Review: ‘Immortal Hulk’ #49 Finds Heart At The End Of The Journey

by Tony Thornley

The Hulk has found himself at the end of the road with the conclusion of the greatest story of his nearly 60 year history in sight. But this story is not over, as the Hulk has one last step to take before the final smash…

Cover by Alex Ross

This penultimate issue is a bittersweet calm before the storm. It’s more than just set-up though, as it provides emotional catharsis just before stepping into the unknown. It comes from Al Ewing, Joe Bennett, Ruy Jose, Belardino Brabo, Paul Mounts, and Cory Petit.

The Hulk is incomplete. The system is broken. The Leader has Banner and the Devil Hulk in his grasp, and that means terrible things for existence. So with his friends and family at his side, the Hulk steps into the belly of the beast to get help from the most unexpected ally.

I wasn’t sure what I expected of the series’ penultimate issue, but an illustrated prose character study was not it. But in light of everything Ewing has done, it’s fitting to see the final moments before the Hulk’s greatest battle in this light. Using Jackie McGee as a narrator, Ewing explores the journey of the last four years, but also signals the symmetry of Bruce Banner’s life. It even shows how Banner and his found family are parallels to the Richards-Storm-Grimm family of the Fantastic Four. It’s a lovely issue that, even with its bombastic fight scene, takes a moment to thoughtfully pause before throwing the Hulk into the breach.

I have a lot of issues with Joe Bennett as a person, some of which I detailed several months ago. However, this issue shows his work at its peak with Jose and Brabo’s inks complementing — and elevating — the pencils. Bennet gives us calm tranquility, brutal action, and quiet contemplation all in the moments leading up to the end.

Petit’s work with the letters is stellar here. By using a simple, bold font, he sets a tone that’s almost clinical, but then builds to the emotional climax of the issue. He’s been a quiet hero for the series across its entire run, and now he flexes with a simple text box with white on black font. It’s incredible work.

The Hulk has stepped into the unknown. I can’t wait to see how it ends in October.

 Immortal Hulk #49 is available now from Marvel Comics.

Overview

The Immortal Hulk’s final adventure begins with a poignant story about the Hulk’s birth as well as what comes next. It’s a fantastic distillation of the series before the final battle.

Overall
8.5/10
8.5/10
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