Written by Adrian Care
PopCultHQ received an advance review copy of IMMORTAL HULK #13 from Marvel Comics. Available February 6th, 2019, the creative team for this issue features writing from Al Ewing, art from Joe Bennett, inks by Ruy José Santos, colors by Paul Mounts, and lettering from VC’s Cory Petit.
Here’s PopCultHQ’s spoiler-free review of…
IMMORTAL HULK #4
Main Cover by Alex Ross
Page Count: 22 Pages
Print Release Date: February 6th, 2019
The One Below All is in control, and Bruce Banner belongs to him. Hell is ascendant. But there are two people Hell isn’t strong enough to hold. One is a man named Eugene Judd…the other is the IMMORTAL HULK.
PopCultHQ’s Comic Book Review:
IMMORTAL HULK #13
Al Ewing and Joe Bennett tie-up their hellacious recent arc of The Immortal Hulk with both a whimper and a bang.
This is an emotion-driven finale with plenty of trademark horror, mind-bending psychology, intelligence, and humanity, that this title has become a pillar for.
Hands down one of, if not the, best ongoing of last year was The Immortal Hulk. With a history that includes the definitive 10 year-plus run by Peter David, nobody would fault Al Ewing if he didn’t have an original take on Bruce Banner’s Jekyll and Hyde complex. Luckily for the greater good of comics, he did. Playing up the horror elements and let of the leash to run wild with his idea, Al Ewing’s run has yet to have an identifiable weak issue. No dip in quality. Not a single lull.
There’s something Grant Morrison-esque about the ideas and atmosphere in Hulk’s story, but it’s distinctly original as well. Contradiction? Al Ewing runs rampant traversing as many dichotomies as possible, while not letting the reader feel like they need a degree in quantum physics to follow along.
This issue balances so much story threads with delicate skill. There’s bone-crunching action. There’s an impending sense of dread and a frantic fear permeating throughout the book. There’s grotesque ugliness and silent panels of pure human condition.
Up until this point, I considered Al Ewing, at the very least, someone with good ideas, if not execution. He made me interested in U.S. Avengers, but Royals and The Ultimates just didn’t grab me. When a writer can make you remorseful and prompt you to go back and re-read his previous work, you know something monumental has shifted.
It’s a privilege when you get to witness an artist develop his style over a long period of time. When they invite you along with them on their journey as they hone their craft to perfection. Mike Deodato did it. His original style was dynamic, yet never escaped the generic storytelling of the nineties, but track it back and you’ll be in awe of where he is stylistically now and how much he’s involved.
Joe Bennett is another evolutionary wonder. His early nineties work was fine, but not distinctive. Just workmanlike. It developed slowly and with his work on Hawkman, I noticed he had become an artist who could do large-scale action while not wasting a single nuance in each panel. His sequential movement, his ability to tell a visually, multilayered story had advanced to the point where no detail was neglected.
On The Immortal Hulk, Bennett relishes the opportunity to showcase everything he’s learned over the years. He’s aided this issue with distinction by the inking team of Ruy José, Belardino Brabo and Rafael Fonteriz.
The fear-induced moments are truly horrifying. He can disgust you with the more gruesome elements or wrench your heart with the genuine emotion in characters’ expression and tears. He understands the notes and beats of the scripts he’s given, and his splash pages bring the best moments of action through the years with optimum impact. I hope he stays on this book with Ewing forever, but I also can’t wait to see what else he has mastered. What else is next?
A familiar name across all the major publishers, colorist Paul Mounts work has been seen in everything from Harley Quinn, Batwing, and Firestorm from DC. Wanted, Telos, and The Tenth from the indies. And a Marvel resume that includes The Ultimates, Wolverine, and the Fantastic Four.
In a book like this, atmosphere and mood are crucial. Mounts controls these elements with both dark and light palettes equally. There are supernatural elements that feel appropriately eerie because of the color work in this book. The perpetual dusk of the real world is unsettling because of the shading Mounts’ color contributes. The lighting embellishes the art for significant character moments.
When a booming, godlike voice invades the action, that’s the work of Cory Petit flexing his lettering prowess. With a skillset honed on Daredevil, Wolverine Origins, Uncanny X-force, and plenty more, Petit knows how to maximize his sound effects for impactful results. His placement and character style serve the pace of the story and the urgency of the events of every panel. Check out the subtlety of his work in the issue’s final few pages for an example of how a letterer is an effective tool in bringing every last bead of emotion out of the story. A creative team like this, working in such fluid tandem, would not be complete without the skilled lettering of a talent like Cory Petit.
PopCultHQ’s overall assessment
More than just a solid finale to the psychological thriller of the last few issues, Immortal Hulk #13 packs punches in bunches and a powerful sting in its tale. A fitting entry into a run that feeds on fear, but isn’t afraid to explore different directions. Make this book one of the first things you read when you get started on this week’s pull list.
4.5 out of 5 Stars
IMMORTAL HULK #13 can be purchased on ComiXology and available
at your local comic shop and online retailers on Wednesday, February 6th!
Follow the creators online!
Writer – Al Ewing
Letterer – Cory Petit
Publisher – Marvel Comics