Al Ewing’s script to Issue Two of “The Immortal Hulk” definitely demonstrates just how hard the author was “pushing for a horror take” on the Green Goliath in July 2018, with it’s subtle avoidance of the titular character’s obligatory “mass destruction” and fascinating focus upon “his shadowy nature” instead. Indeed, the British writer’s decision “to reset the tone” of the series “to the very start” and show the Hulk’s “unstoppable” strength actually taking “a back seat” to the storyline’s more frightfully shocking elements as the world-weary Bruce Banner investigates a mystery illness which is spreading through “a random small-town”, is arguably precisely why his pitch ultimately “won out” with “Marvel Worldwide”.
This ‘new take’ upon the doctor’s “forever companion” really does make for an enthralling read, with the somewhat emaciated man one moment desperately trying to find a sense of inner peace by enjoying the simple things in life, like “two eggs, sunny-side up”, and in the next acting upon an “itch” when he hears from the locals that “four people fell to the same thing… When the Frye boy died.” “Intelligent, [and] still a nuclear scientist”, the “physically weak” physicist’s distraught reaction to discovering that a well-visited grave is emanating gamma radiation is incredibly well-penned, and must surely have had this book’s audience feeling their hearts noticeably beat all the quicker when an enraged Banner fails to convince the Environmental Protection Agency to dispatch a radiological emergency response team to his location until after he aggressively provides their telephone operator with his details; “Fine. Fine. You want my name? My name… is Robert Bruce Banner. Don’t make me angry.”
Interestingly, such a loss of temper doesn’t actually result in the Hulk making an appearance either, forcing fans of the human mutate’s alter-ego to wait until the book’s horrifying conclusion when the scientist is shockingly murdered by Doctor Frye within the irradiated villain’s secret mountain-top lair. Sickeningly scary, as Bruce’s neck cracks like a rotten twig between the hands of the sincerely sorrowful, yet determined, translucently-coloured killer, Ewing once again produces a sombrely spooky stand out moment within the covers of “The Walking Ghost” by having the green-skinned muscular humanoid suddenly transform before his startled assailant’s eyes and angrily demand an explanation as to his unforgivable actions.
Well-detailed, dynamic and as energetic as the sight of Delbert John Frye’s eyes literally bleeding gamma goo is grotesque, it is also easy to see why Joe Bennett’s pencilling for this periodical was described by its author as being “fantastic”. The Brazilian artist has “a real way with layouts”, whilst his “really wonderful, almost unnatural mass to the Hulk” shows just why “most of the reviews” of this book have apparently mentioned the monster almost looming from “out of the page.”