That Ending of Immortal Hulk #16 Explained (Major Spoilers)

Don't you hate those articles that lead with 'The Ending Of xxxxxx Explained' as if a semi-intelligent person couldn't work it out for themselves just by watching the film/TV series/reading the comic? It really grates.

Um, except I have had a few emails already this morning asking about the ending of Immortal Hulk #16. And apparently people more willing to e-mail me than Google for something. Okay, so.

It's funny what comics colouring can do. The use of certain colours to create certain ideas about light, time of day and the like. And today's Immortal Hulk has a really strong example of Paul Mounts using that to trick the audience.

The Hulk is now being portrayed as the horrific monster he was intended, far more Jekyll/Hyde than the superheroic Thing, all tied up in body horror, fear of mortality and the fractured self.

Writer Al Ewing is writing him twice this week, in Avengers: No Road Home #8 and in Immortal Hulk #16. Which, if not quite living up to plot expectations of the last issue and this issue's covers regarding the future of Rick Jones, suggests much to come and goes in another direction too.

This Hulk is one affected by the rising and setting of the sun rather than relying on Banner's rages, which gives a godly opponent a few more options in dealing with him. Such as letting there be light.

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Notice the pallid, greying skin of Banner in that panel, it suggests a man drained of life, in the dark, illuminated only by a little remaining green. It's a decent colouring choice by Jesus Aburtov rather than giving him a pinky flesh colour.

Something similar happens in Immortal Hulk #16 today, with the Hulk again depowered by ultraviolet lights, recreating the effect of the sun, and another horrific transformation courtesy of Joe Bennett.

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Again, leaving a more pallid Bruce Banner, in contrast with the green of the Hulk. Which is where Paul Mounts trick us.

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Because that is not a pallid Bruce Banner at all. That is not a Banner devoid of the Hulk, hiding in the shadows, in contrast to what once, was at all.

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It's Joe Fixit. The Grey Hulk. Just shrunk down a little.

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When the Hulk first appeared in the sixties, he was portrayed as grey. But issues with printers saw Marvel change his colour to green as the character evolved.

It would be John Byrne who made that canon in Hulk, showing that the Hulk was initially smaller, brutish and grey and had a different personality. Later, Al Milgrom brought that version back as the main Hulk, when Rick Jones became a green Hulk, and the Grey Hulk became a version of that character that continued for years.

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But it was Peter David who continued that story with a grey Hulk summoned by the night gave him a new role as Joe Fixit, a Las Vegas enforcer, a creature of cunning and planning who worked for months without Bruce Banner emerging once. Later, was merged with Bruce Banner's personality and that of the Green Hulk by Doc Samson's therapy treatments, creating the 'Professor' Hulk.

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Rick Jones' history as a Hulk seems to have resurrected him (of a sort) in today's Immortal Hulk. Could it be Rick Jones regain some of what the green Hulk was, also summoned the Grey Hulk back into existence, as he did the first time around?

IMMORTAL HULK #16
(W) Al Ewing (A) Joe Bennett (CA) Alex Ross
• Once upon a time, Rick Jones was the Hulk's best friend. Now Rick Jones is dead…and gone.
•  To learn why, Bruce Banner will have to face roaming gamma experiments, an assassin out for his blood…
•  …and the one thing that can cage the IMMORTAL HULK.
Rated T+In Shops: Apr 03, 2019
SRP: $3.99

AVENGERS NO ROAD HOME #8 (OF 10)
(W) Al Ewing, Jim Zub, Mark Waid (A) Carlo Barberi (CA) Yasmin Putri
THE ALL-NEW WEEKLY AVENGERS EVENT CONTINUES!
Team Hulk vs. Nyx, Queen of Night! Team Herc vs. Oizys, Creature of Misery! One Avenger faces the supreme test – and one Avenger falls!
LEGACY #716
Rated T+In Shops: Apr 03, 2019
SRP: $3.99

 

About Rich Johnston

Head writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world. Living in London, father of two. Political cartoonist.

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