It's been long-established in the pages of the Hulk that the tormented Bruce Banner can't kill himself; the Hulk won't let him. Two years ago, during the Civil War II storyline, Banner was killed by a vibranium arrow to the head. This was done at his own request--a death the Hulk couldn't prevent. Since then, he's been resurrected at least three times by various villainous forces looking to use the power of the Hulk for their own nefarious ends. But what if there's even more to the Hulk? What if, even if Banner dies, the Hulk simply won't allow him to remain dead? That's the premise of "The Immortal Hulk," the new book by writer Al Ewing and artists Joe Bennett and Ruy Jose, the first issue of which just hit the stands.
Banner, alive and living incognito, is shot in the head during a convenience-store robbery, just as he'd begun to change. He's pronounced dead and taken to the local morgue but when darkness falls, the Hulk rises again.
In the earliest days of the Hulk, this--the fall of night--was what triggered Banner's transformations. The Immortal Hulk draws a lot more from the Hulk's earliest days. The theme of this first issue comes right from the cover of Incredible Hulk #1. The tone, like that of those earliest stories, is that of a horror comic. This Hulk isn't the dumb, childlike brute who developed later but the more intelligent, craftier--and creepier--creature of those first issues.
I'm a huge fan of the Hulk. He was always one of my favorite Marvel characters, and I haven't been terribly pleased by a lot of the abuse to which Marvel has subjected the character in recent years. I love the look and feel of those early Hulk books to which this calls back, the artwork is great and while I'm not quite sure about the soundness of the premise--a Hulk who even returns from the dead initially seems a bit much to me--I liked this 1st issue. I liked it a lot. It felt like a homecoming for the character after the totally unawesome shenanigans of recent years. I definitely want to see more.