Throughout the entire run of The Immortal Hulk, Bruce Banner has had a support system — both with external friends and allies and his internal system of alters. In Immortal Hulk #48, we get to see a different side of one of the most key of those relationships, and it’s not just because she’s a literal monster now.
The series is two issues away from its massive conclusion. I’m getting more and more excited to see where it goes and how it ends. It’s another masterpiece from Al Ewing, Joe Bennett, Ruy Jose, Belardino Brabo, Paul Mounts, and Cory Petit.
The Hulk and Betty once were in love. They were a couple that somehow made their way through every trial. Then the Hulks became aware of the Green Door, and many of them passed through it. Now the relationship between the Hulk and Betty has changed forever, and that may be both good and bad for them.
Ewing takes a frank discussion between two longtime lovers and turns it on its head here. The Bruce-and-Betty dynamic has long been a lynchpin of Hulk stories, and using the alters and Betty’s Harpy personality as a way to examine that relationship puts a fresh twist on it. It allows for a deconstruction of Betty’s long-time “damsel in distress” or “passive love interest” role in past Hulk stories, while still advancing her storyline and character growth. It was a much-needed examination going into this story that’s sure not to stop for the next sixty+ pages.
Bennett and the team working with him do some great things in this issue. Betty’s Harpy form is a little gross, a little scary, and a lot disturbing — and Bennett uses her transformations to set the tone throughout Hulk and Betty’s conversation (which Mounts and Petit also chip in with the color and letters). The pages never shy away from the grotesque to tell the story, while still keeping it grounded in a long-time relationship which feels human, despite the gross-out horror of it.
That horror is coming to an end very soon. And whatever happens, Hulk will be there to face it no matter what, and I can’t wait to see what that means.
Immortal Hulk #48 is available now from Marvel Comics.
A love story gets a horrible Immortal Hulk twist. It’s dark, fraught with tension, and gives us a deeper understanding of what makes Hulk and Betty tick. It’s a great final breather before the series’ endgame.