The Immortal Hulk is the best superhero comic on the stands, and in a rare instance of the market rewarding quality, the book has turned out to be a massive commercial success. Sales have skyrocketed with recent issues—there’s a great sales analysis on comicbook.com—and after years of writing underappreciated Marvel series, Al Ewing has scored a big hit that is even outselling Batman. That’s no small feat, and the Immortal Hulk creative team has put in a lot of work to make it happen. Artist Joe Bennett, inker Ruy José, and colorist Paul Mounts do outstanding work on an accelerated schedule, and Ewing wisely structures the series so that there are single-issue breaks to give Bennett and José time to work ahead (Mounts works on every issue) while guest artists switch up the visual storytelling.
21 issues in, and Immortal Hulk has positioned itself as the culmination of all past Hulk stories, bringing in nearly every gamma character for a superhero action thriller steeped in sci-fi horror. That blend of genres gives the creative team endless possibilities for where to take the narrative next, and the book is constantly finding new ways to take advantage of the Hulk’s place in scientific, supernatural, and superhero worlds. Bringing in characters like Betty Ross, Doc Sampson, and Rick Jones has given the book more emotional complexity as Bruce Banner confronts figures from his past, and this team’s interpretation of the Abomination is far and away the creepiest take on the character.
This exclusive preview of next week’s Immortal Hulk #22 begins with the fallout from General Fortean’s attack on Gamma Flight, which killed Walter “Sasquatch” Langkowski for the second time in this series. Walter’s old Alpha Flight teammate, Puck, isn’t convinced that he’s dead, and this conversation shows how Ewing is able to find moments of humor in bleak circumstances. The final page of the Gamma Flight scene ends with a chilling transition to Shadow Base Site B, showing two clawed hands reaching toward a screaming scientist. Surrounding the head of the Abomination’s host with monstrous fingers is the most brilliant element of this visually striking, deeply unsettling design, and the final two panels offer a close-up look at the horror that has overtaken Fortean’s body and will eventually consume his entire being.