The Immortal Hulk #32
Roxxon CEO Dario Agger (a minotaur in an expensive suit) and Xemnu, monstrous mesmerist from outer space, are working to ensure that Roxxon can use up Earth’s resources without interference from the Hulk. Xemnu has used his mental influence to rewrite the memories of the population to see him as Earth’s greatest hero, called “Xemnu the Incredible Hulk From the Magic Planet”, and to see the Hulk, but more specifically Bruce Banner, as a monster called the Devil. Under Xemnu’s influence, Bruce has shut out the Hulk personalities and is descending into murderous mania.
This issue is a pause in the action as both sides regroup. Agger and Xemnu discuss their plans, which are that Roxxon will continue plundering Earth’s resources until the planet is a dead husk, which will be like the planet Xemnu came from and he will feel be right at home enslaving and devouring whatever is left of humanity while Agger (as he mentioned in a previous issue) will depart Earth to live on Asgard. This is a bleak and horrifying forecast.
Xemnu brings a new level of horror this issue. In addition to his satisfying his appetite with a deserving Roxxon employee, there is a three page sequence by Javier Rodriguez split throughout the book that really reminds me of good 80’s horror films. “Hello, boys and girls. I’m in your HEAD.”
The Shadowbase team is still reeling and trying to figure out which of their memories are real, and a rewritten Bruce (now going by his first name Robert) is tuning out the Hulks as well as his own sense of empathy (in favor of “rationalization”) and altering his plans for Earth to include much more mass destruction.
We learn Dr. MacGowan’s secret in this issue, and it has a lot to do with having to establish her own identity, which the story explains as being why she has more success resisting Xemnu’s reprogramming.
At the issue’s end, we find Savage Hulk trapped in Bruce’s subconscious and raging to get out, when he is approached by a Hulk personality that could turn this whole situation on its head. All the power, all the rage, all the rationality. Agger and Xemnu are about to face a Hulk that they can’t beat, but the World might not survive the War to come.
Disassembling the group of personalities inside Banner and turning them against each other becomes genuine psychological horror when we confront Banner himself. When the book’s villains and the book’s hero are all planning devastation to the planet and every living thing on it, you know you’re in uncharted territory. Fortunately, Bruce Banner is not the only person in that person.
The Immortal Hulk #32: The Creeping Terror
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 8/108/10
Art - 8/108/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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