Immortal Hulk: The Best Defense #1
The body of what appears to be Doctor Strange has appeared burned to the bone in a New Mexico town. Bruce Banner, steered by a hunch from the other guy, moves in to investigate and finds himself under attack by a misplaced or stolen one of the Doc's artifacts, the Eye of Agamotto! Unfortunately nobody told him turning a weapon on Bruce Banner rarely works out for the attacker!
As is the trend with the Immortal Hulk series (check out our reviews of this stellar series from Nick Duncan!) this issue has the look and feel of an old fashioned murder mystery or classic horror title in the vein of The Phantom Stranger or some pre code stuff like golden age Tales to Astonish! which is one of the highest compliments I can bestow on a book. I loved the inclusion of panels from the original 6 issue The Incredible Hulk mini from 1962 through his early appearances in Tales to Astonish (much later than mentioned above) to juxtapose against events in the issue, which involved Bruce getting the crap beat out of him for much of it against classic jerk hulk.
I am a bit curious if the charred corpse at the beginning of the issue was in fact Stephen Strange, especially as his own book has seen a duplicate Doctor Strange running around. Not that we weren’t given multiple confirmations but I would also like to point out that I believe in his own book currently Strange doesn’t have a functioning Eye of Agamotto, and has been crafting his own magic. Am I reading too much into a continuity oversight? Probably. Ewing is plenty smart to throw a red herring across the trail to keep us away from the scent of the truth. I love to speculate like this, a sign of a good mystery.
The art in this issue by Simone di Meo is nothing short of spectacular, cross hatching abounds in the shadows and areas not found unless you look, I love an issue that rewards rereads and this feels like one that I’ll want to revisit after the mini is completed in a couple weeks. The obvious multiple panels rehashed from classic Hulk serve, again, as what could amount to distractions to hide the spectacular detail hiding in plain sight! Almost every page contains an ethereal quality thanks to this cross hatching. The linework outside of this cross hatching is a bit on the quick and dirty side, not unlike the dusty town the issue is set in, a bit reminiscent of Sean Gordon Murphy’s art. The fight between Bruce and a townsperson to find out where the eye is is long and brutal, Bruce loses spectacularly but still manages to get the upper hand. Bruce appears almost bestial in his impotent rage, not an intimidating beast mind you, like a rodent, vermin, below reproach.
The colors by Dono Sanchez-Almara keep excellent pace with the phenomenal art, a beautiful coup de grace finishing a masterpiece. I love the suns rays glaring, and the southwestern sky in it’s glory, such incredible work from all parties, I could cry.
There was an interesting interlude involving a murder in space, tell me that glove doesn’t look like Bullseye’s! This interlude only deepens the mystery, could this ghost fella who is probably Bullseye be the one bumping off OG Defenders members? Next week does have a Silver Surfer issue so a murder in space could be in the wheelhouse! Man I can’t wait.
Why isn't everybody talking about this issue? This just confirms my opinion that comic readers are uncultured dips, not you guys though! Get out and buy this issue if you haven't already! I dinged the cover a half point because I don't give out 10/10s but this is about as close as I'll ever get!
Immortal Hulk: The Best Defense pt 1: A Death in the Family
- Writing - 10/1010/10
- Storyline - 10/1010/10
- Art - 10/1010/10
- Color - 10/1010/10
- Cover Art - 9.5/109.5/10
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