THE IMMORTAL HULK #9 is a beautiful-looking book. From start to finish, the art looks downright mesmerizing. That’s thanks to the art team of Joe Bennett and Martin Simmonds. Al Ewing, as usual, writes truly stupendous book as well.
96 %
Uniquely Beautiful

Al Ewing and company make THE IMMORTAL HULK #9 into a very unique comic. Both Joe Bennett and Martin Simmonds share art duties this issue, switching off with each page. It makes for a very fascinating reading experience. The art styles, very different from each other, work together and never really clash, which is amazing. For much of the issue, Bennett’s pages follow the Hulk returning to the spot where the Gamma Bomb first pelted Bruce Banner with Gamma Rays. Simmonds’ pages follow Crusher Creel, the Absorbing Man, as he’s pressured into joining Shadow Base’s hunt for the Hulk. Ewing, as always, writes a tight, enjoyable script. Overall, I had a superb experience reading this issue.

The Ballad of Crusher Creel in THE IMMORTAL HULK #9

In the last issue, the Hulk was trapped in Shadow Base, where he was cut into pieces and experimented on. He broke out and killed the head scientist in the fracas. In THE IMMORTAL HULK #9, the Hulk’s journey from Shadow Base begins with Bruce Banner dying from a shotgun wound after stealing a shirt off someone’s clothesline. He turns into the Hulk, as it’s sundown when he’s shot, and destroys the shooter’s mobile home. Hulk then remarks to himself how he feels a certain pull to go to a familiar spot from his past. That spot is Los Diablos, where Bruce Banner tested the Gamma Bomb, and where that same bomb changed his life forever. He hopes to bring out the entity which uses his father’s face and lives in his mind, which he freed from Sasquatch a few issues ago.

THE IMMORTAL HULK #9 page 4. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Meanwhile, Crusher Creel, once again, lands behind bars after a botched diamond heist. He’s been on a path to redemption ever since he broke out of an interstellar prison with Black Bolt, in Saladin Ahmed’s fantastic miniseries about the Inhuman king. However, his pride forced him to complete this heist, even though his significant other, Titania, tried to get him to take a legitimate job with Roxxon. Creel does get a chance to get out of prison, though. It turns out that Shadow Base is recruiting imprisoned super villains to help in their hunt for the Hulk. Bushwacker already joined, so Creel decides to follow suit. But when he arrives, he finds that the task is more than he signed up for. What happens to Creel and Hulk? Read THE IMMORTAL HULK #9 to find out!

Bennett’s Beautiful Work in THE IMMORTAL HULK #9

Before I get into the art for this issue, I’ll mention, once again, that Al Ewing’s writing is, as always, top notch. Creel’s story, especially, feels right in line with Ahmed’s characterization of him in BLACK BOLT, which makes me very happy. It was a great turn for the character.

Now, onto the art. As stated above, Bennett and guest artist Simmonds split the art duties this issue. Each of their styles work incredibly well for the characters they showcase. First, Bennett’s art follows Banner’s story. As usual, his Hulk looks incredibly monstrous and intimidating. However, his Banner this issue really stands out to me. He only shows up for two panels, but those panels are downright heartbreaking. Banner lays on the ground, clutching his gunshot wound in pain. He looks afraid, but it’s not because of the shot. It’s because he’s scared of what his other half will do to his would-be murderer. The shooter’s face, also, showcases what a normal person’s reaction to Banner’s frightening transformation would be. He looks like he’s feeling abject terror. It’s a beautiful representation, as always.

A Fascinating Art Experiment in THE IMMORTAL HULK #9

Simmonds’ art, however, looks like a combination of Rod Reis and Christian Ward, with a little Bill Sienkiewicz added in for good measure. It works for the seedy, gritty world of Crusher Creel. However, there’s also an almost dreamlike quality to the art, especially with the colors sort of bleeding into each other. It’s a very fascinating art style, and it quite fits Creel’s story, considering his descent into the nightmare world of the Shadow Base. The first page of the book, where Iron Man stands over Creel’s unconscious body looks almost like it could be hung in a museum. The dreamy background colors, combined with Creel’s sad, forlorn expression and body placement look downright beautiful. Something about Creel on that page just looks haunting.

THE IMMORTAL HULK #9 page 3. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

This every-page switch-off with the artists should, in theory, create a feeling of unevenness to the issue, but it doesn’t. Even though the art styles are so different, they somehow complement each other, probably because they fit each page and their respective characters so well. I’d say this little experiment paid off, since it already made this issue instantly memorable to me. Kudos to both artists for pulling off a Herculean task. It’s this type of experimenting which would have made Stan the Man proud.

Final Thoughts: THE IMMORTAL HULK #9

THE IMMORTAL HULK #9 is a unique issue which really stands out in an already unique series. It looks beautiful, which makes it incredibly memorable. Yet another spectacular issue!

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