It’s hard to imagine that many readers actually understood what was happening throughout Al Ewing’s plot for Issue Ten of “The Immortal Hulk”. For whilst the British comic writer’s narrative undoubtedly contains plenty of pulse-pounding pugilism between an atrociously emaciated titular character and a grotesquely mutilated creature which was once Carl “Crusher” Creel, any rationale as to just why the close proximity of two such disgusting-looking combatants should lead to the opening of “the Green Door” and sudden creation of Hell on Earth is severely lacking.
In fact in many ways, the storyline to “Thaumiel” genuinely seems to have been comprised of anything mindlessly violent or gratuitous which the former “2000 A.D.” author could think of so as to help ‘pad out’ this particular twenty-page periodical. Certainly, it must have been difficult for this book’s audience to rationalise just how the Absorbing Man was still breathing after the “One Below All” literally tears him asunder from within, or just why Shadow Base’s secret operative Bushwhacker is ordered to prophetically pause before firing at Bruce Banner’s seemingly invulnerable alter-ego until “the moment”?
True, this delay does provide Carl Burbank with a later opportunity to fool the Green Goliath into believing that Walter Langkowski’s Gamma Flight have seemingly shot him through the eye with a cyanide hollow-point bullet. But General Reginald Fortean’s fortuitous belief that they’ll be a better opening for his cybernetically enhanced marksman to injure the Hulk than the one where “Codename Red Dog” is arguably already besting the super-strong human mutate is debatably a little too conveniently clunky; especially as it entirely rests upon the premise that Sasquatch, Puck and Jacqueline McGee first need to properly assemble at Alpha Flight Space Station and then subsequently deploy to Los Diablos in New Mexico.
Fortunately, despite this magazine apparently requiring the talents of three different inkers, Joe Bennett’s pencilling somehow manages to shoulder much of this publication’s substandard storytelling burden, by carrying any and all “Hulk-heads” along with his tremendously dynamic action-packed panels. Whether it be the savage monster’s gut-wrenching, eye-wincing wreckage of Creel’s horrifically disfigured walking remains, or the gamma-green giant’s confrontation with a laser-gun wielding Eugene Judd, the Brazilian’s panels are as captivating as their contents are predominantly physically gruesome.