The Immortal Hulk #33 (Hulk LGY #750)
Immortal Hulk #33 is also Hulk #750, and is appropriately giant-sized. A lot of giant-sized issues end up having back-up stories to fill out the length. HULK DON’T PLAY THAT. This 750th issue is massive and takes on the whole story. No twee tales of Rick and Marlo at 7-11, no reprinted stories, no pin-up section, no BS. Just Ewing and Bennett bringing the heat the whole issue (ok, not Bennett). To be fair, there are two full page shots and 6 double page spreads this issue, but they belong. You wouldn’t want a picture of a glowing eyed, triple-gorilla faced, multiple armed, giant Monster-Hulk literally ripping the Avengers apart to be restricted to one panel, would you?
Art-wise, Joe Bennett really brings his A-game. There is intense drama, action, and horror on full display with big battle scenes and absolutely fantastic Hulk imagery as he smashes everything in sight.
I hinted earlier that Bennett doesn’t draw the entire issue. There is a 10 page sequence that takes place in Bruce’s psyche that is drawn by Nick Pitarra in the more twee, Ed Piskor style that is fairly pervasive these days. And that’s fine… It is a sequence on the astral plane, after all.
This interlude in the Hulk’s psyche brings back Green Scar (aka Gravage, World War Hulk), intervening as seen at the end of last issue. Green Scar takes Savage on a tour to show him how their inner world is breaking down. We learn a few things here; Joe Fixit (formerly the Grey Hulk) is trapped in a big lump of amber and Devil Hulk is chained up in chains even Savage can’t break. In this imagery, Devil is golden and scaly, which we’ve only seen once before in Immortal Hulk, and that was in a flashback where Devil was describing how Bruce was always scared of him on the psychic plane. This further cements that Ewing’s Devil Hulk is the same one we’ve been worrying about since Paul Jenkins introduced that idea in the late 90’s. Maybe I’m the only one who still had doubts about that? Anyway, better the Devil you know. Devil may not be on the humanity’s side, but he is on OUR side, the readers’ side, by being a terrifying bad-ass as well as being an unbelievably great and entertaining anti-hero.
But this sequence also raises some questions. Did Xemnu restrain Joe and Devil? Did Bruce do it under Xemnu’s influence? Was it Green Scar, as part of his “clean-up” of their collective psyche? After the events of this issue, will they be free again?
Story-wise, Al Ewing pulls out all the stops to bring the Dario Agger/Roxxon arc to a roaring conclusion. I’ve mentioned how good he is at writing Savage Hulk’s personality before, and in this issue we get a really good scene with Savage taking charge of the situation, leaving the rest of the team with no choice but to follow his lead for a change. It’s pretty wonderful. It also follows the most gory Bruce-to-Hulk transformation yet, and in this title that is really saying something.
Also, Xemnu made Bruce question his own memories and past. Bruce was not all that grounded to begin with. Is Bruce going to bounce back from that, or are we going to see a more doubtful and unhinged Bruce Banner for the months to come? The characters of Immortal Hulk, as well as the world at large, have been drowning in catastrophe throughout this title, and having Bruce losing his grip can only add to the downward pull.
These questions though are just whimsical ponderings compared to the questions raised by the reveal shown on the last two pages of this issue. You thought things couldn’t get more disastrous? Hold my beer.
So we get a highly satisfying conclusion to the Agger/Roxxon/Xemnu arc. Agger is the kind of villain who doesn’t get surprised by much. Normally, he IS the one who knocks. Well, put it this way…. he was. Turns out both Agger AND Xemnu had a couple of surprises in store for them. For us, it’s like Christmas came early. What we don’t get in this issue is my preferred amount of Betty-as-Harpy causing destruction content. If the crew is going to invade Roxxon’s Corporate HQ face off against a mob of murderous cyberXembies, then I think I deserve at least two pages of Harpy saying weird things with her monster mouth and being terrifying as she rips apart some more heavily armed Dunning-Kruegers.
A stunning and brutal climax to the war between the Hulk and Roxxon Corp. Very satisfying to see some people get what they deserve! The final reveal might knock you out of your chair, so maybe read this one while sitting on the floor.
THE IMMORTAL HULK #33 (HULK LGY #750): And All the Sinners, Saints…
- Writing - 9/109/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Art - 9/109/10
- Color - 9/109/10
- Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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