Hulk Plays Scientist in The Immortal Hulk 8

by Michael DeLaney

This article containers SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk.

I am about to make a wildly audacious claim here: I think years from now we are going to look back on Al Ewing and Joe Bennett’s work on The Immortal Hulk as some of the most influential, game-changing work on the character. The Immortal Hulk 8 continues to push the limits of what we understand about the not-so-jolly green giant. This time around we see that Hulk is as much of a scientist as Bruce Banner is. Continue reading

Heroes Sacrifice Their Humanity in The Immortal Hulk 7

by Michael DeLaney

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

In recent comic book history The Avengers have very little love for The Hulk, and the feeling is mutual. The Avengers see Hulk as a liability – a ticking time bomb that is bound to go off and destroy everything in his path. For The Hulk, The Avengers are quasi authoritarians who won’t leave him alone. It’s from this perspective that The Immortal Hulk 7 is framed. Continue reading

The Immortal Hulk 6 Lives Up To Its Title

by Michael DeLaney

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

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The classic horror movie icons of yore served as metaphors — fractured mirrors of what we could become if we let go of those virtues that make us inherently human. While The Hulk is definitely an imperfect hero made in the Marvel fashion, he probably has more in common with the likes of Frankenstein’s monster or The Wolfman. Al Ewing recognizes this and has made it a focal point of Immortal Hulk. Continue reading

Artistic Styles Inform Character Perspectives in The Immortal Hulk 3

by Michael DeLaney

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

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In The Immortal Hulk 3, reporter Jackie McGee is following up on a recent Hulk-related incident, interviewing four witnesses: “The Cop”, “The Bartender”, “The Old Lady” and “The Priest.” Series artist Joe Bennett is joined by Leonardo Romero, Marguerite Sauvage, Paul Hornschemeier and Gary Brown to visually highlight the there characters different perspectives on one Hulk sighting. Continue reading

Sensational Irony in The Immortal Hulk 2

by Patrick Ehlers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

What scares you in media? I mean, we’ll all flinch at a well-timed jump scare: a sting of music, a flash of light, and suddenly we’re face to face with a monster. That’s a scare based on your senses, the creators manipulating your biological responses like buttons on a controller. Writer Al Ewing and artists Joe Bennett, Ruy José and Paul Mounts use sense-based scares as a smokescreen for the real horrors of The Immortal Hulk 2: irony.

This issue is so thematically compact and wonderful, it’s one of those rare superhero comics I’d recommend to anyone with a passing interest in The Hulk or horror comics. Even as Banner’s narration dips into some Civil War II plot nonsense, everything you need to understand the issue is contained within these 20 pages. Continue reading

(Re)defining the Hulk in The Immortal Hulk 1

by Drew Baumgartner

The Immortal Hulk 1

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

It might be stating the obvious to suggest that the Hulk’s identity is fraught, but I don’t mean it in the Jungian dualistic sense. Obviously, the tension between Bruce Banner and the Hulk is the primary source of drama for the character, but the Hulk has long suffered from a different kind of identity crisis, in that no two writers ever seem to agree on who and what he is. Is he a senseless destructive force, or is he capable of reason? Is he a monosyllabic brute, or a brilliant physicist? I’ve only occasionally checked in on Hulk’s solo series over the past five or so years, and I’ve seen takes that pretty much run the gamut, if that’s any indication of how rapidly and wildly consecutive runs can change the character. And to be clear, I don’t necessarily see this as a weakness — I’d argue that the flexibility of superheroes to fit the themes different creative teams are most interested in exploring is a huge part of their longevity — but I do think it demands a strong statement of purpose at the start of a run; something to clarify exactly what kind of Hulk we should expect to see. Something like Al Ewing and Joe Bennett’s The Immortal Hulk 1, which introduces the specifics of this particular iteration with remarkable efficiency. Continue reading

Becoming Part of the Adventure in You Are Deadpool 1

by Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

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You Are Deadpool isn’t the first attempt to turn a comic book into a “Choose Your Own Adventure” story, but that doesn’t make it any less impressive. Not only is Deadpool — the irreverent, fourth-wall crashing, meta-joke of a character — a perfect choice to star in this kind of story, but creators Al Ewing and Salva Espin find inventive, intuitive ways to not only put readers into Deadpool’s shoes, but to make their choices, skills, and even luck truly have an effect on their adventure. Continue reading

It’s All a Game in Avengers 679

by Drew Baumgartner

Avengers 679

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

We’ll often chide middle chapters for failing to maintain dramatic momentum while setting up the climax — when he actions in those middle chapters feel motivated more by what the climax needs than what came before. We refer to that phenomenon as “putting the pieces in place,” as it reduces the dramatic interest of a story to setting up a board game. It’s an unfortunate tendency that tends to crop up in event series with huge casts, and has already led to some consternation with “No Surrender,” but Avengers 679 hangs a lampshade on its game-iness, zooming out from the game board to focus on the real players. Continue reading

The Ol’ Weekly Series Wheel-Spinning in Avengers 678

by Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

A weekly title — especially one running more than a few issues — should feel big, as if its story simply cannot be told in any other format, on any other release schedule. Instead, though, I’ve found that weekly comics often tend to feel padded, as if a typical story is being stretched out to better fit the format. That’s certainly a problem I’m starting to notice with “No Surrender,” the current weekly Avengers event. Continue reading

The Futility of Definition in Inhumans: Judgment Day 1

By Patrick Ehlers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Reading any on-going comic is an exercise in accessing memory. If a writer, or an editor, is feeling particularly generous, there might be a note on the page to jog that memory a bit. Can’t remember what’s up with Karnak? Don’t worry, an editorial note has that addressed. Can’t remember what Swain’s power is? A narration box has your back with a one-word explanation: “Empath.” But these characters are too complex for that, right? Al Ewing’s Inhumans: Judgment Day 1 explores the limits of definition as it applies to a cast of characters that is both constantly changing, and constantly changing back. Continue reading