I Cry Aloud, But There Is No Judgment: Reviewing ‘Immortal Hulk #36’

by Brendan M. Allen

No happy endings.
Marvel’s three word blurb doesn’t give many clues as to the contents of Immortal Hulk #36, except that the aftermath of last chapter’s cliffhanger isn’t going to be pretty. Media is crawling all over the scene. Bodies strewn about. Rick, possessed by The Leader, horribly twisted and mutated by the Gamma Bomb explosion he set off in Hulk. The scene couldn’t have been set more perfectly to make the big guy look like a super heel, right when he was starting to get some traction in the other direction.

In Immortal Hulk #35, Al Ewing gave a lot of perspective on Hulk’s internal struggle. This month, all of that pain and pent up frustration comes through as Hulk tries to wrap his own head around what’s happening. Mentally breaking the Hulk is a huge part of whatever The Leader has in store. 
It doesn’t help that while he’s trying to sort it, he’ll also have to fight for his life against Gamma Flight, who have been waiting for just such an opportunity to bring the jade giant down. The weight of Hulk’s remorse, his reticence to hurt any more people than he already has, keeps him on his heels during the physical fight that takes up most of these pages.

I was a little concerned after the last chapter was so light on action, gore, and body horror. This chapter makes up for it. Ewing takes a step back and lets the art team do most of the heavy lifting this month. Cover to cover, this is a non-stop fight. 
With all that violence and carnage, Joe Bennett, Ruy Jose, and Matt Milla are still able to pull an amazing level of emotion. Hulk rips a dude’s arm straight out of its socket, sure, but you can tell that he’s really busted up about it. 
This is what I signed up for. 

Immortal Hulk #36, Marvel Comics, 12 August 2020. Written by Al Ewing, pencils by Joe Bennett, inks by Ruy Jose, color by Matt Milla, letters by VC’s Cory Petit, cover by Alex Ross.

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