IMMORTAL HULK #25 Review

Writer: Al Ewing

Art: Joe Bennett, Ruy José, Belardino Brabo, Marc Deering, Roberto Poggi, Paul Mounts, VC’s Cory Petit, German Garcia, and Alex Ross

Price: $5.99

Release Date: October 23rd, 2019

You’ve never read of a Hulk comic like this before. Heck, you’ve never read a Marvel comic like this before. The death of our universe has come and gone and the Hulk is finally dead in this week’s all-new, groundbreaking, double-sized issue of IMMORTAL HULK #25 by Al Ewing. Let’s smash through this comic to see billions of years from now as the Ninth Cosmos cowers…before the BREAKER OF WORLDS.

It’s fourth down and Al Ewing is at the goal line. He rifles a throw to the back of the Endzone and it flies way over this reviewer‘s head. We lose the game… and that my fellow readers are how this critic felt after reading this week’s installment. IMMORTAL HULK #25 was way over the top, extremely heavy, and way too intense for this critic to comprehend. This reviewer doesn’t claim to be extremely intelligent, overly quick, or immensely gifted in the art of understanding plot narratives. However, this comic enthusiast doesn’t profess to need his handheld either. Hulk fans, this issue left me scratching my head as to what its purpose was, what the meaning of the comic was, and it’s importance to the overall narrative. Excuse my language but, what the $&@$ happened throughout this issue?!

This was supposed to be an issue about the Hulk and the massive Green Goliath didn’t enter the story until over halfway through this double-sized issue. Even after he arrived, the Hulk was barely visible in the issue. On top of that, what was the point of it being double-sized? The focus of the issue was on beings that spelled their names with percent signs, who very well may have been reproducing asexually (…I don’t know…) and were trying to survive the end of everything. These beings came and went as we discovered nothing about the ”Breaker of Worlds” A.K.A. the Hulk, who may this critic remind you is supposed to be the main focus of HIS story. Readers, at first this reviewer thought, “ the story may be a bit confusing to start… Maybe the first couple pages or so? But then, it will focus on the Hulk being something like the New Galactus maybe? And then, I can just overlook this nonsense in the beginning.” Boy was I wrong! This “nonsense” was the entire issue in which this reviewer still can’t wrap his head around what he read after multiple rereads.

This critic wants a book that will make him think, provide insight into something a bit deeper, and stimulate positive discussion. Sprinkle in some great character development, emotional ties, clever and humorous moments, as well as some amazing action, with some of your favorite characters and you have yourself a comic stew filled with something that warms your belly, mind, and soul. Fans, there is very little action, absolutely no humor, character development that this critic can’t understand, and thoughtful discussion that honestly makes my brain hurt. Maybe this reviewer is an idiot? Honestly, there are moments and this very well could be one of those moments where I’m the only one that doesn’t get it. Please let me know if that’s the case.

Readers, this critic has reviewed almost every issue of this series. The adoration this reviewer has for the series as a whole is still there. My scores on average have been so very high for this series. However, if the objective of a review is, to be honest, and to give proper feedback, then the point of this review will not only be to state where the struggles may have been BUT to also give constructive explanations in order to improve. That said, Al Ewing needs to add clarity and relieve a tremendous amount of weight to the narrative. More clues and less ambiguity need to be introduced into the story while divulging more critical details to the direction and purpose of the overall theme of his run. Ewing needs to be more transparent, straightforward, and actually give a few answers to his dedicated readers and fans. It’s 25 issues into his run and this issue hammers home the idea that the overall theme is cloudy at best. Ewing, give us something more, please.

FINAL THOUGHTS

If you love mind-blowingly freaky, possibly hallucinogenic, out of this world storytelling with back words dialogue, made-up names, incomprehensibly futuristic beings, and a cliffhanger that really made no sense to what you just read, this issue is entirely for you. The issue is way too deep and too heavy for this reviewer to understand its purpose, intent, and it’s significance to the overall narrative. This analyst genuinely wants to understand and actually thought he was getting somewhere until this issue fell on his lap. Pick this issue up in haste and PLEASE message me to explain what the $&@$ is going on if you know more than I. This reviewer is always willing to alter a score if true clarity can be shared with actual proof from the reading. Otherwise, my score stands for this week. This reviewer was lost and hopefully isn’t stuck on an island by himself.

