What really happened on Mercer Avenue?  Reporter Jackie McGee is going to find out!  Your Major Spoilers review of The Immortal Hulk #3 awaits!

THE IMMORTAL HULK #3

Writer: Al Ewing
Penciler: Joe Bennett/Leonardo Romero/Paul Hornschemier/Garry Brown
Inker: Ruy Jose
Colorist: Paul Mounts/Paul Hornschemier/Marguerite Sauvage
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit/Paul Hornschemier
Editor: Tom Brevoort & Wil Moss
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: July 18, 2018

Previously in The Immortal Hulk: Bruce Banner died.  Bruce Banner continues to die.  And yet, at nightfall, the Other Guy walks the Earth once more.  But what exactly happened in the church on Mercer Avenue?

LOVE A GOOD RASHOMON STORY

The basics of the story are the same: A gamma-powered young man calling himself Hotshot (or perhaps not?) with the power to shoot laser energy from his hands arrives at a church, only to be confronted by The Hulk.  The problem is, no one’s story quite matches up.  Jackie McGee’s interview with a police officer sent to the seen feels like a Silver Age Jack Kirby issue, while an interview with the priest is a much darker, more horrifying story.  As for the other witness in the church, an elderly woman, she is focused on how much the boy resembled James Dean.  Each story clearly has a grain of truth, as does the fourth witness, a bartender who saw a strange man that he now knows to be Bruce Banner right before the situation broke open, but are any of them truly accurate?  The discover of the body of Hotshot’s girlfriend is another strange twist, but before she can investigate further, McGee gets an important phone call.  Walter Langkowski, aka Sasquatch, is also seeking out The Hulk, but for what seem to be more selfish reasons…

STILL MAINTAINING THE EDGE OF HORROR

The brilliant aspect of Immortal Hulk has been in the strategic use of both Banner and The Hulk in limited doses, using a number of narrative techniques to make the character seem remote, monstrous and even more terrible.  This issue’s Roshomon-type story isn’t the first use of such a strategy in comics (or even in the pages of the Hulk’s comic) but it’s really executed well here.  There’s a nice use of humor throughout the issue, as well, but never enough to undermine the terror that is the Hulk’s new status quo and, given how many people still remember the classic Bill Bixby TV line, the introduction of McGee to the comics is long overdue.  Most impressively, the different art teams actually work to the story’s advantage, giving a strong visual cue every time our perspective changes.  I’m particularly in love with Marguerite Sauvage’s pastel quasi-love story, but each point of view has excellent artwork.  (Hornschemier’s final punchline panel made me laugh out loud, as well.)

BOTTOM LINE: STRONG & COHERENT, EVEN WITH 4 ART TEAMS

Here’s the thing: It’s hard to do multiple artists in a single story and make it all coherent as a single story.  The Immortal Hulk #3 not only pulls off that difficult trick, it manages to inject a little humor, a little pathos and a little more of the ongoing mystery into a clever, well-balanced issue that earns a solidly impressive 4.5 out of 5 stars overall.  This book’s run of excellent, thought-provoking tales continues, and the promise of Sasquatch next time has me wondering what else is up this creative team’s sleeve…

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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