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
Release Date: November 6th, 2019
He’s got an underground fortress. He has powerful allies. He’s even got henchmen. He’s got everything he needs to declare war on human society as we know it in this week’s all-new IMMORTAL HULK #26 by Al Ewing making him the most dangerous man in the world… and Bruce Banner is just getting started. Let’s smash into this week’s issue and see what Banner has in mind for the human race!
After Al Ewing’s double-sized issue 25 that this reviewer left scratching his head, this Hulk fan dove into this issue thrilled for something uncomplicated, less confusing, and some over the top grotesque horror graphics from Joe Bennet. Sadly, this comic contained very little warfare and very little mesmerizing art from Bennett. Don’t get this reviewer wrong, this narrative was definitely straightforward and much easier to follow than the last issue. However, it was cluttered with heavy dialogue and diatribes about society and the vague course of action Banner is going to take against the human race.
Where has the action been in these past two issues? Where are the outstanding Bennett illustrations that featured our Green Goliath’s viciously fighting in some of the most insanely intense battles seen in ANY comic? Instead, Ewing delivers a slow-moving and weighted discussion on the world at large and how the Hulk thinks he can fix it by ending humanity altogether. Moreover, this arrives after the far-out, future rendezvous in issue 25 that had a cliffhanger involving the Leader. Honestly, one of the coolest villains the Hulk has to face is thrown out there as a cliffhanger but readers get absolutely nothing more referenced about the Leader in this comic. Is Ewing simply toying with us? Heck, this reviewer is still waiting to see if the ”Hulk” running the show is the Maestro or if we get an answer to issue 20 about Metatron and his relationship to the series. Seriously, this comic feels like it’s stalled out and answers to the overarching questions are being trickled out now for shock factor alone.
Readers need to look no further than my dozens of prior reviews for this series to see how much this critic has truly adored Ewing’s run. Al Ewing was on the money for months and now everything has come to a crashing stop. Furthermore, why would people who use to work for Shadow Base continue to work for Banner, especially after the massive declaration Banner made to the world? Additionally, this reviewer received the impression that somehow this Hulk base is being funded by our government still… somehow. Really? And why is Doc Samson simply helping Banner? Does he agree with him? Again, there appear to be too many plot holes for this critic right now to get behind the current direction this narrative is going.
Not only was the issue heavy and a bit complicated, but Joe Bennett didn’t have the opportunity to creatively let loose throughout the issue. In a way, this issue felt like it stifled his talents. There was very little to no action at all. There were limited monstrous opportunities showcased and almost no chance for Bennett to play with all the tools in the toolbox! The art wasn’t bad by any stretch. Frankly, this critic loves Bennett’s art from top to bottom. However, after witnessing what he’s capable of and what he can put on display, this reviewer knows he’s capable of so much more when given the opportunity to shine.
Overall, this issue isn’t bad but it’s missing something that I feel the prior months issues were able to give readers; action, suspense, jaw-dropping moments, fantastical illustrations, mesmerizing art, clear direction, just enough dialogue, and conflicts (mental and physical) that encapsulated the drama of the narrative at large. To use a football analogy, It’s as if Ewing has been throwing for over 400 yards a game for the past 6 games and now decides to run the ball, which has never worked before. The issue was still perplexing at times, wordy, slow, and had very little action for an Al Ewing Hulk comic. Hopefully, Ewing can turn this around soon because it seems like he’s in a bit of a slump, which every writer or series has from time to time. Pick this up only if you’ve been collecting it to date. Otherwise, don’t bother this week. It’s not a great place to jump in and ultimately a new reader will be bored and find it a bit flat and confusing.