5.9/10

14 thoughts on “IMMORTAL HULK #25 Review

  1. Points for Ewing for trying something different in the story telling, but this one left me confused and I was bored reading it til we got towards the last couple of pages. Still a fan of his Hulk, just…not this very different kind of issue. I tried…

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    1. I know. I wanted to love it. I really did but I was so confused as to what was going on. He stepped outside the box for sure but I think he’s been poking at something since issue 1 and nothing has been revealed… I need some direct answers with it being 25 issues in

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      1. Hello, I just read your review and I believe I can help clear some things up. This post will be a bit long, so please bear with me.
        So, first things first: the Plot. The comic as you said is about the last living lifeforms – the Percenters as I call ‘em – searching for any color left in a literally broken universe. They equate color with Life which explains all the description with color. It’s a bleak story as the literal last star of hope, and their world, is smashed by the Breaker of Worlds and the protagonist Par%1, sends a message back through time, in the odd Tiding Fly, which ends up in the hands of The Leader of all people. Carrying the message of essentially what will happen if the Hulk is possessed by The One Below All.
        Which explains why in the last issue in the Far Far Future storyline, the Hulk could conceivably kill Franklin Richards, Galactus, Mr. Immortal and literally eat the Sentience of the Universe. He was possessed by The One Below All, who hollowed out Bruce and the Hulks leaving the body but not the soul(s). And if anything this issue actually reveals something critical of The One Below All; where the Hulk has famously said, “Leave Hulk aloneness ” The One Below All takes that phrase and flips it on its head. It too wants to be alone, but to have an empty void of existence that finally reflects It and the dismal depths of its own soul. And it will kill everyone and everything in order to be truly and utterly alone.
        Oddly enough, going into this issue I thought it would be more graphic, all things considered, the apex of horror for this title. Yet, aside from the big reveal of The Breaker Of Worlds’ soul, that’s about it. Weird.

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      2. Thank you so much for the reply and thank you for the clarity. I appreciate the long response. The “search for color” as life… too far over my head to catch on. And the fly going back in time. I didn’t catch that at all? I get the “10 billion years in the past” now that you say it but the entire comic was way too deep and way to “trippy” to follow until you explained it better to me. And that’s kind of the point of my review. I shouldn’t need a study guide or cliff notes to understand it… you know what I mean? Again I appreciate the explanation. It definitely helped. I was following everything to this point… your comments make sense but I’m still just a bit dumbfounded as to the approach of this issue and why he wasn’t more direct with what he was shooting for. Thanks again!

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  2. I tried this comic again at issue 25 after having read the first 6 and followed the rest of the story through reviews. Al Ewing was swearing on Twitter that you just had to pick this issue up. At $5.99 I figured “Oh Marvel must really think this is a special issue with some real collector value. Wrong. This was an impenetrable overpriced comic. I get exactly what they were trying to do with this story – tell an end time story, but there’s nothing to it. Nothing informs the present, except that the Hulk could literally become a galactic entity, and to create a deus ex machina to send back to the present as a warning message. The rest of the story is empty. It’s a nonsense story about a race unable to comprehend this alien threat that will be their doom. That’s it. Made harder on the reader by adding percent signs in the names and inventing pronouns so you don’t worry about gender. Ewing adds about 5 extra layers of unnecessary confusion to this story, just to make it that much more impenetrable. I get that regular readers are enamoured by the mystique of it all, but this is an unnecessary and incomprehensible issue to insert into a comic run.

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    1. Nick, thank you for the reply. I totally appreciate it! Yup you basically summarized it better than my review. And feel free to look back at my scores on prior issues. I love this book. I really do. I’ve given it great scores… however if I’m going to stay true to who I am, this just didn’t work, was too confusing, overpriced for a double sized issue that barely had the hulk in it, and did I mention confusing!!! He’s hit some homerun but this wasn’t one of them. Thanks again for the reply. I love talking shop. So feel free to message whenever!! Thanks again for the read!!!

      Dispatch

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  3. I hated this issue. I’ve always been a fan of the Hulk, and loved the first few issues of IMH, however, I’m canceling my subscription. I just can’t get into this lame, telling. If people out there truly like this garbage, then that’s great for them. I, however, will not be wasting another dollar. Honestly, if someone asked me what the plot has been since around issue #15, I couldn’t tell you. I’m just not impressed. Thanks for posting a review that is honest.

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    1. Michael, I am struggling with it myself. I admit, I am not any sort of reader of Hulk and I do see a lot of the hardcore Hulk fans loving it, so maybe it’s me, but I will admit 100% that most of it goes way over my head and it’s just not a fun or enjoyable read for me at all. We are taking a break from it on the podcast because of it.

