THE IMMORTAL HULK #12 proves that this series is a modern masterpiece. It’s another heady, intensely intellectual issue, thanks to Al Ewing’s brilliant script. Joe Bennett, Eric Nguyen, and Paul Mounts all make the issue look as amazing as possible. A Perfect 100.
100 %
Dark and Phenomenal

THE IMMORTAL HULK #12 continues the Hulk’s journey through Hell. In this issue, the Hulk’s inner childlike monster reappears while his father, Brian Banner, pontificates to Bruce. We also get a bit more of a peek into Brian’s abusive personality. Al Ewing writes a deeply tragic issue, filled with more questions about the nature of the Devil, horrific scenes of physical and emotional abuse, and a truly tragic peek into the Hulk’s inner turmoil. Paul Mounts’ phenomenal coloring perfectly complements dual artists Joe Bennett and Eric Nguyen’s work this issue. This series has been one of the most consistently superb series in years, and THE IMMORTAL HULK #12 does not disappoint.

Bruce Banner: The Early Years in THE IMMORTAL HULK #12

In the last issue, the Hulk, in his Devil Hulk persona, wandered around Hell with journalist Jackie McGee. They eventually encountered horrible, twisted versions of her father and General Ross. Ross turned into the Red Hulk, and Hulk got so angry that he reverted to his old Savage Hulk persona, bashing Ross into a literal pulpy puddle. In THE IMMORTAL HULK #12, the Savage Hulk continues bashing the muddled mess that used to be the Red Hulk. McGee’s father’s desiccated corpse advises her to look the Hulk in the eyes. She does, and that calms him down enough to speak with her. He notes that he always hurts, and asks McGee why that’s so. She doesn’t have an answer, and asks to speak with the Devil Hulk.

THE IMMORTAL HULK #12 page 4. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

McGee asks the Devil Hulk how long he’s been in control of Banner’s mind. She notes that Banner clearly has Dissociative Identity Disorder, and that Devil Hulk is only one of many personas he’s had in the past (Savage Hulk, Smart Hulk, Doc Green, etc.). Hulk evades the question. Meanwhile, there’s a flashback to an outburst by Brian Banner. He blows up at young Bruce for building a Gamma-themed educational toy that’s meant for someone twice his age. Brian makes a vague claim that he knows “what Bruce is.” In the present, Brian has Bruce, who’s been split from Hulk, restrained. He explains exactly what he meant all those years ago. What is it, and what’s its significance in relation to the Hulk? Read THE IMMORTAL HULK #12 to find out!

Another Side of the Hulk in THE IMMORTAL HULK #12

Each issue of this series brings some sort of new understanding to the Hulk character. However, we’ve really only seen these revelations from the point of view of the Devil Hulk, who clearly isn’t as affected by his emotions as some of the Hulk’s other personalities. In THE IMMORTAL HULK #12, this changes. Ewing shows a new side of the Hulk that we haven’t really seen much in the past. The Savage Hulk returns, but he doesn’t act quite like he used to. He’s able to be calmed down by a woman he barely knows (who does, to be fair, shows quite a bit of compassion for Banner/Hulk). At the same time, he sheds his outermost layer of sheer anger to show his true feelings. He admits that he’s in constant pain. Is it emotional pain or physical pain? It’s never explained, but I’d venture to guess it’s the former.

He goes even further, though, asking McGee why he hurts so much. The Savage Hulk seems to be the closet we ever get to seeing Banner’s true emotions on full display. I love how Ewing then insinuates that Banner’s hurt and confused by all of his horrible pain. The fact that he does so by making the Hulk’s most rage-filled personality break down and cry is sheer brilliance. Ewing’s inventiveness with this series constantly amazes me. It’s only 12 issues in, and yet he’s already been able to show more about Banner’s and Hulk’s psychology than some runs have done with triple the amount of issues. This run really is a modern masterpiece.

Color Me Impressed

I want to spotlight regular series color artist Paul Mounts for this issue. With THE IMMORTAL HULK #12, he helps to convey just how otherworldly and eerie Hell looks in the Marvel Universe. Joe Bennett fills the landscape with long destroyed and abandoned buildings. Mounts gives them a solid grey color to show how blank and nondescript the landscape is. The real horror comes from the sickly red and black sky. Red lightning sometimes sprinkles the sky, adding in another layer of otherworldliness. Mounts’ red-tinged sky looks off in such a way that it’s uncomfortable. That’s a perfect representation of Hell. It doesn’t need to be blatantly evil looking. You should still get hints at the horrors lying beneath the veneer of semi-mundanity, with the broken, bland looking buildings. That red sky perfectly gives the hint of that darker side creeping underneath.

THE IMMORTAL HULK #12 page 8. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Final Thoughts: THE IMMORTAL HULK #12

THE IMMORTAL HULK #12, as I keep saying for every issue, is a sight to behold. It certainly cements the series’ place as a truly phenomenal book.

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