WARNING – Spoilers for Immortal Hulk #1
Immortal Hulk kicks off the new Bruce Banner book by focusing on the violence and horror of the scientist's alter-ego. In the MCU, The Hulk and Bruce Banner have existed in a relatively light-hearted frame. Though some tragedy has emerged, the angst typically associated with the character has been minimized, and practically replaced. And while audiences have mostly been pleased with Mark Ruffalo's turn as the atypical hero, the core of the Hulk has arguably been lost along the way.
The Hulk by nature is a mixture of The Wolfman and Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, but those inspriations haven't always shown through in the comics. The character has changed many times over the years, veering from reluctant hero to dystopian villain. But the recent resurrection of Bruce Banner has not only proven the Hulk has always been immortal, it's reestablished the inherent brutality of the Jade Giant. When the character first returned in Avengers recently, the Hulk killed Vision and nearly did the same to a number of other heroes.
Now, he's out on his own... and bringing his violent justice to the guilty.
Immortal Hulk #1 by Al Ewing with art from Joe Bennett, Ruy José, and Paul Mounts picks up with Bruce Banner in West Virginia where he ends up at a gas station being robbed. When a 12-year-old startles the thief, he shoots her dead and appears to do the same to Banner. But when night falls, The Hulk busts out of the morgue and goes after the killer and the Dogs of Hell chapter he works for.
Aside from tying in the biker gang from Daredevil and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the new Immortal Hulk series blends elements of a police procedural with a horror film. With the Hulk emerging from the apparently-deceased Bruce Banner at night under the full moon, the werewolf connection is fully established. And back-to-back splash pages allow readers to truly appreciate the size of the Hulk as he looms over the killer he's hunting.
Though the issue makes clear that no one died during Hulk's rampage, plenty of violence is implied. It also seems that the new intelligent Hulk is fully aware of what he's doing and even enjoys his mission of revenge. What the rest of the story will entail is unclear, but it seems the title will almost take an anti-hero angle as Banner travels across the U.S. and the Hulk comes out to punish the guilty. And with the Hulk eating Captain America in the alternate future of another book, who knows what horror is in store for readers.
Immortal Hulk #1 is available now from Marvel and comic book retailers.