Writer: Declan Shalvey
Art: Declan Shalvey and VC’s Cory Petit
Publisher: MARVEL COMICS
Release Date: February 17th, 2021
Each day, Dr. Bruce Banner awakens in a new place. The HULK is striving to warn him of something, yet Bruce has had quite enough of his alter egos. However, when a new gamma-packed villain appears in a small New Mexico town, Bruce is pushed to combat the true source of his rage. Let’s smash into IMMORTAL HULK: FLATLINE #1 by Declan Shalvey to witness this incredibly new adventure from one of the business’s prime talents!
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Timing is everything. And in comics, that timing turns into continuity. So, the biggest issue with IMMORTAL HULK: FLATLINE #1 that readers will find is when exactly this comic takes place, which is a valid condition. However, let me spare you the dilemma that a literal blurb or editorial note could have spared this reader… this issue takes place before all the events within IMMORTAL HULK. And if I’m wrong, there are a ton of plot holes and confusing quandaries that would radically belittle my score. Therefore, my grade is based solely on that assumption, which again becomes rather obvious by the halfway point of the narrative even without the clarity from the beginning. Nevertheless, the guidelines would have added some well-deserved clarity throughout the opening pages.
Now, if I may move on to the premise of the issue, Declan Shalvey delivers what could be classified as a prelude to Al Ewing’s IMMORTAL HULK run. Moreover, Shalvey uses this issue to explain some attributes of Bruce Banner as well as the HULK. His focus becomes the tension between the alter egos and the continual death of one Bruce Banner. That’s right… death. Readers, Shalvey isn’t saying Bruce dies every time he transforms. However, what he is saying is that there have been multiple times that Banner has died in the past, which we already know. And, with a little help from his friend, Shalvey uses this issue to show us what happens to Bruce each time death occurs. So, to any fans that have been following IMMORTAL HULK from Day One, you know exactly where that is.
Furthermore, Shalvey does a fantastic job introducing a HULK that’s brand spanking new to this concept of a Green Door. This HULK seems more arrogant, pompous, and rude than Ewing’s IMMORTAL HULK that began venturing around following Gamma clues. Shalvey also delivers a deep story that does take a bit to comb through. Nevertheless, by the story’s conclusion, you’ll find that it’s totally worth it. In a way, you’ll see the Hulk’s personal transformation before the issue ends as well as between the “flatlines”. My point: Shalvey uses the flatlines to not only discover the Green Door but to show the reader that the relationship between Banner and his alters has itself literally flatlined. Comparatively, IMMORTAL HULK fans will see the true relationship that Ewing has strengthened with Banner and his personas that has never really been there before thanks to Shalvey’s interpretation.
They’ve stopped progressing and connecting, which is ultimately where the tone and anger come from. Their relationship has stopped advancing. And, to readers who have been following IMMORTAL HULK, you’ll notice how close Bruce has become with his alters compared to past runs. Ewing has made them seem more like family than any other writer has in the past. Nonetheless, that’s Shalvey’s angle throughout IMMORTAL HULK: FLATLINE #1. His purpose is to get readers to see what this flatlining has done to their relationship and how they begin to progress forward towards a common goal, the Green Door.
This isn’t Joe Bennett’s gruesomely horrifying HULK. Shalvey’s HULK is more of a new-age, built, rock slide of a HULK. He’s much more sleek yet still huge and massively decisive like a fortifying, Green, Bastion protruding out for defense. Shalvey’s HULK looks angry all the time, even when he’s getting torn apart or melting away. There is a scene where Shalvey channels his inner Joe Bennett getting mighty close to his frighteningly grotesque style.
However, Shalvey merely scratches the surface before moving back to his normal routine. I will say the color shades and inks came off a bit too dark at points making specific panels difficult to understand. But overall, the panels told the story well while the colors portrayed a more somber mood around the issue. The action was large and the antagonist added this explosive spin that grabbed this reader’s attention.
Once readers place the exact sequential timing of the issue, the premise becomes clear. Readers will be able to tell the extensive effort Shalvey puts into creating a starting point for our IMMORTAL HULK. The story probes deeper into the relationship between Banner and his alters and shows that through death and Banners’ flatlines, these personas come together towards a common purpose and journey towards the Green Door united. If you’re an IMMORTAL HULK fan, this is a must buy. If you’re new to IMMORTAL HULK, it may be too difficult to see its true intent. I loved the IMMORTAL HULK: FLATLINE #1 and highly recommend fans of the ongoing to pick this up ASAP. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God bless!
If you’re interested in IMMORTAL HULK: FLATLINE #1, click HERE to get a copy! If you’ve been really digging Ewing’s IMMORTAL HULK, click HERE to get your hands on related trades, volumes, and issues. Lastly, if HULK is your all-time favorite hero, click HERE to snag some of the very best issues and trades from the jolly jade giant. 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 checking out the Immortal Hulk: Flatline #1 Preview as well as your continued support. Stay safe and stay healthy.
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