Crossovers are often a disheartening cash grab, and often tie ins like this can be overlooked, but fans of Immortal Hulk should probably pick this up, even if it’s only for the art.
This review of King in Black: Immortal Hulk #1 review contains some minor spoilers.
The Immortal Hulk King In Black one-shot is written by regular scribe Al Ewing with art from Aaron Kuder. This tie-in is an interlude from the current run, as Hulk faces off against Knull’s invasion of Earth.
Like it says in the book’s synopsis, The Hulk is in bad shape. Bruce Banner is gone, Devil Hulk is dead and all that’s left is the childlike Savage Hulk, who is so bereft of Gamma radiation he can barely function, and Joe Fixit. If you haven’t kept up to speed with Immortal Hulk, then there’s quite a lot going on.
For this special issue though, it’s the night before Christmas, and as the snow falls we find The Hulk, a tall long-limbed phantom of his former self, wandering the deserted streets of New York and encountering one of Knull’s demon symbiotes. Reverting to his human form, Hulk is chased into Mantlo’s department store by the demon, where a deadly game of cat and mouse ensues.
Once again, Marvel books are interrupted by a crossover event, so this one-shot presents a break in the usual story to add depth to The King In Black. Al Ewing decides that there will be no dialogue or sound effects in this book, making it a completely silent issue, that adds to the quirkiness of the story.
Without spoiling anything, I will ask you to note that the final denouement of the story surely requires some acknowledgment of sound, and even though the rest of the book is silent, I feel they missed a trick here to make a real impact in the story’s final act.
With no words to focus on, the art is under so much more scrutiny, but the good news is that Aaron Kuder pulls out the stops here to emulate regular artist Joe Bennett while adding his own style to the mix.
Immortal Hulk is probably more a horror title than anything else, so readers are expecting a more grotesque art style than in any other book on the stands today. Kuder delivers on those more horrific moments, especially in transformations and two-headed symbiote nightmares. With elements from Carpenter’s The Thing and the body horror of Cronenberg, the art is a tapestry of terror, often heightened by the lack of dialogue and sound effects.