COMIC BOOK REVIEW: The Immortal Hulk #4 ‘Time of Death’

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“One always dies too soon – – or too late. And yet one’s whole life is complete at that moment, with a line drawn neatly under it, ready for the summing up. You are – – your life, and nothing else.” – Jean-Paul Sartre, No Exit

THE IMMORTAL HULK #4
Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Joe Bennett and Ruy Jose
Cover Artist: Alex Ross
Colorist: Paul Mounts
Letterer: Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics

What You Need to Know:
Throughout the years, there have been many interpretations of Banner and his alter ego; Hulk. During, the “No Surrender” event, Avengers #684 issue by writers; Jim Zub, Mark Waid, and Al Ewing explore the Hulk’s background of multiple deaths and the roadmap to The Immortal Hulk! – Now, Ewing articulates the best fan favorite features by taking a fierce lead to an outstanding new dark, horrific, and psychodynamic arc that keeps the reader on the edge at all times!

What You’ll Find Out:
The Immortal Hulk #4 continues to feature the adventure of journalist Jacqueline McGee as she is hot on the trail of Bruce Banner. “It’s not going to be enough to just chase Banner, we need to find him”. However, it’s the hunter who becomes the hunted. Walter Langkowski, aka Sasquatch of the Canadian team Alpha Flight, has sought out and now joining Ms. McGee for the search. Langkowski seems to be quite insightful to Banner’s past and their common connection between man and monster.
Langkowski paints a picture that exploits Banner’s insecurities and biases during their time at Penn State University – hey, that’s in my home state Pennsylvania! What are Langkowski’s motives? Is he just trying to impress the lady or does this go deeper? Throughout this story, Langkowski connects some dots between Sasquatch and the Immortal Hulk – “at the time of death”.

What Just Happened?
Al Ewing’s take on Hulk is the best parts of the character since its debut in May 1962. Ewing exploits many situations that are familiar to generations of fans as he sets forth fresh storytelling. Bruce Banner is a man on the run, righting wrongs with the help of his alter ego, Hulk. He’s being pursued by a reporter named McGee and is leaving a trail of destruction behind him. Sound familiar? It should. Still, it’s all new and different with a twist, but most of all brilliantly horrific!

One interesting aspect of this issue is that the reader connects more with the Arizona Herald reporter Jacqueline McGee. Ewing is planting the seeds of a connection between her and Banner that seems to be leading to a broader story.

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Anger, science as a profession and hobby turned obsession along with horror mesh together, Ewing takes the heart of each character that beats a new rhythm. Langkowski outlines his first transformation from man to his gamma bomb monster. Ewing continues a smart, taunt, and thoughtful storytelling while providing little tidbits of Ms. McGee’s connection to Langkowski and her strong investigating instincts that expectantly drives out – the one, the only – Bruce Banner! Or, is it Banner the detective? Following up on a hunch that Langkowski’s “gama-affected” biophotons are uniquely the same as Banners and as the “death” of night arrives, so does the change.

Joe Bennett and Ruy Jose combine to create horrifically beautiful detailed panels and splash pages that emphasize the size of the characters and their part in the story. Piled up automobiles, huge monsters and smart cinematic panel layouts with the point of view perspectives all combine to create an eerie atmosphere.

As a lifelong fan of Banner/Hulk, Al Ewing and his creative team psychodynamics mixed science jargon and horror take my breath away. Each issue leaves the reader to hunger for more! What are the horrors within this green door? How does it connect to the change that Langkowski and Banner share? Will we see the whole Alpha Flight team? What are the horrors that connect the monsters to McGee’s obsession? What more is in store for the Sasquatch and is he friend or foe to Hulk?

Rating: 9 /10

Final Thought: I want the Immortal Hulk #5 NOW!

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