Review: ‘Immortal Hulk’ #50 Is The Ending No One Expected And Everyone Needed

by Tony Thornley


It’s not hyperbole to say this is a superb final issue. It’s the perfect climax to the greatest run in the history of the Incredible Hulk.


The incredible Hulk is one of Marvel’s greatest characters. And Immortal Hulk will go down as the greatest run ever written about the character. Honestly, I could leave it at that. But I won’t.

Cover by Alex Ross

This is a seminal story that started as a monster movie, evolved into a supernatural thriller, then a cosmic horror. It further molted into an anti-capitalist protest. A psychological thriller. Back to cosmic horror. And then a meditation on the character himself and what made him great.

This was not a traditional Hulk book. Sure, there was smashing — lots of it. There were many traditional Hulk villains, including new takes on his two greatest enemies. There were tie-ins to the greater universe, but they never became more important. When the series crossed over, it was in outside one-shots which avoided disrupting the narrative. And, in the end, we got a single, continuous Hulk story that redefined the character, his powers, his world, even his mental illness.

Al Ewing took all the disparate takes on the Hulk and brought them together into one cohesive whole. The different versions — the Savage, Fixit, the Worldbreaker, the Devil — now make sense. They were a system that protected not just Bruce Banner, but, as it turned out, the whole world. And as this meditative final issue showed, Hulk isn’t a destroyer, but a force of nature. He’s the left hand of something greater than man.

This ending will confound some readers. I mean, this was essentially about the Hulk defeating the Leader, yet there really wasn’t any smashing. Sure, a door was smashed in and the Leader was torn apart, but this wasn’t a story about violence. This was a story about a man who has been beaten and torn down confronting his creator and asking why. It was almost a superhero version of the book of Job (the feeling of which was captured wonderfully by Cory Petit). It was exactly how it should have ended.

I’d be neglectful to not mention the art, but honestly, this story succeeded in spite of it, not because of it. Not to slight the inkers, Ruy Jose and Belardino Brabo, who did a great job on the finishes, or Paul Mounts, whose superb colors for the last three-plus years set a tone which made the book such a unique reading experience. However, it’s impossible to look at the work of penciller Joe Bennett and not think of how his abhorrent personal views — some of which snuck into the background of the series itself — will forever hang over the legacy of this title.

In the end though, we find ourselves at the conclusion of one of the greatest comics series Marvel has ever published. It’s full of horror and hope. It’s full of pain and pride. It changed some of the publisher’s greatest characters forever; some to the point that I hope no writer or artist puts them on the page again, just to allow their depiction here to stand frozen in time. It was unashamed to be progressive, including the distinction of being the most pro-trans comic published by the big two to date.

I will miss this series. There was no way it was going to last forever, but I’m glad it ended on its own terms.

As for what’s next? I don’t know. We’ll see how Donny Cates and Ryan Ottley give the Jade Giant their own spin here in a few weeks. It might be great in its own way, and I truly hope it is.

However, there will always be only one Immortal.

Immortal Hulk #50 is available now from Marvel Comics.

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