Two monsters discuss faith and the nature of god over chili dogs.
The Immortal Hulk has examined many things through a lens of superheroes and horror- mental illness, LGBTQ+ rights, military overspending, gaslighting. Each time, they’ve been powerful stories, but perhaps none have reached the heights of Immortal Hulk #41 and its examination of faith alongside guest star The Thing.
This is a confrontation that has been brewing for months, ever since the Hulk shattered the Thing’s arm while he was on his honeymoon. However, the events of the last six issues or so shaped it into something completely unexpected… It’s a powerful story told by Al Ewing, Joe Bennett, Ruy Jose, Belardino Brabo, Paul Mounts, and Cory Petit.
The Devil is dead. Banner is a prisoner of the Leader. All hope is lost, as the Hulk finds himself face to face with the Thing with only Fixit and the Big Guy to defend him. However, Ben Grimm proves that he’s the Marvel Universe’s greatest hero when he takes a moment to just sit and listen…
Ewing tells two stories in this issue and they both hit hard. The first half shows how vulnerable the Hulk is in this state. He’s at half strength, but he’s still the strongest one there is, just through pure strength of will. It’s a great spotlight on who the character is, without diving too deep into the hows and whys.
However, the back half of the issue, Ben Grimm and Joe Fixit sit down and talk. And most of it is exceptional- Fixit explains a bunch about the Green door, but then the conversation turns to Ben’s fate. Ben was murdered several years ago, and brought back using magical means. Ewing doesn’t use this as a springboard for just anything- he digs deep into Ben’s faith, and shows the reader why its so important for him. It’s a wonderful scene and unlike anything else in comics this year.
Bennett and Jose have proven themselves on the action and the horror in the last couple of years. However, they are able to make multiple pages of two men talking into one of the most captivating stories of the year. Their mastery of body language and facial expression makes readers relate to both heroes- even if one is a brute battling Dissociative Identity Disorder, and the other a giant made out of rock.
Hulk smashes… but he also had questions that we might never know the answer to…
Immortal Hulk #41 is available now from Marvel Comic.