Rewind Review – The Immortal Hulk #32 (Marvel Comics)

Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Al Ewing
Artwork: Joe Bennett, Javier Rodriguez
Colors: Paul Mounts
Release Date: 11th March 2020

Firmly fixated upon the frighteningly formidable mind-control powers of Xemnu, rather than debatably progressing this ongoing series’ overall narrative, Al Ewing was probably right to publicly verbalise his gratefulness to “those… who are picking up the book and reading things they don’t agree with.” For whilst “Hulk Is Hulk” contains some minor plot points, such as Charlene McGowan’s apparent ability to reject the intergalactic criminal’s false memories, courtesy of the doctor having “spent a lot of time working out what was me and what wasn’t”, the vast majority of this twenty-page periodical simply consists of a carousel of non-stop dialogues and discourses which arguably do little more than reaffirm the white-furred alien’s success at “posing as a television character.”

Perhaps therefore this comic’s one redeeming feature is its all-too brief ‘look-in’ upon the dastardly doings of Roxxon Energy Corp’s CEO, Dario Agger, whose willingness to sacrifice his loyal killer Travers to sate the appetite of his extra-terrestrial business partner is as chillingly quick a decision as the hired gun’s death appears excruciatingly painful. Indeed, the relationship between the Minotaur and the “would-be world conqueror” is arguably perfectly penned, with Xemnu’s carnivorous need to consume human flesh there and then being all too readily accepted by the mentally unstable Greek mutate as simply some sort of business transaction; “Sorry Travers…I’ve only got access to the one Hulk. Supply and demand, old friend. Supply and demand.”

Equally as insane, though debatably far less successfully delivered, is the British writer’s depiction of Bruce Banner and his internal struggle to contain the scientist’s ever-angry Devil Hulk persona. It is quite clear that the nuclear physicist is unwell when he seemingly threatens Rick Jones for simply calling him by his middle name and not Robert, having been found by Captain Mar-Vell’s old sidekick damaging a glass window in one of Shadow Base Site G’s bathrooms. Yet the Eisner Award-nominee later returns to the self-same scene supposedly just to reinforce the message that “Banner smash.”

Joe Bennett is also a little off his stride with some of this comic’s pencilling. True, the Brazilian artist does a grand job of drawing the wide-eyed, almost slack-jawed, gamma expert initially, and his illustration of Xemnu’s cybernetic stomach slicers is disturbingly detailed. But many of his faces, most notably those of Doc Samson and, towards the end of the book, Banner himself, are disconcertingly inconsistent, with several appearing to have been hurriedly sketched simply to help pad out the word-heavy panels.


The writer of this piece was: Blax Kleric
Blax Tweets from @Blaxkleric ‏
You can read more of his reviews at The Brown Bag

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