a hole straight through the green giant’s chest and everyone watches as it heals instantly! When the police arrive at the hotel Hotshot and Jailbait have been staying at, they discover she is dead with the words “Green Door” written on the wall. Her neck had been snapped. Hotshot, who is in prison, denies he killed her. The question is, what does this mean? Is it just a one-off story? Did the Hulk kill her? Was she possessed? Does it mean something more sinister down the road?
The story opens with Jackie McGee talking to four different witnesses.
The first witness is The Cop who was on-call. The way he sees events paints the Hulk out to be a hero. Hotshot had wounded the officer with one of his Gamma Ray blasts from his hands. Or as seen in the flashback, from his fingertip as if he had a gun. The point of view from the cop is told in what looks like classic comic book pages with dot matrix coloring.
The second witness is The Bartender, who was the eyewitness who said Bruce Banner. He came in to use the bathroom but the Bartender was giving him a hard time because he looked like a homeless junkie. However when Banner sees the news report on TV, he leaves the bar. The art for this flashback makes everything appear like a haze for The Bartender.
The third witness is The Old Lady, a member of the church who was one of the hostages. She tells events where she sees Hotshot as sort of a younger version of James Dean. All she focuses on is the love Hotshot had for his girlfriend and the help he wanted to get for her. The Old Lady really romanticizes the events at the church. You can instantly tell her point of view is the most removed from reality.
The fourth witness is the Priest, who sees the Hulk as, and quotes, “I don’t think it was sent by God.” His view of Hotshot is more accurate, he was dirty, greasy, and even smelled funny. He kept going on and on about demonic possession of his girlfriend.
Both the Priest and the Cop witness the Hulk arrive. Both have differing views on what they see. The Priest sees him a demonic entity, while the Cop sees him as the superhero he believes him to be. The Cop even refers to the Hulk as a founding member of the Avengers.
The Priest was also present with the Cop when they found Jess in the hotel room. Tied to a chair, her neck snapped with a smirk across her face. The words “Green Door” painted on the wall behind her.
The Old Lady goes to see Hotshot, who has been imprisoned in a Super Max Facility. She still sees him as the tragic James Dean-like hero in this story, which we learn that Hotshot also hung himself in jail.
We also learn that the Bartender finds his car flatten in the bar parking lot, which clarifies for him that this was not a sighting, that it was indeed the Hulk.
To Jackie McGee, the authorities are calling the sightings ‘Unconfirmed’ but to her they are only unconfirmed because no one wants to admit that they are real. No one wants to admit Bruce Banner, and thus the Hulk, is alive. This is when she gets the most unexpected call from Walter Langkowski, who wants to help her find Bruce Banner for his own reasons.
Again, the regular art on this book is on par with the writing. The Alex Ross cover is once again creepy and eye-catching. The internal art by Joe Bennett is just as good as it has been for the previous 2 issues. However, this book offers something a bit special. Each version of events is drawn by a different artist, which made this story even more enjoyable.
The Cop’s story is drawn by Leonardo Romero, this one I loved the best of all four! Since the Cop still sees the Hulk as the superhero he was back in the day when he helped form the Avengers, these panels are drawn in a classic, dot colors and just looks like a classic silver age comic. This is the same method used in Alias, when Mark Bagley drew all of the backflashes with Jessica Jones as Jewel when she was part of the Avengers. This change of art as a method of enhanced storytelling simply works wonders for any story.
The Bartender’s story is drawn by Paul Hornschemeier who gives the appearance of the Bartender being a hippie or someone who might not see the world as it truly is. It was probably my least favorite art in the whole book.
The Old Lady’s story was the funniest use of art. Maguerite Sauvage makes everything so over-the-top and presents images in basic colors. It just comes across as a woman who doesn’t see the full picture and was only fixated on not just Hotshot’s appearance, but also his professed love for his girlfriend, Jess.
Garry Brown’s work on the Priest story is probably my second favorite of them all. The Hulk is drawn as this dark beast who could have been summoned from the depths of Hell himself. When Hotshot blasts him, as opposed to how we see it from the Cop’s point of view where the Hulk just takes the blast of Gamma Radiation and shrugs it off, the Priest’s view was darker as we see the hole made in the Hulk’s chest, which also heals just as fast as it had appeared. Also the discovery of Jailbait’s body was utterly gruesome without overdoing it, bringing the horrific aspect to this comic.
All-in-all, the multi-art use in this book is just amazing for the story of 4 viewpoints from four different people.
PopCultHQ’s overall assessment:
What can I say? I loved it! Three issues in and The Immortal Hulk has not failed me. I still wish it was called ‘The Incredible Hulk‘ but at least it carries the Legacy Number for the Incredible Hulk, as well as the numbering for Immortal Hulk (although I wonder just how long that will remain?). I think Al Ewing has a fantastic grasp on this character!
The use of various artists for various versions of events was a nice twist. It was a lot of fun. The art has never failed me yet. So that remains top-notch.
However, there are some things which still do not sit right with me. The use of Jackie McGee, when I had heard a reporter named McGee was going to be in this series I was excited. However we weren’t given Jack, we were given a woman. Perhaps Jack can still show up as her granfather at some point. Such a small gripe in all honesty, but the one thing which has disappointed me about the series thus far. I can still imagine her as the grandaughter of the Jack Colvin/Jack McGee from television.
3.5 out of 5 Stars
Why? As amazing as I found the issue, it was still just a filler issue. Those issues will always get a moderate rating from me. It doesn’t make the issue any less enjoyable though, and I encourage anyone to get on this book now while you can!
IMMORTAL HULK #3 can be purchased on ComiXology and available
at your local comic shop and online retailers on Wednesday, July 18th!
Be sure to follow the series’ creative team!
Writer – Al Ewing
Letterer – Cory Petit
Publisher – Marvel Comics