Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Al Ewing
Pencils: Joe Bennett
Inks: Ruy Jose, Belardino Brabo, Marc Deering & Roberto Poggi
Colors: by Paul Mounts
Release Date: 2nd October 2019
Opening with the ultra-nostalgic origins of Bruce Banner’s alter-ego, the Fantastic Four and the cosmic entity known as Galactus, Al Ewing’s script for issue twenty-four of ‘The Immortal Hulk’ probably had many of this comic’s 53,944 readers settling down to what they thought would be another enjoyable re-tread of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s classic tales from the sixties. However, no sooner has Rick Jones been saved from the experimental detonation of a gamma bomb by a bespectacled scientist than the British writer flings his storyline forward to modern day events, so as to subject his audience to some of the goriest imagery arguably yet seen within the covers of a “Rated T+” publication; “…Was that necessary?”
Indeed, witnessing the green goliath simply pulling away the rapidly dissolving flesh from his horribly mutilated face probably left any hapless Hulk-Heads who happened to be perusing this twenty-page periodical for the first time utterly dumbstruck. Astoundingly however, such an over-the-top demonstration of the human mutate’s indomitable will to survive is simply the beginning, as the grotesque, one-eyed titular character then proceeds to hurl his foetid epidermis at a nearby soldier and watch as it literally burns into their brain with a disconcerting sizzling sound effect.
Liquefying army grunts definitely seems to be the flavour of the day for the former U.S. Avengers writer, with at least two more of General Fortean’s followers outrageously being reduced to unrecognisable puddles of blood and bone before “The Steel Throne” concludes. In fact, it seems pretty clear that penciler Joe Bennett is having the time of his life drawing all this spine-chilling bodily mutilation, especially when it only comes to an end following the apparently ‘dead’ Hulk still somehow managing to retain his fighting spirit long enough to fatally push one of his thumbs straight through the Abomination’s right eye in a truly grisly display of gratuitous violence.
Sadly though, after such a pulse-pounding display of pugilism, Ewing’s penmanship does debatably turn a little too intergalactic for so grounded a member of the Marvel Universe as the Hulk. Followers of the invulnerable “World-Breaker” could probably see Bruce Banner of Earth being the last survivor of the Universe, and resultantly being “baptised in the energies of creation” in much the same way as Galan of Taa was before becoming Galactus. But to then scribe him tearing the Sentience of the Cosmos in half and eating him seems rather far-fetched, even for so super-strong an anti-hero…
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]