Immortal Hulk is easily the creative pinnacle for the Jade Giant in his entire decades-long publishing history. Naturally, that means capitalizing on it with event tie-ins and side stories, and that’s exactly what Immortal Hulk: Flatline is.
Flatline is a simple story about Bruce Banner and the strange predicament he finds himself in. What happens when an immortal has to confront his mortality. It was created by Declan Shalvey and Cory Petit.
The Hulk has set Bruce Banner up in Albuquerque and given his alter ego some time to rest from the rigors of the road. However, not everything is well. Soon Bruce Banner and the Hulk will both have to answer some tough questions when an old friend comes for a visit.
I think I need to talk about the art first, because this issue is worth it entirely on the art. Instead of paranoid or eerie, Shalvey leans a little more into the Hulk’s superhero past. This isn’t so much a horror story as it is a character piece, so he plays to that. The point of view is often tight on a character’s face, and he frames the panels to ensure that he can capture as much of the characters’ expressions and body language as possible. Really, the only disappointment is that there’s only two panels of the body horror Immortal Hulk has come to be known for. Otherwise it looks incredible.
However, on the story side, the issue is pretty lacking. I had to read the issue three times because I couldn’t remember what happened. It wasn’t dull or boring, just extremely generic, to the point that the title felt like a description of the content. I’ve liked Shalvey’s writing in the past, so I know it’s not that. This feels like a story that was put together to give the artist an opportunity to play with some of the toys that the concept allows. Maybe if this was a mini instead, there would have been for the story to explore.
However, it does look incredible, and it’s absolutely worth picking up for that art.
Immortal Hulk: Flatline is available now from Marvel Comics
The Hulk faces the past violently (as he does) in an absolutely visual feast, with a hollow narrative heart.