Writer: Al Ewing
Art: Butch Guice, Tom Palmer, Paul Mounts, VC’s Cory Petit, and Alex Ross
Release Date: Wednesday, June 24th, 2020
It’s been a really long time since IMMORTAL HULK has graced us with its presence. Heck, in the time between issues 33 and 34, readers have discovered that we are getting and IMMORTAL SHE-HULK and that this series is ending at issue 50. Now, to all the IMMORTAL HULK fans out there, let’s take a step back from the ledge for a minute. All good things must come to an end at some point. And furthermore, issue 50 won’t be coming out for over a year (at least). So, enjoy the series while you still can, and let’s watch Al Ewing and Joe Bennett end this puppy on a high note! But what about this week’s issue? Why is the leader on the cover? How does the Leader connect to all of this? And, do I need to reread a ton of IMMORTAL HULK back issues to catch up from the layover between issues? Let’s smash into IMMORTAL HULK #34 by Al Ewing and find out!
Let me begin the review of issue 34 by stating the obvious; this issue is about the Leader. Simply put, the cover is truly the ultimate spoiler for this issue. However, what exactly does the Leader have to do with any of this? Technically, readers have only seen the Leader pop up once throughout this entire run and it was at the end of the funky futuristic issue 25 with the Hulk that ends the universe. Do you remember the %ers or P%l’s? Well, the Leader showed up at the end of that issue capturing something very important and this story lends a hand to what that may actually be. Hulk fans, I won’t sugarcoat my reviews and I stand by what I write. I thoroughly disliked IMMORTAL HULK #25 for its insanely confusing premise and unexplained jump into a future without direction or guidance. (click HERE for that Review) However, this issue “kind of” makes up for some of that complication and connects a few more of the puzzle pieces for fans that were truly needed.
Furthermore, IMMORTAL HULK #34 is steeped in thought-provoking lore about the Leader that encompasses his entire backstory. The amount of research and time Ewing had to put forth in order to create this issue alone shows the dedication he’s had towards this book and character since day one. It’s this issue that proves he’s had a plan all along for this series, the jade giant, and some of his closest allies and villains. Readers, this is how all comics should be written with organization, strategy, investigation, and experimentation. And as sad as I am to see this series end, 50 (plus) issues is more than enough time to tell a smashingly good story from start to finish without overstepping your welcome. Specifically, IMMORTAL HULK #34 takes the time to prove that this creative team has always had an agenda at the forefront while cascading one of Hulk’s biggest villains throughout the shadows of his entire life.
If there were two sticking points about this issue it would be that IMMORTAL HULK #34 really doesn’t have the Hulk in it at all. He’s actually in about 1/10 of the entire issue. The focus is mainly on Sam Sterns (the Leader) and his role throughout this run and frankly Hulk’s entire being. Lastly, it would be that Joe Bennett wasn’t on art for this issue. However, Butch Guice and Tom Palmer did a fantastic job. Nonetheless, there simply wasn’t the same horrifyingly tenacious impact Bennett brings into each issue. Additionally, even though I’m a huge proponent of a comic containing the main character more than anyone else, this issue sheds so much light onto the series as a whole while catching new fans up on the Leader and his sheer importance to the Hulk throughout the years.
This issue is a must-buy for all Hulk fans. It’s an exemplar recap of Sam Sterns’ life and how it intertwines within the context of Bruce Banners like an intricate green tapestry. So, even if you haven’t been reading this series, it’s incredibly informative, personable, and opens the door on one of Hulk’s greatest foes. If you’re particularly an IMMORTAL HULK fan, this issue is most certainly for you. Other than the lack of Hulk himself, you won’t be disappointed with the tactical information needed in moving this story forward while leaving you with a pertinent direction and even more questions as this series wraps up throughout this next year. You won’t be disappointed with this issue and you’ll leave it understanding just why it’s been one of Marvel’s top-selling books for years.
If you want to get your hands on this week’s issue of IMMORTAL HULK, click the Amazon link HERE. Additionally, if the IMMORTAL HULK by Al Ewing is your jam, click HERE to grab the latest trades, volumes, and titles. And finally, if you’re looking for something else to read, check out my Amazon Online Comic Shop by clicking HERE. Thank you all for the read and continued support. Stay safe and stay healthy.