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      1. Mike, I partially agree. It’s been overly confusing lately and a struggle to follow the direction. I personally am hanging in for hope that it turns around. I’ve been on it since day one, and loved it until recently( probably last month and half). But as Jim also pointed out, it goes over my head too at times. But you got to love the Bennett art and when Ewing let’s the horror comic element flow it’s fantastic. He needs to just go back to that and stop this confusing clement of the narrative. Thanks for the comment man!!

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  4. So I can understand being lost, but it’s actually a pretty fantastic issue issue when you put it all together.

    The idea is simple, the 9th Multiverse is an existence that was created following the end of the eighth, and in this new Multiverse, all life has only ever known is that once the Breaker Of Worlds finds your Galaxy, that’s pretty much it right there. The color green has been big focus in this run, and it’s especially pertinent here, as every lifeform in this new world has only ever known that color in association with death and destruction.

    If you want to know why that interaction between the Percent beings was important, I recommend rereading Ultimates 2 #10 by Al Ewing. There’s a special contrast with how Ewing writes the TOAA and the TOBA, and it’s going to be very important later on.

    I don’t really feel like Ewing went that overboard here, he’s doing what all great writers do, seeding ideas for the future and pushing the genre towards more interesting conceptual ideas. Feels very much like a Grant Morrison mixed with the prose of an Alan Moore.

    I can understand why that may be hard to work with for some readers, but I would hope that for something like this, people would be keep an open mind. It’s high concept stuff, and I’m not trying to say that people need to be okay with that all the time, but I would hope that they don’t dismiss it completely without trying to understand what’s happening.

    The Tiding-Fly, as someone said, holds a message that is a warning of what will happen if TOBA is latched onto Bruce for too long. The Leader gaining hold of such a fly is perfect, who better to hold such a Secret about the true potential of Gamma Energy.

    He’s set to appear again in issue #33, so I would wait and see if your feelings change on this issue. It’s obviously very pivotal to the future of this run.

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    1. Thanks for the reply. I appreciate you reading the reviews. Thank you so much again. What your saying makes sense but that’s exactly my point; I don’t want to read something and have to have someone else explain it to me… or have a podcast description from the writer. There is room for abstract writing but if it’s too hard to follow, then I’m lost. Plus it sounds like you had to dive into his ultimates run… which is also a bit upsetting. I didn’t know I had to read anything else other than this story to understand HIS story.

      I also get the Grant comparison however, no surprise, I’m not a big fan of grants… so.

      But where did you find all this out? Was it not confusing to you? Did you have to read elsewhere to figure this out? It just seems so weird that you seem to confident of what was read and I was entirely lost and read every issue of his run to date.

      Thanks again for the reply!!!! And thanks again for reading the review!!!

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      1. If you’ve read Ewing’s Marvel work, he keeps a lot of continuity between his stories. There are ideas he plays around with in other books that become relevant later on in other stories. It’s like one big creator driven universe. For example the idea of TOBA was sort of teased in Agent of Asgard, the notion of a true King of Hell merely awaiting his throne.

        I’m obviously not saying you need to read these things, but they certainly have helped my understanding about what Ewing is trying to do across his various stories. He’s become the ultimate King of Continuity, both of his own and of other people’s stories, I think you’ve seen that with how he’s written His Hulk Run. He’s brought his own spin on so many past Hulk ideas, taking from all the great Hulk runs, and making something that for the most part is truly spectacular.

        I knew to check Ultimates, Merely because that was one of the few books he wrote that dealt with similar Cosmic Level ideas, along with Multiverses past and present. It’s an absolutely brilliant series, I’d recommend it to any reader of Marvel Comics who wants an understanding of how Marvel Cosmic should be handled.

        Hope that helps!

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      2. Thanks for the recommendation! I mY just out ultimates. But there in again lies the problem. I’m cool with cross continuity between books …. IF … I know about it. To assume everyone is reading and has read all your stuff to connect the dots is a bit presumptuous. I’m not saying he is presenting it Hulk that way BUT if he is… that doesn’t sit too well with me. All it would take is a very editor notes to jump back and look.

        Yes, I’m enjoying his take. And yes, I love heavy stuff that really makes me think, especially if it gets meta. But if it’s too confusing and complex for anyone to figure out and Not referenced again for months, interest is lost and deeper confusion sets in…

        If it’s a meta story continues issue to issue thoroughly teased out, that would make more sense. And also, yes I’m enjoying the two most recent issues more!!! Thanks again for read, the comments, the thoughts, and explanations!!! Much appreciated!!!

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      3. I can’t reply to your other comment, but I completely understand where you are coming from.

        Thank you for your great reviews, keep it up!

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