Page 45 Review by Jonathan
"Dad... I... I can see..."
"I can see a door. A... a green door... and... and there's someone looking through it."
Well, it's obvious isn't it? It's Shakin' Stevens clearly.
Hmm... I wonder who it could be...? How about we let the mighty marketing juggernaut (no relation to Cain Marko, I should add) clue us in...
"Horror has a name. You'd never notice the man. He doesn't like to be noticed. He's quiet. Calm. If someone were to shoot him in the head
all he'd do is die. Until night falls - and someone else gets up again. The man's name is Banner. The horror is the Immortal Hulk! And trouble has a way of following them both. As reporter Jackie McGee tries to put together the pieces, Banner treads a lonely path from town to town, finding murder, mystery and tragedy as he goes. And what Banner finds, the Hulk smashes! Elsewhere, the hero called Sasquatch can't help but feel involved. In many ways, he's Banner's equal - and his opposite. Sasquatch is about to risk his life by looking for the man - and finding the monster! Collecting IMMORTAL HULK #1-5 and material from AVENGERS (2016) #684 by Jim Zub and Mark Waid."
Actually, it's not the Hulk either, immortal or otherwise, behind the green door...
No, it's... something else entirely...
Which brings me neatly to my main point. As you might have just gathered, this is not a superhero comic. No, it really is a horror comic masquerading as a superhero comic and it is so, so much better for it. Yes, the Hulk is a monster, and monstrously drawn too by Joe Bennett, all bulging of vein, sinew and also eyes atop the requisite mountain of muscle. And he does bring some of the horror. (In that sense, this version of the old gamma grouch has much more in common with the classic Lein Wein, Herb Trimpe and Sal Buscema material and I welcome it whole-heartedly.)
At least at night time anyway, as the blurb suggests. For by day it's Bruce "Danger Magnet" Banner who goes around allegedly trying to stay out of trouble but of course ending up in a whole Hulk-sized heap of it. Even occasionally getting killed just for good measure. But when the sun sets, the Hulk rises once more and starts playing vigilante smashing criminals left, right, centre and underneath him, plus a fair few of those crazy enough to try and take him down.
Of course, no self-respecting run on the radioactive wrecking ball would be complete without a roving reporter trying to track him down and this is no exception, with the fearlessly foolish Jackie McGee on the crushed-up case. Who is of course a cheeky nod to the great Kenneth Johnson who played the supremely irritating Jack McGee in the 70s/80s TV version. As a kid I wanted Hulk to squish that particular puny human soooo badly. I mean, Banner warned him enough times... Anyway, issue #3 of this run sees Jackie take centre stage as she interviews three eye witnesses to a recent rampage, all illustrated very differently stylistically by three guest artists, which I thought was a great little additional conceit.
This is certainly not the comedy cretin Hulk of the Marvel movies, either. No, he's as devious and dangerously intelligent as he's almost ever been. He is also seemingly really immortal which of course presents a rather large and tricky problem to the particular authorities who rightly or wrongly view him as one.
As to precisely how that seems to be the case, I sincerely hope it isn't anything to do with the couple of flim-flam quasi-resurrections during SECRET EMPIRE and NO SURRENDER. I doubt it given how slickly Al Ewing is writing this so far, plus the presence of a certain... apparition... of which I shall say no more for the moment, suggests otherwise. No, I suspect it's far more to do with that green door...
The apparition isn't Shakin' Stevens by the way... No, come on, even horror has to have some limits...