Bruce Banner-as-the-Hulk returned in recently in Avengers' "No Surrender" story-arc, and now the character is returning to comic shelves with his own series, reports CBR. Scheduled to launch in June, The Immortal Hulk by writer Al Ewing and artist Joe Bennett (with covers by Alex Ross) revisits the idea of the Hulk as a monster - an unkillable, "Immortal" monster.
"A lot of people have been a little wary that we’re actually bringing him back for keeps this time, so I figure this is as good a place as any to confirm that yes, this is Banner, he’s back, he’s got an ongoing solo series and he’s not going to die again any time soon. In fact, that’s kind of the point," said Ewing.
The Immortal Hulk spins out of Avengers' "No Surrender" (which Ewing co-writes) - and a new 10-page prologue is being added to March's Avengers #684 which will lead into this new ongoing.
"And then we’re free to go into Immortal Hulk with all those questions answered and without any baggage," said Ewing. " That was very important to me - to be able to make that promise, from me to you, that you do not need to read a single other comic to enjoy Immortal Hulk #1. Retailers - there’s nothing else your customers will need. Readers – I welcome you with open arms. We want every Hulk fan, old and new, to experience this."
Immortal Hulk will return the Jade Goliath to the horror genre, with Ewing expecting it to be "one of the most talked-about comics of 2018."
"It’s a comic about a monster who can’t die. It’s about a man who believes he can use the darkest elements of his personality to do good in the world, and where that belief leads him," said the writer. "It’s about mortality, atonement and denial. It’s about all the parts of ourselves we don’t like to look at. It’s a horror comic."
Bennett, who has illustrated five different Hulk titles in his long career in the business, said he's drawing The Immortal Hulk with a style "reminsicent of Bernie Wrightson.
"The Green Goliath will have a darker and more nocturnal look in this book," said Bennett. "I’m trying to evoke the feel of all those great Warren magazines like Eerie, and Creepy."
For Ewing, The Immortal Hulk aims to evoke another classic piece of comic history - the 1970s Incredible Hulk TV show - for a supporting character.
"Then there’s Jackie McGee, who’s a slight borrowing from the TV show – since we were looking at Banner walking the Earth and moving from one situation to the next, I thought it’d be nice to have a reporter tracking him, looking for the story," Ewing said.
"After all, in a world where the Hulk is a beloved celebrity in some states and a natural disaster to be feared in others, his comings and goings have the potential to be big news. Jackie finds herself on Banner’s trail in Arizona, and as the Hulk makes his presence felt in the world more and more, she’s right behind him. Banner, of course, doesn’t want to be found, or written about, or noticed, and he especially doesn’t want to be questioned. People in denial about themselves rarely do."
A more familiar face in The Immortal Hulk is Alpha Flight's Sasquatch.
"And finally, there’s an old favorite who’s new to this title – Walter Langkowski, aka the Sasquatch. He’s taking a leave of absence from Alpha Flight to sort out some personal issues, and he needs Bruce Banner to do it," the writer explained.
"Langkowski and Banner were college friends, and Langkowski ended up duplicating Banner’s experiments and becoming Canada’s own hairy half-a-Hulk – I’ve been fascinated by Langkowski as a kind of healthy version of Banner, an intellectual jock, a big, handsome ex-Quarterback, millionaire, beloved hero of his country and his planet, and gosh-darned nice with it," Ewing continued.
"How did Banner ever get along with this guy? And maybe more importantly – if Langkowski is so healthy and normal, why doesn’t he want to change into Sasquatch any more? And why does Sasquatch suddenly have matted, filthy fur, drool on his muzzle and a vicious gleam in his eye? Alpha Flight fans might remember the Great Beasts – but as I said, we’re not doing old continuity. This is something new…"
Although the book will pull characters in from other places, Ewing said he's being "adamant" with Marvel about blocking crossovers.
"In the spirit of 'no baggage,' one thing that I’m very adamant about is having no crossovers if at all possible. If you have to buy another comic to enjoy Immortal Hulk, that means I’ve failed in my duty to you," said Ewing. "In terms of his connection to the main Marvel Universe – at first, we’re very deliberately avoiding it. Bruce Banner walks the world alone, and that’s how he wants it."