Al Ewing and Joe Bennett have put Bruce Banner and the Hulks through every imaginable trial and tribulation since releasing Immortal Hulk #1 in 2018. Their iconic run has introduced countless new readers to Marvel's angry green monster and even inspired its spin-off series Gamma Flight, all while weaving a remarkably compelling story. Now the series comes to a close with an excellent, giant, 80-page final issue.
Immortal Hulk #50 sends Hulk, Jackie McGee, and Joe Fixit into the depths of Hell to rescue Bruce Banner from the Leader and the One-Below-All. As they wander through Hell, Hulk and Joe Fixit encounter important beings from their pasts and horrifying images associated with their anger and pain. The comic bounces back and forth between the Hulks in the underworld and the Sterns brothers in Ohio in 1901. Sam invites his brother to his laboratory to show him his research on Gamma Rays, but the conversation quickly becomes tense and leads to a confrontation with long-lasting consequences. The Hulks also face a monumental moment that leads to some revelations.
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Wrapping up a long-running, critically acclaimed series is no easy task, but Ewing rises to the occasion in this giant-sized issue. Rather than attempting to wrap up everything neatly, he decides to recontextualize pieces of the series by incorporating elements of Marvel's cosmology. As mind-bending as this issue's climax is, it manages to fit perfectly into the overall story and nails the themes Ewing has been exploring over the past few years with a stylish flourish. The ambitious nature of the narrative never gets in the way of the story's charming characters, all of whom receive time and space to take their final bows.
Joe Bennett's pencils are inked by Belardino Brabo and Ruy José. All three artists come together to create a haunting image of the below-place. Hulk, Jackie, and Joe Fixit wander through hellacious vistas that become progressively stranger and beautiful. Their vision of Hell is like a feverish combination of the work of Hieronymus Bosch and Philippe Druillet. When Ewing's script challenges the artists to take their otherworldly visuals even further, they manage to produce scenes of cosmic horror that clearly depict abstract concepts without oversimplifying. Of course, it wouldn't be a Hulk comic without a certain amount of smashing. Bennett and company seem more than happy to deliver some hard-hitting action within their surreal hellscape.
The Immortal Hulk #50 ends with a thought-provoking exploration of the nature of reality and a heart-warming display of empathy and forgiveness. The Hulk and his compatriots prove themselves as heroes, but more importantly, they seem to have found some semblance of peace by the end of the issue. Or, if not peace, at least an ability to accept their positions in the world. It is a remarkably satisfying ending for characters and audiences alike. The creators have put a stunning exclamation point at the end of their amazing series with the sort of grand finale that will send fans digging back into their collections to reread the series from the beginning.
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