At a gas station, the lives of a drifter, a desperate man, and a 12-year-old girl are about to collide. The gas station is robbed but goes bad, and the young girl, a clerk, and the drifter are gunned down in cold blood. The Immortal Hulk #1 begins with readers examining the dual nature of people, and how we all have multiple sides to our lives.
As the comic starts off it begins with the line that we often look in the mirror and see two images, the one you see, and the one you don’t want to. This dual nature is revisited throughout the book.
It’s not the crime, but the aftermath that readers follow and watch with anticipation as the rebirth of the green monster, who often straddles the line between good and bad. The drifter is Bruce Banner, and unfortunately for the robber, Tommy, its Banner’s other half, the Hulk, who finds him and brings him to justice.
As a reboot comic, The Immortal Hulk #1 has exceeded all of my expectations. In this first issue of the new series, we don’t need to nor get some elaborate reason as to how Bruce Banner came back to life after being killed by Hawkeye. That is a credit to writer Al Ewing. I don’t want to know why Hulk is back. I can accept the fact that he is alive again.
The second thing that makes The Immortal Hulk #1 a fantastic book is that there are no archenemies introduced that the Hulk must battle. Readers are not confronted with an end of the world situation that brings the Hulk back. He’s there, and in the comic, through a series of circumstances, we see an aspect of the lonely life Bruce Banner is living.
He had no connection to anyone in the gas station that was killed. Bruce was simply minding his own business, when Tommy, the thief brought havoc to the lives of everyone. Now in an homage to the Equalizer television series, Hulk goes out of his way to bring justice to the deceased.
Tommy is another character that is unique for this story. He is a bad guy, who killed people, but his background brings out sympathy in me. I feel for the guy, and understand that he had no intention to kill anyone; killing the girl was an accident. Make no mistake though, Tommy has committed some terrible sins. His dual nature is explored in the brief interaction with the Dogs of Hell gang. For his crimes, the Hulk comes for Tommy.
The battle at the end of the comic, with Hulk destroying the Dogs of Hell gang, who Tommy owes money too, and then beating Tommy to a pulp in the name of Sandra, the 12-year-old victim, is a nice new direction to take a resurrected Hulk.
Bruce Banner knows that he is capable of terrible things. The monster that is a part of him, is uncontrollable, and can always blur the line between hero and criminal, but Hulk doesn’t kill Tommy, he just breaks every bone in his body, and then drops him in the parking lot of the police station.
As a reboot to the Hulk character, The Immortal Hulk #1 is impressive in the scaled-back approach to the story. I like the deconstructed narrative of Banner facing his demons and just trying to get by.
The joy I got from this comic was from the first word spoken about how there are two people in every mirror. While the Hulk was born through scientific experimentation, having dual personalities is something that everyday average people face. We all have moments where we must confront different parts of our psyche. For Bruce Banner, he faces the rage he has in the giant form of the Hulk.
How do you control the monster that often looks back at you in the mirror and laughs at you? That is something Bruce Banner is left to face in the closing panel of The Immortal Hulk #1, and I am excited to see how this storyline plays out.