THE IMMORTAL HULK #3 BY AL EWING, JOE BENNETT, LEONARDO ROMERO, PAUL HORNSCHEMEIER, MARGUERITE SAUVAGE AND GARRY BROWN
Story
Art
Characterization
Summary
THE IMMORTAL HULK #3 is downright memorable. It tells an engaging story in a truly unique way. I continue to be impressed by what Al Ewing’s doing with this book. It just keeps getting better and better. The guest artists all shine in their respective story sections. Pick up this issue, even if you haven’t read the first two issues. You won’t regret it!
98 %
One For The Ages

THE IMMORTAL HULK #3 tells the story of the Hulk stopping a Gamma-powered teen from the point of view of four characters. Writer Al Ewing brilliantly weaves together a compelling story by using this unique, Rashomon-style narrative. It stood out to me as one of the most unique single issues I’ve read in the past year. Along with a framing sequence by series regular Joe Bennett, Ewing enlists the help of Leonardo Romero, Paul Hornschemeier, Marguerite Sauvage and Garry Brown to visualize each of the witnesses’ stories. Ewing and company deliver a seriously memorable issue. I wouldn’t be surprised if this gets nominated for an Eisner.

Bruce Banner: Detective in THE IMMORTAL HULK #2

A Story in Four Parts in THE IMMORTAL HULK #3

THE IMMORTAL HULK #3 opens with reporter Jackie McGee, wo we saw in the first issue, interviewing various witnesses of a Hulk-related takedown of a violent super-powered teen who held hostages in a church. The first witness, a cop, tells a bombastic, Silver Age Marvel-inspired story of heroic police officers being subdued by an over-the-top supervillain. The next, a bartender, tells a by-the-numbers story of a brief encounter with Bruce Banner in his bar. The third, a seemingly wealthy old woman, relates to McGee that the supposed villain in question is a James Dean-type tragic, lovelorn teenager. She describes his plight with overly-melodramatic dialogue fit for a campy ‘50s teen romance film.

THE IMMORTAL HULK #3
THE IMMORTAL HULK #3 page 8. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

The last, a priest, tells what’s probably the most truthful story. He describes an unkempt and unclean green-skinned teenager who rambles incoherently about needing an exorcism for his girlfriend. He violently threatens police officers. That’s when the Hulk jumps through the stained glass window. What happens next can be seen in the pages of THE IMMORTAL HULK #3.

A Truly Memorable Story in THE IMMORTAL HULK #3

As stated above, THE IMMORTAL HULK #3 takes inspiration form the classic Japanese film by Akira Kurosawa, RASHOMON. Much like in that film, this issue has a bunch of semi-unreliable narrators give pieces of a story to an unrelated character. The viewer, or reader, then pieces together the story from the fragmented narratives with help from the unrelated character. Ewing does a phenomenal job this issue with having a unique take on this story. Ewing changes his writing style with each story and, along with the vastly disparate art styles (which I’ll get to later), pays homage to various comic book genres with one issue.

The cop’s story is incredibly reminiscent of an old Stan Lee-written Marvel book, which is made quite obvious by the cop’s physical resemblance to 1960s Stan Lee. He also has the same verbal mannerisms as Lee, describing a scene in the most bombastic way imaginable. The short bartender tale feels like an indie comic, especially with the art. It tells a simple, everyday story (except for the punchline, which I won’t spoil). The old woman’s story pays homage to ‘50s romance comics, with over-the-top, cloyingly melodramatic dialogue about how pained a teen is in love. The last, the priest’s story, is clearly a horror story, which Ewing isn’t a stranger to, since the first two issues were basically horror books.

Overall, this love letter to comics makes for a memorable issue. It feels unique because not too many comics tell this type of story, especially to the degree Ewing takes it. What really cements this issue’s unique quality is the art.

Artists for Every Story in THE IMMORTAL HULK #3

I won’t go into Joe Bennett’s art for this issue because I’ve sang his praises in my past two reviews. The guest artists get the spotlight this time. The first, Leonardo Romero, is my favorite guest. I’m a sucker for old-school-style Marvel art, and Romero does a fantastic job creating a Kirby-esque page fit for an old issue of TALES TO ASTONISH. Romero makes the Hulk look heroic rather than monstrous, just as the cop says. The addition of Kirby Krackle to the villain’s hand blasts is the cherry on top of an already beautiful page.

THE IMMORTAL HULK #3
THE IMMORTAL HULK #3 page 15. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Paul Hornschemeier’s pages look suitably like an indie comic. He portrays Banner as looking like a shifty derelict, which is probably how most characters who don’t know him see him in the comics. It’s something you don’t realize much when reading, but Banner probably does look suspicious even without the knowledge that he’s also the Hulk. Marguerite Sauvage’s art is hilariously over-the-top, with the teen striking the most ridiculous poses and pink clouds flying around him. I’d read a campy romance comic if she drew it! Finally, Garry Brown’s horrific-looking Hulk is the stuff of nightmares. He looks more like a cave troll than a heroic monster. In one scene, he has a gigantic, gaping chest wound that oozes green blood. All the while, he looks forward with a mindlessly angry expression on his face. He’s downright frightening.

Final Thoughts: THE IMMORTAL HULK #3

The Hulk: A Retrospective Speculation Of Bruce Banner

THE IMMORTAL HULK #3 may be a masterpiece thanks to Ewing and a giant stable of guest artists. It’ll end up being talked about for years to come as a unique single issue story. I recommend it to people who haven’t even been reading the book. If you like the Hulk, or Marvel stories in general, you should pick up this issue.

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