You may have thought Banner was the first Hulk. However, Immortal Hulk: Time of Monsters reveals the true first Hulk… and the horror of his arrival.
This one shot was up to Immortal Hulk’s normal standards, but there was something even more terrifying about it. The past-set main story was by Al Ewing, Alex Paknadel, Juan Ferreyra, and Cory Petit. The back up, set during the early issues of the series, is by David Vaughn and Kevin Nowlan.
The Mother Goddess was the protector of the world, until she lost her good green eye. Now, the village’s only hope is to offer a sacrifice to the eye, and the Elder has picked poor Tammuz to be that sacrifice. However, the Green Eye is not what the Elder thought it was, and it’s about to unleash a terrible horror on the village. A horror we know today as… the Hulk.
Paknadel (from a story by Paknadel and Ewing) packs this one-shot full of detail. Though this is an extra-sized one-shot, he only needs the standard story length to create this prehistoric world, fill it with villains and their victims, and then unleash the Hulk on it. It’s excellent work, and could be used to teach a class on how to tell a done-in-one story. It’s tense, it’s scary, and it has all the hallmarks of what readers have come to expect in the Immortal Hulk, body horror and all. He also does JUST the right amount of narration to tell the story without OVER telling it (which Petit puts on the page perfectly with a sickly green font).
However, without Ferreyra, this may have just felt like a horror story that got the Hulk squished into it. Ferreyra makes the story pop. He creates a few visual ties to Bennett’s gross-out body horror from the main series, but then creates a monster that’s visually distinct but also recognizably a Hulk. Then, when the twist happens, and the body horror kicks in, it’s gross and recalls both the main series and classic pre-comics code horror, all while giving the Hulk a twisted grin that makes it all the scarier.
Seriously, I would love to see this creative team take over from Ewing and Bennett this fall.
Often after a story like that, a back-up is an afterthought. However, Vaughn and Nowlan (pulling triple duty with art, colors and letters, by the way) tell a fantastic short story, set either immediately before the series started or between early issues. The Marvel Scarecrow is a character that gets forgotten about, but Vaughn uses him to great effect, especially up against the Devil Hulk. It almost goes without saying that Nowlan’s art is great, and I’m incredibly disappointed that we didn’t get more of it. However, what we did get ruled, so I’m glad we got it.
Sometimes one-shots just feel like fluff or filler. Not here. This is essential reading, and anyone not checking it out are missing out.
Immortal Hulk: Time of Monsters is available now from Marvel Comics.
There’s no getting around this. This one-shot is a damn near perfect comic. The writing and art are both scary, but in their own unique ways. The story feels essential to the overall Immortal Hulk epic and even the back-up is great. A must-buy.