Post-Halloween Horror in THE IMMORTAL HULK #8

Al Ewing ramps up the horror element of this series in THE IMMORTAL HULK #8. In it, a scientist dissects the Hulk piece by piece, hoping to find answers to his new wide array of powers, including apparent immortality. But can a simple dissection stop the pure, unbridled rage of the Immortal Hulk? Although he missed Halloween by a week, Ewing still writes a beautifully spooky tale. It has all the hallmarks of a perfect scary story. So much so that it works as a standalone single issue as well as a chapter in the ongoing Hulk saga. It’s still refreshing to see Ewing take the Hulk series in a different direction than prior books. The idea of a rampaging green rage monster lends itself perfectly to horror. Joe Bennett adds in some stunningly grotesque body horror art to the book.

Just a Hulk in a Cage in THE IMMORTAL HULK #8

In the last issue, the Hulk fought the new Avengers team to a near-standstill, until Iron Man brought out a secret weapon. He blasted Hulk with a gigantic cannon, which reduced the Green Goliath to a pile of burning bones. They transferred his remains to the US Government, who vivisected him (since he’s never technically dead) and left his body parts in various jars for experimentation. In THE IMMORTAL HULK #8, the chief scientist of Shadow Base, where Hulk ended up, runs the daily vivisections of the Hulk’s various body parts. The scientist, Dr. Clive, studies each part thoroughly and takes time to mock the still-conscious Hulk head whenever he gets a chance. The team of scientists learns that while Hulk’s body parts do die, when they’re in close proximity of each other they regenerate back to normal.


THE IMMORTAL HULK #8 page 16. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

They hope to use what they learn from the Hulk’s powers to create their own Gamma-powered super-soldiers. Meanwhile, Carol Danvers gets Walter Langkowski to head a secret task force called Gamma Flight to find the Hulk’s whereabouts. She regrets handing him over to the government since she can’t seem to track the Hulk’s signature anymore. Word of the task force gets to Shadow Base, and they reluctantly decide to close down shop and move to a more secure location. As Dr. Clive once again gloats to Hulk, he notices that the monster’s disembodied head keeps smiling. He realizes that the Hulk always planned to let himself get tested on, so he and Banner could learn about themselves. He reforms his body on command and smothers Dr. Clive. Where does he go next, and what of Gamma Flight? Read THE IMMORTAL HULK #8 to find out!

Tales to Astonish (and Haunt) in THE IMMORTAL HULK #8

Not only does Ewing craft an incredible Hulk tale with THE IMMORTAL HULK #8, but he also writes a finely tuned horror story as well. What I love most about this issue is how, if you took out the subplot about Gamma Flight and changed to Hulk to a generic monster, the story would still work 100%. It feels like something out of an old TALES FROM THE CRYPT issue. It begins with upfront horror, with a gigantic, green heart being cut open. The heart begins beating again as it gets closer to its body. That, in itself, is scary. Then, we add in the cocky mad scientist who believes that he’s outwitted some dumb brute. Eventually, the story takes an ironic turn and the same monster he was once gloating to then literally swallows the scientist whole. It really could stand on its own as a fantastic horror story.

It’s clear that Ewing takes great inspiration from classic comics in almost all of his books. THE IMMORTAL HULK is no exception since the story seems to be inspired by old EC Comics books. It also brings back the main focus of the original THE INCREDIBLE HULK run by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. It started out as a horror book. Lee and Kirby both worked on the various horror comics Marvel put out before the Silver Age of superhero books. The Hulk book was an extension of those same types of stories. The Hulk books haven’t had much horror to them since that first, short run. It’s astounding to see Ewing bring that aesthetic back to the character since it fits him so well.

Truly Disgusting (in a Good Way) Art in THE IMMORTAL HULK #8

Joe Bennett seriously outdoes himself this issue. That’s a big feat, since every issue he’s drawn so far has been either 9 or 10/10. He brings it up to 11 this issue because of his astonishingly grotesque artwork throughout much of this issue. It’s at its most horrific, though, after the Hulk breaks out of his jars. The immediate aftermath is a truly striking looking double page spread of a jumble of disembodied body parts jumping at a petrified Dr. Clive. Bennett manages to make a disembodied hand look menacing when it practically jumps toward Clive. The nearly full-page focus on just the Hulk’s head is breathtaking in its detail. Never has the character looked more crazed. Even for the Hulk, a monster fueled by rage, it seems like a new level of anger.


THE IMMORTAL HULK #8 page 17. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Final Thoughts: THE IMMORTAL HULK #8

THE IMMORTAL HULK #8 works nearly-perfectly as a standalone issue. As such, if you haven’t already been picking up this title, give this issue a try. It may not be Halloween anymore, but a belated scare is still quite welcome.

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