THE IMMORTAL HULK #11 proves why this book was one of the best books of 2018. Ewing goes above-and-beyond to craft a story that includes both superhero action and deep questions about God and Hell. This book is instantly memorable. It should go down as one of the best issues of the year, and it’s only the first week of January.
99 %
Haunting and Mesmerizing

THE IMMORTAL HULK #11 asks many lofty questions. What is Hell; Does God have a dark side? Writer Al Ewing answers some of these questions but leaves others up to interpretation. It’s the fact that Ewing knows when to tell a big, bombastic superhero story, and when to get all metaphysical and introspective, that, in some part, makes this series so beloved. It’s why it’s at the top of many “Best of 2018” lists. This issue perfectly exemplifies this. Ewing’s stellar writing, combined with Joe Bennett’s chilling, creepy Kirby-esque art, makes this issue into my favorite of the series (well, until the next one comes out).

Journey into Hell in THE IMMORTAL HULK #11

In the last issue, the Hulk died, along with journalist Jackie McGee, Alpha Flight’s Puck, and Crusher Creel, the Absorbing Man. The sinister Shadow Base infused Creel with some sort of demon, who may have brought everyone to Hell. In THE IMMORTAL HULK #11, Hulk and McGee traverse the fiery wasteland, which may-or-may-not be Hell, trying to find out where they are, how they got there, and who’s responsible. Along the way, McGee explains to Hulk the reason behind her obsession with him. It’s not just because he destroyed her home when she was a child, or because the stress of that led to her father’s death. No, it’s because she can’t express her anger the same way Banner can. As she explains, she’s a Black woman, and that means that people look down on her more than others when she lets her anger out.

THE IMMORTAL HULK #11 page 8. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Banner, meanwhile, is a white man. He’s destroyed towns, cost taxpayers and the government millions in property damage, and has even killed people before. However, everyone lets him off with a slap on the wrist. The Illuminati shot him into space, but the only time someone killed this humongous, uncontrollable rage monster was at his own behest. McGee just wants to be able to get the same treatment Banner has. That’s the real reason why she’s so invested in her Hulk story. But what of Puck and Absorbing Man? And who could be behind this? Read THE IMMORTAL HULK #11 to find out!

Ewing Asks Some Big Questions in THE IMMORTAL HULK #11

At multiple points in THE IMMORTAL HULK #11, the narrative shifts to an unseen narrator asking questions like “What is Hell,” “Does God have a Hulk,” and “If so, what would he look like?” Ewing’s narrator posits that Hell is the absence of God. This narrator believes that God has turned his back on mankind because of the horrible atrocities they’ve committed both to the world they live in and to their own kind. The fact that Al Ewing asks these questions in the same book where the Hulk pulverizes a demonic Red Hulk so much that he practically evaporates is amazing. Ewing is truly a master of his field.

I absolutely adore how he’s able to weave in serious, lofty introspection with semi-goofy comic book shenanigans. Granted, this issue doesn’t have much of the latter in it, but it shows just how talented of a writer Ewing is. He brings up ideas that make you think about the world you live in now. That’s exactly what Stan Lee had in mind when he began the Marvel Age of comics. Stan’s spirit and message are perfectly channeled by Ewing. Hey, Bill Maher, how about you read this book before saying how childish comics are, huh?

Pure Nightmare Fuel in THE IMMORTAL HULK #11

Most of THE IMMORTAL HULK #11 takes place in what one would assume to be Hell. One would also assume that a, for lack of a better word, dimension where the most horrible traits of humanity are used to torment damned souls would be inhabited by some real grisly beings. Bennett and Ewing certainly assumed as such. At one point, Hulk and McGee are confronted by the eye-less, desiccated corpse of Rick Jones. It’s an appropriately horrifying sight. One of the worst parts is how realistic Rick looks. Bennett must have done his research because Rick looks like a real-life mummy. His shriveled skin shows nearly every inch of his skull. He’s got two gaping, soulless eye sockets and a nightmare-inducing expression on his face. Bennett certainly succeeds in crafting a horrific design.

THE IMMORTAL HULK #11 page 10. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Final Thoughts: THE IMMORTAL HULK #11

THE IMMORTAL HULK #11 is another high-point in this stupendous series. To say it’s incredible would be an understatement. You need to read it to truly understand the heights this issue gets to.

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