Writer: Al Ewing
Art: Joe Bennett, Ruy José, Belardino Brabo, Paul Mounts, Javier Rodríguez, Álvaro López, VC’s Cory Petit, and Alex Ross
Release Date: March 11th, 2020
When last we saw our Immortal Hulk, he was battling Kaiju monsters sent by Dario Agger and Roxxon. Nonetheless, the cherry topper came last issue as readers saw the long-awaited return of Xemnu from the Magic Planet. (Side note: can I just say, I loved his show when I was a kid.) Anyway, that’s one of Xemnu’s names. He also goes by the Incredible Hulk! Wait, what now?!? Hold up… I thought the big green guy was the Hulk? Readers, it appears as though Xemnu is using some wacky mojo on anyone who can get their hands on a television, phone, or any type of technology that can share his mind-warping abilities. So, now it appears as though the Hulk is a beloved fan favorite while Banner is STILL hated. What’s a guy with multiple personalities to do? Let’s smash into this week’s installment of IMMORTAL HULK #32 by Al Ewing to see what Xemnu’s plan is and if the real Big Green Machine can reclaim his Hulk status before the issue ends!
Ladies and gentlemen, this week’s tale seems to be more of an informative and explanatory issue to fill in the gaps for our reliable IMMORTAL HULK fans while ending with a world-shattering cliffhanger that should get everyone jazzed for the next issue. Readers, this is something that’s becoming rather routine for Al Ewing recently, his M.O. if you will. He opens a new arc with something crazy and extravagant and then disburses a second issue dangling carrots of crafty ideas to fans. Afterward, he catches fans up with what’s been happening by spending the issue diving into the expedition and heavy dialogue, which is where we are right now. Next, Ewing releases a penultimate issue packed with more remarkable wow-moments and concludes with a non-ending that is related to something deep, and horrifyingly frightening pertaining to Banner, gamma, and the Hulk.
Right now, we are in the thick of explanation. However, this week’s installment was lacking in the realm of understanding. Is Dario’s goal to monetize the Hulk? And since he couldn’t do so with Banner, is he just recreating it on his own? My point is: I’m not entirely seeing the purpose or point of this arc. Ewing adds the spice of an old villain with flare and brings it to the surface to draw attention and intrigue to the story. But, is this just another villain of the week that will pass us by or is Xemnu apart of something bigger? Sure, he’s cool but some of the pieces just aren’t adding up. Hulk can tell something’s wrong but how can the doctor figure out someone is messing with her mind by noticing old footage of “Xemnu” saving her? And why would she be looking into that footage? Furthermore, why would Xemnu alter her mind to replace Daredevil? It just doesn’t make sense. It’s as if these threads were placed throughout the last issue in order for us to tug on them for Ewing to pull his own Mandela Effect on us.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m still interested in this series. I’m still loving his take on the Hulk. However, what’s going on with the Leader and the future Hulk at the end of time? Did we ever figure out/ fully understand what’s going on with the connection between the gamma and the Green Door? How is all of this connecting? After 32 issues, I feel like we should be closer to these answers instead of dancing around with Dario Agger and Xemnu. Plus, even if Hulk takes down Roxxon somehow, then what? What’s the purpose? Using a math term, a comic should be like a vector. It should have both direction and magnitude. Ewing is giving this series tons of magnitude… but where’s the direction?
This week’s IMMORTAL HULK by Al Ewing was definitely fun and interesting. However, it was heavy in explanation sandwiched between remarkably bone-chilling art by the extremely talented Joe Bennett, who if I haven’t mentioned before is a rockstar and should be illustrating more comics, Marvel! Ewing thrusts this comedic element into the narrative with Xemnu that lightens the mood of the story yet slaps readers in the face with this grotesque luncheon later in the issue. I just left the tale confused on how I’m supposed to feel about our new Hulk, what the purpose of this arc really is, and wondering where we go from here. What do readers gain from this story arc after the eventual Hulk re-evaluation? Readers, I’m still all-in on this series but now I’m beginning to wonder where Ewing is taking us. I’d still recommend this issue and series however, it’s absolutely an awful point to jump in on for new readers. If you’re interested in catching up on IMMORTAL HULK, check out the links below and feel free to hit me up with any questions or discussions.