The Immortal Hulk #45
Written by Al Ewing
Art by Joe Bennett
Inks by Ruy Jose and Belardino Brabo
Colors by Paul Mounts
Letters by Cory Petit
The Rundown: With the U-Foes preventing him from returning, Hulk and Joe must face the Leader in his dark world.
Hulk is down and the U-Foes are actively preventing him from resurrecting by saturating his body with cosmic rays. With no ability to return to the Earth, Hulk and Joe must face off against the Leader, his master and their army of minions within Banner’s mind.
As Banner’s inner struggle continues, those affected by gamma fight their own battles. McGee must come to terms with her new and frightening abilities. Betty returns to her gamma form and Samson enters the abandoned base to find his body. Unfortunately, he’s going to find that someone has gotten to it first and plans to take it for a spin.
The Story: Al Ewing continues to push boundaries and limits in this issue. I found myself at times truly horrified with where he was taking things narratively and still delighted with the outcome. Ewing is crafting a deeply engaging story about Hulk’s inner conflict and it is manifesting in a story that is moving, sad and often disturbing. I love how what is affecting the Hulk isn’t limited to just him and how everyone else in his wake is dealing with their own issues including Samson, McGee and others. I cannot wait to see where this story goes next.
The Art: Bennett masterfully incorporates elements of body horror throughout this issue to illustrate the pain the character is going through. Banner’s internal fight is as visually compelling as the battle being fought in the real world.